Sweet and refreshing, Fernando Eimbcke’s sophomore effort is not an essential film by any means, but merits a watch. The story is light and unfolds with little motive, and as a result there is a heavy reliance on the characters. Even more frustrating is the repeated use of the black screen to punctuate pauses. Nonetheless, Eimbcke’s selective eye ensures that the passive viewer will at the very least take in some pretty sights. Gently humorous, Lake Tahoe could almost be a mellower companion piece to Familia Rodante.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
Thursday, 25 February 2010
I'm hoping for this blog to be more community-based, and have already asked a few mates to help out. I'm more than willing to take suggestions/submissions, including people's own work. Each writer/contributor will get their own sushi icon, in keeping with the blog theme.
So yeah. Celluloid Sushi. Add it!
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Created while Viola was artist-in-residence at Sony in Japan, Hatsu-Yume is, in its own way, thrilling. The static soundtrack, resembling the sound of a distant sea, sustains a dream-like sensation through the film, and allows the boundaries between sight and sound to disappear. When a coin being fed into a vending machine doesn’t clink, it feels as if this action is happening in a world beyond our control. Viola’s exploration of Japan and careful editing display a strong understanding of mono no aware, the Japanese philosophy of the transience of being. Though it should be watched as a projection, this meditative film is inviting enough that it could essentially be watched anywhere.
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Lehotský quietly examines his subjects with sensitivity, without excluding them from any definition of ‘normality’. Miro is shown as a typical man whose dual outsider status as blind and Romani means he is always treated differently, and through sharing his intimate moments of self-discovery, the audience instead comes to know him as a normal human being. By showing us in great detail the lives of blind people, Lehotský puts focus on the tactile dimension of cinema that is rarely acknowledged. As Zuzanna runs her hands over a pockmarked desk or writes with her specially-adapted typewriter, we as ‘viewers’ learn more about her life than words or pictures could say. Unusual and heartfelt, Blind Loves is a worthwhile watch, deftly handling multiple stories without sentimentally intertwining them at the end.
As with every Yasujiro Ozu film, the drama is gentle but abundant, and is sweetly complemented by a sparing score. While she isn’t exactly a lovable character, Mrs. Toda is endearing in her own way, and the tense relationships she has with her children unravel at a realistic pace – we are never forced to believe the issues are irreconcilable, but are able to understand Mrs. Toda’s motives for moving. With all the characters involved, it is sometimes hard to tell who’s who, but Brothers And Sisters Of The Toda Family is otherwise a pleasant minor work from Ozu.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Cousins, born and raised in war-torn Belfast, is clearly speaking to his own background with this experiment, but The First Movie is above all about the children of the village. Rather than narrating over them, Cousins lets the films speak for themselves, only lending his voice to the sequences he shot himself to contextualise the documentary. In the film, Cousins notes David Lynch as an inspiration, and some of his sequences show an unacknowledged disquiet, particularly one showing a cow wandering through the streets at night. His love of cinema also percolates through the film, and it’s such a rush of emotion to see children so enraptured by The Red Balloon.
Monday, 15 February 2010
Naturally, a non-existent budget provides stringent limitations, but it seems that Cooley wasn’t competent to begin with, as the sound and image editing attest. One also wonders whether he set out to spend most of the film in his bedroom, or if it was just easier that way. Fluxus it ain’t, but perhaps it is unfair to judge this sort of films so flippantly. After all, this is essentially the digital age’s equivalent to underground cinema, Cooley handling all roles (including promotion) himself. Visiting his website is somewhat encouraging, although he has more to say about his impressively lo-fi methods of filmmaking than what he wants to achieve. As such, Me, Myself, And My Third Eye is tedious and aimless, but the fact that it was made is refreshing enough to warrant further viewing.
El Dorado is frequently noted for its striking originality, becoming a source of inspiration for filmmakers such as Alain Resnais, and the acclaim is justified. Director Marcel L’Herbier deftly infuses drama with physical and narrative layers, and plays creatively with focus to represent the state of Sibilla’s psyche. It is clear that a lot of influences are being dealt with simultaneously here, particularly in the mise-en-scène and the camera’s selective consumption of each scene. But El Dorado is no mere child of its progenitors – though mixing nuances of several European styles, L’Herbier creates a distinctly French dramaturgy which sees later offshoots in the films of Dmitri Kirsanoff.