Archive | November 2011

Who is on the Ben Wheatley´s Kill List?

Seems like everyone…

Last evening screening at the Poly cinema in Falmouth turned out to be a very interesting meeting.

Kill List is getting quite a lot of attention in UK these days. So I am really happy that it was screened in here, so I could see why it is so popular with my own eyes. And big plus goes to the Poly cinema, because they gave us a chance to talk to the director Ben Wheatley too. Nothing is better than a regular screening accompanied by the people who made the film.

I had no idea what the movie was supposed to be about. I kind of didn’t want it spoiled and sometimes it is just good not know much about the film. And as it turned out, that was a very good decision.

Director Ben Wheatley turned out to be an interesting person too. I like it when directors can reasonably answer questions about their films, when they can completely explain the reason they made it that way. His answers were very honest and interesting, and they really made me think about what he said and how it applies to the movie.

He also said that this was the first and last time he has shot the drama. I can completely understand him. Kill List is too depressing. It really gore and violent, but if you are already used to it  (and watched enough Trier or Chan Park-Wook films or saw Haneke´s Funny Games), it´s not that bad. I would compare it to the Nicolas Winding Refn Drive. Drive was also full of blood and violent scenes (and famous beating scene from lift pose as a very realistic presentation of violence in a quite aesthetically stylish movie), but it was for a reason. In this film violence feels strangely real, sometimes it even hurts looking at it, but it belongs there. You can’t have a movie about hit man without blood. Kill List is definitely an interesting film. Depressing and full of blood and violence, but on the other hand, also offers Mike Leigh like portrayal of a one extraordinary family. Maybe may only problem with this movie is that it tries to be everything – family drama, krimi genre, horror, buddy film, black comedy. However, in the end it works. Because this movie meant to raise all those question and doubts. Because that is exactly what Ben Wheatley wanted from his audience. Same reason why he also banned all questions about the plot before the screening started. He wanted to raise the questions and let us hang there, and then end the film without answering them. He is just one of those directors, who likes to play with their viewers.

And in the end I have to say again, it worked. People talked, people wondered, and they kept talking about Ben Wheatley´s Kill List all evening – trying to find answers to his questions.


Brief encounters and train platforms

An evening with David Lean and Krzysztof Kieslowski

And once again it had something to do with a trains. As I pointed some time before trains or trains platforms offer us some really amazing chance meetings. All those strangers and people walking around, losing their bags, hurrying to catch their trains. Seriously, not catching your trains can seriously damage or change your life.

Famous film from the polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski Blind Chance is all about a guy who was too late or too soon to catch one particular train – and it´s about his life but from three different perspectives. Everything because of the one train. Catch it or not to catch it. Communist, rebel, or a successful doctor? That is rather serious question there.

Two strangers from the David Lean 1945 feature Brief Encounter are rather interesting “pair“. Good wife and successful doctor had also found each other by a chance. One day they met in the small café near the train platform (looks like something is in my eye trick will always work),they fell in love and tried to cheat on their husband and wife. It may sound bold, but that´s exactly what this movies is about – it´s about trying not to love, about suppressing your feelings. Too bad their love was strong and too bad her husband was just too good and understanding to be abandoned.
I suppose that was rather the point. It said a lot of about human affiliations and that ever-present guilt in our lives.

I didn’t know much about film or about the actors. Apparently it’s again some sort of British national film treasure, because everyone around me saw it before and obviously they didn’t mind seeing it again.  And to say it frankly, I am not that much into romance (and I do not consider film as Casablanca to be a romance – for me it’s amazingly written war drama with great tragic pair of heroes). However, when I do like something it’s because a reason. And David Lean Brief Encounter is an amazing study of a relationship between man and woman, with fine actors performances and believable settings. Film feels very realistic – like life itself. I would definitely suggest it to anyone, even to the most cynical individuals.

This film is also David Lean last encounter with the writer and playwright Noel Coward. Sometimes it´s really hard to say goodbye.

Bruce Robinson & I, Apichatpong Weerasethakul & I, Aki Kaurismäki & I, György Pálfi & I, Dagur Kári & I, Ken Loach & I, Emir Kusturica & I, Lisandro Alonso & I…

Auteur theory representation in real life

It came to my attention that I even in my quite short life spam I ´ve managed to “meet“ quite an interesting group of filmmakers. Not all I would want, but enough to start (and because I am still what job search agency would call too inexperienced) bragging about. A chance to meet your often favourite director is the best thing festival can offer. Normally I would be really hard to even come closer to him. If you don’t know right people, of course.

You can meet them face to face, question them about their style, ask them about work, you can take something of your own from them. You can notice that Lisandro Alonso has the saddest smile, Ken Loach has longest successful film career and most fascinating hairstyle, or the fact that Dagur Kári can perfectly answer question about Iceland tapestry, fact that Kusturica has to become as famous as Fellini otherwise his father won´t acknowledge his directing career, or that György Pálfi is definitely nowhere close to his characters in Taxidermia.

And sometimes when you are brave enough, you can catch them on a street, buy them some beer and have them only for yourself. I heard György Pálfi is very friendly type of guy. And I meant it in a good way. However Aki Kaurismäki is completely different cause. Not that he is not friendly or what, he was certainly good to people, but he doesn’t like – to his fans dismay – attending O&A after festival screenings. He had spent most of his time in Czech Republic drinking outside festival cinema. Not alone of course, he was very buying shot for all his new friends.

My last encounter was with the director and writer Bruce Robinson, mostly known as creator of Britain much loved buddy film Withnail & I, or now in cinemas adaptation of  the famous Hunter Thompson novel – The Rum Diary. Truly remarkable person – and amazing storyteller I have to say. For nearly two hours he had managed to hold our attention with his witty remarks about world of film or writing. Only telling stories, sometimes backtracking from original question, just to reach deeper and tell us something new and amusing about how it works, for example in Hollywood. It´s very bad, he said. We shouldn’t go there. And now for another useful advice. If your are director struggling with camera or setting just : “ Point your camera at the story. “
I hereby name him The funniest director I ever met.

My award to The cutest director goes to young female director Sophie Schoukens. Check out her debut film – Marieke Marieke.
Another award goes to Kaurismäki for being the closest to the characters he created in his movies – as much one director can be.
And to Apichatpong for being one of the most intelligent and inspiring people I met in years.
Other awards should be coming soon. I am still waiting for encounter with Lars von Trier.

A dreamlike sight and sound experimentation

An evening with music and experimental film

Screening of old experimental flicks accompanied by the acclaimed musicians John Garden and Tory Orell called The Perfume of Dreams can be definitely considered as one of a Bristol International Short Film Festival highlights.

This was an evening full of an old surreal pictures and slightly futuristic music sounds. This is more and more popular trend nowadays. The silent cinema screenings accompanied by a live music, where people of all ages can come and enjoy old films presented in modern style. These kind of meetings are in my opinion one of best performances current cinema can offer – to everyone who is interested in film (and not only film!).

Because sometimes it´s nice to see cinema full of young people glued to screen, watching films, with which even some acclaimed film critics have problems.

And sometimes it is really hard to pay attention to the one hour full of experimental non-linear films. However, thanks to the amazing music accompaniment by those two guys, you will soon forget about you surroundings and think only about what is happening in front of you – so much that you can even forget about those completely uncomfortable chairs (especially if your legs just can’t fit into that tiny space, without kicking a person sitting in front of you).

We are all strangers on a train…

At the beginning

I decided, that my first introduction to the amazing world of blogging should start with proper arrival. On a train. Because this moving platform is definitely my most favourite one. So it all starts on a train, especially on the one I had to take to Bristol, where I hope to fulfill my amazing film expectation (even thought I am having hard time suppressing  my conscience, which is still trying to accuse me of ditching my university assignments).

I always loved trains. To those who love cars, bikes, or boats or anything, trains are number one for me.  Some time ago I decided, that one day I will make a film about them. Like Buster Keaton did. Because if it wasn´t his love for the trains, world would never know the movie The General – in my opinion greatest silent comedy ever created.

They are spacious, comfortable (when staff can remember to turn heating on), with coffee service and sometimes (depends on country, certainly not in the UK) they are cheaper.  And bonus feature is – you can never know who you will meet there.
I had some very interesting encounters in all my train years, it´s just one of those this that happens. Take Hitchcock famous thriller Strangers on a train as an example.  That was one of an unforgettable chance meeting and it ended up with an offer no one can refuse. Even if you try.
Something like that can never happen in real life. And it´s too bad sometimes. It would bring some excitement into my boring life of a university student.  Craziest person I ever met on a train was one of those faint healers – he tried to heal another passenger broken arm.
One day, when I end my blog I´ll take a plain (intergalactic space ship would by me first choice, but we are still not there). That´s another one of favourite film platforms for action and important meetings – it´s something people and filmmakers can easily identify with.  I suggest Air force one as an example. I am sure that happens all the time.

So you can meet loads of interesting people on the train. And as I see, my train is already arriving and I need to get ready for another amazing encounter – this time with the cinema itself.