Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Six days in...

Well, it was the sixth day of the Film Festival today and I only managed one film, although I had planned for three. I missed the Uruguyan sock factory movie, Whisky, and that's a damned shame. And I was meant to see Claire Denis' L'intrus (The Intruder), but after sitting through ninety minutes of very repetitive found footage going under the name of World Mirror Cinema, I just flagged. What I had thought was going to be captivating cutting edge cinema turned out to be a sadly miscontrued effort at reconstruction with a thematic approach. I was pretty bummed and ended up sleeping through long spells. It was just not worth the effort of trying to stay awake (although embarassingly I woke myself twice with the sound of my own snoring).

Fabulous though, was much of my Sunday viewing. I started the day with the marvellous Decasia by Bill Morrison. He takes found footage, but not just any old stuff, it has to be decaying. It's amazing the forms this took - from milky opalescence to crackling edged eye-popping bacterial scourges. There were pulsating shimmering halos around dark black shadows. From the midst of the decay were the remnants of the original images, at times emerging from amorphous blobs, at others being swallowed up by melting milkyness. The old footage in itself was gratifyingly gorgeous - a whirling dervish spins into decay; two nuns stand with their backs to us like forboding black sentinels while little children run in a line (at an orphange?) while the film decay causes apocalyptic light effects; a kimono-clad Japanese woman merges in and out of intricate organic blobs; planes fly through a decaying sky dropping little parachutists. This was a gorgeous eye-fest and anyone who can only handle narrative should go along to film like this and think "art gallery" - this isn't a story, don;t expect a story, just love the images. Meditate upon the beauty. This is the stuff that feeds my soul.

My next film on Sunday was Little Sky. Had quite a cry at this one. Delicately shot social realism in Argentina. Harrowing but inevitable ending.

Oh, and then Campbell Walker's latest, Little Bits of Light. I understand people walking out - I heard a few behind me not too far into the film - as this is not fare for the everyday festival-goer. It's not an easy experience: it's not entertaining, it's discomforting, it makes you feel claustrophobic in its closeness to the characters. Just one couple, just one weekend, and we're up close and personal with them all the way. 9 Songs has the intimacy of a quiet afternoon tea next to this, and I'm not talking sex. Helen is depressed and Alex tries all he can to help her through the darkness of it all - the days are bad but the nights are hellish. Now, I've been in the place she findshttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif herself, and I must commend Nia Robyn on her amazing portrayal of the depressed pysche. It was a rewarding and emotionally satisfying film and the soundtrack of the Mountain Goats went so well with the Taranaki landscape.

To top off the day I got along to League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse. Light relief it was, which is just what I was after since it had been a full-on day.

Monday was good too - The Future of Food - made by Gerry Garcia's wife, nonetheless. US patenting laws are totally scary. Anyone who saw The Corporation last year should get along to this. I sincerely hope this gets general release. People need to know about this shit. Then a bit of fun - - what I would call a Spinal Tap movie for the rave generation. Some great moments and a total pisstake of the Ibiza scene.

Got to try to make it to Tony Takitani in the morning. Let's see if I can get up early and get all my work done!


Tom said...

Hi Rose, there can't be much of an overlap between those who saw Decasia and League of Gentlemen fans! I thought Decasia was wonderful, too: absolutely mesmerising, though the music got a bit much for a hungover Sunday. Did you get around to seeing Ibside\Out this weekend? It should have appealed to your love of urban imagery.

Rose said...

Hi Tom

I sure did get to Inside\Out (glad to see you notice the silly backslash we used in the programme instead of a the normal slash - I suppose we thought we were being clever, but actually it looks a bit silly). Not only that, but also Bill Morrison's Shorts which included his (I guess) precursor to Decasia. Inside\Out had some great moments. Also a few slow ones, some of which I slept through. I think was feeling a little overcome by a glut of cinema. I loved the street scenes looking down on people as they hung out on the street. And the umbrellas.

Tom said...

Yes, the street scenes from above had a palpable sense of joy; a real sense of celebrating the street as social space. I'd love to get some of that into whatever I end up doing for the Urban Life competition, though logistically it would be difficult to enter a film or animated piece.

I agree that some of the slow ones dragged a bit. They often had a simple, clever idea, but dragged it out far too long. Many pieces in The Digital Space had the same problem, though Loop (the one with the snail) just kept coming up with more amazingly inventive transformations.

Rose said...

I missed The Digital Space. You can't fit everything in. It's most unfortunate.

I've been thinking of putting something into Urban Life. It's made me think about my relationship to my city and that's been an interesting process in itself. I'm always drawn to back alleys. That's the city I like. Kinda dodgy sounding innit?

Roberto Iza Valdés said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Roberto Iza Valdés said...

Merry Christmas, Rose!