Saturday, April 21, 2007

April 21st Log

2001, Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan / France
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Tsai Ming-liang's 2001, What Time Is It There? is a masterpiece of pure brilliance. As original, exciting, andbeautiful a film can possibly get. As with all of Tsai's films the camera consists of long, extended takes and isolated framing to enhance the alienation of the characters as well as create a claustrophobic atmosphere. There are also many moments of dialogue free silence. Tsai wants the viewer to absorb the film, to participate in it, and emphasize with the characters situations and emotions. It truly creates a challenging and thus a deeply rewarding cinematic experience. There are so many levels, meanings, and recurring themes ranging from separation, loss, loneliness, but it's ultimately about humanities connection and coincidence both with each other and between the living and dead. It's a calm, sometimes humorous, and always poetic film of the human soul's longing for love. The lovely (and mysterious) ending quietly arrives as the three main characters are shown sleeping and alone after having just failed to emotionally or sexually communicate. The final shot can be interpreted several different ways, but ultimately represents one of the films themes (the connection of thedead and living). To me, this film is unbelievably powerful and haunting. It's images beautiful and few films capture loneliness more effectively. Tsai is truly a genius and gifted filmmaker, and this may be his finest masterpiece. What Time Is It There is an absolute work of art, and among my all-time favorite films!

1997, Kasi Lemmons, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

"Memory is a selection of images, some elusive, other sprinted indelibly on the brain. The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old." Through it's atmospheric visuals (beautifully shot in the New Orleans bayou), poetic dialogue, and complex characterization, Eve's Bayou is a haunting, mysterious, magical and powerful film. The performances are brilliant, most notably by the two young actresses (Jurnee Smollett and Meagan Good). The film is the feature filmmaking debut of writer-director Kasi Lemmons, and here she displays the skills of a veteran. The characters are each beautifully in-depth and the viewer will certainly connect emotionally to them. Above all, Eve's Bayou is so engaging for it's visual atmosphere, which includes symbolic imagery and beautiful composed cinematography and scenery. Eve's Bayou is a forgotten gem of the 1990's. The absorbing atmosphere and mood of this film is (like the voodoo within the film) haunting and spellbinding.


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