Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May 2nd Log

2006, Kelly Reichardt, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Old Joy is a quiet and simple film that reveals its emotional depth through feeling. The film runs just 73 minutes and really only features several scenes. However these moments are revealing through subtle dialogue and gestures. Aiding this is an undercurrent of visual beauty and environments. The story centers around two old friends who reunite on a trip in the mountains. Together they look to recapture their :old joy” and youthful spirit, yet clearly it becomes evident that this is lost. This is all expressed in the slightest of expression, including the way the film contrasts the visuals of natural landscapes and industrial environments. Director Kelly Reichardt (in her feature debut) reveals a lot through visual feeling and gestures, while keeping a tone of mystery, capped off with a sudden inconclusive final shot.

2007, Michael Apted, United Kingdom / United States

1st Viewing, Theater

Michael Apted is a filmmaker that does not hide his liberal slant. With his latest film, Amazing Grace Apted uses his liberalism with a heavy hand of guilt in an ambitious account of William Wilberforce’s passionate campaign to end slave trade in Britain. Though the film is heavy-handed in its politics it is very insightful and certainly well intended. Ioan Gruffudd gives a strong lead performance as Wilberforce, and he is aided by a solid supporting cast (notably Albert Finney as a former slave trader turned preacher, as well as a charming performance by Romola Garai as Wilberforce’s wife). The film is powerful and intelligent in both its politics and spirituality, highlighted by the use of the song Amazing Grace.


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