Archive for December, 2010

Big Bang Big Boom (2010)

“Big Bang Big Boom” (2010)

Vimeo

cinematic parkour

The birth of any new medium, a new channel to convey the same sensations in a new exciting way is always something to be cheered. That’s such a rare thing that when you get to watch it, you can’t avoid enjoying it with all the pleasures of an initiation. For the last decades, we’ve had a pot of maturing merging urban cultures throughout the leading cities of the world: New York, London, Berlin, Paris… here in Paris we assisted the birth of a new kind of dance, a whole new set of movements created to make a relation between body and environment, the human and the human generated yet uncontrolled urban environment. This really was a spontaneous and remarkable cultural achievement, being culture whatever people do to conquer their environment. It’s bold, it’s radical, and i appreciate parkour, as it’s been called.

Regarding parkour, some people gets excited at the physical qualities required to perform it, others to the smoothness of the dancing movements. I notice those two, but to me what is really great is how the set of movements of the practitioners allows them to bend any environment: urban concrete stairs, high walls, roof tops. It is the environment that suggests the movements we get.

That’s what we get in this film. One might be amazed at the achievement itself. Imagine the incredible logistics that allowed these guys to paint and photograph every one of the many necessary images to produce the stop motion effect. Image the individual quality of the drawings. Consider even the inner quality and imagination of some of the narratives developed within. I do that, and i think that this is a great experience. But than i measure that against the clever bending of several numerous spaces, mainly urban. Walls that get painted, dots moving along tubes, crabs that start as a drawing on the floor until they reach the sand, and become a drawing on the beach. And a master scene depicting a version of the evolution of man, surrounding a rusty cylinder.

Consider the possibilities, consider this film. This is a great experience.

My opinion: 4/5

Piercing 1 (2009)

“Piercing 1” (2009)

Cinanima 2010

Flagey

To question

It is known or predictable that in a not so distant future we’ll all have to look upon China just like how we looked until very few years ago to the United States: their sneezes define the health of the world. So, it is important to find out what kind of narratives China is willing to offer to the world. Obviously we have an official version, just like with any government of any country in the world. The current american narrative, which is defenseless by now states that, although the americans do many inhuman things, even illegal according to their own laws and condemnable according to their own principles, they Have to do them in the name of a certain concept of free world that englobes the other countries who might have power to contest these options. Economical alliances and other types of interests keep the narrative going, even when rushing over limits that the majority of the thinking elements of western societies are not willing to tolerate. The case of the founder of wikileaks is the last chapter in this black narrative, in which suddenly a case of sexual harassment seems to be enough to take away the focus of the discussion on where it should be, the information leaking and what comes with it. China offers us a less subtle, more brutal and probably less intelligent version of the same attitude. Censorship does exist, manipulation aswell, but it’s more assumed, more authoritarian. I predict the chinese attitude will come closer in years to come to the posture that worked for decades in the US. Pressure will increase, giving in will be necessary. But in order to do that, the opressed will have to protest, raise questions, die, eventually. The “other side”, the west, contributes to that pressure, in its own way. That’s why the Nobel peace prize this year is who you know. I wonder if Assange would get that award if the Nobel was chinese…

One of the best ways to see what kind of narratives drive a certain colective is looking for the cinema produced there. Cinema is still the biggest builder of stories, where all real dramas transpire to fiction. This film is an interesting product. I don’t know exactly the context of this story in China. Was it made from the exterior or was it tolerated by the chinese system? But this is an interesting film about how a context bends who lives in it. Lives amputated by castrating totalitarianism. Survival. This is a product away from huge masses by its own dna: author animation is not something that so many people watch. But i suspect we’ll have an increasing amount of chinese films made on these themes.

And there’s cinema here, there’s an interesting even if not transcendent control over rythm and editing. Worth watching.

My opinion: 4/5

 

Pivot (2009)

“Pivot” (2009)

Official Site

follow behind

This is an interesting film. There are films that matter because they affect us, because they work on important themes. And there are others that grab you, that cause you enthusiasm, and make you follow a line decided by the makers/manipulators. This film falls on this second category. Each element of the story is a pretext to make us visit every visual proposition that the makers prepared for us. And each one of those elements is totally visual, meaning that the proposals we are to follow exist fully in the visual world of the film. That world leaves aswell on the lighting and on making us loose with awareness on the urban labyrinth and abstract that is proposed to us. Virtual light counts here, mostly in how the corners of the buildings draw trapeziums on the floor. The ciclic narrative, that ends where it’d started is a natural and efficient device to garantee a coherent closing to a story with no reason to exist other than to support itself, aswell as to garantee the spacial unit and coherence of a reality without that many reference points.

It’s so intencional this idea to guide us by the vision that the object which starts every chase is a photographic camera. This means that the directors add to the story a commentary on the fabric of that story. This film is self-referential as much as it is visual.

My opinion: 3/5

 

Teclópolis (2009)

“Teclópolis” (2009)

IMDb

image versus film

For me, it’s uneven to watch short animated films. What i care for is narrative, supported by images, or the other way around, images that support a narrative, that can (and in fact is most of the times) an excuse to build an engagement towards images. This last situation is what Hitchcock called “pure cinema”. It engages.

With real action short films, usually the background of its makers is rooted on cinema, so we have all sorts of experimentation on the form, not merely on the images as metaphors, or as visual sweets. But animated short films is a field where many backgrounds converge.

This film does have a narrative, but it’s used merely as an excuse to develop the images not as “pure visual cinema” as Hitchcock defined it, instead as a plastic artist would model them. The focus is on how the combination of computer related objects and pre-digital age objects function as a visual whole. Of course there’s a story, about an old 8mm camera that struggles to survive in a world of (already obsolete) digital era objects, that take over and build a new filled world. Of course that story supports a metaphor of modern times vs old ways. But what they wanted, what took their sleep, is the shape of this world.

I’m OK with that, and i think this film has its own power, and visual interest. But invested in cinema, and i have trouble filing this very good animation under that file.

My opinion: 3/5

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