You get the feeling Kaili is at a crossroads of not only modernity and custom but also industry and nature, with cement caverns and tenements sculpted into the sides and innards of lush, green hills and talk of old rituals and local lore, however mournful or unsettling, striking life into the film’s dark interiors.
In this new Reverse Shot Talkie, the greatest living British filmmaker wanders the halls of Museum of the Moving Image in New York with host Eric Hynes and talks about the popular songs that helped shape his childhood, and which in turn helped shape his cinema.
In real classrooms and on real film shoots, there remains an inevitable tension between the roles that certain figures who exercise authority must play and the principles and aspirations that guide some of our most progressive teachers and moviemakers.
This year’s Competition features a number of burgeoning talents as well as notable critical darlings, resulting in an uncommonly stimulating first week. On Sieranevada, Staying Vertical, Toni Erdmann, Slack Bay, Paterson.
A filmmaker, like Loznitsa, may use the camera to frame unscripted events to place them within understandable linear frameworks; another, like Malick, uses it to liberate ostensibly scripted events so that one can get at deeper truths behind the images. Maybe cinema exists somewhere in the middle.
The exteriors were shot on 65mm film, the interiors were captured digitally, and they offer different kinds of rapture, the former taking in the vastness of the land with hushed, God-like awe, the latter almost unbearably human, hunkering down in the burnished shadows of rooms sometimes lit by a single candle.
What are the implications in arguing that a work imagined by an artist, then scripted and performed before a camera, bears more of those markers we associate with reality than another filmed in a real town that tells the stories of people who actually exist?
Not only is it very difficult to isolate the formal elements of a performance, but it is also very difficult to isolate what makes a particular performance or performer look or feel better or even different from another without getting into extremely complex cultural codes and idioms.
Synopsized, The Lobster might sound like high-concept science-fiction: a bit of Logan’s Run, a touch of Fahrenheit 451. And after a fashion it is, though there are no jumpsuits, moon boots, retinal scans, plasma cannons, or any other such trappings.
Why are we suddenly so obsessed with questioning cinematic reality? Why “docs”? And why now? To get at these queries, and try to get a handle on the nonfiction boom, we figured we’d do it the best way we know how: with a new symposium.