Not The Real Review 2004: Film

Film In a quietly amazing year for film with World Cinema and Independent film making even greater inroads to mainstream recognition and the overall intellect to enjoy many of the releases increasing. I found picking this five a horrible experience. I nearly went for five films you never saw, but that would be annoying because it doesn't grant the readership with any intelligence and assumes that if you're reading this wouldn't have time for something like the marvellous Zatoichi. Which is very wrong indeed. But there have been films I've loved which I probably won't see again for at least a few years -- long enough for me to forget all about them. So what I've decided to do instead is off some that have become quite dear to me for various reasons and that I'll want to see over and over again. Which is why I've called the first Not The Real Review 2004 ...

Five films I'll be watching at least five times in 2005

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

An example of true magic of ESOTSM is that although there are undoubtedly a couple of computer effects, the vast majority of the fantastical moments in the film were done practically. The scenes in which Winslet appears three times in different parts of the apartment as Carey searches for her all happened right there on set, and in one shot by the way. It reduces the kind of artificiality which ruins some films and creates such the feeling of miraculousness which dates back to Murnau's Sunrise by way of Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death. Like those films you feel as though you're going on a journey of the soul and somewhere amongst the snowy beach and the back to front bookshop, you realise that it's yours.

The Bourne Supremacy

It would have been an extra-ordinarily easy matter to dash out a film which was in essence a rerun of the first. And we might have liked that. But instead here was something which genuinely tried to do something differently, and though respecting the original went to other places entirely (unlike Spiderman 2 by the way which just felt, in the end, like more of the same). This was action thriller in a French New Wave style, relentlessly hammering about with impressionistic editing and plotting. But the most impressive moment for me was the ending which spoke volumes about how horrible things are done by mostly good people for generally good reasons.

Lost In Translation

It's a cliche to include this, but I'm trying to be honest and although I also loved The Station Agent I'm more likely to want to wind down with Bill Murray in Japan. The real tragedy for me was that writers at the time of release kept relentlessly charging with a sort of lazy racism in its depiction of the Japanese. Which is silly. What the film seems to be doing is showing how we only ever get a snapshot of any culture when we're there for a brief time and that we end up perpetuating whatever stereotypes exist ourselves as a way of coping. Entering a new culture for the first time is alien and wierd. Nothing happens the same way and communicating is usually impossible. Which is a bit like meeting anyone for the first time really.

Shaun of the Dead

The other night I watched Shaun of the Dead with my father. I've seen the film enough times now to be in the mild smirk recognition phase but as minutes five, ten and fifteen drifted by I began to notice my dad wasn't laughing. All the moments I thought he would love sailed by and before long I was worried that we'd have a repeat of the Withnail and I incident which led to the video being shut off after a parent asked if 'they'd be rambling on like that all film...' Then the first laugh came -- as Mary pulled herself up from the metal spike leaving a hole in the middle of her torso. We had him and he really got the film right up to the end, even doing that thing were he tried to guess what would happen next. Which is what's fab about the film -- wierdly, there is something for everybody.

Before Sunset

Perhaps the least expected film of the year and possibly one of the bravest. I actually had to travel to a whole other city to watch it on the day of release (an hour there and back) and it was one of the best trips of the year. I haven't heard many people talk about the tension inherent in the piece as we are reminded throughout that Jesse's flight out is leaving and don't have much time left together -- and we don't have much time left with then. We should be annoyed that all the hopes and ideas built up by the ending of the first film are demolished, but we forgive because they're so carefully reconstructed at the end of this one. All of those whistful missed opportunities in life come to the fore, but the movie demonstrates that actually they have a habit of representing themselves in other ways.

No comments:

Post a comment