Monday, August 6, 2007

August 6th Log

2006, Tom Tykwer, Germany / France / Spain
1st Viewing, DVD

The task of adapting Patrick Suskind's acclaimed best selling novel into a film is a challenging task because of its reliance on the sense of smell. Some filmmakers have the masterful ability to capture the sense and some thrive on such limitations (it is said that Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, and Milos Forman all had interest in adapting this film). The film is directed and cowritten by talented German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, who reached international acclaim with his 1998 film Run Lola Run. Tykwer has since made some good films, including his last feature Heaven, which to me remains his best work. Tykwer himself is limited as a filmmaker and the result is a bold attempt that is ultimately executed poorly. Weighed down by John Hurt’s voice narration, which unoriginally reminds viewers of Lars von Trier’s Dogville, Perfume never provides the depth or insight into the tortured psyche of its character. The performances are not bad, but they fail to draw any emotional connection (or even disconnection) to it, which essentially defines the entire film. It was Kubrick himself who proclaimed the book unfilmable, but it would have been interesting to see him try.

2003, Josh Pias, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

7th Street is Josh Pias’ love letter to his neighborhood- New York City’s East Village, which was once a drug infested ghetto that has since been converted to a place of upper class yuppies. The film is nostalgic in everyway as Pias makes it about his life growing up on 7th Street and the neighbors he grew up with. Ultimately Pias makes it a film about community and togetherness and he urges those of his new neighborhood to find the togetherness that made 7th Street such a wonderful place to be apart of. Pias does not neglect change, rather reflecting on its positives and negatives but above all the film captures the joy of community and cultures as a celebrated one. Even though Pias nostalgia is evident and obvious the film is a sincere one. My interest in the film was sparked by a desire to seek out more work from Linda Hattendorf, who directed the excellent 2006 documentary The Cats of Mirikitani and serves as editor on this film.


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