Saturday, 15 September 2007
Jimmy Liao, C. Jay Shih, Alan Tuan and Poliang Lin "A Fish With A Smile"
Friday, 14 September 2007
Julia Pott "My First Crush"
Thursday, 13 September 2007
Suzie Templeton "Stanley"
Stanley is a very successful, award winning comedy by Suzie Templeton released in 1999. At over 7 minutes in length it is full of black humour in a rich tradition of British movies. A very British movie in fact. An elderly couple seem not to talk with each other. Not once! They are full of dark suspicions of each other's interests. The wife cooks and wields the heavy knife on her various huge chunks of meat with relish. The knife is honed to perfection. Her husband, Stanley, fondly feeds, washes and generally dotes on his prize possession, a cabbage. Stanley even dreams of the beautiful brassica. He's smitten, in love. There are three in his marriage. Then one day the wife's eyes alight on a recipe that will change her life forever. Suzie's puppets are terrific. One perspective has us looking up at the old woman's lined face as she prepares to hack into the chicken, her eyes manic, her features florid. Wonderful. The set is a delight too with an archaic kitchen and the cabbage in the old metal bath in the backyard. There is also a perfect accompaniment of light jazz from Jonny Templeton and Sam Butterfield. To think this was a student project! By the way, the illustration is a little brighter than is the norm in a generally dark set because it is part of a dream sequence. Stanley is available at Atom Films and YouTube.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Nora Twomey "From Darkness"
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Luis Zamora Pueyo "My Grandmother"
My Grandmother produced and directed in 2004 by Luis Zamora Pueyo is a distinctive movie that packs a punch. Sketched in black on white it concerns an old lady who is seemingly happy, surrounded by her family, but has to be prompted by the local bakery that the annual delivery of her grandson's birthday cake is imminent. She talks endlessly, particularly to her cat. When the cake arrives the bakers have a shock in store for them. It is a powerful movie, with a surprise ending and some revealing choice of detail to show the old woman's life. Thus we have no real close-up of her face and the angles of view are often oblique; instead we gain a view of a dripping tap or, as in the still above, her feet and ball of wool. Two other features may be commented upon: first an excellent soundtrack and musical score both of which were produced by Luis himself; second, the convincing and expert voice of Liz Smith in the role of old woman. Those who know British television's The Royle Family and The Vicar of Dibly will find Liz very familiar and her portrayal here is touching. The film is over nine minutes in length and based on a story by Gonzallo Miralles. It was produced as one of Luis' first year works from his time studying for a BA at the Royal College of Art and may be viewed or downloaded from his website. His graduation piece is the equally enthralling "The Family", and his "About Sofia" gained him an MA. He now resides in Madrid in his home country though he has worked professionally here in the UK. I will write about his two other movies later this week.
Monday, 10 September 2007
Yamamura Koji "Man and Whale"
Man and Whale is a moving and very effective campaign movie made for Greenpeace by Yamamura Koji. Although only 2 minutes in length it manages to convey an alternative Japanese as well as world perspective on hunting great whales for food. It focuses on the ageing headmaster of a school whose office overlooks the sea. His interest in the whale is obvious given the sketches on his desk and wall, together with a pair of binoculars. But today he has not seen any whales. He considers the past when whales formed part of the diet in a poor country. Now in the modern and rich Japan there is no longer that need. How the headmaster harnesses the pupils to save a whale is one strand of the movie. The film is quite beautifully and sympathetically drawn. The present day is in colour, the past in black and white. However it is the recreation of the huge creature, both hauled in by the fishing boats or in its natural element, that the lies at the heart of the movie: the majesty of the beast is captured. Also the enthusiasm of the headmaster and his total commitment is entirely communicated. The presumed brief of the Greenpeace sponsors is to awaken modern Japan to the wonders they have in the oceans. The movie delivers this in spades. Yamamura is a hugely successful movie maker with a great number of films to his credit since his graduation from Tokyo Zokei University in 1987. His exceptional Atama-Yama was Oscar nominated. You can see other samples of Yamamura's work on the dauntingly slick On-Line Theatre. I will look at his other work including Atama-Yama in a further post.
I have decided to include a still from the movies I feature on the blog. I hope it adds something, if only to my workload! I may be tempted to backtrack a little and add images as the mood takes me.