Nov. 4th, 2009

6

Nov. 4th, 2009 11:58 pm
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An Exercise in Discipline: Peel:  I didn't really like this film as I felt it had very little to offer. I would consider this film a "snippet" of life, where a filmmaker either takes a small, seemingly insignificant event out of everyday life and makes it meaningful or tells a story without using traditional beginnings and endings, which is not to say there isn't a beginning and ending, but if we were to look at the movie in a greater context, then the beginning and ending of the story would be harder to spot as they are less defined. For example, a traditional beginning and end can be found in The Sixth Sense which opens with a shooting and ends with the realization that the main character is dead - very significant life events. In other movies, like A Serious Man, the movie starts out of nowhere, just by introducing the family, and no clearly definable plot ever develops all the way to the ending that cuts off in medias res (I hear The Sopranos ended that way too and it broke loyal fans' hearts). Sometimes that really works for me, but the key is that there is still a clear idea of what will happen after the screen goes blank. I don't like endings that just END, although I think I can accept that the point of the film was that for this family, nothing will change, nothing will continue, they will stay stuck in the stagnating depression of life, in a loop, not a line. That brings up the question really of 'what is resolution?' For me, resolution is closure and should be different from the beginning, not the same. I don't think the majority of people enjoy watching films that do not change from beginning to ending in some way. Even films that start and end at the same point usually do some from different perspectives.

In Peel, the short is clearly just touching the tip of the iceburg of backstory. The father was looking to buy a plot of land but had no wife with him, only his sister - was he buying a place to bury his wife, which would explain his erratic behavior towards the other characters. Other people in class made good suggestions as well, all of which I could totally buy. The characters' behaviors were clearly ones that had happened before, and I love the little mystery of it all.

The family chart seemed very superfluous to me. I don't think it changed the story much if the woman had been the mother and not the aunt. Either way, it's kind of obvious why the kid is dysfunctional. Also, it would be very easy to identify the man and woman as father and aunt without a family tree or resorting to blatantly obvious dialogue such as the child crying "Auntie, auntie!" For example, they could have had the sister yell something like, "I'm glad I never had any kids so I don't have to deal with a brat like yours," which indicates that the man is the father.

Also, Jane Campion ought to be shot for dressing her cast the way she did. Or tarred and feathered. And I really ought to stop blabbing my mouth off in class because I have no new comments to make on my blog as I used them all up already.

An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge: I respect this movie because Rod Serling thought it was good enough to be a part of The Twilight Zone. But I'm not really a fan of it. It went far too slowly. I blame that more on changing tastes in film history though. I mean, once upon a time, people were fascinated by watching a clip of a train chug along. We have far more sophisticated tastes today. If a filmmaker did a remake of this film in today's day and age, it would probably be 5 minutes or less, which totally makes me want to remake this for class.

They did a wonderful job playing around with the concept of relativity, one second for a dying man is a whole lifetime. It is pretty uncommon to see films that attempt to expand time, as most films are devoted to cutting away time in order to get along with the story.

I love the way the film uses black and white high contrast images, it's visually stunning. A lot of the shots could pass as still photography, especially the nature ones with the white spiderweb against a black background. Filming in black and white is a whole different way of thinking, as colors that stand out in nature often look the same in black and white.

As for the main character being of mixed race, maybe he's Creole (mixed French, African American and/or Native American ancestry) or something? I recall the character Rene Picard in Gone With the Wind, described as "a dark, grinning little monkey of a man," dark and swarthy, and he was of French descent from Louisiana, that could explain the appearance.

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tamar the great

December 2009

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