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Friday, 30 September 2011

Missing reviews / scope for further reviews

More views of - or after - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
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1 October

I had an e-mail called Film Surprises & Favourites from the Festival team, which suggested that it is still possible to submit reviews. However, the pages for each film still resolutely say 'Reviews are currently closed for this film'.

I found no review (I have not yet written one) of Charlotte Rampling in The Look, but, also from the closing day, mine of Sleeping Beauty - by which I really do not appear to have been impressed - is there. Not so for Tyrannosaur from the preceding day, or Bullhead, from several days earlier...


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Traces of tragedy (2)

More views of - or after - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
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29 September

Some suggest that the tragedy is Euripedes’
Electra, but, unlike that play, the woman killed her husband on her own, and has been punished for it. Moreover, this act is not in vengeance, nor is what happens to the former boyfriend. With so much changed, the claim that it is the same story is doubtful.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Traces of tragedy (1)

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29 September

* Contains spoilers *


I have read in both another review and in the Festival booklet that White White World makes use of ‘a famous Greek tragedy’, but I cannot see which one, if it is actually famous (or if it is Greek tragedy), has anything like this plot outline (not even if genders are switched). The existing review on IMDb gives the story.

There is nothing wrong with the improbable happening in such tragedies, but for someone not to know who the daughter of a former lover is – or even to have seen her before – when they live in such a small place is implausible (she may know who he is: in some scenes, we are invited to believe that everyone knows who he is and reveres him).

In any case, it does not stop him having sex, in a highly perfunctory way, early on with this bored, beautiful young woman, but, with his and her attitude to life, only the highly artificial state of affairs of only having met that night means that this activity could not happen until then. From the point where we learn who she is, the film lost credibility, and I could happily have not stayed for the end.

Doing so did not, I fear, gain me much (other than insights into drug-taking, callousness, and ways of provocatively using bank-notes). Amidst so many films that I had read about and chosen what to view from, I had forgotten which one this was – but, in any case, a film should speak for itself – and knew only that the characters would sing in character. They did so, but it was not an especial revelation, not the promised innovative fusion of film, opera, and a story from the ancient world.

As for the film’s claims to have a root in tragedy, that aspect passed me by, and I doubt that knowing of it would have enriched the experience. Certainly, there was more singing in tragedy than is given popular credit for, and the scene of mourning with the crowd had an effect – albeit a little ridiculous, given that it concerned the owner of a bar – of creating grandeur, of showing a collective voice. Sadly, I was little interested by then, and could but be amazed that the girl’s mother is again prepared to sacrifice her life for others who care so little for her.


Belt and braces

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28 September

A long way back to before the Festival's opening film, but here goes:

* Contains spoilers *

Billy Wilder co-wrote the film, so it seemed well deserved to think of reviving Ace in the Hole, not just as part of a theme of journalism in film, but to see why the film might have lacked popularity. As to the pairing with the short (not so short) Wakefield Express about a newspaper of that name (and its production and that of four sister papers), I am less sure, and think that I would have preferred to go, without an introduction, straight to Kirk Douglas, as Chuck Tatum, talking his way into a job in Albuquerque.

(If the short had been screened second, there would have been a risk that that some might - I would have chosen to leave after the feature (but so be it), and, although I accept that accompanying films were part of the fabric of how films were shown even in my childhood, that is not a usual way with revivals.)

Chuck has been there a year when we see him next, and I failed to notice that now he has ‘gone native’ by adopting the local habit of wearing braces on his trousers, but also a belt. Everybody knows him, everybody knows his rants about the stultifying nature of small-town news. (Garrison Keillor may have seen this film: his narrator in Love Me reminds me of it, now that I – have a chance to – reflect.)

Rattle-snakes aren’t Chuck’s thing, unlike the sheriff where he ends up, but he is dispatched to a gathering in their honour: he does not get to the destination, but we have a flavour of it through the Sheriff Kretzer’s specimen (and its tastes in food), because he sees the meat in a news story of Leo Minosa, a man trapped underground, trapped because (since Leo interprets being imprisoned as punishment) he went there to plunder a native American burial-ground yet another time.

Leo trusts the journalist who pushed past authority to get to him, and believes that he is trying to get him out quickly, rather than realizing that Chuck is spinning out the story as part of a plan to get back into a job in New York (or Chicago). The plan works, but the curse is that the delay has brought about Leo’s inevitable death – by then, Chuck, sure of himself, has already taken off his braces, thereby transporting us to the proprietor’s office and his mockery of such means of playing it safe.

So, as the imagery has told us, Chuck has started playing without a safety-net, and, when he could seek assistance for himself, he delays – again, the theme of putting something off – too long, because he feels obligated to see that Leo is given the final rites. Still not tending to his needs, and, after both dismissing the crowd that has gathered in the preceding days and having failed to interest his New York boss in the story of his betrayal, Chuck goes back to Albuquerque with that story.

He had played the newspaper bosses off against each other to get what he wanted, but his self-destructive self stakes everything on a closing story behind the final one: having seemed unable to announce Leo’s death to the world as ‘a scoop’, he has declaimed the matter in public and told everyone to go, a scene perhaps reminiscent of Christ clearing the Temple (but, here, the idolatrous temple of his own making, and one that contains a body to prove it).

Not for the most pure of motives, he has resisted the advances of Leo’s wife Lorraine (with the suitable bewitchment of Jan Sterling), who really just wants something better than Leo, his family, and the run-down desert café that they run. She only did not leave earlier (as she does afterwards) because she, too, believes in Chuck’s persuasive rhetoric, but she does not want to have to play the grieving wife to help the rescue story. Misjudging it, Chuck pushes it too far, too far beyond what is safe, by trying to force Lorraine back into her role, because it is his role, not hers.

In the final analysis, he staked too highly. In spotting and creating a dramatic story, in exploiting (as he says in relation to the sheriff’s snake festival and the card-game there that Chuck forced him to miss), he thought that he had, in Leo, an ace in the hole, not a pair of deuces.

With whom (or what), then, has Chuck been playing poker that his seemingly winning hand has collapsed, and been shown for what it is? Is he really a tragic hero, and is that what made Ace in the Hole, for all that it is well written, something that also did not make the film itself a winner with an audience that does not seek that sort of ending?


Daily diced parrot could help you slim

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28 September

Anything in common with 'Four cups a day can leave women less depressed, says study' (from AOL's sign-in page)?

Maybe just that claims can be made without someone knowing or giving the basis for the assertion, and sometimes that is the experimenter(s): some people will know of the biology paper, written by the editor of the journal in which it was published, that went through the mathematics / physics of flight in relation to the bumblebee.

I read the paper at the time, and its (albeit unhappy) conclusion was that it seemed to have proved that the bumblebee could not fly.

Of course, though, it can (in a fashion) - the biologist had to revisit his calculations, and, having found that a factor, effect, coefficient or variable had been overlooked. I did not see what was written then, but the bumblebee - a great relief to it, I'm sure - was authorized to fly again.


Turning to these 50,000 nurses, of whom, presumably, 25,000 did not drink coffee at all, unless there was a whole range of amounts of coffee drunk on average by the coffee-drinking nurses, plus the ones who stuck to tea (or smoothies).

What sort of coffee?

* Filter coffee?

* Instant?

* A skinny decaffeinated cappuccino bought in from a nearby Starbucks®**?

* Turkish coffee (with two sugars)?

* A double espresso from a filling-station with a self-service machine?


If the reports that I have seen mean anything, it must have been coffee with caffeine, because someone is suggesting (although there is actually caffeine in tea) that it might be what makes those nurses experience (or report) depression less: that person may only have skimmed through the report, and I have just seen and heard the headline, when I need to get to read the report...


In the meantime, isn't there something special about nurses and their life-style? - and I don't mean the Carry on Nurse or pornographic stereotype. It's not unusual for them to work double-shifts (e.g. morning and afternoon, night and morning), and could do two of those with very little time in-between, such as arriving for a shift at 7.00 a.m., not finishing till 10.00 p.m., and having to do the same the following day.

Not a typical working-life, unless that has been adjusted for that factor, so, unless something was done to compensate, not the best sample, even though the size is a good one. What would the effect on influences (social, emotional, economic, personality, predisposition, prior experience of depression, etc.) be of such a lifestyle? - of the working life of a nurse anyway, with all that they are exposed to socially, economically, etc., in their actual work?

And coffee? People who do not drink coffee drink something else for al sorts of reason, and those who do drink it, drink it for all sorts of reason, but often to give themselves a kick or a boost. Could wanting a kick or a boost say more about those who drink coffee than anything else? And what about nurses who smoke? Nurses who smoke and who drink coffee, nurses who don't smoke, but drink coffee, nurses who don't drink coffee, but who smoke?





** Which Garrison Keillor, in his novel Love Me, described that the narrator's partner and he did when they were 'slumming it' - and I tend to agree with that analysis.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

One-dimensional approach?

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27 September

I wish to follow up on what I wrote yesterday, now that I have seen another review, in the fourth edition of TAKE ONE: more like ‘Take that!’, plus a rapier-blow, but directed not at the reader, but the film-makers, and again, I feel, rather unnecessarily personally, rather too much ad hominem.

Oh, I’m sure that people can feel that way, feel disappointed by a film, but what is the point where restraint should be shown? I was openly critical of the Tartan Terror event, but I do hope that I did not give this impression in seeking to say that Peter Bradshaw and, probably, Hamish McAlpine also had tried to rely on native wit to get them through (as the phrase has, ‘winging it’) what could have been better planned. If I’d found myself saying what I wouldn’t do to Bradshaw even if he were on fire, I might wonder whether I had gone too far.

This review that I have just seen almost does appear to say that sort of thing, with what seem quite cutting remarks about getting back the money for the film in relation to where it came from. Not a matter of suppressing free speech, but I am quite surprised that TAKE ONE published this as it stood, as if it were self-evidently and uncontroversially true, despite three Festival screenings –attended by people who all saw things as this reviewer did?

Besides which, not explaining himself (i.e., without giving everything away, but giving examples), this reviewer imputes to the director and writer a fraudulent series of sleights of hand: he says that they try to divert attention from the plot holes by just cutting to a black screen.

(Another review, on the Festival web-site, unhelpfully talks about ‘plot holes the size of my ego’, but, even if that may suggest the scale of them (though they could be very small), I should like to have pointed out what they are. I had similar feelings about del Toro’s Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, but thought some might to know what, trying to be discreet, did not work for me.)

For me, a review that gives too many opinions without giving an understanding of how they were arrived at really says nothing that can be related to – I am sure that, through laziness, I have talked about someone’s beautiful acting or portrayal. However, if I cannot say in what the beauty consists, what was beautiful about the acting, have I said anything, anything better than saying that the acting was quite ptang, without ever defining ‘ptang’…?


Monday, 26 September 2011

Doors into other worlds

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26 September

Picking up where I left off, I assume that, if I have a brown, double-glazed, PVCu door it will not turn overnight into a red-painted steel door with no window - or an ostrich. (If it does, though, someone is playing a prank: which is what Gregor Samsa thinks in Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, or K. in The Trial.)

And the world routinely does not abuse our expectations. Some 35 years ago, my friend Roland imagined a moment involving a teapot (of a size suitable to sit on a tea-trolley, waiting for many to pour out their tea during a break, and for it to be available to them without any more delay than involved in the pouring).

When, instead of inclining the teapot to the cup, he (or the person whom he imagined) did the opposite, a magic is performed: wherein the tea nonetheless flowed, without the teapot being tipped, but, instead, the receiving vessel.


The comparison is with our world, which, despite the fact that a universe is supposed to exist in which every event occurs, continues to be very normal, and so Cindy Crawford (or a chinchilla - NB I am not suggesting that there is a link, and a chinchilla is more cute, of course) is never in my spare bedroom when I go in there looking for something, or Woody Allen (or my long-dead grandather) behind the counter at the Post Office.

Rather, things actually continue, rather boringly, as they are, and, if I lose something, I may not remember where it is (and it may have visited Neptune in the meantime), but it turns up consistently with where I eventually look for (or find) it, depending on whether I have a recollection of leaving it there, or because, by then, I am already looking for something else.

Why isn't the world, if it is just one of an infinite number of worlds where everything that could happen happens, one where more random events occur? If, when my order for a medium iced latte has been politely given and taken in Costa®, one possibility - out of my hands - for the fate of that coffee is for the same barista to throw it in my face, and get a promotion, not the sack.

And it cannot, can it, just be that we are so programmed - deterministically - to behave as expected (or that we exercise extreme self-control), because it just should happen that, if I go to put some money in the bowl of someone on the street, her dog is the one to choose to fish the money out and gives it back whilst she dozes, or a pilot just decides not to go anywhere and to order everyone off the aircraft once in a while?

An invitation to ask whether it all seems just a bit (a lot?!) too predictable to be simply one of an infinite number of worlds in which every event occurs - or do we chance to be in the most 'normal' one, where so many 'possible' outcomes resolve uncontroversially?



Or should I spend time elsewhere with Voltaire's Candide, and not ask at all?

Dimensions and Borges: The Garden of Forking Paths

More views of - or at - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
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26 September

Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges liked a good paradox (and wrote an essay about Zeno and the apparent impossibility of motion) - it remains to be seen whether this is one, but here goes:


Background
Theory says that, under certain conditions laid down concerning physical laws and arrived at by mathematical calculation, every possible universe, in which every possible way that I could have written this sentence, exists.


Premise
Some say that travel between those universes and / or between what it is convenient to call different points in time in the same or another universe may be possible.


Attempt at a paradox

Step 1 If it is, then clearly it does not matter whether I believe in such travel, because someone could send me on such a journey against my will (or in my sleep).

Step 2 Unless I am very persuasive, and I can demonstrate what I say, if people do not believe in such travel, they will not listen to me (but, in some universes, they will, of course, believe in it as soon as I mention it - every event and possible sequence of events must exist, therefore a universe will exist where (to follow Borges) they crucify me, or regard me as God and worship me - or both))

Step 3 If I were sent in my sleep, I would, if sent into another universe at the same 'moment', still not believe in such travel, but I might come to realize what has happened, and want to go back from where I came from.

Step 4 So, perhaps, people with the same skill, knowledge and understanding develop the necessary technology, and seek to send me on that return journey?

Step 5 But won't there necessarily be the possibility - which may happen to obtain where I am - that one of the immutable facts about that universe is that, because of its physical laws, such travel is not possible? (So how did I get there?)


Conclusion?
For if it is always possible to jouney from that universe to another, then there is one thing wrong about that universe: it does not accord with the notion that there is a universe in which every possibility is replicated.
Oder?, as the Germans say.


Visible and invisible

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26 September 2011

I am assuming, maybe wrongly, that it is known only to me that there have been page-views from the following countries (or provinces / areas - I think that I may have said before that Blogger® thinks that the whole of the former USSR is Russia):

* Sri Lanka

* Hong Kong

* Germany

* Canada

* United Arab Emirates

* Ireland

* Russia

* United States

* United Kingdom



Pandora's box, panaceas and pain-killers

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26 September 2011

* May contain spoilers *

One of the Festival's screenings featured (in large quantities, at one point) boxes of Tralin® - as that is a brand name, I needed to look it up to be sure what it is, and have just got around to doing so:


For the benefit of anyone else who may have seen Kosmos and wanted to know, I can report that Tralin® is a brand name for sertraline, which, as a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (or SSRI), is - as some may have guessed - commonly used (to try) to treat depression.

However, as is so often the case with medications (e.g., in low does, some anti-depressants are used for seeking to alleviate insomnia), it is also used for anxiety disorders (such as social anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (or OCD)), and an eating disorder) bulimia nervosa.



Some may recall that Richard Brook, the previous Chief Executive of MIND, resigned from (a committee of) the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regarding, essentially, the question of what was being done to research a possible link between taking sertraline and an increased risk, to the person taking it, of suicidal thoughts and, of course, suicide itself in some cases.


Follow-up on Abgebrannt or Burnout

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26 September

Quite by chance, in conversation with Punyaketu last night about German film, I learnt that the original title of this film conveys more than one meaning:

The connotation, quite relevant to the film, is 'broke' or 'skint', and it seems, from what I am told, that a native speaker would understand me in saying 'geltlos', but not say that. ('Geltlos' = without any money: 'Gelt' (money) + ending 'los' (meaning 'not having', so fruchtlos for 'fruitless' (plus connotations)).


I should check, but I would think that 'abgebrannt' could be how an arsonist (i.e. a 'successful' arsonist) leaves a building, too.


Unknown dimensions of the soul

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26 September

Some of the best things arise quite naturally, such as the interest that there has been in the last week in my postings regarding Dimensions: saying which, I still feel quite sickened by the last review that has appeared on the official Festival web-site (on the page for the film), because it goes beyond what I think suitable bounds, by suggesting that other reviewers had improper thoughts or motives for (or behind) what they wrote.


If you want, please see for yourself at:

http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk/films/2011/dimensions-a-line-a-loop-a-tangle-of/reviews/



NB For the avoidance of doubt, I am providing this link just so that others can judge whether they think that this is a fair piece of criticism (and not to pillory the person who reviewed the film in any way).

Whatever your own opinion may be, it would be interesting if, assuming that you take a look, you posted a comment on this page for me (or others) to read - for one reason, there is no scope no for putting any other reviews on the Festival web-site, and I'm not sure where would be best to make a comment on
http://dimensionsthemovie.com/





Sunday, 25 September 2011

Those CFF events (afterwards)

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26 September

It's all over for another year!

So time (well, a little) to take stock of what was seen (S) or missed (M), what was given up on (G), what blogged about (B), and what even reviewed (R, some of them even making it to the Festival web-site - bizarrely, for a film only screened at 8.30 and which finished at around 10.20, reviews are already closed for The Look, which (when there is no time to have written a review on the last day), along with the voting, is something that I have never understood...), with L for the reviews that were lost*, and, now (29/9/2011), N for reviews written after the Festival (N = new)

* I am now changing some of those 'L's to 'R's, as the reviews have started appearing (Ap., 27/9/2011)


Thursday 15

S B 4.45 The Wakefield Express + S N Ace In The Hole (2)

S B R 8.00 Opening film: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (sold out) (3)


Friday 16

S B R 12.45 Tomboy (4)

S B L 3.15 Rembrandt Fecit 1669 (Jos S.) (5)

S B L 6.00 Calvet (6)

G L 8.00 The Illusionist (Jos S.) (7)

M 11.00 The Day The Earth Caught Fire - decide on the night


Saturday 17

M 12.45 Jess + Moss

S B R 3.00 Black Butterflies (8)

S B R 8.00 Bombay Beach (9)

M 8.15 Jos Stelling in Conversation (Q&A)

S B R 10.30 Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (10)


Sunday 18

S B R 3.00 Philipp + S B R Above us Only Sky (12)

M 3.15 No Trains No Planes (Jos S.)

S B N 5.45 White White World (13)

S B R 8.15 Burnout (14)


Monday 19

S B R 12.45 Tabloid (15)

M 1.00 Bombay Beach

S N 3.30 The Camera That Changed The World + S B Don't Look Back (17)

M 5.45 A Useful Life

S B 8.30 Robin Hood (18)

M 10.30 Sympathy For Mr Vengeance - decide on the night

S B 10.45 Tirza (19)


Tuesday 20

S B R 3.30 Bernard Herrmann: Knowing the Score (20)

S B N 8.15 Drive (21)

S B 11.00 Red State - decide on the night (22)


Wednesday 21

S B N 1.00 Tirza (23)

S N 3.15 As If I Am Not There (24)

S B 8.15 Dimensions (sold out) (25)

M 11.00 Wild Side - decide on the night


Thursday 22

S 12.30 The Seventh Seal (26)

G B R 8.00 Tartan Terror - Hamish McAlpine in conversation (27)

S B L 11.00 Bullhead - decide on the night (28)


Friday 23

S B 12.00 Writer in residence Workshop (29)

G B R 3.30 Jo for Jonathan (30)

M 6.00 The Nine Muses

S N 8.15 Gerhard Richter: Painting (31)

M 10.30 Red White & Blue - decide on the night


Saturday 24

S N 12.30 Kosmos (32)

S B R 5.00 Dimensions (33)

S B L 8.00 Tyrannosaur (34)

G N 10.45 Guilty of Romance - decide on the night (35)


Sunday 25

S 12.45 Intimate Grammar (36)

S B R 3.15 Sleeping Beauty (37)

S B 6.00 Surprise Movie (probably sold out) - Contagion (38)

S 8.15 Kosmos - just to catch the missed opening

S N 8.30 Closing film: The Look (39)


Including the two viewings of Tirza and of Dimensions, the things abandoned, and the three double-bills, that's 39 events, a pleasing multiple of 13, plus a lot of lost reviews that will (may? - Ap., 27/9/2011) never be seen on the Festival web-site (I make it 7 (now 6 - Ap., 27/9/2011)...



Wakeful in an eternity of emptiness

This is a review of Sleeping Beauty (2011)

More views of - or at - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
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25 September

This is a review of Sleeping Beauty (2011)

When, in Sleeping Beauty, an elderly man with a white beard (whom we have seen before, and know that he is a pining widower) starts a story that is, frankly, of little real interest, but just an attempt (where others throughout the film may have failed) to be weighty, I nearly did decide to take my eyes off his face and just listen - in the hope, even, that sleep might come (of which Macbeth’s character speak so highly, if not Hamlet’s, likening death to it in ‘what dreams may come’, etc.).

Would that I had either given into that temptation or of making this film the fifth thing that I did not see through to the end in this Festival, because Sleepless in Seattle almost has more to say about life, and without being so needlessly portentous (maybe even, with the same crew, You’ve Got Mail). Whatever journey someone thought that this film was taking the viewer on was not, as far as I am concerned, worth the shoe-leather.

A series of things was presented that were probably intended to make one more feel uncomfortable (although the word ‘series’ might suggest a progression, or some intelligence behind aching voids of silence, slow fades, the blackness before the next scene, etc., which were like forces pulling in contrary directions) – oh, and some of them do, as certain forms of self-willed violence or appropriation almost always will, but, if they do, it might help if there were some basis for them.

I really do not think that the essential premise is tenable, when, whatever the poster might suggest, Emily Browning (as Lucy (Melissa?)) is no pre-Raphaelite beauty (except in terms of hair colour, but certainly not stature, poise or demeanour), makes a noisy job of pouring wine or a brusque one of offering brandy, and does not even seem – although a few books and papers are strewn around in a scene towards the end – very convincing as a student.

And as a student of what – is what we are shown in the lecture-room (analysis of a game of go, and some incomplete notation that is being chalked on the board earlier on) founded on some sort of notion of what games theory or the mathematics behind it is like?

Lucy’s motivation to do what she does is clear enough – she can, she wants to, and she needs money, although, rather slowly, she begins to wonder what she is doing. I begin to wonder what Clara is doing, too, if where she gives various men free rein, but with a fairly arbitrary (and irrelevant) restriction, really is her home – she is supposed to be running some sort of comprehensive ring of young women like Lucy, but that aspect quickly appears more or less forgotten about, I suspect, because she is really needed to bolster the lack of engagement and energy in the role (and playing) of Lucy, and so has to give her personal attention.

However, attention given to Lucy and Clara’s antics will not, I fear, be repaid.


Tyrannosaur - rex or regina?

This is a Festival review of Tyrannosaur (2011)

This is a Festival review of Tyrannosaur (2011)

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25 September

This is a Festival review of Tyrannosaur (2011)

I couldn't get director / writer of Tyrannosaur Paddy Considine interested in the idea that his lead man (a role for Peter Mullan, seemingly written for him, by my judgement) could have been female, and his key opposite number (beautifully played by Olivia Colman) not Hannah, but Henry - Joseph (Peter Mullan's male) would have been, say, Josephine.

For him, a separate film - not the film that he had made - end of answer. (OK, I agreed in the question that the dynamics would have been different, but wondered whether he had ever considered wbat I was suggesting - he didn't say that he hadn't, but he clearly hadn't.)

A separate film that he would watch, if I made it. I told him that it was showing the next day.

At the moment, much as I thought Tyrannosaur was a good piece of work, I still view it as following on from the same actor (same name, even!) in My Name is Joe - oh, it did say different things, but it was a similar sort of world, a similar sort of desire to get out of it...


Dimensions: Through the looking-glass of time? (3)

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25 September 2011

* Contains spoilers *

To say a little more, enough to tease (as the film often does), about mirror-images, there is a scene that shows Stephen and his friend Victoria after they have tumbled to the ground in a sort of chase of and with themselves.

As with something that happens later, which may (as Stephen's cousin Conrad first claims, and later appears unsure about it) - or may not - have been an accident, and which literally ties in with this moment, there is an embodiment of a skein, of the film's title's 'tangle of threads' (or the potential for it). It's a game, but there's bondage, the shackling that Joyce McKinney asserts was a sort of chosen cure, a sort of healing, in Tabloid, and with it there's the breathlessness associated with the other activity, there's the arbitrary rule-making that the game has to be played one way (counter-clockwise), an approach that can form rigid habits and stronger disciplines, not always for one's - or anyone else's - good in life (as with Stephen's father's former friend Richard?).

So the mirror-image, of the game being played transposed into a clockwise motion, can be imagined - as can any other action involving Victoria and Stephen - happening, but it offends against the street being declared to be one way. (Not too far off from thinking again of Rutherford, of thinking how the characters in Michael Frayn's Copenhagen revolve, dance, around each other like particles in a simple atom...)

And the transposed image, the left / right flip? Set aside whether the falling down together, linked, was (as with Conrad's accident) deliberate - although it had to seem so, or not ambiguously so, for us: when we see Stephen and Victoria on the ground, from the waist up, side by side, they are, first of all, in that order, left to right. The picture (taken by the cinematographer, but not one that otherwise existed for Stephen to see (directly)), when he calls it to mind later, becomes Victoria and Stephen, she now on the left.

(It is nearly summoned again, but we do not actually see it, are just so reminded of it that, as a ghost of a view, we could almost swear that its image is on our retina at that point, because we know it - or think that we know it - by then.)

So these are the hints of Alice, these are the suggestions that, in a world as like ours as the one that she first sees in Looking-Glass House, things may be subtly different, actually harmful: as The Annotated Alice observes, with Martin Gardner talking about left- and right-handed molecules (which are identical but for being mirror-images of each other), milk would not be safe for Alice or her cat to drink in the world beyond the looking-glass. Matter and anti-matter? It goes on...

Where would we be without the imagination of Ant Neely (the film's writer) or of Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (really Lewis Carroll, or vice versa)? The poorer for it, I think.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dimensions: Through the looking-glass of time? (2)

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25 September

Here, now (wherever 'here' and 'now' actually are), are the 500 words that have been submitted to the Festival web-page for Dimensions and, as a comment on a piece about the film in Cambridge News, to that newspaper / web-site:


Although it is received wisdom that ‘I can’t be in two places at once [or at the same time, in a variant]’, not only is that usually just an excuse, but it also might not stand up to examination in the light of developments in cloning.

All that apart, more or less, the immense popularity of Dimensions, which has seen it (after having screenings in Screens 2 and then 1) shown again this afternoon meant that I could go through the wormhole of watching again: I know that the phrase does not sound favourable, but this is my review, and I am in a whimsical mood, in no way intended to detract from viewing twice to see what happened to something that I thought fine the first time.

Why did I think it fine? It is an extremely intelligent film that uses the concept and theory of time-travel to say something about what I described in my Festival blog as longing. I still think that it is longing, not just obsession – I think that one can be obsessed about something (e.g. my head being cut off by Jackie Chan) that (unless we are being psychoanalytical), on the face (pun intended!) of it, one does not long for, and long for something that does not obsess one.

I said that it is longing for something that one cannot have or that may not do me any good. In this film, that turns out not to be true on either count, and also to involve a paradox. The events are separated by a period of fifteen years, but, in some respects, the characters seem unchanged, seem stuck in some childish ways (as we all probably are – now who wants to play the psychology card, after all!), seem full of what I want to call longing. (I call it longing not only because I can’t use the German word Sehnsucht, and, because of the connotations, I don’t want to use yearning.)

I asked a question about that at the premiere – the younger actors had had a chance to speak to their counterparts (and vice versa). What I find myself thinking, this time around, is that there is a generational as well as a dimensional character to all that we see, a temporal distortion that, as much as Alice’s worlds reinterpret the present from which she enters Wonderland or the other Looking-Glass House, ripples (a key word in the script) as water, particles or time do with their differing wave-fronts. Which is why Ant Neely’s brother’s house on the river at Cambridge is such a benefit to and feature of this film.

This Cambridge-driven film – Ernest Rutherford split the atom here in 1917, which was then done under both his direction and controlled conditions in 1932 - buzzes with that innovation, but buzzes in the direction of feelings, and Olivia Llewellyn’s acting beautifully embodies the spirit of a bright and clear academic mind, seeking to help Henry-Lloyd-Hughes (as Stephen) achieve his brilliant aims.


Statistics - when they become significant (if ever)

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25 September

Since (whenever that was) this blog was inaugurated (born? baptized?), there have been large numbers of page-views not only from the UK, but also from the States, and, puzzlingly (why so?) from Russia (15 overall, with 12 in the last week)…

I am also told by Blogger about operating-systems (which is a predicatble result) and browsers (with a close-run thing at the top between (in decreasing order, for what it’s worth with this size of sample) Safari, Firefox and Explorer.

I cannot honestly say that any of those figures really do much for me, other than to point out what a pivotal posting mine was on the night that Dimensions premiered, but they make me revert to a different question, that of the Festival’s attempt to assess the Festival favourite:

It’s great that people are being asked, this year, to put a card into one of five boxes (5 being the top score), but some screenings sell out (Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy as the opening film, for example, in Screen 1), whereas, last night (I think) I was in danger of being the only person in my late show.

So you can have hundreds of people voting in one or two screenings, so perhaps as many as four to five hundred possible votes (for, say, Screen 2 then Screen 1, as with Dimensions, I was told on asking (I was only in the first show), and the attempt is to compare that with something in Screen 3 only once that was only half full.

Need I say more about where the problem lies?


Dimensions: Through the looking-glass of time? (1)

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24 September

Although it is received wisdom that ‘I can’t be in two places at once [or at the same time, in a variant]’, not only is that usually just an excuse, but it also might not stand up to examination in the light of developments in cloning.

All that apart, more or less, the immense popularity of Dimensions, which has seen it (after having screenings in Screens 2 and then 1) shown again this afternoon meant that I could go through the wormhole of watching again: I know that the phrase does not sound favourable, but this is my review, and I am in a whimsical mood, in no way intended to detract from viewing twice to see what happened to something that I thought fine the first time.

Why did I think it fine? It is an extremely intelligent film that uses the concept and theory of time-travel to say something about what I described in my Festival blog as longing. I still think that it is longing, not just obsession – I think that one can be obsessed about something (e.g. my head being cut off by Jackie Chan) that (unless we are being psychoanalytical), on the face (pun intended!) of it, one does not long for, and long for something that does not obsess one.

I said that it is longing for something that one cannot have or that may not do me any good. In this film, that turns out not to be true on either count, and also to involve a paradox. The events are separated by a period of fifteen years, but, in some respects, the characters seem unchanged, seem stuck in some childish ways (as we all probably are – now who wants to play the psychology card, after all!), seem full of what I want to call longing. (I call it longing not only because I can’t use the German word Sehnsucht, and, because of the connotations, I don’t want to use yearning.)


I shall have to finish this review later, so this is a stub (as Wikipedia would call it)…


Experiences of Festival events

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24 September

I shall (try to) be kind first, before being cruel – but, sadly, the latter is deserved.

Neil Brand’s voyage through and sample of the film music of Bernard Herrmann (Knowing the Score) was, despite the numerous technical hitches (most of which, as Neil suggested, can be blamed on the stubborn spirit of Bernie that we came to glimpse that afternoon): the on-screen presentation and the examples chosen were clear, Neil identifying the various instruments and effects as the clips ran (audio only for Psycho, with Neil talking us through the instrumentation for strings on screen) was instructive, and, above all, the enthusiasm for and energy involved in explaining the subject were patent.

Contrast that with an event called The Tartan Terror, and one is at the other end of the spectrum. When I came to write about this ‘evening’, which my friend Punyaketu and I decided to spend somewhere else (even in the face of some well-chosen segments from films distributed by Tartan: we saw part of Irreversible, Old Boy, and Man Bites Dog), I was reminded of James Naughtie in King’s chapel, supposedly interviewing another James, composer James MacMillan – as Naughtie made one well aware, he knew his interlocutor (or, more accurately, intended interlocutor) from other encounters, but, one hopes for MacMillan’s sake, not ones where Naughtie coasted, and dilated endlessly before asking questions that: were not worthy of the ticket-price that some had paid, did not leave them much space for the time that they, too, were supposed to have to ask questions, and seemed to leave the other James cold, too, though he did the best to enliven with his answers a session that was becoming dead on its feet.

Now, I wouldn’t suggest that prior consumption of alcohol played any part on either occasion, but Peter Bradshaw fell into exactly the same trap, snaring himself on the belief that, simply because something (not always very fluently – lots of ‘um’s and ‘uh’s, especially at the beginning) was coming out of his mouth, it needed to be said and said until he could think of nothing else to say.

Frankly, it does not matter whether this was billed as Hamish McAlpine (funnily, like MacMillan, another Scot, though I think that he described himself as a pretend one, after an introduction that was in danger of swallowing the whole night) in conversation or being interviewed, it was neither. It was self-indulgent and not interesting (or simply another case of the questioner forgetting why he is (meant to be) there), and, when McAlpine did (get allowed to) start speaking (after lengthy digressions or irrelevant anecdotes about being with directors at Cannes), Bradshaw was speaking affirmations (or even contradictions) into his microphone, rather than just letting the man who was meant to be his guest – and, after all, the focus of the event – talk in peace.

I gave it 1 out of 5, and had a much better conversation of my own somewhere else instead! (And I hope that poor McAlpine isn't left terrified to be invited to do anything else similar, where he might be given the opportunity to saw something...)

A little Chaucerian muse

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24 September

Agents Surlaw and Apsley (when the latter had tired of typing 'The Agent Apsley' in full) did a pleasing duet (I find it so), which I have just found as the product of the special Batterson page on TSG


Sleeping is no Phenomenon

Tinctures of old lead [Apsley ]
A serpent in a tree [Surlaw ]
A pair a-coupling there [Apsley ]
Concealed for all to see [Surlaw ]
Prioress out for love [Apsley ]
May day dawning [Surlaw ]
In December's wake [Apsley ]

Silence on demand [Surlaw ]
For Geoffrey in his lair [Apsley ]
Whose blossom, when it falls [Surlaw ]
Upon his silken hair, [Apsley ]
Betrays those up above [Surlaw ]
All day yawning [Apsley ]
While the tree doth shake [Surlaw ]


http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=6288019876957346964

Counting sheep - or sheep on the brain

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24 September

No, nothing (much) to do with the infamous Gene Wilder sketch in Woody Allen's Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex [...], but just a (somewhat) bizarre opening line from Spoonbill Generator days..., a time when writing poetry this way (and not in that of my youth) was my main creative outlet.

(Somewhere, there's a Generator poem about outlet valves, which, if I can quickly find, I shall append.)


Only Transient Sheep

Hiatus and Hibiscus are the names of my two sheep [The Agent Apsley]
Hiatus likes to hiccough and Hibiscus likes to beep, [Stacy]
The only time I get some peace is when they're both asleep! [P]

Hiatus went to Knaresborough and turned the ladies' heads [TG]
Hibiscus stayed at home and cursed "those wicked slimy reds" [P]
They only cease to argue when they're tucked up in their beds! [TG]

Hiatus lit a candle and intoned a solemn prayer [P]
As a practice that is holy, but a measure that is rare [The Agent Apsley]
Hibiscus, on the other hand, is now a millionaire [P]

Hibiscus dotes on chocolate, Hiatus dines on cheese [The Agent Apsley]
And both are rather prone to do exactly as they please [P]
One wonders if this ovine pair have learned their ABCs [Dano]
And do they have fleas? [nomi]

Hibiscus ate a pencil and promptly down did fall [The Agent Apsley]
Hiatus trapped a frightened little hamster in the hall [TG]
The world turns 'round, in ways profound [Rippy]
That sages do confound [The Agent Apsley]

Hiatus and Hibiscus sent a message to the Queen [TG]
"Our Agent of Desire comes disguised as Mr. Clean" [Rippy]
"Balls!" Said the Queen "If I had two I'd be king" [nomi]

Hiatus ran for office, Hibiscus took the hump [The Agent Apsley]
The hoary throng of pistoleros bravely manned the pump [Rippy]
And, adding to divergence, felt the inklings of a lump. [The Agent Apsley]

Hibiscus was in the kitchen eating toast and jam. [Best Boy]
Hiatus was seen in Scotland in the company of a lamb [Anon.]
Then off to New York City, to buy stock, and pull a scam. [spawn of Rippy]
Last I heard, he was employed by the notorious Uncle Sam. [Dew Drop]

Hiatus or Hibiscus, it really matters nought [Rippy]
Depending on the matter of what they both have sought [Paloma]
And matter's merely patter when a sot ought quaff a draught [dano]

And thus it is, my children, that if you can't agree [Bop]
Just go into the pantry and endure the third degree [The Agent Apsley]
Hiatus and Hibiscus will just sit and sip their tea [TG]


http://www.spoonbill.org/completed.php?name=poem&value=0236

Friday, 23 September 2011

Double-take on TAKE ONE

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24 September

Well, I don’t like to be mean to JackMcCurdy (and he should come back at me, if this is), but I think that his review of Drive in the new issue of TAKE ONE is couched in a slightly fanciful way (but I do agree with him that it is a good and powerful film).

(In trying to turn off italic face in a sans-serif font earlier (when I wrote this off line), I (or my keyboard) insistently (and insolently) tried to get me to accept the film’s title with an ‘l’ on the end, which is not what I think of Drive, or of the review, for the reasons stated. Dr Freud and his minions can stay schtumm!)

I’m not going to say too much, because I shall write my own review, but ‘It should be noted’ (at the start of the third paragraph) smacks more of the courtroom, or some more dry form of expression than one that means to pass on enthusiasms, and I don’t know what ‘deceptively gory action’ is – parts of the action are downright gory (and, as it is all make-up and fake blood, those parts are deceptive), but there is much else to Ryan Gosling in this role (I once rented a bedsit from a woman of that name - the surname, that is).

Ciao!

Another Festival poem

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24 September

This, too, was written in the session at Murray Edwards College, but not read out during it - it's late, and I forget in what the inspiration for it lay, other than a phrase in a song to which people are dancing in one of the clips and which is quoted.


New Year, Damascus


We know the road there
– Think we do –
And (maybe?) the way back

But when did we know of
Your country, know that others
Travel there – to party?

The women dance, as the words
Sing – behind them – ‘Even your hell
is heaven’:

Faint echoes of
Shakespeare –
Or of Blake?


© Copyright Belston Night Works 2011

New poems from the Festival

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23 September

I produced these poems (for what they are) during the session with Jane Monson, the Festival's writer in residence, earlier to-day...



Christmas 2009

You were there
For midnight -
Wanted to capture
Images
Of worship, celebration

Made me so uneasy
That you'd be told
'No photography, please!'
And break the mood
The broken, anxious mood

But you always did
What you wanted
Always took chances
To record moments -
For what?!


© Copyright Belston Night Works 2011





Our feelings take the pictures

Are they pictures of our feelings?
And how do we picture our feelings -
To ourselves?

Can we know them?
Or do we,
By trying to capture them,
Change them

As measuring current
In a circuit
Minutely changes the current?



© Copyright Belston Night Works 2011





Why do I hate New Year?

If I do,
It's because balloons
Are just full:
Of air,
Of nothing!

Empty,
I try to drink in
Emotions
(Not in me)
Of delight

Delight?
In playing with
The encompassed
Void -
with Terror?


© Copyright Belston Night Works 2011



By way of explanation, the poems were written in response to Jane's writing exercises, which all arose from screenings of parts of Open Shutters: Our Feelings Take the Pictures, a documentary made by a Russian film-maker about how she and an Iraqi woman in the same field tutor other women (and their children) in Iraq in 1997 (?) in the skills of working out and telling a story in words and / or moving and static images

No! for Jonathan

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23 September

Well, I was glad to get to Festival Central from Murray Edwards (that event-satellite, where I shall go again to-morrow afternoon to reacquaint myself with Dimensions, and see how it does with the acid test of 'repeated viewability at a short remove' [or RVSR - a bit like RSVP, but not quite the same letters or in the same order...]) by 3.20, but, by 3.55 (after a start at 3.30), I was walking out of Jo for Jonathan:

Not much to say, and not wishing to be unkind, but the best thing about it was the music (and not even then, really), and learning that the joke about Americans, dollar-bills and snorting coke may have been to do with Franco-Canadian funding (the joke is at the expense of the Canadians). I regret (to have) to say that I was just bored by the (apparent) subject when I came to leave, and I simply no longer wanted to be in that black and darkened chamber with the film to find out where it and its Jo might go. No!

The bar, a beer, and the blog seem a much better combination, as (whatever Plato may have thought) many images projected with light (the sun) on the equivalent of a cave wall are not only a joy, but an instruction, in (and of) life...

Writer in residence

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23 September

It's crept - well, rushed - around to the time when Murray Edwards College (once New Hall) hosts a three-hour session with Jane Monson, the Festival's writer in residence.

I'm hoping for a good place to park nearby, as Jo for Jonathan is on at 3.30 and that makes it tight for finishing at 3.00 and getting there - actually, that's complete nonsense, because, wherever I park, the college is where it is! Must have confused some of my parameters (or dimensions)...

This time, at least, I won't have to cadge some paper, because I've managed to look some out - in four hours' time, who knows (Jane?) what will have been screened and written...?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Music in Tirza

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23 September

A sonata for cello (Tirza's instrument) and piano is played, and I checked first time around that it was Beethoven (Op. 5 No. 1).


However, Amy, to whom I pointed this out (as she, too, wanted to know), spotted that it is Cambridge's own Richard Egarr playing in the version used, now famed for what Academy of Ancient Music is doing under his directorship.

Looking back, or stuck in the past

This is a Festival review of Bullhead (2011)

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23 September


This is a Festival review of Bullhead (2011)

For my money, Bullhead (2011), which I have just seen, should have made no more than 90 minutes, not two hours. As is not unusual (and has been a preoccupation of a representative number of films that I have seen - or maybe I was drawn to that sort of film and so chose to see them), characters look back to the past.


Here, something shockingly brutal admittedly happened to Jacky (Matthias Schoenaerts) twenty years before we start, but, in and of itself, it did not appear to be what leads to his becoming the title character (which is how - very late on in the film, and when it is already obvious - he is described).

Now, various things (which may have been there in the original script) could be down to editing, but the prompt for his strand of action (and for individual actions of at least two other characters), other than meeting someone from the past, did not seem clear. (Here, as in White White World, we then just have to believe that somehow people's paths, although they live in fairly small communities, have not crossed in a very long period of years - and we then nearly end up with the absurdities of some plays by Ibsen, where an earlier (supposedly secret) event almost could not possibly have been known about either when it happened or in the intervening time.)

Be that as it may, and perhaps here as well I wasn't concentrating well when it was after eleven at night, but there is just too much else that did not seem to work. At a simple level, very little leeway appeared allowed for being able to follow and recognize again who the various parties in the competing factions were (unless I was just too tired to do so). Something is to be taken as a souvenir from a covert visit (somehow not seen by CCTV) to a hospital room, but, unless it relates to Lucia, I do not know what it was, or why she would ever be impressed by what Jacky chooses to become (although she does seek him out and then not act on having done so in the most obvious way until much later).

By contrast with me, both characters seemed blessed with abilities to recognize people whom they had seen in childhood, and for playing the detective. The real detectives. though, did not think that, if a mobile-phone could be used to track someone, it might as well also be used to eavesdrop directly, and seem able just to choose to abandon what appeared to be the main strand of action (of which, as we go with them, no more) and follow Jacky's.

It is fine that it turns out to be a red herring, and that the task that I found difficult of keeping track of who was who and what they were doing was therefore not hugely necessary, but I am brought back to whether the whole enterprise would not benefit from being more compact: the Festival's opening film arguably needed the allotted time to run its course, but I simply do not believe that this one did.



That said, the fact that Belgium is divided by a 'language barrier' (and so French is not a natural mode of expression for Jacky) was very evident, and even alluded to in connection with where he lives: for example, it makes him seem alien that he calls someone a negro, when the French speakers (as he is told) would not use that word, and there was a lot of abuse and even hatred in the way that the speakers of each languages referred to speakers of the other in derogatory racial terms.

Some time for Tirza

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22 September

I'd have to check, but I think that I briefly reported on seeing Tirza again - in fact, remembering the tag-line, I know that I did.

Tirza is the missing daughter of the main male character, Jörgen, and his distinctly unpleasant wife, who appears during the disappearance in a way that he does not seem able to do much about - she is much like the irresistible force, although not in the obvious sense. She does not have very much to say about Tirza's sister Ibi, but states her dislike for Tirza quite clearly, whereas, for Tirza's father, the opposite view is that she is the Sun Queen (and Tirza even has a disguised form of this name in the front of her diary).

That set me thinking a bit, rather belatedly, and led to an Internet search for want of any better way to find data in Festival central: a book on Akhenaton's wife Nefertiti calls her 'Egypt's Sun Queen', and shows the well-known statue of her head, which I was lucky enough to be in Berlin to see two years ago. (To be honest, it sounded more like something (wrong country!) out of Hans Christian Andersen, and maybe it is...)

Plenty of sun in Namibia, where Jörgen (pestered by telephone by his wife) goes in search of Tirza and her boyfriend Choukri, not least where he decides to head, out from Windhoek (the capital) into the desert known as Big Mama. Queen = Mother? (Sun Queen, not Sun Princess, anyway.)

Yet the real ray of sunlight that he finds is in another young life (Kaisa), who resists his attempts to search alone for the pair. And does she understand when he lapses into his native Dutch? According to Wikipedia, she might, since, although English became the official when the country gained independence in 1990, it seems that Afrikaans is widely understood. That said, Jörgen never tries his Dutch (even when he is failing to communicate in English, as happens several times), and he only talks aloud in it with Kaisa, when there is nothing to suggest whether she understands.

I may already have said that this film coalesces and coheres on a second viewing - some films just don't pass the test, because what you know at the end is inconsistent with the earlier part of the story, and you don't always know that until revisiting the territory. With a great film, a great story, it doesn't matter that you know where you are heading, because the journey there is beautifully done: oh, some mystery remains even then, but it strengthens one's conviction that it says something real about being human.

Traffic in four dimensions

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22 September

There are, pleasingly, very large numbers of people looking at this blog since I made a posting about Dimensions - 49 overall pageviews for to-day at the last count.

Thank you to everyone who is seeing what's here!


The Agent

A dimensional hyperlink

Follow us… into other dimensions, that is!

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22 September

A bold (untutored!) attempt to create some sort of interface, portal or wormhole (or any combination of the three, i.e. portal / wormhole, interface / portal, etc.) between this blog and the official web-site for Dimensions - or am I really making a (probably virtual) cup of sweet tea, suitable to give to someone in shock?

(If so, a couple of rounds of thickly buttered toast would be a good accompanying dish, but 'With or without Marmite®?' is the important question...)



Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Unlimited dimensions

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22 September

What a brilliantly entertaining evening!

I had deliberately not decided between getting a ticket for Wild Side at 11.00 (in the 'Tartan' strand) or The Disposable Film Festival at 10.45 (in the 'Shorts' (short films) strand), because I might not be able to go to either - and I couldn't, because of compelling matters elsewhere (and ineptly lacking the capacity to bi-locate).

In Screen 2, B8 (more to the front and the centre than I would normally have chosen, because of the sheer popularity evident when I came to buy a ticket for Cambridge film Dimensions) was my seat, where, when waiting for the show to start (which turned out to be director Sloane U'Ren and writer / composer Ant Neely plus almost all of the cast briefly at the front) I got into an interesting conversation with my neighbour about the film and what science might be the basis of what happened.


The film itself was well worth waiting for, and unlike anything else so far in the Festival - picking things out as they occur to me, it had humour (my neighbour and I turned out to have the same sense of humour), stunning visual effects with the titles, a brilliant riverside setting, a script that really kept you guessing about a number of important matters, a type of Faustian pact, a multi-dimensional love interest, boffins and their marvellously whimsical contraptions, and a water-feature that drew all the main characters into its domain.

Oh, I could go on, and mention a splendid tree (not sure what kind) that was another focus, the recreation of the gentility of the twentieth century after the Great War, and a glimpse of Cambridge academic life. However, not only don't I want to give anything away, but those things really say nothing that addresses what the film is about.

Forget the science (wonderfully presented though it is), forget what may already have been public about this film or its budget or how it was made (though those things are facts): this is a film about longing, many people's longing, and for different things, and how that longing affects this brief span that (however long we do live) we are allotted - whether we are longing what we can't have, or doesn't belong to us, or won't do us any good.

It is very well done indeed, and it will have you choked and affected by seeing unfold what holds us back or spurs us on, what makes us who we are or gives us the scope to be something else. If you can guess where the title's 'tangle of threads' will take you, then well sleuthed, and perhaps you were hunting clues!


Later, events took me to the bar with important cast and crew, and I had a chance beforehand to speak to Olivia Llewellyn in a little detail concerning what made this shoot different and the type of thing that she would want to repeat: it was not, as I thought, that what is conventional in the big studios seemed impersonal as such, but that this was different and that there had been a luxury, say, of being with the other protagonists and to build up more of a bond with them off the set. Before that was questions and answers, led by someone not known to me.

Talking to Ant afterwards, neither of us was sure why this person had wanted to talk about the science so much, as if anyone would expect, say, Matt Smith, as Doctor Who, to be questioned about the physics of the TARDIS (but the Doctor always offers people a jelly baby instead or reveses the polarity with the sonic screwdriver), but he did. When things were opened up to the floor, I had my hand straight up, and jumped in with a question about the children whom we see become adults and whether we can see the former in the latter, and it was nice afterwards to have some appreciation for it from those with Ant, Sloane and me in the bar.

I'm not even sure whether it was bizarre, although I have mentioned the notion of longing and what it entails, but, after other audience-led questions, not only was the question put to Ant and Sloane asked whether there was anything that they would have done diferently, but everyone at the front was asked what question they had expected to be asked and what their answer would have been. Perhaps an answer might have combined those two approaches: we would have had a different person leading the session, and can we have a time-machine to go back and put that right?

What I want to do, though, is to take a trip into the future, and see this film get the coverage and exposure that all those who have worked so hard on it deserve. Maybe, in the meantime, I'll see whether I can look at my schedule to establish the possibilities for revisiting this enchanting world, given that (the screening on Thursday 22nd has also sold out), there is now a third on Saturday 24th at 5.00...





(And, of course, getting back late, after staying around carousing until Festival central's ability to let us stay longer finally disappeared, and then making these jottings, was all made possible, consistent with an early bed-time, just by learning the lessons of this film!)



Dimensions to-night

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21 September

If I can remember my question (please see below), which I have been formulating (a) unusually in advance of the screening, and (b) so necessarily without knowing what I might really want to ask, once I have seen Dimensions, it might be (because I might ask someone other than Ant Neely and something else):

For all that we know - or think that we know - about life and the world, they can prove (or seem to prove) counter-intuitive, so I ask, given that Ant wrote the film, whether that made writing the music harder, easier - or just different.

As some say, Watch this space!

Second-time-around Tirza

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21 September

I am really glad that being awake earlier than expected meant that I made it to the re-run (well, re-run for me, but not for my friend Amy, whom I happened to bump into at the bar):

The film was even more beautiful (the landscape, but not only the landscape) than the first time, and it cohered and coalesced wonderfully on a second viewing, as did the involuntary lapsing into Dutch out of English.

No time to say more (consistent with going into something ele in little more than ten minutes), but I shall look out Arnon Grunberg's novel, and also now need to find out whether Namibia was a former Dutch colony and that language would have been as familiar as English...

Looks like Tirza, then...

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21 September

Unless something else catches my eye when I go to get a ticket, or circumstances intervene to prevent being there for 1.00...

In the meantime, I have just submitted, as if a review for Calvet, a question as to where the review already written, plus those for five other films, have gone, as not posted on the Festival page for each film.

Given that the word-limit is 500 words, and I might write longer, I begin to wonder what is the point of editing anything down (e.g. the longer piece about Dylan's tour) to fit that limit, if it goes nowhere...

Festival Stop Press

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21 September

In my opinion, this page (at
http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk/stoppress/) has become immensely overcrowded.

See what you think below, with references to screenings that have come and gone, changes of timings, and announcements of additional screenings all thrown together - not so much can't see the wood for the trees as the web-page being unintelligible for the content:


Stop Press: Programme Updates
Last minute changes and updates will be posted here throughout the Festival. VENUE is Arts Picturehouse unless stated otherwise.


Second Chance Screening additions
Late September is now scheduled for additional screening on Fri 23 Sep at 1pm @ Murray Edwards

In addition to Sat 24 Sep at 10.30am, New Croatian Animation 2010-2011 is also screening on Fri 23 Sep at 3pm @ Murray Edwards


You can now see My Long Distance Friend on Sat 24 Sep at 1pm @ Murray Edwards as well

Sweet Smell of Success is scheduled for a repeat screening on Sat 24 Sep at 3pm @ Murray Edwards

Dimensions: A Line, a Loop, a Tangle of Thread is screening on Sat 24 at 5pm @ Murray Edwards

Jess + Moss Tue 20 @ 9.00pm

The Woman screening on Tue 20 Sep @ 11.00pm – Extreme violence in this one!

TRIDENTFEST 2011 Fri 23 Sep @ 6.00pm – Filmmakers will attend

Short Fusion: Love, Lost and Found on Fri 23 Sep @ 5pm at Murray Edwards

FAMILY FILM FEST: Octonauts: Explore! Rescue! Protect! has second chance screening Sat 24 Sep @ 10.15am (Arts Picturehouse)


Programme Changes
New Documentary announced! AGE OF CHAMPIONS (Sat 24 @ 12.45pm and Sun 25 @ 3pm)

Modigliani’s Genuine Fake Heads is no longer screening! Waterlilies in Bloom is now being shown with Age of Champions on Sat 24 Sep @ 12.45pm and Sun 25 Sep @ 3pm.

Romantics Anonymous is now screening on Tue 20 Sep @ 4pm and is thus replacing Modigliani’s Genuine Fake Heads / Water Lilies in Bloom.

CALVET is now on Wed 21 at 12.45 (Arts Picturehouse) – hugely gripping life story

The Oak (Balanta, part of our ROMANIAN SEASON) has been moved from Fri 23rd @ 11am to Sunday 25th @ 10:15am.

Sound It Out plus Analogue Kingdom, no longer screening Sat 24, 11pm. You can see it on Sun 25th @ 12.30pm instead.

CRASSH: Diva Dolorosa and Cenere, no longer screening as a CRASSH event on Thu 22 @ 10:30 am. It is still running and has been moved to Fri 23rd @ 10.30am

Gibraltar – screening on Tuesday 20th has shifted slightly from 12:45pm to 1:10pm

Street Kids United – Sat 23rd has moved from 12.30pm to 1.00 pm

BLACK BUTTERFLIES (CFF 15) is now part of our main FEATURES line-up

The end time of the Last Projectionist Tue 20 Sep @ 1pm has been moved back by 20 mins to accommodate the time for the Q&A to 3.42 pm.

TOMBOY * Plus Director! * Now Thu 15 7.45pm (not 7.30)
“One of the great films made by adults for adults… about children” – Little White Lies Film Magazine. TOMBOY treats the issue of sexual identity at an early age with vivacity, grace and intelligence. French director Celine Sciamma (WATER LILIES) will be joining us!