Friday, September 21, 2007

September 21st Log

2006, Andrea Arnold, United Kingdom / Denmark

1st Viewing, DVD

Red Road was the Jury Prize Winner at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. The film begins effective, building up atmosphere and a feeling of detachment from the world. However, contrived plot elements take over the final third of the film and the result is a rather dull film. The film is directed by English filmmaker Andrea Arnold (who won an Oscar for her short film Wasp). Arnold has some connections with the Dogme (Lars von Trier) crew and her influences are evident in both style and technique (stripping the film of traditional elements such as score and lighting). Red Road is well made, but ineffective in it’s storytelling. I will be interested to see what Andrea Arnold does with her next film.

1959, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
Repeat Viewing, DVD

By 1959 Ozu had converted to making color films, but he refused to fall into the conventions of CinemaScope. Ozu preferred his rare and simplistic filmmaking style. However, with Floating Weeds he did get the legendary Japanese cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (most known for his work with the great Kenji Mizoguchi) to photograph the film. It remains one of the only post-war films not be shot by Yuuharu Atsuta and also one of the few color films in which the camera moves. Visually the film is stunning and breathtakingly rich and detailed. Floating Weeds is a remake of Ozu's 1934 silent film A Story of Floating Weeds. While the storyline is alike, the biggest difference between the film lies in the tone. Both films handle the melodrama in different ways. Floating Weeds is a compassionate at times visually masterful film. Not everything works here but there are some moments of humor and subtle poetry.

>>> More on Floating Weeds @ A2P Cinema's Yasujiro Ozu website HERE

>>> Here is a clip from the opening moments of Floating Weeds:


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