Monday, 30 May 2011

other films

district 9
Surprising and exceptional, an examination of attitudes towards the alienated alien in our midst. South Africa has an attuned sense of the power of this, the potential and the potential damage. Taking for granted apartheid parallels, we observe in this more than the popular what-if-god-was-one-of-us meme of incarnation, empathy and vulnerability: here God is found in the economic Other, racial Other, sexual Other. We discovered the South African accent presents a brilliantly staccato tone for swearing at prawns. And the CG on show here heralds a new age of low budget high performance films, surprising and exceptional.

Hosea in pursuit of the girl of great price, this films taps an eternal longing, in amongst a frank and distressing portrayal of the shattered genders of a modern he and she.

black cat, white cat
A sort of Gogol Bordello the movie, a Serbian Trainspotting roadtrip, an off-kilter fairy-tale I haven't a bracket for. I felt a little on the outside looking in on a genre parody, on a film confident of its own necessity and confident of the validity of chaos and of the relevance of its title's cats. Held happily by its music and the pleasingly washed out palette of its dilapidated charm.

What is the meaning of colour in this film? I would parallel the pleasure here with that which I take in Kieslowski for want of a reference that does not so betray my shallow and narrow familiarity with the classics. Here presented are that use of colour, colour on faces, driving cars, and older men with younger women, things which made Red Red.

the tourist
What is Florian Henckel Lives-of-Others von Donnersmarck doing making a film like this, what are Jolie and Depp doing starring here and what were we doing watching this film: a film which contains, with no particular excellence or order, all of the requisite parts for a comedy or a spy film or a romantic number. How much we long to be so hapless a nobody caught up in so high powered conflict in so beautiful a place struggling but invincibly towards so tidy a conclusion – these are the very basic elements of the Christian faith. No?

Sunday, 29 May 2011

attack the block (j scifi)

The spatiality of fear explored in a meeting of that aspirational architecture derived from images of the 60s 70s space program and more contemporary ambivalence towards the violent otherness of the universe. A little bit of District 9's apartheid allegory, a little bit of Clockwork Orange's disaffected youth and language, a little bit of Shaun of the Dead's happy British horror. And the centrality of social architecture in this film is compelling, the beauty of the human tapestry of homes in highrise and the wealth of dialect and the striking performance of young actors. I would see it again.

I should enjoy to know the ambitions Cornish has for the dimension of the film which functions explicitly as a Biblical allegory. Here a leader is raised up against a situation of social injustice, a context featuring the oppression of a people group by an imperial other. This leader kills a representative of that force, complicating his relationship with his own tribe and obliging him to flee. Less directly allegoricable, we then see this leader draw out those forces, as chariots into a parted Red Sea, and there eliminate them, and later he is prevented from entering the finale's promised land on account of unbelieving force he had used earlier in the story. This leader's name is Moses and I cannot but think that this is more than an incidental cultural reference to the eccentric naming practices of South London's pentecostals.

Even if it brings no particular added depth to our understanding, this parallel is interesting as an exploration of the Exodus narrative by which, it seems, many make sense of their experience of South London and race/class relations there. There is a throw-away line, where one character expresses the conspiracy theory that, just as 'the Feds' introduced drugs to the estates and introduced guns to the estates, they have now introduced these animals, the faster to prematurely end the lives of troublesome troubled youths.

The personification of the spiritual dimension of these forces, of drugs and violence, in the characters of these monsters, is a metaphorical device worth being challenged by. In our efforts to bring peace, hope, love and justice, in South London, there is another team on the pitch, for those with eyes to see.

Thursday, 12 May 2011