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Showing posts from May, 2013

Key Films #16

Angelus [Lech Majewski, 2000]: It's difficult to adequately define the experience of the film; this work, which in many ways goes beyond the more commonly accepted conventions of genre, creating instead a loose narrative of sketches in which elements of comedy and fantasy, satirical allegory and scathing social critique are all brought together to create a statement on cultural identity, religious hysteria and the power of 'faith', in all of its various permutations, to persist; to persevere.As much as I would like to describe, in-depth, the meaning(s) of the film and how brilliantly Majewski and his co-writers expose the tyranny and hypocrisy of these characters and the absurdity of their respective situations, too much of the greater political and social commentary - which provides a context for the film throughout - is beyond my reach.In particular, the actual historical foundation of the film, which relates to certain specific periods of Polish heritage, from the format…

Key Films #15

A Talking Picture [Manoel de Oliveira, 2003]:
The film is titled A Talking Picture, and as a description, or as a prelude to the thing we're about to see, it doesn't mislead.The dialogues throughout are lengthy and invigorating, relevant to the film's main journey into the past as a reflection of the present - into this idea of communication - but also naturalistic; drawing the audience into the story of these two characters and the people they meet along the way, while also managing to make a broader, more allegorical point on the development of our shared histories in the context of the no less violent struggles - both moral and political - of our own contemporary existence.Seen through the eyes of a mother and her daughter (who literally cross thousands of years of civilisation on a journey to reunite with their respective husband and father) the film becomes a kind of a loose travelogue, where each port of call, from Lisbon to Goa, presents an opportunity to explore the…

Key Films #14

Excalibur [John Boorman, 1981]:
The forest - an exterior lit like an interior - becomes a character in its own right. By day, the trees and foliage shimmer in shades of emerald. At dusk, an ochre-hued fog enshrouds the trees like slumbering giants, becoming the gatekeepers to another world. At dawn, the violent flare of an artificial sun casts its crimson glow off the glistening armour of a pale and wounded knight. The forest, like most of the locations used throughout the film, is a place of magic and miracle; an iridescent kingdom of shadows and light.While the storytelling is somewhat straightforward in its reiteration of this fabled tale, Boorman's film is nonetheless successful in its grandeur and its decadence. In its imagery - which is vivid and unforgettable in the pure spectacle of colour and movement - but also in its scale. The Arthurian legend has been told countless times, both in film and other media, but no other filmmaker has successfully captured the magic and the …