Film Archive for August, 2009

One Love

What did my fingers do before they held him?
What did my heart do, with its love?
I have never seen a thing so clear.
His lids are like the lilac-flower
And soft as a moth, his breath.
I shall not let go.
There is no guile or warp in him. May he keep so.

–Sylvia Plath, “Three Women”
In Sylvia Plath’s poem “Three Women,” the poet wrote about labor and birth from three perspectives: a woman who loves and wants her baby; a woman who has a stillbirth, and a woman who has a child she doesn’t want and gives up for adoption. It’s one of my favorite of Plath’s works, because it’s so very perceptive in exploring each woman’s experience with childbirth.
I can’t say whether D.J. Matrundola’s short film One Love was influenced by Plath’s poem, but it does follow a similar structure as it follows four women through life-changing events, very loosely weaving their stories together: an excited couple, soon to be parents, captures their life-changing moments on a camcorder; a man helps a troubled woman who goes into labor in a bar, and gets more than he bargained for; an expectant couple deals with loss; and a couple arriving at the hospital to pick up their adopted infant finds that fate has a spin in store for them.
It would be easy for this material to cross the line into Lifetime Movie of the Week territory, but Matrundola explores each story without exploiting, keeping the melodrama reined in as the stories and emotions intersect. This is a 14-minute short, not a feature, which doesn’t allow Matrundola much time to explore the individual stories, and yet the film is well-structured enough that it almost doesn’t matter. He’s telling a story with poetry instead of prose here, and while I’d like to see an expanded feature-length version of the film to see where he might go with it, it’s very good as it is.
You can see the trailer for One Love here; it premieres September 10 in Montreal, and has been submitted to some fests, so keep an eye out for it at a festival near you.

The Lovely Bones: Too Lovely?

Over on the Guardian’s Film Blog, they’re asking the question “does the trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones seem a touch too lovely?” The issue being raised seems to be whether Peter Jackson’s take on the afterlife in which the murdered teen Susie Salmon finds herself looks too pretty for the grim subject matter.
The folks who’ve commented on the post thus far clearly liked Alice Sebold’s book on which the film is based much less than I did. I’ve been looking forward to this movie forever, and I love the look of the trailer. Saiorse Ronan (Atonement) who plays Susie, seems to be spot-on perfect for this part, and from what we see of the afterlife part of the film, I think it looks great.
The Guardian post notes, “Furthermore the spectacular depiction of Susie’s limbo existence takes the movie into a fantasy realm reminiscent of the work of Terry Gilliam, although the suggestion that a terrible death can lead to a place of wonder and joy is itself at the very least potentially facile, at worst, repugnant.”
Uh, what? Why would it be facile, or worse, repugnant, to depict the afterlife of a murdered girl as a place of wonder and joy? Does the author of the piece feel that if a person dies by being horribly murdered, wherever their soul goes to beyond this life must necessarily be some grim, horrific place? That a 14-year-old girl who’s brutally murdered must be condemned to some torturous afterlife to further prolong the ugliness of what happened to her? Wouldn’t depicting Susie’s afterlife in that way be even MORE repugnant? I’m just saying.

Watch the trailer yourself
and see what you think.

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“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima

“They’re still talking about the ‘cathedral of cinema,’ the ‘communal experience,’ blah blah. The experiences I’ve had recently in the theatre have not been good. There’s commercials, noise, cellphones. I was watching Colette at the Varsity, and halfway through red flashes came up at the bottom of the frame. A woman came out and said, ‘We’re going to have to reboot, so take fifteen minutes and come back.’ Then they rebooted it from the beginning, and she had to ask the audience to tell her how far to go. You tell me, is that a great experience? I generally don’t watch movies in a cinema at all. Netflix is the future. It’s the present. But the whole paradigm of a series, binge-watching, it’s quite different. My first reaction is that it’s more novelistic, because if you have an eight-hour season, you can get into complex, intricate things. You can let it breathe and the audience expectations are such that they will let you, where before they wouldn’t have the patience. I think only the surface has been touched with experimenting with that.”
~ David Cronenberg