silent light, revisited

Went back to see Silent Light again yesterday. Incredible on multiple levels, but this trailer (not in english) will verify - even thru the muddy pixellations of youtube - one of those levels: the veracity and beauty of the images. there really aren't enough superlatives to properly express my stupefaction, amazement. Last night a couple walked out about 20 minutes in, which only confirms the movie is doing something right (provided you subscribe to the necessity of provocation in cinema, which i do, but which is funny b/c the provocation here is quiet, stillness, long shots, simple narrative). off to find carlos reygadas' other works...



this wknd had the grand glorious fortune to do my favorite thing in the world when the weather is beautiful: go to the movies. saw 2 amazing, transcendent things back-to-back. [In fact, the back-to-back aspect was the worst part b/c i was still reeling from film 1 in the middle of film 2]. Now, 3 days later i find that i am smitten and punch-drunk on each film in equal measure: Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo and Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light. [The latter is 2 yrs old but we finally got it here in portland.]I don't know what compelled me to see both in the same day. The times worked out, yes, but it was something more. Anyway, as i'm sitting here, smitten and in love, looking for everything i can find online about each film, i keep finding these small intersecting points: the 3rd film for each filmmaker, the use of non-actors, the deference to nature. some staggering mirrored bits emerging from each director (which you SHOULD NOT READ if you haven't seen the films, lest it give any thing away):

on casting non-professionals:
'When you put a known face in front of the camera, you're contributing to the grand delusion of cinema,' he says. 'If you imagine this film with Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman in the central roles, you would destroy it. You would instantly know you're watching Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman dressed as bloody Mennonites. It's not that I'm a hard man to please, it's just that I don't like this whole circus, these people being recycled. To me, cinema is a fancy dress party. I see Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal dressed as Che Guevara. Then I see Benicio del Toro dressed as Che Guevara. In five years, we'll see someone else. I almost feel they should lend each other the costume.'
carlos reygadas

If that taxi driver was Will Smith—who I think is an extremely good actor—I assume he can get through whatever situation, the guy lives in mansion and drives a Lamborghini. When I get on the subway and see the conductor I think he could be Solo.
ramin bahrani

on natural world (and closing shots)
I begin and end with stars. This is the beginning and end of the story. There is the universe — the broadest and largest thing — then we go to the story of these three characters — and then back to the universe. It is like our life; we think we are the center of the universe but then we are nothing too.

EL: Final shot: When Solo mounts the edge of the cliff I got the sense that he is verifying two curiosities – the obvious being what happened to his friend, but the other being Solo’s own mortality/fate. Is there some truth to that assessment?
RB: Look what he has to do with his own life? Look what he tells his wife when is he is holding the baby – this is not the man that started the film. And what is this stick that he has to throw? The whole metaphysics of the film come down to stick, hand, clouds and trees and wind. I think it is interesting that he throws something into the sky, then the next shot goes from the sky then to the road with the colors of life and then with this young girl Alex sitting in William’s place and asking similar questions -- Solo has to confront a lot of things on that rock and in that space. It’s also the only handheld scene of the film.



mm got a wk long residency so i've spent my time since wed watching movies and leaving dirty dishes in the sink. (oh, and trying to train the dog). there's something about being solitary that makes it easier to just toss battleship potemkin in over coffee. not that she wouldn't enjoy it. more of the same to follow. i will also at some point probably have to sweep and vacuum the homestead. i know this. currently casting for a short film i'm shooting in a couple wks. so there's that to keep me occupied too.


sentence of the day 5.11.09

"You're covered in burrito"

mm to bp on the occasion of a lunchtime rendezvouz that ended w/ bp wearing parts of his burrito owing to a deficient sealing job by the burrito proprietor


chop shop

just watched ramin bahrani's 2nd film, chop shop. sweet jesus. there aren't superlatives enough to fully express how much i love it. not to mention the way it's shot, the way it was rehearsed for months w/ a handy cam, the sound design, the acting etc. awesome.


memory, persistence of

saturday pm we went to see a mt eerie performance at the white stag building in downtown portland. in addition to being the best 5 bucks either of us had spent in a long while, the idea - an artist lives in the building for a wk, then creates something based on the experience - was intriguing to say the least and put me in a contemplative frame of mind.
Afterward we went to see The Class (which was great) and the theater happened to also be showing Jan Troell's Everlasting Moments which i had been hearing/reading about lately and I felt a sudden urgency to see it. I announced that I was coming back the next afternoon to see a matinee. mm was all too happy to have some time to herself.

the next afternoon, on a strange day of weather which would later include epic thunderstorm, the sun is out. I enter the theater and it's the bigger theater at the facility, one i haven't been in before, but it smells - along w/ the sunshine and the popcorn - exactly like the arcata theater did, way back in the day. this gets me thinking about how I used to go see movies all the time by myself then - the minor theater and arcata both - and how my interest/love/ambition filmwise can all be traced to back there, including me working at the broadway in eureka as a projectionist.

So the film begins. It's about a Swedish family in the 18th century but it's also about cameras and film and image and fleeting moments which dovetails nicely w/ the contemplative reflective place my mind has been hovering.

We're about 10 minutes in and the film stops suddently; and the film cel starts melting, seemingly, on the screen. I run out to the lobby and tell them. The projectionist runs in and stops the film and turns on the house lights. I suddenly see, with all that past swimming in the air, four rows in front of me, my first film professor from arcata, sitting, watching.