“If you wanna drive, you’ve gotta kill.”

Opens with a mini-documentary about rabbit breeding, and I’m thinking someone had been watching L’age d’Or lately.

Bruce with his lead actress:

Record label flunky Ramona (Valerie Buhagiar, later in Highway 61) is assigned the task of tracking down a touring band gone missing, Children of Paradise. She takes a taxi for this purpose, drives 18 hours straight. Main label guy Roy, with slicked-back hair and a vaguely familiar look (he had small parts in eXistenZ and A History of Violence) stays back, yelling at her over the phone when she calls in.

Roy:

She finds the band briefly, but the singer has disappeared. So she pools her efforts with a documentary crew (the director of which is played by Bruce McDonald himself) also hired to document the Children of Paradise. At some point she has sex with a 15-year-old guy at the drive-in, who gives her his car. Ramona finally finds the band’s singer, now a spaced-out mute bald hot-dog salesman. But he wanders off, leaving her with a self-proclaimed serial killer, played by Don McKellar, the movie’s writer. All the players (including Roy) meet up at a bar for the finale, supposed to be the Children of Paradise’s final show, and it is, since Don shoots a whole bunch of people (including the documentary crew – only movie I’ve seen in which the writer gets to kill the director).

Mute vocalist:

Postscript: the taxi’s meter rolls over and Ramona only owes a couple bucks. Also the cabby meets Joey Ramone for some reason.

Fun indie movie, creatively and energetically shot, with wall-to-wall music. I’d be glad to see more indie films take their cues from punk rock instead of from Little Miss Sunshine.

Joshua at Octopus Cinema:

Aesthetically, the film contains many more iconic moments than one would think, from the silhouetted conversation [Don McKellar] has with Ramona to the solitary dance Ramona shares with Luke in the center of a grouping of cars, McDonald peppers the film with moments of intermittent beauty, striking images that remain on the brain for hours afterward.

The year after The Gold Rush and Battleship Potemkin, Eisenstein’s teacher Kuleshov turned in his own gold rush masterpiece. It’s far less funny than the Chaplin feature, and far more economical than the Eisenstein – for the bulk it’s just three actors, a cabin and a storm. You don’t see a lot of Russian films set in Canada. I don’t, anyway, but then I don’t see a lot of Russian films – been meaning to correct that. The titles pronounce this as the “third work of the Kuleshov Collective,” the first two of which still mostly survive.

I don’t get the organizational structure here, but “chairman” Hans (Sergei Komarov of The End of St. Petersburg) with two “shareholders” (blonde-bearded Dutchy and black-bearded Harky) are out in the Yukon mining for gold – unsuccessfully, for the most part, along with Hans’s English wife Edith (Aleksandra Khokhlova of earlier Kuleshov Collective film Mr. West) and mustachioed Irishman (proven by fact that he spends his free time playing flutes and dancing jigs) Michael Dennin (Vladimir Fogel, the hero of Chess Fever).

Based on “The Unexpected” by Jack London. London’s stories made for extremely popular film adaptations from 1908 to 1930 – and he lived to 1916, so may have seen some of them. I suppose people back then enjoyed watching lone, underprepared hikers crash through the ice then slowly freeze to death. This group, however, is well stocked for the weather, and just as they were giving up on their present location, Dennin finds a cache of gold. Unfortunately, he makes up for this by developing a dark jealous rage and deciding to kill everybody. He blows away both the shareholders before Hans takes him down.

Edith is upset:

Now the surviving couple have to bury their partners (in a raging storm) then keep guard over Dennin for a whole season until the Law arrives, because Edith insists they not take revenge into their own hands. But Dennin is insane and destructive (he sets the bed on fire during a flood), and Edith seems to fall further into a religious fervor as they all suffer from cabin fever. This is the bulk of the movie’s runtime, the three of them stewing wordlessly in the cabin. It plays very much like a horror film. Kuleshov shows off his pioneering editing techniques, but also some great camerawork, like this post-Nosferatu hand shadow reaching for the gold.

Eventually the couple appoint themselves officials of the Law, give Dennin a British-style trial, sentence him to be hanged, then carry out the execution on a nice spring day. Dennin appears dramatically in their doorway that night amidst a raging storm – a ghost, a shared delusion or something else?

The trial, watched over by a painting of the Queen:

Nice day for a hanging:

I liked the rumbly electronic score by Franz Reisecker, though it provides some weird moments – while Dennin is playing his Irish flute music, the music we hear is despairingly atonal.

This seems like a good idea. Mr. Oizo (seriously, the guy with the sock puppet music video from like 1997) writes and directs a movie about two maladjusted nitwits in a wacky future, casting a comedy duo who have been in at least three movies together. A good idea, but an especially underwhelming movie. I mean, I’ve seen some underwhelming movies lately, like The GoodTimesKid, but at least that one featured the wacky kitchen dance scene as something memorable to hold onto. I watched Steak last night and it’s already starting to fade. And the trouble is I don’t think that was intentional, to make a lightweight wispy mumblecore film. It’s mostly set seven years in the future, but even its futuristic society details seem stolen from other movies. For instance, plastic surgery has run rampant (Brazil) and schoolkids form exclusive, violent clubs and drink only milk (A Clockwork Orange).

It’s not totally clear how much has changed in the future, since we mainly see one town’s high school, and still more specifically, a five-man gang called Chivers (urban dictionary: “group of people dedicated to alleviating the stress of an otherwise hectic day with daily afternoon randomness”). When Blaise gets out of psychiatric hospital for shooting up some bullies (a crime actually committed by his friend George), George wants nothing to do with him, finally beginning to fit in with the super-cool Chivers. Blaise adjusts to the new social life faster than his now-ex-friend and gets himself into Chivers just as George is kicked out for smoking (a no-no in the future). Then they kill a fellow gang member by sorta-accident and run off together. The whole thing is played for absurd comedy – few laughs, just a low-key sense of weirdness. Pleasant Oizo music runs throughout, naturally. Only technical detail I noticed was the camera’s very shallow depth of field – always some part of the shot that isn’t in focus. A nice enough waste of time, but doesn’t get me too anxious to see Oizo’s new killer-tire movie Rubber.

Tracey is in therapy for teen-rebellion issues. One day while hooking up with a boy she likes from class, she loses her cute little brother, who presumably drowns in the icy river. Tracey can’t deal with what she’s done, wanders the city getting into dangerous situations looking for her brother. Part of her actually expects to find him but mostly it seems like a grief/catharsis journey.

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Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic say the movie was mostly disliked, the IMDB reviewers say it “sucks,” but a lone blog (Subtitle Literate) put it on their best-of-decade list alongside nine other movies I saw and liked, so I sought it out. And I’m going to side with the lone blogger. It’s a teen family-problems death-and-grief depression drama AND it’s presented via extreme split-screen, with frames within and beside each other, displaying memory and fantasy and foreshadow and unrelated footage, and the timeline of the main narrative is scrambled as well. Sounds like the kind of thing I would hate, but it’s done very, very well. I liked Ellen Page (Juno, Hard Candy, Whip It, X-Men 3, gee I watch a lot of Ellen Page movies) and loved her little brother (pretending to be a dog), her cross-dressing psychiatrist (would anyone visit a cross-dressing psychiatrist?), the questionably dangerous guy she befriends in the city (“Lance From Toronto”) and dream sequences of her behind-the-music imagined future with new kid in school Billy Zero. But mostly I was bowled over by the editing, which doesn’t seem arbitrary like 21 Grams, but carefully thought-out to make emotional sense.

What’s it say on the board? Pontypool (changes everything).
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Bruce’s first theatrical flick since 2001 (I’m not sure that it opened here). McDonald once again has book’s author write the screenplay (see also: Pontypool). Shot on Inland Empire-looking “bad” DV and populated with the finest Canadian actors, including Ari Cohen (Archangel) as Tracey’s dad, Max McCabe (Land of the Dead) as Lance From Toronto and Julian Richards (Hard Core Logo, Survival of the Dead, opening scene of Cube) as the psychiatrist.

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D. Sallitt, 2007:

Knowing that he’s discovered the philosopher’s stone, McDonald tirelessly generates new formal prototypes every few seconds, and leaves us at film’s end with the sense that he could have kept going forever. What makes Tracey more than an impressive demo is its unity of form and feeling, the sense that its screen may have been shattered by its young protagonist’s hormonal violence, McDonald’s wild-eyed punkish sense of drama, and Medved’s vivid dialogue

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D. Sallitt, 2008:

McDonald and his admirable writer Medved did not choose random subject matter for this experiment. Not only does the style seem intended to reflect the streaming consciousness of Medved’s material, but there is also a strong underlying musical structure to the film, with music and dialogue working together to organize the story into movements that almost resemble musical numbers.

“What we need is a flamethrower.”

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Apparently this played in one theater for one week before going to “VOD” (whatever that is). I don’t know anyone who has this “VOD,” which was also the rumored resting place of Maddin’s My Winnipeg, and where all Soderbergh’s movies are said to be sent the same day as their theatrical releases. Is it something you watch on those portable playstation games? Is it a website? Can I get an invite? Not willing to buy a satellite dish or a fiber-optic link to hollywood or whatever I’d need, I borrowed a copy of the movie from a connected friend to close out this year’s successful SHOCKtober season. Sorry, Mr. McDonald, but rest assured I’ll be buying the movie and the book as soon as I figure out how.

“Mrs. French’s cat is missing” says a sinister voice as a blue waveform bounces across the wide screen, before the title breaks through in a blue vortex, each letter appearing from the inside out until it spells TYPO a few seconds before PONTYPOOL. What with the movie’s play with language, that can’t be accidental.

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Next half (or more) of the film has fallen big-city talk-radio DJ Grant Mazzy in his sound booth, with his producer Sydney Briar (great names) and assistant Laurel Ann sitting in the main room. It’s snowing and damn cold outside, it’s early morning, and Grant is trying to show off his “take no prisoners” attitude and start rumors. The camera is always gliding at a constant speed, which kinda bugs me though I can’t think of a more pleasing alternative offhand. Gradually we start to hear of a disturbance in town, “herds” of people banding together and murmuring, breaking into buildings and tearing residents apart. The descriptions get weirder, until Grant is saying things like this on the air: “That was our own Ken Loney interviewing a screaming baby coming from Mary Gault’s eldest son’s last dying gasps.”

The actions outside are so disturbing and unbelievable, that by this point characters and viewer are dying to break out of the radio station and walk around – but we never do. Instead the herd tries to break in, preceded by the slightly loopy Dr. Mendez who may know how the whole thing started (he tells us it’s a virus infecting words in the English language) but is never given enough time to explain himself because Laurel Ann becomes infected. They stay in the sound booth, depriving her of language to feed off, until she explodes.

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More word games, and then Grant (who, as a popular talk radio host, may have been helping spread the virus all morning) comes up with a cure that doubles as a last-minute romantic ending, defamiliarizing the infected word, changing its meaning. “Kill is kiss, kill is kiss” makes me think of Killer’s Kiss.

I wasn’t aware of Stephen McHattie though I’ve seen him before. He went from playing James Dean in a 70’s TV biopic, to Canadian thrillers in the 80’s, to a ton of TV and voice (no surprise) acting, to A History of Violence and The Fountain to major roles in Hollywood action flicks (300, Shoot ’em Up, Nite Owl in Watchmen). McDonald is known for a handful of cult road flicks and the interesting-sounding The Tracey Fragments, and also directs a ton of TV. I’d only seen his short Elimination Dance, but will be seeking out more.

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McDonald: “Zombies are undead and these people are not. They’re people who have difficulty expressing themselves. It’s a very common, very modern virus.”

AV Club:

Primarily though, the film works as a tour de force for McHattie – a veteran character actor making the most of his character’s long, fluid monologues – and as a sly commentary on journalistic responsibility. At first, McHattie seems to enjoy anchoring a broadcast that’s drawing international attention, but throughout, his conscientious producer Lisa Houle pesters him about whether it’s really appropriate for him to be goosing the drama, as when he urges the station’s field reporter to get closer to the monsters. There’s a lot of subtext in Pontypool (and some of it isn’t so “sub”) about how meaningless conversation can be a kind of plague. Yet the greater evil may be the words that sound meaningful, but are really just diverting.

from D. Cairns short but essential interview with the director:

DC: The very idea of a “war on terror” is a very Pontypool idea, the war against an abstract concept or word.

MACDONALD: Right. So our ideas naturally come out about the manufacturing of fear by the American media […] the co-opting of certain words by the media, to label people or things. And it’s in a very sly and damaging way, often. “Pedophile” is a popular word, as a weapon, you know. To suddenly hint at that, you could destroy somebody. With something as simple as “You know, I heard he was a pedophile…” It just shows how powerful certain words are. Language is so loaded with great shit, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches for us, to know how to place some of these things. And there’s kind of a cultural thing too, like when the BBC guy comes on, everybody’s like, “Oh my god, we’ve got the real guy on!” you know? It’s like these backwoods colonial guys listening to the real deal. It’s such a cultural thing, with the French-English in Canada. And suddenly these sovereigntists or separatists become “terrorists,” that easy slip, how easy that is… “Oh, I’ve never heard the French ‘Quiet Revolution’ referred to as ‘terrorists’ in Quebec.” But you could…

DC: And a violent riot becomes an “insurgency.”

MACDONALD: Yeah yeah. So you start to see how just choice of words, there’s a certain WAY that the media talks, to create a drama, to create an ongoing story. … Myself having worked in the media for so long, you have an inside view of how these things go on.

Good news:

May 16, 2009
Acclaimed director Bruce McDonald returns to the director’s chair with Pontypool Changes, a sequel to his highly anticipated psychological thriller Pontypool. Producer Jeffrey Coghlan confirmed rumors in Cannes today that the Pontypool sequel is scheduled to lens in early 2010, reuniting McDonald with Pontypool screenwriter Tony Burgess, who adapted the original from his book “Pontypool Changes Everything”.

Author Tony Burgess shares a name with the author of A Clockwork Orange, another sci-fi novel interested in language.

From Bruce’s interview with Twitch:

– Let’s talk about the after the credits scene, the cookie.
– That used to be end of the movie, but before the credits. And people thought, what? What? Too much confusion. There is a tradition now where you have something at the end of the credits where you have an outtake, or hint of a sequel. The existence for it is sort of buried in there, well the title of the book sort of suggests it, Pontypool Changes Everything, and one of the things I’ve always love about the notion of this, is that the virus could affect something as abstract as the English language. It can leap into reality itself, change the fabric of how reality is perceived.

OCT 2017: Watched again in HD, still the best.

49th Parallel (1941)

The Archers wouldn’t exist as a production company and Pressburger wouldn’t get a co-director credit until the following year’s One of Our Aircraft is Missing – he just contributed the story for this Powell-directed piece of WWII propaganda. Movie hammers home its points (nazis are bad; Canada is great) with a series of episodes, each of which further weakens the nazi force which is inexplicably (I was spacing out during the first ten minutes) invading Canada and making their way south to the USA.

The first, last and most effective attacks are made by our valiant troops, who kick off the fun by bombing the nazi sub which has just landed six advance soldiers to secure a trading post. Now these six guys (led by hardass Eric Portman, kindly given a role the next year as a loyal allied copilot as payback from P&P for being such an effective nazi) constitute the entire german force in Canada – if they can cause some damage and make it to neutral USA they’ll be hailed at home as heroes, so it’s of moral importance to stop them. Seems perverse to me that my flag-swingin’ nazi-hatin’ country was considered a legal safe haven for german troops in ’41.

There I am in Canada, right between Carberry and ASSMNBOINE:
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First stop: the outpost. They hang out there for a while, steal some gear and shoot a whole pile of eskimos. Meanwhile, horror of horrors, who should be at the outpost but Lawrence Olivier playing a French-Canadian trapper just returned from a year expedition (so unaware that Canada’s at war). F-C Olivier joins Japanese Mickey Rooney from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Blackface Bing Crosby from Holiday Inn in the Casting Mistakes Hall of Fame. If the movie was meant as a love letter to Canada, I can’t figure why Powell would want to start off with such a loud, ridiculous caricature of a Canadian. Maybe Olivier, recently in Rebecca, brought great publicity to the project so nobody wanted to risk insult by having him tone down the accent. Anyway, he quickly gets up to speed, decides what side he needs to be on, and makes a grab for the radio, getting himself killed. The nazis hail a plane, then kill the pilots and take off, getting one man shot by an eskimo.

What’s the only thing hammier than Laurence Olivier as a French Canadian? Laurence Olivier as a dying French Canadian. “Let me axe you one kestion.”
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Plane crashes in the water – that’s another nazi down, four to go. They stumble into a group of religious commie idealists with german roots led by noble Anton Walbrook (ballet instructor in The Red Shoes), and thinking they’ve found kindred souls, Portman makes a big hitler speech which falls flat. Time to move on, but one nazi (Niall MacGinnis – not a very german sounding name – of The Edge of the World, later Zeus in Jason and the Argonauts) is inspired by the freedom of this community, decides to stay on and be a baker and be in love with hot local chick (Glynis Johns of The Sundowners, The Cabinet of Caligari), so other dudes execute him. Harsh segment, but also the most beautiful part of the film, visually and idealistically.

Germans always heil each other before going to bed:
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Big city parade, the authorities are closing in on our men. They make an announcement describing the three germans – one cracks under pressure and gets captured. Last two nazis hide out in the woods, bust in on a society escapee, pacifist writer Leslie Howard in his teepee, enjoy his hospitality then tie him up and break all his stuff to settle a political disagreement. Our pacifist escapes, chases the guys down, and beats the shit out of one of ’em. I see Leslie Howard played Henry Higgins in Pygmalion – makes sense, he seems the Higgins type. He was killed in the war a couple years after this came out.

This was meant to be inspirational:
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Last guy (Portman, natch) makes it to the border on a freight train, runs into an AWOL soldier (Raymond Massey of The Fountainhead, East of Eden) and takes his uniform. Soldier wakes up, realizes they’ve made it to the states, but convinces the train dudes to send ’em back over the border (still locked in their freight car) with the excuse that Eric Portman wasn’t on the manifest. Massey advances on Portman, giving one of the best final lines in cinema history: “I’m not asking for those pants… I’m just taking ’em.”

Edited by David Lean (which is why it’s over two hours long, ha) who’d start directing the following year, and shot by the future D.P. of Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. Movie is too talky and obvious, but then, it’s a government-funded piece of propaganda. Given that fact, and the problems of filming during wartime, the movie is almost impossibly good – and at the very least it’s a nice tour through Canada.


I Know Where I’m Going! (1945)

Whew, a wonderful poem of a film, foggy and deadly romantic. Wendy Hiller (Eliza in that same Pygmalion with Leslie Howard, which now I must see; in Lynch’s The Elephant Man 35 years later) meets dashing Roger Livesey (the fat man in Colonel Blimp…!) on her way to meet her fiancee and falls in love with him instead.

Title is well explained in the elegant opening credits segment. Joan (Hiller) is obsessed with wealth and manages to climb higher and higher, finally gets engaged to super-wealthy guy who lives on a remote Scottish isle. One of my favorite-ever scene transitions, a puff of smoke from a top hat turns into the smokestack of a train engine, and she’s off to be married.

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After a nuts dream sequence aboard the train (see above), Joan finds that she can’t cross to the island because of the fog, nor can anyone cross from there to pick her up. Stranded, she tries not to make friends with Torquil MacNeil (Livesey) but can’t seem to help it… hangs out on the mainland with him, his welcoming friend Catriona (Pamela Brown, Hoffmann’s silent companion), and local falconer Col. Barnstaple (an actual falconer, does a hilarious job in his only acting role).

Livesey and Pamela:
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Barnstaple and Hiller:
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Conflict arises because Joan is starting to like Livesey (an awfully likeable guy – friendly and handsome and a good dancer, plus it turns out, the laird of the island where her man lives). No longer knowing where she’s going (!), she panics, decides she must get to the island immediately. Praying for wind to lift the fog didn’t work, since now the wind is too high to sail, but she bribes the boatman’s son into taking her. That doesn’t work out, ship is almost wrecked, saved by brave Roger. The next day, she’s finally headed for the island, Roger staying behind. Roger strolls into an ancient castle to which his family has been forbidden entry for generations and, well, the ending is too wonderful to retell.

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Adding to the spooky atmosphere is music by Allan Gray (protagonist of Vampyr). There’s more: falcons, a whirlpool, and a phone booth by a waterfall, plus glorious location photography, but I’ll be watching it all again soon.

Finally, since it’s awards season in the movie world, one of my three known readers David Cairns has awarded this site a Premio Dardos. David writes the only film blog I read, the tremendously entertaining Shadowplay, and he still finds time to contribute articles to The Auteurs. The Premio Dardos is a JPEG image of unknown origin (unless I bother to google it) that comes with a series of rules I might not follow, but it’s sorta like if your shitty local band gets paid a compliment by a nationally-touring rock act – still an honor.

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Another Maddin masterpiece… I loved it. Slow start as he dreamily navigates his home town, telling stories, showing off landmarks, talking of snow and sleepwalkers. Trying to escape, he decides to film his way out, rents his old house and hires actors to play his family, except for his real mother (ha, “really” 1940’s noir queen Ann Savage) and of course, Maddin himself (ha again, really Darcy Fehr of Cowards Bend the Knee). So the premise is a lie, and the real-life actors are a lie, and yet he got this to be classified a documentary – I love it!

The parts about Maddin’s childhood are as veiled as usual – there’s the hair salon and siblings and pet dog, and some could-be-true anecdotes about straightening the hall rug and a fear of birds, but we also get his mother’s unlikely starring role in long-running TV drama “Ledge Man”. And there’s the traditional dead father, this time represented by a mound of earth under the living room rug, which the brothers use as a sort of beanbag headrest when watching TV. When Guy leaves home, things become sadder and more personal, showing city landmarks destroyed to build corporate malls, discussing the demise of the local hockey team and eventually the stadium. Very wonderful final segment imagines a character called Citizen Girl, representing the proud past of Winnipeg, who turns back time and resurrects the city’s history – as moving as anything in Guy’s filmography so far.

This is being called Maddin’s most accessible work. I guess the plot is more straightforward than most, and there’s less incest and horror than in my own starter pic Careful, but I’d still give that title to Saddest Music… it’s got stars and songs and an engrossing story and it’s right hilarious.

Rare Exports Inc. (2003, Jalmari Helander)
One of those one-joke comedy shorts. The joke is that this elite group of skilled hunters are capturing wild “father christmases” and training them to sit at mall displays listening to children request gifts. It’s got a nice visual style (if you dig watching naked old men get captured, hosed down and beaten), and I guess besides the Eija-Liisa Ahtila short it’s the only film I’ve seen from Finland.
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The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions (2005, Jalmari Helander)
And since I didn’t like it much, I watched the sequel and didn’t like that much either. Like all sequels, it’s longer with more effects and new characters. This time the santa-hunters teach safety and behavior lessons and execute an unrehabitable santa.
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OïO Cinepainting (2003, Simon Goulet)
Took over a decade to make with the participation of 100+ Canadians. Looked like gloopy claymation swamp monsters wrecking countless painted glass vases.
I liked it, would watch again.
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Workers Leaving The Factory (1995, Harun Farocki)
A catalogue of scenes of workers leaving factories, including the Lumiere film shown about ten times along with Intolerance, Red Desert, Clash By Night, I think Modern Times, Man of Iron, Metropolis, some German movies, and an industrial advertisement for heavy-duty equipment to protect your factory from attackers. Female narrator tells us that there oughtta be more scenes of workers leaving factories, or that there are too many, or that we need to see inside the factories instead of staying out at the gates? I dunno, because she speaks with all the excitement of a hired narrator reading academic text from a translated script, and it put me to sleep twice – impressive for a 35-minute movie. Saves its poetic deep-thought summary for the end: “If we line up 100 years of scenes of people leaving factories we could imagine that the same shot had been taken over and over… like a child who repeats its first word for 100 years to immortalize its pleasure in that first spoken word… or like far-eastern artists who repeatedly paint the same picture until it is perfect and the artist can enter the picture. When we could no longer believe in such perfection, film was invented.” Cute, but I prefer Kaurismaki’s take on the Lumiere short, and all these shots of people leaving work make me want to see Joe vs. The Volcano again.

From the director’s article on the film:

I have gathered, compared, and studied these and many other images which use the motif of the first film in the history of cinema, “workers leaving the factory,” and have assembled them into a film, Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (Workers leaving the factory, video, 37 minutes, b/w and color, 1995). The film montage had a totalizing effect on me. With the montage before me, I found myself gaining the impression that for over a century cinematography had been dealing with just one single theme. Like a child repeating for more than a hundred years the first words it has learned to speak in order to immortalize the joy of first speech. Or as though cinema had been working in the same spirit as painters of the Far East, always painting the same landscape until it becomes perfect and comes to include the painter within it. When it was no longer possible to believe in such perfection, film was invented.

In 1895, the Lumières’ camera was pointed at the factory gates; it is a precursor of today’s many surveillance cameras which automatically and blindly produce an infinite number of pictures in order to safeguard ownership of property. With such cameras one might perhaps be able to identify the four men in Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) who, dressed as workers, enter a hat factory and rob the payroll. In this film one can see workers leaving the factory who are in fact gangsters.

The first camera in the history of cinema was pointed at a factory, but a century later it can be said that film is hardly drawn to the factory and is even repelled by it. Films about work or workers have not become one of the main genres, and the space in front of the factory has remained on the sidelines. Most narrative films take place in that part of life where work has been left behind.

The Phantom Museum (2003, Quay bros.)
Starts with John Carpenter-style music, setting up the camera and lingering too long on each shot, but it picks up the pace soon. Don’t think they were being modest with the post-title card calling this a “random” trip through the museum of medical oddities. Showing off items they thought were interesting, bringing them to life with stop-motion whenever possible. Nothing much revelatory in the hospital (except the spiked chastity belt, ooh) or the film, but it’s nice that the Quays are still out there.
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