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Monday, 9 October 2017

For #WMHD2017 (World Mental Health Day)

On World Mental Health Day, a suggested commonality for all the grievously hurt

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


10 October

On World Mental Health Day (#WMHD2017), yet again, a suggested commonality for all who have been grievously hurt


Amongst those who used to drink, the jocular phrase What's your poison ? had currency - and maybe still has ? (It does not matter whether the term now is getting wasted, lashed, or trashed (or shit-faced or rat-arsed), the explicit recognition is of doing something damaging to cope.)

Whatever may be claimed, we all have that need to cope - even if coping with what life really means consists in avoiding the question, and instead screwing everyone else in business deals so that one can believe in one's worth (in dollars, at any rate...).


In the world of so-called mental-health so-called diagnoses, it can seem as though the differences are thrust in one's face, with some provided for - if provided for at all - in tertiary services, whereas some others are asked to engage with drug and alcohol services, and others still* contend to be seen by secondary services, and not just at the level of their GP (primary mental health).

Yet how illusory is all of this pretend taxonomy, and how much more do we have in common ? :






Chronic Emotional Woundedness* - can we all, labelled with this or that, identify with such words, and see ourselves linked by our experience ?


End-notes :

* If not wanting to run away and never see again the alleged mental-health services that detained and 'treated' them against their will and traumatized them.

** Yes, it does spell ChEW - maybe feeling that we have been chewed up and spat out is a core part of our commonality... ?




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

On the Road - but with Wolf Alice (not Sal Paradise*)

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












[...]







End-notes :

* The reference is to the narrator, in the film adaptation of Kerouac's novel, On the Road (2012)...




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

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Captured in amber - or Skin, touching skin

This is a Cambridge Film Festival preview of The Next Skin¹ (2015)

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


3 October

This is a Festival preview of La propera pell (The Next Skin¹) (2015)
(for Cambridge Film Festival 2017)



The question that arises with cinema may sometimes be whether to value a stone for itself -
or for its fossil contents ?


Or - as with the best pieces of amber (even if not strictly constituting ‘a stone’) - for both ?

A mosquito in amber
Photographed (and licensed for use) by Didier Desouens



Early on, La propera pell (The Next Skin¹) (2015) sets its scene in the Pyrenees (with a sparing score by Gerard Gil, and a sound-design that echoes the mountainous landscape). It is then located there, save in retrospect, for the duration, as Michel (a French social worker) travels with and accompanies a teenager², along with the family that lost Gabriel eight years earlier, to settle him in.


In this film, the part of that it that is its location is neither over- nor understated : it is not one of those films where it is typically called (for want of anything better to say) ‘another character’ (or brooding), but it is where it is, and even Ana, Gabriel’s mother (who is ‘from the south’), needs to bear with it³.



Nothing is rushed in this film-making - the initial sounds, and then shots, of thawing ice assure us of this. The cinematographic choices that have been made prefer for what we see to be realistic to our visual sense, and so do not show us sharply what cannot be seen so clearly, and, at other times, employ for narratorial purposes uncertain images, or the effects of a shallow depth of field.

Using the word ‘uncertain’ just now (and – impliedly – ‘unclear’) reflects Isaki Lacuesta and Isa Campo’s tacit acknowledgement to us, as directors, that there is much that just will not be explained in La propera pell [or, as is the custom, in this preview]. However, it is not likely to be – as with Michael Haneke’s films, such as Amour (2012) – that the director / writers profess (as Haneke does) no more than we to know what happened : rather (with work on the script from Fran Araújo), they seem to have differently made such uncertainty part of their subject-matter, i.e. how they tell and / or show what we see. (Thus, one need not necessarily conceive of their not knowing what they choose not to show, but more - in order to put us in the position of the characters - of not showing it.)


The scope of the film is largely located in the time that Michel (Bruno Todeschini) safely believes that he can stay away (before feeling obliged to return to his colleagues). In fact, despite his having been much in the midst of the fuss and friction of unexpectedly fraught relationships and reactions [although – believably – just as often not happening to be there, too (with his off-screen actions are not accounted for)], not only is Michel increasingly not our eyes and ears, but we are also not simply or largely left to decide what we make of the tension, and of the past to which it relates.


Instead, we co-puzzle with the principals about what meant what, and why people’s attitudes might be as they are : from the first, we are aware of Sergi López' (Enric’s) generalized scepticism towards Àlex Monner² (or anyone in the position of his long-lost nephew Gabriel). What we come to gather more is in what his suspicion may be thought to reside… but we will wait in vain for La propera pell to spell everything out.


Àlex Monner and Sergi López


As alluded to in the heading of this posting (elaborating on how the preview has been titled), maybe we will feel ourselves invited, in watching the film, to judge what is true : it may be that one expects of films that, when they have ended, they have apparently said their piece. Yet, if one had watched El virus de la por (The Virus of Fear) (2015) in that expectation, during last year’s Camera Catalonia, the truth is that it simply would not even have 'spoken' fully, if the only time available for it do so was before being due at another screening.



Rubén de Eguia (Jordi) in El virus de la por (2015)


At face value, El virus is naturalistic, but its director, Ventura Pons, is arguably not intending it to be realistic per se. Such a reflective and thoughtful film needs time for us to be of a mind with it, and a film that may seem to concern itself with one thing (i.e. the staff of a sports centre and their interactions with those who use the facilities) may prove to have other pre-occupations⁴ :

What it is to be human, and not just frightened - but terrified - in the face of forces that one does not control or understand.



Brian Dennehy (as Krapp) with tape-recorder


As to Samuel Beckettt, his dramatic œuvre is as varied, about memory and the past⁶, as just the fraction of it that is represented by Krapp's Last Tape (or Not I) - but we could tell from them alone that he knows what it is ruminate, recollect and recall. Likewise, in Company (masterly amongst the last of the prose works), whose limpid telling - which begins with A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine (and then travels via reflection and cogitation such as Deviser of the voice and of its hearer and of himself. Deviser of himself for company) - may most obviously appear to descend, via a closing form of words, to a single word :

[...] And you as you always were.

Alone.


Whether heard or read, this word (although it may literally conclude Company) simply is not summative of the foregoing text, or of the import of having experienced the beauty of the writing, the intricacies of the thoughts and the imaginings...

Similarly, with La propera pell, it is suggested that we ought not to let its closing scenes limit what – given space and time – we would find ourselves thinking further. Sometimes, making an instant judgement at the end of a film may satisfy, but only where one it is in virtue of a revelation at its end that its worth consists :

Can we find ourselves content to feel that - within what the film does tell us - there is no scope to think beyond the terms of a single notion of What really happened ? If we cannot view it as such a film, it is one where to reflect about what has been seen will yield what it most means to us.




End-notes :

¹ It seems likely that, as with the phrase mon propre peau in French, the Catalan title translates as 'My own skin'.

² * If you were at Cambridge Film Festival for Camera Catalonia last year, Àlex Monner may seem familiar to you : he played the footballer Jordi in both Barcelona Summer Night (2013) and Barcelona Christmas Night (2015).

³ Assuming, that is, that Ana is Catalan (not Castilian Spanish), the south may be The Balearics, or within the land-mass of mainland Catalunya, and we do not know why Ana (Emma Suárez) moved. (Presumably to be with her husband (??).)

⁴ Thus, on this level, the process of the film – the presenting plot and whether it seems plausible – is subsidiary : how we get to the final scene is less important than realizing, as Jordi (alongside Anna, Hèctor and Laura) is besieged at the end of the film. (Or near the end of the film, before the camera lifts smoothly back to the omniscient vantage-point that it occupied at the start…)

⁵ Taken from ‘Brian Dennehy Knows His Krapp : A discussion with the star of Krapp’s Last Tape, opening this week at the Long Wharf Theatre’, Christopher Arnott’s posting for New Haven Theater Jerk (on 28 November 2011).

⁶ Not for nothing was Beckettt a devotee of Proust and À la recherche du temps perdu (of which Harold Pinter wrote a screen-play).




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

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Rachel Whiteread retrospective at Tate Britain - and why to visit again and again ! (work in progress)

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


7 October

This is a first reaction (work in progress) to the retrospective show for Rachel Whiteread that has just opened at Tate Britain, Millbank, London



Now, and from previous occasions of looking at work by Rachel Whiteread, one is aware that she presents a vivid and ever-continuing appreciation of the inner materiality of the substances with which she makes it : they cry out, in the exhibition at Tate Britain (@Tate), to be perceived - as the case may be - as being porous, reflective, semi-opaque, etc.

If we perceive form in her practice, but not how substance has influenced her in arriving at it, then we overlook what is intrinsic to it. For, porosity or the appearance of opacity are resolutely not merely optical qualities here, but ones that allude to the tactile nature of each piece, embodied in its capacity to look taut, pliant, rubbery, giving, and so on.


[...]





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

Friday, 6 October 2017

A taste of India in a Day (2016) [from Sheffield Doc / Fest 2016]

Tweets to encourage watching India in a Day (2016) at Cambridge Film Festival

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


6 October

Some Festival Tweets to encourage you to watch India in a Day (2016) at Cambridge Film Festival 2017





A pretty insane place ~ director of India on Film, Richie Mehta






From jokes, with people pretending to be asleep and then waking up to find the camera there, to a tender scene of putting cake in another's mouth...










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

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Let's* overhaul the Mental Health Act 1983 !

Let's* overhaul the Mental Health Act 1983 !

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


4 October

Let's* overhaul the Mental Health Act 1983 !






And what of other supposed opportunities or achievements... And looked at now, after so many people have died - or even killed themselves - because of the #WCA and #ESA ? :






End-notes :

* Let's = Let us. So who are we - and what do we want, and Why ?




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

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Tragedy, Tom Service, and The Voice Party

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


From www.bbc.co.uk/radio3 :


Why is opera so ridiculous ?

The Listening Service


Tom Service considers opera - capable of the greatest profundity and beauty, why is it so often also ridiculous ?

From Mozart to Birtwistle, Tom explores the highs and lows of this dramatic genre, and talks to two expert witnesses - the acclaimed comic writer Armando Iannucci, who is an opera-lover who sees the absurd side of it ; and international soprano Lore Lixenberg, star of the high-camp Jerry Springer : The Opera, who recently opened a singing café in Berlin called Pret A Chanter where customers must sing rather than speak.

Pret A Chanter is a post-internet real-time opera that seeks to blur the boundaries between art and life. Anyone who steps over the threshold must abide by the rules of the opera. The main rule is : No Speaking. Only Vocalisations other than speaking are allowed.
















Close - this book, by Albin Lesky







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

Threads from Twitter about this year's Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival 2017

#UCFF's 'insider' Tweets about this year's Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival

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


1 October

#UCFF's 'insider' Tweets (an aggregating collection) about this year's Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival

What is Catalan cinema? :





[...]





[...]





[...]


NB For trailers and descriptions that are more spoilery than #UCFF likes to be, see below...









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

Thursday, 28 September 2017

How many tea-towels would you like with your film ?

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


25 September







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

Poem in a Tweet, responding to a Tweet, on (apparently) #NationalPoetryDay

Poem (in a Tweet, responding to a Tweet) on - apparently - #NationalPoetryDay

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


28 September


Poem (in a Tweet, responding to a Tweet) on - apparently - #NationalPoetryDay






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

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

'I do it, because I must. His hand on mine.'

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 place-holder for a review of the world premiere of Sally Beamish and David Harsent's The Judas Passion, as performed at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, Essex, on Sunday 24 September (after broadcaster Tom Service had hosted a pre-concert talk with them from 7.30 p.m.)

[...]




[...]





[...]




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

Thursday, 21 September 2017

You never loved me. (Slight pause) You just loved how much I loved you.

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


21 September

This is less a review than an angry dismissal of mother ! (2017), by Darren Aronofsky, the person responsible for the direness that is Black Swan (2010)



Welcome to Aronofsky World - the Parade of Plaster-Saints !





[Accreting list of] Film-references and other references :

* Alien (1979)

* August : Osage County (2013)

* Biedermann und die Brandstifter [The Fire-Raisers] ~ Max Frisch

* Das Schloß [The Castle] ~ Franz Kafka

* Der Prozeß [The Trial] ~ Kafka

* Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

* Hysteria ~ Terry Johnson

* Melancholia (2011)

* On the Road (2012)

* Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

* The Baby of Mâcon (1993)

* ‘The Circular Ruins’ ~ Jorge Luis Borges







One suspects that one would, again, benefit more by watching Hepburn and Tracy in Adam's Rib (1949) rather than doing any more than groan at Aronofsky's levering the topos into his Weltanschauung... (Yes, there was clearly - from the start - more to the relationship between Bardem and Harris than presented : it did not make for dramatic irony, but for the effect of an inept screenwriter, playing with 'big ideas'.)








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

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Fahrelnissa Zeid at Tate Modern ~ 13 June to 8 October 2017

Fahrelnissa Zeid in four key works - and #UCFF comments on three...

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


14 September

Fahrelnissa Zeid in four key works - and #UCFF comments on three...

Tate has chosen to present one of its current exhibitions in this way : Fahrelnissa Zeid in four key works.

Coincidentally, #UCFF had this to comment about the show, which included three of these works :

There is subtle delineation, as if by the use of leading in a stained-glass window, in Abstract Parrot (c. 1948-1949), and the fiery terror of Alice in Wonderland* (1952) and Ubu Bird ('The Phoenix') (1952).

Planes open into planes in Break of the Atom and Vegetal Life (1962), and we see the tensions of the picture-plane in both My Hell (1951) and in 'Untitled' (c. 1950s). All of this was inherent in the (relatively) understated Resolved Problems (1948).

Another interesting room follows, with London ('The Firework') (before 1972) and Puncta Imperator ('Sea Cave') (1963), before the exhibition ends spectacularly** with Someone from the Past (1980).


End-notes :

* Outdoing Tim Burton's visions.



** As if in allusion to Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) [about whose scenes with James Stewart and Kim Novak, in the art gallery at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, one can read here] ?





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

Friday, 15 September 2017

If I bring to life whatever I can dream¹ ~ [James Dangerfield as] Joseph Frank Keaton

This reviews James Dangerfield in his ‘Buster’ Keaton show, When You Fall Down

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


14 September

This is a review of James Dangerfield in his one-man ‘Buster’ Keaton show, When You Fall Down, at The Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington, London, on Thursday 14 September at 7.30 p.m.


Run against the wind
But they won’t see the strain


James Dangerfield has written, scored, and performed a one-man show about Joseph Frank ‘Buster’ Keaton that leaves us wanting more : it runs to around fifty minutes, during which - with a consistency of diction - he blends in and out of spoken song (or lightly accented speech). Moreover, in Dangerfield’s original lyrics, there are allusions to the guiding forces in Keaton's life and that to which they have given rise in him as values (or principles).

However, without diluting the artistry of story-telling and of much that is cinematic in this presentation, we can easily imagine it extended to a full evening, and bringing others in Keaton’s life on stage with him (and not by the artifice of a candle-stick telephone), such as producer Joe Schenck (who worked alongside Keaton at Buster Keaton Productions), or Keaton’s wife Natalie²...


The show gives us significant moments in the early film-career of Keaton, before he signed to MGM³ (The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation), as if Keaton were introducing himself to the staff of MGM through a précis – each moment chronological, and heralded by its own film-clip (announcing the month and year), from the period when he started making films (March 1917) until he signed to MGM (January 1928).

In the script of the show, and importantly in its songs, James Dangerfield has chosen moments that tell us what matters to Keaton (please see below). In doing so, he employs ways not only to show that Keaton had values of hard work, fidelity in friendship, trust, and pursuing his insight into what could be achieved in film (and where those values came from), but also that evoke Keaton through costume, the grace of movement (and of dance-steps), magical sleight of hand, and, of course, through footage from Keaton’s films, such as Sherlock Jr. (1924), The General (1926), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928).


Two images from The General (1926)


As Keaton, James Dangerfield presents himself as being very light footed, and he has composed original music that is very sympathetic to the tone-colours of his voice (and to where it lies). The very opening theme is auspicious, and leads into Keaton - at the time when he has been appearing, in March 1917, in the Shubert Brothers' review, The Passing Show - having been urged, by his friend Roscoe Arbuckle, to take his first steps on film [in The Butcher Boy (1917)].


Performing almost as long as you’ve been alive


All those years as a human mop


Keaton reflects on his life, and, contemplating the camera, considers (in 'What is this ? What are you ?') all that he sees that the camera is capable of depicting for others to see :

And bring to life
Whatever I can dream

The optimistic tone of the opening resumes in this number, to end triumphantly - already, the audience was with Dangerfield as Keaton, just as assuredly it was (in October 1924) in '[I am ]The Navigator', a big and inspiring musical number of self-belief :

I'm ready to employ
The best effects
Ever seen
On celluloid !
¹



Two images from Sherlock Jr. (1924)


Early on, we heard that he married Natalie and moved to LA (at the age of twenty-five), but, within six years, he is ruefully calling out her name, and soon – which Dangerfield did in real time on stage - drawing bigger and bigger images of the houses that he offered to build her...


Even so, in Keaton's 3.5-acre Italian villa, where Harold Lloyd, Louise Brooks, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin visited, we learn that Natalie’s relations look on me like a clowning oddity, in a house with The bedroom where I now sleep separately.

The quality of the writing, and of the song, stop Dangerfield being maudlin, but having Natalie portrayed directly would obviously give the problems of the marriage a rounded impression...


Just one who gets back on his feet,
Whatever has been thrown at me


We also saw Keaton in real pain at others ruining my friend, 'Fatty' Arbuckle – who had got him into film – after the world determined that They want to hang you out and cry ; 'This happened because Hollywood ain’t dry !' :

They tried you three times
And never gave you blame


We hear Keaton say, of his film-making, that you Don’t always need to speak to be heard, and, both in re-creating how Keaton might have gone about meeting himself on screen – in the midst of his off-screen life – and evoking Keaton being chased, and also with Martyn Stringer (who arranged Dangerfield's songs and wrote the instrumental numbers), Dangerfield has worked carefully to be filmic.

In September 1927, the final moment in the show, Stringer gives us the sense of danger in his score before we even hear that Keaton has been being told that it is Not like the old days now [by Chuck Reisner, directing Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)], and we see the creative Keaton fearing that he might lose all creative control by signing to MGM…

Even so, he does, of course, sign (and a series of closing-titles tells us what happens to Arbuckle, Keaton, and his marriage), but not before a rousing reprise of ‘The Navigator’ - with Keaton’s eye back to the camera.


A well-written and very confidently performed and convivial one-man show by James Dangerfield, which deserves to be seen more widely, and with which, for now, Keaton and he have a date at The Buster Keaton Convention - all present on the night enjoyed the spectacle, as well as learning more about Keaton’s life, and we wish the show a very bright future !


End-notes :

¹ The songs quoted are (in order of being quoted) : And bring to life [...] from 'Day-dreams' ; I’m ready to employ [...] from 'The Navigator' ; look on me like a clowning oddity from 'My Wife's relations' ; What the press decides [...] and Roscoe, they want to hang you out [...] from 'The Goat / Cops' ; and, from the start of the show's text, You take the knocks [...] .

² Natalie Talmadge, sister of Norma and Constance Talmadge, and who retired from acting in 1923 : the image shows her on screen with Keaton in Our Hospitality (1923). (When married, she called herself Natalie Talmadge Keaton.)

³ Apparently, against the advice of both Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin.

⁴ It seems that Houdini gave Keaton the nick-name ‘Buster’, after seeing him fall down a flight of stairs as a very young vaudeville artist, and saying to Keaton’s parents ‘That was some buster your son took’. In Buster Keaton : Cut to the Chase (Da Capo Press, 1977), Marion Meade (for one) wants to say, about the physical nature of his father Joe Keaton's stage-act, that it 'pushed slapstick so far that it straddled the line between physical comedy and child abuse'.

You take the knocks
Absorb the shocks
And then you keep on going
¹


There’s nothing left of me
They could tear down




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

Monday, 11 September 2017

Is The Villainess (2017) - despite resemblance to the Kill Bill volumes (2003 / 2004) - closer to Looper (2012) ?

Responses to a Teaser screening of The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo) (2017)

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


11 September

Some first-night responses to a Teaser screening, by London Korean Film Festival (in conjunction with Cambridge Film Festival), of The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo) (2017), screened at The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, on Monday 11 September at 9.00 p.m.




In The Villainess (2017), who is the title-character ?
Is it Seo-hyeong Kim ?



Amidst all the sequences where so much happens so quickly (the whirl that is typically in The Matrix (1999), or of the Kill Bill films (2003, 2004)), the opposite pole of The Villainess - aside from the possible elements of melodrama* of which Mark Morris spoke - is that type of moment when one thing reminds of another (which is there, with Motoko, in Ghost in the Shell (1995)) :

Sook-hee (played by Ok-bin Kim) is no longer in the present, because her instant has become the time to which (drawn by remembrance) she has disassociated - and so she is then visibly not 'present' to someone near her. But this is not mere daydream, but traumatic revisiting of episodes (or eras) of abuse [As in As if I am Not There (2010)].

As Motoko arguably is intuitively seeking – without knowing whom, or what, she seeks (but having the capacity ‘to dive into’ the being of others) – so is Sook-hee. Accordingly, we see her, finding in parts of her memory to which she does not have direct access things that events throw up, but unable to give her complete history (and so the film does not show it, not even 'out of order'). To this extent, The Villainess will not fully explain who Sook-hee is, or why, but just alludes to the tortuousness of her life - as its painful and wounded nature becomes clear to us.



In literary terms, one is reminded not only of G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday (and Conrad's The Secret Agent), but also the weirdness of Iain Banks in The Wasp Factory, A Song of Stone, and - of course - The Business !


Film-references :

* Akira (1988)

* As if I am Not There (2010)

* Ghost in the Shell (1995)

* Jupiter Ascending (2015)

* Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) / Vol. 2 (2004)

* Looper (2012) [Surprise Film at Cambridge Film Festival]

* Salt (2010)

* The Matrix (1999)



These tattered corridors, do they remind us of where Neo seems to have been gunned down for good... ?






End-notes :

* There are certainly romantic tropes, but how much are they undercut by everything else that we know... ? (Even so it is very important for Sook-hee to know whether she was ever loved, whatever happens Now.)




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