Tuesday, 6 July 2010

other films

mother and child
Oh to have watched this film with someone. It is derivative and over-cooked, over-acted and over-loaded with hot-button (abortion, race, disability, age, as well as adoption) issues. But for all my exhaustion at these, the performances are frequently gripping and provocatively the three central, difficult women all find their resolution in child-bearing or adopting. 1 Tim 2:15. Discuss. The presentation of the church and of Christians in this film. Discuss. A theology of adoption and sonship. Discuss. A broody film.

weeping camel

What just happened? It goes without saying that this subtly executed observation of life for Mongolians is beautiful in all of its long, fixed camera studies, relishing to sit quietly in the ambience of ambient sounds of this desert life. It was interesting to watch a documentary apparently satisfied with the irony of selling by cultural consumption – film – the story of the demise of cultural participation, – yurt singing, as their kids buy TVs. But what happened? As if Jesus healed me and the credits rolled before I could 'be sure to tell no one'. It is a frustrating magic at work in this film, utterly captivating, the power of music, if that is what it was? Aesthetically sparse to the point of powerful beauty but narratively sparse to the point of dishonesty, gaps which leave us to wonder if we are receiving an idealised, sanitised reduction of Mongolian life.

le ciel et la boue
Remember a time of two-way radios and real men? A film's power to move me and the degree to which it risks death in production is a correlation worth constructing one's own life around. I came away feeling that I had crossed New Guinea with them, as if I had been the first explorers into these regions. Understated, heroic and unbelievable film-making.

indonesia calling
A relatedly indo-dutch 23 minutes well spent, watching charming fellows in flat caps protest something or other in Australia.

the mission
Was this an allegory for something? The somewhat romantic but visually stunning portrayal of the architecture of the forest camps is moving, even devastating. This architecture and its suggestion of possibility was the film's greatest provocation: is the picture of social and economic fruitfulness an end worth proselytising for? The compelling and much revisited clip of Mendoza's repentance surprisingly gains little for being seen in the context of its full film. And from that high point the film unravels, ploughing without conviction toward a needlessly blunt and chaotic finish.

i not stupid
5 months into my stay here, I have now managed to watch this, Singapore on Singapore, a cultural 101 for the Ang Mo. Its pantomime humour and self-deprecating introspection are charmingly of Singapore, an energetic film, simple and entertaining story telling, with well articulated caricatures. It considers child suicide with an alarming lightness, beyond mere black comedy, I thought.

i not stupid too
A little drunk on the considerable success of I Not Stupid, the sequel, while still offering great slapstick and some pithy social satire, has an obese feel, scraping around for issues not covered in the first we get pornography, public caning and divorce, all tied together happily with product placement and a moralistic public service montage at the end. These, the conspicuous positioning of New Moon products and the sermon straight out of the Singapore government's kindness campaign, give you perhaps the clearest portrait of Singapore and the arts community here. Watching this with a Cambodian housemate, I can't really say whether Singaporeans find the tone of the film patronising, the endless agonising over corporal punishment throughout is exhausting and eventually self-piteous.

toy story 3
Melancholy for we the generation who have grown up in lives parallel to Andy since 1995 and now leave behind our toys.


Liz said...

This might actually persuade me to watch some actual films - I've been shocking at motivating myself lately.

The Mission is both outstanding and thought provoking, plus one of the best scores ever. (Best use of an oboe I reckon.)

Your review of Toy Story 3 has moved me, though I have a feeling I was too old for toys by the time the original came out!

Philip Jackson said...

Hi Liz, last night I saw a surprisingly brilliant film at Singapore's Alliance Francaise that put me in mind of my two favourite musical connoisseurs
French comedy with laugh out loudably hilarious musical sequences.