Thursday, November 23, 2017

Kazakhstan films: Test (2014) and Sveta (2017)

Films with no speech…
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Kirsten: I saw a Kazakhstan film three years ago in which there was no speaking. Test. Испытание. Then last month Sveta became the second Kazakhstan film I have seen with no speaking.
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Dorothy: No speaking means it was a statement of some kind?
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Elena An in Test
Kirsten: Different films, different intentions. Test was about a wordless relationship between a dying father and his teenage daughter living in a very remote steppe area. The power of the film was in the cinematography. Only three pages of script, the film took shape and grew a story during editing. But a powerful film. Star, Elena An, a non-professional actress.
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Dorothy: I can imagine the work that went into post-production on that!
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Laura Koroleva in Sveta
Kirsten: And Sveta had a cast who were all deaf. A drama revolving around a unique deaf woman. The characters all used Russian sign language to communicate. A tightly scripted story but the director said the hard work was in training the cast to act since they were deaf. A lot of rehearsals and retakes. Star, Laura Koroleva, again a non-professional actress. Just goes to show.
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Dorothy: Subtitled?
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Kirsten: Of course. Japanese down the right, English along the bottom.
____________
Voice-over
Alexander Kott, director of Test.
Zhanna Issabayeva, director of Sveta.

Kazakhstan has an active film industry and international film festivals: the International Astana Action Film Festival and the Eurasia International Film Festival held annually.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

French film: Lumière!

A paean to the genius of the Lumières…
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Marguerite: A collection of 108 remastered 50 second-films.
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Auguste and Louis
Jeanne: They were inventors and directors, not just inventors, like Edison. He shut the moving pictures in a box, in his kinetoscope. The Lumières showed the moving pictures using their cinematograph, so many people could see at once.
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Marguerite: The cinema was born.
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Jeanne: Edison’s invention was like seeing pictures on a smartphone. The Lumières created cinema. A distinction that exists today.
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A star is born...
Marguerite: They formed a, what you say, a disciplage of directors who went out and shot exotic places and activities. Collaborative power.
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Jeanne: And their actualités are really the first documentaries. Apt naming too. Their name means “light”.
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Marguerite: And what a body of work they left. Produced 1500 films between 1895 and 1905, then just quit. Went on to other things.
_________
Voice-over

Brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, inventors, producers, directors. In a sense, they founded the movie business. Kudos to Director Thierry Frémaux for his 4K montage of 108 films: Lumière!
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Monday, November 13, 2017

Indian film: Bioscopewala

A film about cinema...
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Addie Quested: Right up there with Cinema Paradiso and Good morning Babilonia. Is the genre Bollywood?
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Fruit selling to film showing
Anne Sari: Bollywood is often about drama, music, dance, romance. It doesn’t have much of that. But Hindi cinema contains epic references, family stories and stories within stories. So there’s an element of Bollywood.
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Addie Quested: What prompted the format?
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Anne Sari: Actually it was the story of Kabuliwala, by Rabindranath Tagore that formed the structure.
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Addie Quested: A dried-fruit seller from Kabul. An old story,1892.
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Anne Sari: Yes. We called the girl Mini too, but made put into a modern context. In the 1990s, the bioscopewala, an Afghan itinerant, who showed cinema in the streets, befriended Mini because she reminded him of his daughter. Her father, a photographer, also befriended him. Jump forward twenty years, Mini’s father died on his way to Kabul, the bioscopewala has been in prison and lost his mind, so Mini sets out on a pilgrimage to put the pieces together.
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Voice-over

Bioscopewala: a bioscope is a simple cinema, a wala is one who runs a bioscope. Echoes of literature, twists in the plot, the characters struggle and develop. Good one!
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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Spanish film: Sad Hill Unearthed

Documentary about the location of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (GBU)
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Lee: Opens at a massive rock concert, close-up of lead singer.
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Eli: What did that have to do with a spaghetti western film set?
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Lee: You’ll see. Stay with me. The original location was in Spain, though it was about the American Civil War. An artificial graveyard was being restored by a group of enthusiasts who went on social media, attracted volunteers to scrape and dig to unearth the original site, crowd-funded it too.
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Eli: The power of the group.
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Lee: And they also interviewed the composer, Ennio Moricone, had to use archive footage of the director, Sergio Leone, because he’d died years ago. There were interviews with Clint Eastwood, and biographer Christopher Frayling, and with film critic Stephen Leigh.
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Eli: So they mixed the authentic original people with those who captured the historical cinematographic aspects?
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Lee: Stunning 4K clarity in 16:9 mixed with archive footage in 4:3 cinéma vérité.  Droneswoops over the site and circling back to an interview with Metallica’s lead singer, James Hetfield.
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Eli: And the relevance of that?
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Lee: Metallica have used the theme of GBU in gigs for 30 years. That Moricone score, basically only four notes, guitars then Mariachi trumpets. One of the most haunting movie melodies.
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Voice-over

A documentary that is a celebration of a memorable movie (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo), a tribute to how it was made, and a record of the location restoration. A double reflexive-mode (see Bill Nichols) documentary; the recording of the making of the movie itself within a recording of the making of the documentary. A nested narrative.
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Red Cross Nurse White Rabbit

WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT

Red Cross Nurse Usagiko is here to save us.
Wars, pandemics, there’s lots that could pop up.
May saying WR3 bring a lucky November.
And not too many crises for the Red Cross to mop up.




WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT
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