01.12.2019 § Leave a comment
It’s a cross between Star Wars and web development. These ports/droids are numbered 308, 380, and 22B.
01.09.2019 § Leave a comment
I almost said that it had an almost Itami-like quality to it, but then I realized that it was more Buñuel, which makes sense since he also influenced Itami.
I’d never seen a Svankmajer feature film before. I know I saw one of his shorts back in film school but I can’t figure out which one it was. I watched this because I helped fund it. I’m sure I’ll be watching more of his work now.
While probably a ton of Czech allegory was lost on me, I thought the film was entertaining and thought provoking. The layering of the film’s production into the final result felt fresh. It just wasn’t trite or simplistic. The rules of their reality were blurred and unclear, but not in a disorganized or haphazard way (such as in the new Netflix Bandersnatch experience I just played, for example). It was mysterious and compelling and put my mind and body in strangely uncomfortable positions.
In particular I’m thinking of this moment where the director is screaming at his actor about the way he’s performing the murder scene. He eventually gets so frustrated that he comes up on stage to demonstrate himself. The prop knife has been a real knife this entire time. The director is shown to actually brutally murder the actress. Soon thereafter, she gets right back up, just fine. When the actor is handed back the knife and asked to try again, his fear and panic and self-doubt resonated deeply with me. I mean, seriously, what the fuck? I still couldn’t stab her. What if it was magic. What if I had hallucinated. I don’t want to actually kill someone. And therein lies, I think, a fear of art, of giving oneself completely over to another mode of being. In any case there was a lot going on there.
The irony was strong with this film too:
- In the beginning, Svankmajer has a monologue about the purpose of the film. When he’s explaining about how he wrote the entire script in one go, extemporaneously, without thought or editing, like automatic writing, he keeps fucking up his delivery and phrasing, but they include his failures in the final cut.
- I loved this moment when the director is screaming at his actor about the way he’s carrying a prop of a dead body (of the director). He says that the audience is sophisticated and can tell the subtle difference between a performance suggesting that the character just killed this person versus merely found the body laying around. At this moment another actor who has been sleeping during his break time suddenly jolts awake and, sensing in a panic that he is supposed to be applauding for something, starts smiling and cheering. The director then interprets this act as praise for the manner in which he just scolded the actor, which is of course ridiculous because it shows how the director is not sophisticated enough to tell the difference between encouragement that is actually connected to what was just done and encouragement that was found randomly.
Also, the incessant buzzing of the red lights on the one costume’s helmet had me crying with laughter by the end. It just got better and better.
01.05.2019 § Leave a comment
I have been waiting in line for The Force Awakens opening midnight screening for four hours before I realize that I’ve left the tickets at home. I realize that I have just enough time to take public transit to be home by the time the movie starts, but not make it back. Why didn’t I notice this earlier!? No hope to drive, traffic is too bad. I chance running it, but the faster I try to run, the slower motion I go.
01.02.2019 § Leave a comment
Wasn’t expecting to like this one, based on having seen Dogtooth, but it was quite a bit stronger to me. Dogtooth had felt like a Haneke knock-off to me, but here Lanthimos seems to have his own unique vision now. The tension between the sumptuous romantic and the disillusionistically minimalist elements of the production, from the costuming to the score to the lens choices to the performances, was compelling. The final infinite layering effect tied everything together, emotionally and aesthetically: the opposition of love and power.
12.28.2018 § Leave a comment
My next short film is a big black trash bag sitting next to a big cloth laundry bag in a closet. The trash is supposed to ooze into the laundry, but how is it supposed to do that when they’re both just sitting there, open upwards? We have crew squish the laundry bag down fat and flat, and stretch the top part of the trash bag up and tip it over like a spout, but it’s still not really working. In the end, both bags end up spilling over.
So now the shot is more like a closet full of a dozen people playing board and card games. Eventually I notice that one cast/crew member is hiding off to the side of one camera, covering it with a book, and it’s because the footage is useless because I the director am in frame, just standing there dumbly observing the action, or really even more just standing there reading a book of my own. So I put my book down and find someone by themselves playing solitaire up against a couch in this L-shaped room and ask to join. The reception is not warm.
The cops break in and I’m fleeing down the squared-off spiral staircase around a tiny atrium to the basement level back exit (building built into a slight hill). I yell “stash” right when my friend is trying to avoid arousing suspicion when talking to the cops, unfortunately, so now not only do I have the cops after me but also this criminal (former) compatriot of mine. I haven’t had time to get any of my stuff so I have no keys, wallet, or shoes as I race across the street. Cops outside somehow don’t accost me, even though I’m running suspiciously, without shoes, and just jaywalked.
I immediately revert to a lower profile and walk up the hill to a corner store. Frustratingly, two cops are walking together in the same direction on the sidewalk across the street from me, but they take no notice of me. When I duck into the corner store, I am accosted by two homeless people, asking me to help them pay for a snack. I literally have absolutely nothing to give them right now, though, and it becomes too awkward for me to hide out there, so I walk off, into the sunset.
12.27.2018 § Leave a comment
Short and sweet. Presents interesting vampire ideas and issues without getting bogged down in any of them. I especially like how it doesn’t feel the need to either take itself too seriously nor mock inherent genre silliness. Sometimes you just want to watch a movie where the superhero just shouts “let’s do this” and then they fight.
(Community season 3 brought me here)
12.22.2018 § Leave a comment
Car chase. The bridge isn’t finished and yet traffic still works like normal; the rest of cars seem to ghost in and out at the edge of construction. My vehicle and my pursuer’s slam on the brakes and tumble over. Tim Robbins crawls from the wreckage. Everything is perfectly color coordinated – a very 60’s palette of deep navy and greyed-out teal.
I’m a member of a covert anti-corporate network attempting iconoclasm against commercialized Christmas imagery. For example, we widely circulate an image of a giant Santa hat treated like a Christmas tree, to confuse people with the shared conic shape, hoping to introduce friction into the association between them and break down traditions and save society.