Troublesome movies because it’s the kind you’d want to watch a second time to fully study and understand BUT it’s got so many long shots of the family, their heads severed by the frame, eating breakfast, washing the car… then it gets so heavy at the end, not especially anxious to see it again soon.

Seventh Continent

Family does boring stuff. One day, little girl at school pretends to be blind. Parents talk it over and even consult with the girl (not on camera). Write their parents a letter of explanation, which is the most dialogue in the whole movie. Cash in their car, empty their bank accounts. Flush all money down toilet. Destroy everything in the house. Kill themselves with pills.

Seventh Continent

Adam Bingham says “the film is optimistic in its refusal to console its audience”. Also “one of the purest modernist texts since the height of Resnais and Antonioni, and perhaps the greatest contemporary contribution to what may be termed “the cinema of existentialism”: the focus on the actions and morality of individuals in a seemingly empty universe found in the work of film-makers like Chantal Akerman, Gaspar Noé and the Krzysztof Kieślowski of Dekalog.”

Overall good article at Kinoeye.org. I see his point that Haneke is, against all appearances, an optimist, and that this is an optimistic movie. I feel not only better about myself, but more determined after watching this movie. Mostly just “determined” to watch more movies, but hey it’s a start.

“My films are the expression of a desire for a better world,” Haneke says. In the same interview, he says he regrets once having called this the “glaciation trilogy” because he wants it to be more complex and not so easily labeled.

Old man living alone having trouble communicating with family. Student into ping pong and gambling. Runaway immigrant kid adopted by local family. News reports on global wars and celebrity scandal. A shooting at a bank. Punctuated by sudden silence and black between scenes.

71

A clear predecessor to Code Unknown, but where I didn’t get C.U. at all, this one at least makes sense. Kind of your Amores Perros cross-sections of people united by an incident of violence, but of course far less obviously scripted. Not a causes-and-effects-of-violence sort of thing. The Haneke quote above makes perfect sense. He’s showing a bunch of familiar events, saying “what is wrong with this picture” and daring us to connect the dots. One of the most immediately easy to understand of his films, but still hard to watch.

Well, I don’t know about that, “hard to watch”. With the long static shots and the lack of narrative structure, I think of them as hard to watch. But then, I compulvisely rent them, and I’d watch Time of the Wolf or Cache again right now or anytime. Not unenjoyable, but not exactly a magic-carpet-ride of entertainment. Need to come up with a new term to describe these. How do you recommend a Haneke movie to someone? Obviously I’m not alone, since the thursday afternoon show of Cache was sold-out in new york, and the video releases have been flying off the shelf here for a month now… he’s a popular guy.

72

Written by a woman named Coleman, who unsurprisingly wrote Full Frontal.

Martha and Kyle work at the doll factory. Big order comes in, Rose is hired. Rose has a baby, an angry ex, a tendency to steal, and a thing for Kyle. They go on a date, Martha watches the kid, then kills Rose when she gets home. Martha is easily caught, Kyle’s mom joins the doll factory part time, life goes on.

Shot on HD: big deal. Released on video same time as theaters: big deal. Non-professional actors: sort of a big deal, cuz it’s a small quiet enough story that some bigtime actor might’ve wrecked it with a “performance”.

But that’s also the problem. Not much performance, except by Martha who’s quite good. Nothing to perform to. Short, nothing of a movie. What’s up, Steven? Why was this story begging to be told? It’s not even his usual style-over-substance since there’s little style. And the Bob Pollard acoustic instrumentals are crappy and out of place (as if Steven wanted us to think he hired only non-professional musicians). Why make this? Why call it Bubble? Bring back The Limey, Kafka and Solaris!

03

I see why reviewers complained that this movie was too long. We learn little about Evelyn Glennie in the way of facts, background, future, profession. There’s little dialogue. There’s little character development! And the director takes that little bit, what very little he has, and stretches it out to 100 minutes, what could have been a 60, or hey, 30 minute featurette. The nerve of that self-important German to make a theatrical feature without enough support!

Actually that’s how I feel about Control Room and The Yes Men… movies that tried to tell a story without enough support. These reviewers would love Touching The Void, to name another creative documentary with a similar title… that one has a long story to tell, full of suspense, and the movie lasts as long as the story. Touch The Sound isn’t narratively driven, and is meant to be enjoyed through sound and vision. If you can’t enjoy such a gorgeous movie as this, why are you watching movies? And if the story has stopped moving forward and you’ve learned all you need to know (“she’s a talented musician who is nearly deaf”), why not leave the theater early? Because you’re a newspaper reviewer being forced to watch this as a job, I guess. My point just being that the reason I don’t let newspaper reviewers determine what movies I see is that they so often seem to be watching movies as a job and not enjoying what they see. A person who can’t appreciate movies as art can write no film criticism that matters.

02

I oughtta be talking about the film though, a perfect-ten picture. Amazing sound, amazing story, unbelievable photography and editing. “Visual poetry”, says the trailer. I could tell it was shot on film, somehow, even watching on DVD. It was “Super 16mm”, whatever that is. He switches to different angles while the soundtrack is constant, notably during the CD recording scenes… multiple cameras, or editing trickery? I was conscious of the movie as a movie, of the making-of, but not distractingly so. Lots of close-ups of waves in lakes, oceans, one exquisite shot of a long white line reflected in a pool when the waves start from one end, rippling along the line, forming “sound waves” to match the audio on the soundtrack. Another moment when Evelyn narrates about people having their own sound, and being able to play different people like an instrument… while Riedelscheimer shoots a sort of ski-lift with people in individual cars crisscrossing on suspended wires… notes on a staff! Clever man. This movie and Rivers And Tides should be watched annually. Hope Thomas doesn’t make too many more movies, or I’ll run out of time to watch anything else.

04

Fred Frith seems like a pretty cool guy, too. I’ll have to see him if he ever plays around here.

01

In the making-of, while they show Thomas completely fabricating shots in the Cologne airport, he says “I think reality exists only in the moment of perception. It’s a live, first-hand experience. One cannot reproduce or film it. It’s a personal experience, which is nontransferable. And I think it’s wrong to say that documentaries are objective. They are as much an expression of a very personal view as any other creative work.” Funny, I was just writing about that two days ago.

Excellent program, sadly underattended. Used to sell out both screenings – what happened?

The Moon and the Son
The Oscar ™ winner for best short in 2006. Might not have belonged in this program, since it’s more than twice as long as any other short here. Guy venting frustration with his Italian ex-mafioso father via animation. I’m not into the whole squid-and-the-whale family bitching scene, but this was pretty good stuff. Faith and Emily Hubley mentioned in the credits, I guess as animators, though Faith died in 2001.

Bubblecraft
Kinda crappy music video to kinda crappy song. Things float by in bubbles, okay.

The Little Matchgirl
Disney cartoon that looks like Disney cartoon but moves… a little too smoothly… something seemed somehow wrong. Sad lil story of girl freezing to death set to some important music piece I forget which.

Man Drawing a Reclining Woman
Stop-motion! Director was there.

Loom
Stop motion… old woman is Death, collects thread from dying street musician’s head after he saves little girl in the street, weaves it in her loom. Director was there, spent four years on it, is angry about Adult Swim.

Dragon
Girl draws horrors from her past at orphanage, director sells drawings for lotta money, girl summons dragon to destroy director. Something about commercializing other people’s artwork… filmmaker must work for a heartless cartoon company that rakes in large profits while paying him beans. Unjust!

The Mantis Parable
I never get parables. The mantis wouldn’t save the caterpillar, but the butterfly saves the mantis, or something.

The Zit
Gross. Cat pops huge zit or something.

Drawing Lessons
Girl can’t sleep, learns to draw Picasso upside down while listening to thrift store tape or something. Director tries to nimbly jump between insomnia and drawing and tape facets of plot but didn’t seem so nimble to me. I don’t always get the point of cartoon shorts… seems like they put too much thought into being fucking nimble and end up with nothing much to say and then you’ve got everyone telling me oooh, The Cathedral is a great little movie and I should see it. Not saying Drawing Lessons is as sluggish as The Cathedral, but both focus so much on technique and nothing else – intended audience seems to be themselves and fellow animators.

The Sandbox
Now this one had something to say, I think. Maybe about the world trade center. Maybe about the tsunami, or about absent parents, or The Future? I didn’t get it… was kinda pretty, though. Kinda.

Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot
Finally a great one. Fumi’s foot is bad luck, and everything crashes into it and hurts her, till she learns to use its extreme bad luck to draw misfortune away from others. Nice closing shot, with Fumi walking through a field, tripping bulldozers and things.

Juxtaposer
By the talented Joanna Davidovich. Girl on bench just wants to get along with cat, I think.

Ichthys
The Cathedral, part 2, wherein guy at restaurant grows old while waiter catches tiny fish for dinner. Great part involving screaming and arms falling off, the rest an exercise in tedium.

Fluid Toons
Fantastic plymptoon & stimpy style badass grungy little bunch of skits with more humor in ’em than everything previous (except Fumi) combined. Voices obviously done after the fact just add to hilarity. Downloadable too! Kinda terrible, but also the one I most wanted to see again. That’ll show all you serious artists.

Chickenheads
More fluid toons, starring a chicken hunting rabbit. Artist in attendance!

The whole point of keeping a film journal is to write about these movies right after I see ’em, to preserve details, remember plot points, since I’m so quick to forget things like that. Moolaade is the kind of movie I feel comfortable waiting three weeks to write about, since I’m not about to forget any of the details. Maybe so memorable since I talked about it with Katy afterward or since we watched it in two parts spanning a week, but I think just cuz it’s a simply told and visually exciting and completely unique and memorable movie on its own.

01

Collé is the middle of three wives, I believe, and has had what we’ll call “the surgery”. Sex is unpleasant, as it should be. Four girls run away from the pre-surgical ceremony and ask her for protection, and she offers it. As long as they stay in her household and she doesn’t utter the phrase to break the spell, nobody can touch these kids. The villagers throw every kind of intimidation at her… husband whips her in public, it is promised that Collé’s daughter (who has also avoided the surgery) will never marry (untrue, as the guy she was promised to marry is a well traveled man, liberated from local superstition), Collé is personally threatened, all women’s radios are stolen and destroyed, and eventually the merchant is murdered. One of the girls is captured and dies in surgery, but Collé saves three, and celebrates with their mothers at the end.

02

All customs and beliefs in town are passed down through the ages with apparently little outside influence until the merchant and Collé’s daughter’s man and the radios start threatening the status quo with talk of modernity and primitive feminism… then the red-cloaked enforcers and village elders start cracking down and insisting on compliance with The Old Ways. It provokes an advancement of human rights, but a loss of (admittedly repressive) tradition and local custom. Funny how in movies, radio is almost always a good thing and television almost always bad.

Great movie – a shock after watching Black Girl first. Don’t know why I thought they’d be stylistically similar (since from the same director) although there’s forty years between them.

The Atlanta Film Festival brought Jim Henson’s daughter Heather to town, where she presented a collection of puppet films at the Puppetry Arts Center.

Harker (eerie puppet vampire tale)… Sammy and Sofa (and sock monkey, “jumping the shark”)… Ola’s Box of Clovers (chainsmoking puppet imagines her grandmother’s dreams)… Everloving (just a special-effects test)… Herd (alien abducts cows, convinces guy to build mysterious box)… Mother Hubbard… Mary Anning and Her Monsters… Mysterious Mose (fun music video)… Tales of the Tinkerdee (early Jim Henson program shot in Atlanta – troubadour Kermit narrates)… and Henson’s cancelled program of moralist shorts for kids, with a too-appealing baddie.

Brought to mind last year’s Somersault and Lila Says and Keene. Not likeable at all, but not worth hating.

Laura lived in the city, loved Chris, who got killed. So she married (Mark?), had a kid, moved suburb. Sleeps with strangers compulsively and might have killed her neighbor.

Ugly, shot on DV + transferred to film I think. Tops of all heads cut off – can’t tell if mis-framed or mis-projected but neither would be surprising. The lighting is either bad on purpose or just bad. Lots of close-ups on Laura looked great – everything else fell apart.

So why was this so crappy? The repeated scenes and not-at-all-fluidly jumping back and forth in time? The pathetic pointlessness of the dialogue? The boring portrayal of a woman who lost her dream man, dream career and dream life, ending up the one thing she didn’t want to be, a suburban housewife? Not even that bad a story or character – just never comes together into anything exciting! No excitement! No reason to watch it! Especially coming off X-Men 3, a movie with too many reasons to watch.

Oh wait, an IMDB reviewer says “writer/director Jason Ruscio said in Q & A … that he was inspired by the break-up of his relationship with the lead actress.” So another movie-as-therapy. The Squid and the Housewife, or something. How come Clean was so good, then?

Here’s me, running out to see the new Brett Ratner movie.

Kinda loved it, especially after all the badmouthing it got in the last few weeks… but did they have to be so brutal, killing and de-powering so many main characters? Have they no respect for the ongoing nature of the comic and the hundreds of x-men stories that have yet to be told? They just think they can kill off characters left and right because all the actors’ contracts are expiring, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more movies with different actors eventually. Still, super fun movie… intense.