Friday, 21 November 2008

Random Notes #5

Repo! The Genetic Opera - I've already reviewed this during the After Dark festival, but one last word on it...I just realized that it would've been a far better film if its musical score had been closer to Jason Segal's "Dracula's Lament" from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". That single throwaway song is far better than anything in "Repo" - it doesn't take itself too seriously and it's actually quite memorable. Maybe "Repo" should've used puppets too...

Aki Kaurismaki's Proletariat Trilogy - Each coming in around ~70 minutes long, Kaurismaki's films are wonders of economic storytelling. The comedy in all three gets blacker as you work through the set (the first film is the most overtly funny - with a terrific final punch line). Though the three don't necessarily flow as a strict trilogy, there are a number of commonalities. For example, here are the opening frames of each film:

Shadows In Paradise


Match Factory Girl

Sense a theme?

And the lockers of each main character portrayed in the three stories:

Shadows In Paradise


Match Factory Girl

Each has some great long stretches documenting the jobs of these workers - in particular the process of creating matches - but it's the characters that are really endearing and they help make the films so damn watchable (yes, that's a bogus word, but I hope it gets across my meaning).

Silent Light - I finally got a chance to see the film that was sweeping festival awards and praise last year. Wow. I really didn't expect to be sucked in so much to a 2 1/2 hour slow paced reflective film about Menonites in Northern Mexico. Just when I thought it was really more of a "slice of life" look at their existence, actual story and character show up...

Aside from the stunning opening and closing shots (of a sunrise and a sunset), my favourite shots in the film are the slow tracking inwards ones used in several scenes. It builds up a sense of anticipation which never quite leads anywhere - until towards the end when something totally unexpected does happen.

Seance On A Wet Afternoon - How did Kim Stanley not win Best Actress for her insanely good portrayal of a deluded psychic?

Le Doulos - Great mid-period Jean-Pierre Melville film (just released on Criterion). Probably one of the best examples of the necessity of putting your trust in the director's hands that all of the scattered information you receive at the beginning (characters half-introduced, lengthy looks between people who weren't supposed to know each other, etc.) will lead to something down the road. And it does ever so nicely.


Jonathan said...

Never heard of Silent Light, but that sounds wonderfully original. On my "must see" list now.

As far as Le Doulos, I'll be checking that out too. Big Melville fan here. Tell me you've seen Le Samourai! If not, just know it has my HIGHEST of recommendations. It's his masterwork.

Bob Turnbull said...

Hi Jonathan,

You bet I've seen "Le Samourai" - it's among my faves. That interrogation scene alone (where the detective is moving between the different rooms) is worth the price of admission.

Hope you enjoy "Silent Light". It's certainly not standard fare...