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Showing posts with label #CamFF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #CamFF. Show all posts

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The #UCFF Tweets about Cargo (2017)

The #UCFF Tweets about Cargo (2017)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


25 October


The #UCFF Tweets about Cargo (2017)




April McIntyre’s (@AprilMcIntyre’s) review for TAKE ONE is here








Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Some #UCFF Tweets and a link about The man who killed Don Quixote (2018)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


25 October


Some #UCFF Tweets and a link about The man who killed Don Quixote (2018)






More, by way of a comment, on Rosie Applin’s review for TAKE ONE (@TakeOneCinema)…





Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 9 November 2018

Five #UCFF Tweets that start with More Human than Human (2018)

Five #UCFF Tweets that start with More Human than Human (2018)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


30 October

Five #UCFF Tweets that start with More Human than Human (2018)









Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Two #UCFF Tweets about Rafiki (2018)

Two #UCFF Tweets about Rafiki (2018)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


30 October

Two #UCFF Tweets about Rafiki (2018)









Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Three #UCFF Tweets about Colette (2018)

Three #UCFF Tweets about Colette (2018)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


1 November

Three #UCFF Tweets about Colette (2018)








Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Four #UCFF Tweets about The Silence of Others (2018)

Four #UCFF Tweets about The Silence of Others (2018)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


31 October

Four #UCFF Tweets about The Silence of Others (2018)









Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Cambridge Film Festival 2018 : Seen by #UCFF at #CamFF

Cambridge Film Festival 2018 : Seen by #UCFF at #CamFF

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


2 November

Cambridge Film Festival 2018 : Seen by #UCFF at #CamFF


Day 1 ~ Thursday 25 October

(1) 4.45 - Cargo (2017) : Emmanuel (91 mins) - Catch one film before...

(2) 8.30 - Opening Film : The Man who killed Don Quixote : Screen 1 (132 mins + Q&A)


Day 2 ~ Friday 26 October
(Voi1 2*) 1.30 Fortuna (2018??) Arriving too late for the start, instead...

(3) 1.45 - For the Birds (2018) : Screen 2 (90 mins)

(4) 4.00 - Searching for Ingmar Bergman (Vermächtnis eines Jahrhundertgenies (2018) : Screen 1 (95 mins)

(5) 6.00 - Letter from Masanjia (2018) : Screen 2 (75 mins)

(6) 8.00 - Jean-François i el sentit de la vida (Jean-François and The Meaning of Life) (2018) : Screen 2 (90 mins + Q&A)

(7) 10.15 - The Seventh Seal (1957) : Screen 2 (96 mins)


Day 3 ~ Saturday 27 October

(Extracurricular 1) Punting with Leon ‘Letter from Masanjia’ Lee [who took to it like the duck of the simile, and quickly took the pole]

(8) 2.00 - Miss Dalí (2018) : Screen 1 (165 mins + Q&A)

(Void 2*) 5.15 - Marquis de Wavrin : From the Manor to the Jungle (Marquis de Wavrin : Du manoir à la jungle) (2017) : Screen 3 (85 mins)

(9 ?) 8.30 - The Blot (1921) : Emmanuel (93 mins)


Day 4 ~ Sunday 28 October

(Extracurricular 2) Punting with Ventura ‘Miss Dalí’ Pons [who took to the Cam straightaway - taking it in, visually and photographically]

(10) 2.0 - If…. (1968) : Screen 1 (111 mins + Q&A)

(11) 5.45 - Júlia ist (2017) : Screen 2 (96 mins)

(12) 9.15 - Nancy (2014) : Screen 3 (86 mins)


Day 5 ~ Monday 29 October

(12½) 12.45 - 3 Days in Quiberon (2013) : Screen 1 (115 mins)

Then, as it falters, instead...

(13½) 2.30 - Roobha (2018) : Screen 3 (91 mins + Q&A)

(14½) 7.15 - The Free Life (La vida lliure / A Life of Freedom) (2017) : Screen 2 (90 mins)

(15½) 8.45 - Gentlemen prefer Blondes (1953) : Screen 3 (91 mins)


Day 6 ~ Tuesday 30 October

(16) 12.00 - Visionary Landscapes : Snow (1963) + A Year along The Abandoned Road (1991) : Screen 1 (8 + 12 mins)

(16½) 1.00 - Burning (2014) : Screen 2 (148 mins)

Insufficiently interested, despite (extra) wine, to stay the course for so long,
so abandoned in favour of lunch, then…

(17½) 4.00 - The Archive (2018) + Feline (2018) : Screen 2 (12 + 78 mins + Q&A)

(18½) 6.20 - Rafiki (2018) : Screen 2 (82 mins)

(19½) 10.00 - More Human than Human (2018) : Screen 3 (79 mins)


Day 7 ~ Wednesday 31 October

(20½) 12.45 - The Silence of Others (2018) : Screen 1 (96 mins)

(21) 3.00 - Birds of Passage (2018) : Screen 1 (125 mins)

Too fatigued to continue with this one, so a break before re-watching…

(22) 6.00 - Roobha (2018) : Screen 2 (91 mins)

Missing the Q&A to catch the last hour of...

(22½) 7.30 - From Cairo to The Cloud : The World of Cairo Geniza (2018) : Screen 3 (92 mins)

(Void 3*) 9.45 - Gwendolyn (2017) : Screen 3 (85 mins)


Day 8 ~ Thursday 1 November

(23½) 10.30 - Malcolm is a Little Unwell : Screen 3 (introduction + 80 mins)

(24) 12.45 - From Cairo to The Cloud : The World of Cairo Geniza : Screen 1 (92 mins + Q&A)

Seeing the first thirty minutes, and then coming back for the Q&A...

(25) 3.00 - The Image Book : Screen 1 (84 mins)

(26) 5.00 - Colette : Screen 1 (111 mins)

(27) 8.00 - Closing Film : Monsters and Men (2018) : Screen 1 (96 mins)

(28) 10.00 - Surprise Film : Roma (2018) : Screen 1 (135 mins)


End-notes :

* I.e., by 'Void', there was no realistic prospect of watching the film, or of continuing to watch it to the end, with the resources of energy available...




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 27 October 2017

What happens on the inside of transgressions...

This is a Festival response to Etage X (#CamFF Tiger Shorts programme)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


This is a Festival response (work in progress) to Francy Fabritz's Etage X in the Tiger Shorts programme of Cambridge Film Festival 2017, as screened from 10.30 a.m. on Thursday 26 October 2017 (Day 8 of 8)


As was suggested in writing a preview for La propera pell (The Next Skin) (2016), the best of cinema appears to us through our senses, but – with contemplation and time – extends and opens outwards in our head : the preview has yet to be completed (and, throughout #CameraCatalonia, has remained ‘a work in progress’), but this is certainly true also of Incerta glòria (2017), which is not just or only ‘about’ its apparent subject…

The apparent subject here, without (until below – in an overtly ‘spoilery’ section) saying too much about it, is about an apparent encounter between two women, who apparently did not know each other before, in a space that ends up both confining and liberating them. The film, however, is not really about this at all, but about that notion of the liberation of being confined (or, put another way, finding confinement liberating) – what that means and what stems from it in the generality, and in no way rooted to or in this encounter.

One can state this view with assurance, almost dogmatically, because - from the film-making perspective, and, within short-form horizons, given a careful and detailed treatment here - no one invests that energy in what some could see, enjoy and think of just as a shocking quip : if a viewer reduces Etage X to such a quip, which is, at best, to be narrated to someone as a piece of boundary-pushing humour that he or she saw at Cambridge Film Festival, then that understanding almost wholly misses the ambition(s) of the creative crew and cast.


So, the fictive space of a lift – we watch too little film, and not because the space is not well created, if we do not credit it for what it is – has ever been inviting as well to covert lovers as to those who wish, as Emily Kuhnke does in the ambiguous setting and time of Der Aufzug (2012), to juxtapose the tics and personal façades by which, whether that is what we will, we mark ourselves out in the world. Kuhnke’s film, though, has far more of what Beckettt, in Malone Dies, calls the ‘come and go’ of life (he was later to call what he styled ‘a dramaticule’ by this name), whereas Fabritz locates changing positions of power within a cast of barely three : the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, by virtue both of the vertices of what may, without thought, seem a slender conceit, and how Morgana Muses and Eva Medusa Gühne (superb names) have been guided and led to play out the internal logic of its interior.


[...]

Click here [when the link is activated] only if you seek a spoilery, post-Freudian, LGBTQ+ consideration of the sub-textual in Etage X




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

What more is Catalan cinema ?¹

What more is Catalan cinema ?¹ :


More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


4 September (revised 4 October)

What more is Catalan cinema ?¹ :



It's the inevitable filmic follow-up to What is Catalan cinema ?... !


Three years ago, leading up to the third season of Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival [then in its 34th season], the question was posed What is Catalan cinema ? - in answering which, some of the defining features seemed to be :



Yet, as well as all these things (which, along with the Catalan films from 2012 to that date, are considered in more detail in What is Catalan cinema ?), succeeding seasons of Camera Catalonia have shown that the autonomous region in Spain called Catalunya – which, as with Scotland, some would see have a greater, independent status [highly relevant at the time of revising this piece...] – gives us cinema that :

* Remembers its history, right back to when Spain took control of Catalunya, in Claudio Zulian's (claudiozulian1's) thoughtful Born (2014) (@Bornfilm), reconstructing a few connected lives at the time of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), with Vicky Luengo a most desirable mistress to Josep Julien and the sister of Marc Martínez (Julien’s wealthy debtor, until Julien proves to back the wrong side in the war…)


* In the Catalan people, presents ones as reserved as the British, who - in two films that star the radiant Nora Navas (Tots volem el millor per a ella (We All Want What’s Best for Her) (2013) and L’adopció (Awaiting) (2015)) – manage to avoid talking to each other, but try to make happen what they assume should happen. In doing so, do they seem to lose sight of who is getting hurt, and for what real reason... ?



* Looks to literature such as Shakespeare, either in the feel - in Barcelona Summer Night (Barcelona, nit d'estiu) (2013) - of A Midsummer Night's Dream...


Or, in Hammudi al-Rahmoun Font's shocking telling of a classic tragedy, in Otel.lo (Othello) (2012) : 'OTHELLO is a cinematographic essay about power, desire, jealousy and deceit ; a thought on the boundaries between fiction and real life' (from IMDb)


Hammudi (with The Agent) at Cambridge Film Festival 2014

* Films as diverse as Ficció (Fiction) (2006), Fill de Caín (Son of Cain) (2013), and Menú degustació (Tasting Menu) (2013) are, in their quite different ways, further evidence² of flexibility in, and of creative thinking about, employing conventional elements of story-telling - and of both the expectations to which their nature gives rise and what writers and / or directors do to subvert them



* Or they do not subvert them - but surprisingly please, in Traces of Sandalwood (Rastres de sàndal) (2014) [this link is to TAKE ONE’s (@ TakeOneCinema's) review], with its Bollywood-infused tale of the (in)credulity of a loved and lost young girl, who is adopted into a Catalan family, and cannot believe that an Indian film-star knew her as a child - because she is her sister !


Aina Clotet, as Paula (Sita) - meeting her sister Mina (Nandita Das), and, later, reflecting on herself, and her identity


* Those living at the extremes of experience, in both Tots els camins de Déu (All The Ways of God) (2014) and El camí més llarg per tornar a casa (The Long Way Home) (2014)


Upper : Marc Garcia Coté in Tots els camins de Déu (2014)
Lower : Borja Espinosa in El camí més llarg per tornar a casa (2014)


* Adapts stage-plays very cinematically, whether Sílvia Munt [interviewed here], making a film of Josep María Sagarra's classic work El Cafè de la Marina (2014), or Ventura Pons of a contemporary writer in El virus de la por (The Virus of Fear) (2015)


Marina Salas in El cafè de la Marina (2014)


(Upper) Rubén de Eguia and (Lower) Albert Ausellé and Diana Gómez in El virus de la por (2015)

* Finally, documentaries by Catalan directors - although now listed in the Festival's main sequence (alphabetically with the others and the feature films) - tend to explore identity and connections to Catalan history, whether telling of the band-leader Xavier Cugat's career in film and music, during which he introduced Latin orchestration and rhythms to dance-music and Hollywood films and t.v. (although, which was probably little known, Cugat had been born in Catalunya, but had been an emigrée to Cuba with his family when young), in Diego Mas Trelles' Sexo, maracas y Chihuahuas (Sex, Maracas & Chihuahuas) (2016)


Or - in another realm of translocation - telling of how much better treated and regarded Americans of Afro-Caribbean descent were during their time in Spain (fighting the fascist forces of General Franco) than in the States - especially after going there. So #CamFF 2015 guest Jordi Torrent (with his co-writer / director Alfonso Domingo) showed in Héroes invisibles : Afroamericanos en la guerra de España (Invisible Heroes) (2015) [for which #UCFF interprets the sub-title as ‘The part played by Afro-Americans in The Spanish Civil War’], to the extent even that records that proved their participation hardly (were meant to) be available / survive





Ramon Lamarca (left), with Festival guest Jesús Monllaó (before the poster for Monllaó's
Fill de Caín (2013)) - by and courtesy of David Riley


Catalan cinema - to judge by the films that Camera Catalonia programmer Ramon Lamarca (pictured above) brings to Cambridge (and also the ICA (@ICALondon)) - is high-quality work that values its audiences enough to respect them :

Join us for the sixth year of a Catalan strand at Cambridge Film Festival, Camera Catalonia, to see why he and #UCFF give it due regard


End-notes :

¹ A deliberate nod to the inelegance of following up Analyze This (1999) with Analyze That (2002) (fairly criminally unwatchable, unless being very kind - for their other, better work - to Crystal and De Niro ?)... [Cristina Roures, pictured, is the Festival's Operations and Hospitality Manager (and, of course, is Catalan).]

² Camera Catalonia in 2012 (its first appearance at #CamFF) had included V.O.S. (2009), which is also – along with Ficció (2006) - the work of director Cesc Gay.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Demain - et après demain ?

This is a quick account – by Tweet – of Tomorrow (Demain) (2015)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


26 October


This is a quick account – by Tweet – of Tomorrow (Demain) (2015)









Film references :

* Energized (2014) [reviewed with Last Call (2013) - please see below]

* Freistunde (Doing Nothing All Day) (2015) [this link is to the film’s own web-site, not to a review]

* Last Call (2013) [reviewed with Energized (2014) - please see above]

* The Human Scale (2012)




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

I’m less scared this way ~ Natàlia

This is a Festival preview of Awaiting (L’adopció) (2015)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


5 October



This is a Festival preview of Awaiting (L’adopció) (2015) (for Cambridge Film Festival 2016)

Even down to the name Natàlia (originally meaning ‘Christmas Day’) and also when in the year the film is set, one could be tempted to make much of clear elements that parallel the account of The Nativity in Matthew’s gospel¹. Although acknowledging them, since they may inform one’s understanding of Awaiting (L’adopció) when reflecting on the film afterwards, what director Daniela Fejerman primarily seems to have on her mind (with her co-writer Alejo Flah) are questions of what, emotionally and otherwise, something is truly worth, and whom one trusts – and why.

Which is not to suggest that Awaiting conveys itself as applied moral philosophy (or sociology) : no more so than when those matters figure, in dramatic terms, in the films of Ken Loach (e.g. Jimmy’s Hall (2014)), or in the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit (2014)), which are also set in a different stratum of society – please see the following paragraph. Rather, these are questions in life that we can find ourselves asking at any time, such as :

What am I willing to continue to do, even given what I have already invested of myself ?


Daniel (Francesc Garrido) and Natàlia (Nora Navas)


Unlike Loach, which is perhaps typical of Catalan cinema, we are concerned with a middle-class couple, but we see still how pressures, both from within the wider family and from the situation to which Daniel (Dani) and Natàlia have committed themselves, feed each other, and affect them both. In a film such as We All Want What’s Best For Her (Tots volem el millor per a ella (2013), which director Mar Coll brought to Cambridge Film Festival in 2014²), some of us may already have had the chance to see the remarkable psychological insight that, then as now, Nora Navas (Natàlia) brings to her roles. (There, her life has been turned inside out by the emotional and relational consequences of (what we learn was) a car accident.)

For this quality, in Awaiting, Nora Navas is well matched by the portrayal of Dani by Francesc Garrido, who runs a gamut of emotions with her – in his case, from joy, desire, and impishness to angry frustration, resignation, and despair. We have a strong sense of a pair whose understanding of each other, and patience with and belief in Lila (whose local agency has arranged their visit), is put to severe strain by what happens after they have travelled to Lithuania in the expectation of being able to adopt a child (a son ?).



It has to be said, for those who need everything explained to them, that - in common with lacking a complete explanation of the world of Geni (Nora Navas) in We All Want What’s Best For Her - they will look in vain for anything other than what can be inferred or hazarded about that which we see : for example, what Dani and Natàlia’s positions in life are, back in Catalonia (Catalunya in Catalan), or why there is a difficult relationship between Natalia and her father (Jordi Banacolocha), which (as Geni also does) she is obliged to start addressing...


Uniquely, just after the visuals behind the credits have imparted a sense of passage into coldness and otherness, we are privileged with a knowledge of the sort of difficulties that have been left for Dani and Natàlia to face - momentarily, we are prepared for the symbolic emptiness that is conveyed to them by the slatted belt of the carousel at baggage reclamation. When it stops, all that is there – as they look into the hall behind them (and as Juan Carlos Gómez’s camera gradually pulls back to show us) – is a perfunctory Christmas tree : the principle is immediately established that perhaps they need to wait to see what is happening.

Even so, at first we see that they are trying to influence what is happening – despite the fact that the airport official and they are both uttering words that the hearer(s) do not understand – except that, just when we may be noticing the repetition, Natàlia identifies it to Dani³. There is then a sense of their stepping back, and reclaiming what they share – what they have together, as an outlook, a sense of humour, and so on.


I have a good feeling about this ~ Natàlia


So, after meeting Lila (Larisa Kalpokaitė), being driven to their flat, and, when they are alone, the playfulness of their interaction early on, they take drags on a cigarette that they smoke in common - there is a continuing lightness in the interplay (before going on to have more fun with what Lila said, telling them that they need to dress to impress) :

Dani : The coffee is disgusting.

Natàlia (echoing his tone) : Disgusting.


The adeptness of the cinematography is an essential ingredient in what makes this a film to cherish, but the camerawork is enmeshed in the other qualities of the film-making : so, Gómez edges in, or comes around, carefully and in order not to intrude on our attention except for effect – just as when editor Teresa Font, at a few significant moments, uses montages, with fast-cutting between shots, to reflect the changing contours of emotions as different as buoyant pleasure and trying to meet a need for consolation.


We’ll leave it up to God ~ Dani





Xavier Capellas


Such contrasting aspects are implicit in Xavier Capellas’ score for the film (Capellas both directed the ensemble and played piano for the soundtrack, which is nominated for Best Original Music at the VIII Gaudí Awards, and the film for three other 'Gaudís'), and the way in which his original work of composition is used apart from, and yet in harmony with, the simplicity of solo piano - numbers from Béla Bartók’s Gyermekeknek (For Children⁵), feelingly played by Dani Espasa :

On the drive out of town, to the orphanage, there is the return of what is most easily characterized as the sadness-tinged theme of the title-music, except that – above sounds of what resembles cembalon or zither, but may well actually be that of a domra⁶ [the link is to YouTube (@YouTube)] – we hear how it is opening out into euphoria, led by violin (María Roca), but then through the accordion-playing of Josep Vila Campabadal.


In all of these deep changes and sometimes difficult plunges in the feelings, we are with – but fearful for (as we are for Nora Navas, as Geni, in Tots volem el millor per a ella [We All Want What's Best For Her]) – Natàlia and Dani, and whether what they want will heal them ; or harm them. What takes place with Bill Murray, or Scarlett Johansson, in Lost in Translation, is still a long way from being wholly dissimilar, as to cultures 'clashing', but the drama is somehow more akin to that within hearing what befalls the The Holy Family in Egypt (or Bethlehem)...



There are two scheduled screenings of L’adopció (2015) [the link is to the #CamFF web-page for the film] during Camera Catalonia (the links below are to the booking-pages for each screening) :

* Sunday 23 October at 8.45 p.m.

* Tuesday 25 October at 12.00 noon


* * * * *


The other four films in this Festival's Camera Catalonia are also warmly commended (the link is to the strand's own #CamFF page) - other previews to come very soon... but meanwhile there is :




End-notes :

¹ The Gospel According to Matthew 1:18-2:12 (link to the text at Bible Gateway (New International Version)) – also the basis of a masterpiece of film-making by Pasolini, Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew) (1964)).

² Mar Coll was the guest of Ramon Lamarca, who has now curated Camera Catalonia for five years running at Cambridge Film Festival (alongside his interests in 3-D and / or Retro cinema), for two Q&A sessions after screenings of her film at the Festival.


Ramon Lamarca and Mar Coll at Festival Central - image courtesy of Tom Catchesides


³ The first of several repetitions (and questions of who can follow the words of whom), which are a small hint at Lost in Translation (2003), but, except on the surface, this film goes on to speak of quite different experiences, and in its deepest moments.

⁴ This year, Camera Catalonia contains Sex, Maracas & Chihuahuas (Sexo, maracas y chihuahuas [a link to the film's IMDb page]) (2016), a documentary about 'the incredible life of the musician Xavier Cugat'. From Cugat’s era, by contrast with now, we may have heard accounts of how Gilda (1946) was put together ‘along the way’, or seen how the zaniness of Howard Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby (1938) also provides evidence of his (in studio terms) ‘unconventional’ methods of developing the film on set.


For his talk during Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend Festival 2016 (@carycomeshome), Mark Glancy looked into some of the film's documentary and other sources from the production, gleaned from researches at RKO.

⁵ From Vol. 1 (Sz. 42, BB 53), seven or eight pieces from a set of eighty-five, written for those studying the pianoforte. (Unlike Mikrokosmos, Sz. 107, BB 105, which is probably more famous, these are not graded exercises, and the pieces are not technically very difficult.) Plus we significantly hear the Allegro molto e mesto [played on YouTube (@YouTube) by The Matangi Quartet] from Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1 (the set of three that are together often called ‘the Razumovsky quartets’).

⁶ As is hardly unusual with IMDb (@IMDb), the instrumentalists, or their instruments, are imperfectly credited in listing the ‘Music Department’, because Eduard Iniesta does not, according to L’adopció’s (Awaiting’s) closing credits, just play guitar (guitarra), but bouzouki and domra as well, which are listed first… (One could describe the domra [the link is to YouTube] as related to the lute, but from Russia, and with three or four metal strings.)





Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

HAMM : When you inspected my paupers. Always on foot ? / CLOV : Sometimes on horse.*

This is an account of Horse Money (2014) plus Q&A with director Pedro Costa

More views of or before Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

23 September

* May contain spoilers *

This is an account of a special screening of Horse Money (Cavalo Dinheiro) (2014) plus Q&A with director Pedro Costa at The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, on Tuesday 22 September 2015




Some people in the Q&A reported that they expected to have to re-watch the film to follow what was happening : they therefore seemed to assume that seeing Horse Money (2014) again would satisfy that ‘need’, not that it is overtly denying such attempts to do so, with its re-enactment of experiences that, because they are deemed not to be ‘normal’ (or even to be dangerous), are usually labelled as psychosis and lead to a diagnosis such as schizophrenia :

When members of Ventura’s family are en masse at the foot of his bed, and one even sits on it, it is likely that they are there for him, but not that they are otherwise present. And, when he is almost naked in subterranean depths of great and striking beauty, it is unlikely that he is literally there, but forever being brought back.


A Beautiful Mind (2001) had us credit John Nash’s world, even if it is perhaps shown to us a little fancifully, and ‒ because it is to make a Hollywood necessity of contrasting it with ‘the truth’ ‒ in such a way that we understand it to have been delusional. Horse Money does not make those concessions to our understanding, but it is implicit in what it does that to ask to follow what happened, on a second viewing, is to expect that Vitalina, in what she says to Ventura (or vice versa), is communicating solely on the ostensible level of her actual words, not that the meaning lies in the interplay, or that the exact interplay ‒ any more than the dialogue in a play by Pinter ‒ may never have happened.

Which is where a connection lies with the work of Jeff Wall, to whom, without disagreement (and with seeming acceptance), Pedro Costa was referred in the Q&A.




For those who had been at Cambridge Film Festival (@camfilmfest), and with Ventura’s experience, Horse Money could have made unpleasant and uncomfortable viewing, as a reminder of sadder days of constraint and forced compliance, and of the perfunctoriness ‒ here reduced to a dull formula ‒ of some psychiatric interviews.




Still, the film cannot well be taken literally (even if Pedro Costa wants to call his film a documentary ‒ so he replied to Loreta Gandolfi (@GandolfiLoreta), who was hosting the Q&A, and who had first, to her surprise, seen Horse Money at a documentary film festival), and that aspect, together with what is characterized in the following question (which was put to Costa), has the likely effect of achieving the worst of both worlds :

Is there a danger in having composed so many shots so beautifully that an already oblique set of experiences becomes over-stylized ?


In other words, for those who do not know this world, Horse Money may be impenetrable (and may just make them believe that they ‘missed something’, and will gain more on a second viewing), whereas, for those who do, it might seem at too much of a poetic remove to do more than remind them, in an artistic form, of their past, but without telling them anything that they did not know from their own hospitalization. This is what is suggested by asking whether it may achieve the worst of both worlds.




As to starting to watch the film at Cambridge, and then finding the emotion too painful (even after obtaining ‘a stiff drink’) to watch beyond around thirty-five minutes, obviously one was able to prepare oneself better for Horse Money, and then take it for what it was ‒ moving from [assertions of] the destruction of family life and livelihood** to wider perspectives of post-industrial decline, the earlier part of which theme was referenced in these #CamFF Tweets :




Pedro Costa clearly finds working with Ventura compelling (even seductive, for, in this connection, one is reminded of Calvet (2011)), and he told the audience how he talks to Ventura about his life and thoughts, but uses those conversations to ground his poetic approach to the text and, ultimately, to making the script with a film-crew of just three (of which he is one).

One has to agree that the ‘look’ of his film is, likewise, a clear reaction against so much film-making that is not cinematic ‒ and, of course, Costa is right in this (and in striving for a visual quality in his work), and that such films give scant regard to the history and early achievements of film. Whether, though, we find Ventura (despite all his perspective on life) a persuasive voice remains to be seen :

Some might find that distilling / channelling Ventura through Costa and back into Ventura may have made what we see and hear too rarefied ?***


End-notes

* Endgame, Samuel Beckettt, p. 15 : Faber & Faber, London, 1964.

** In recognition of the content of the Tweets that follow, Costa was presented with a copy of the Calder edition of Beckettt’s trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable).






*** Even if (because ?) Costa says that he prefers Spinoza to Wittgenstein (he also said that he had slept in the latter's bed at Trinity)... ?




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)