HarryTuttle's Spontaneous Impressions - 1

5x2 (5 fois 2)
9 songs
10e Chambre, instants d'audiences
11'09"01 - September 11
Twenty Days Without War
800 Balas / 800 Bullets

> CRIT <5x2 (5 fois 2)
2004 - François OZON - France

I was conquered by the light pace of these little "nothing" slices of life that determine/undermine a relationship, like a couple radioscopy from backstage.
5 by 2, means 5 sequences of a couple's life. It's told backward, from Divorce, Diner with friends, Birth of the first boy, Wedding day, Meeting on the beach.
This is a good case to show how irrational love can be, and how slow can be the demise of a couple. Because despite hard evidences of failure, both men and women keep coming back to the loved one, hoping to change things. Both the husband and the wife tried to ignore the lack of love, and the absurdity of their relationship for years, as a matter of fact, Emmanuelle Devos does come back to him for a one-night stand at the hotel after their divorce when the film starts! She didn't learn.
The rhythm, the selected slices of life going backward, the photography, the soundtrack... everything made it a delicious moment to me.


> CRIT <9 songs
2004 - Michael WINTERBOTTOM - UK

9 ways to make love without strings attached.
Porno chic. Brit Rock. Antartica. These are the seemingly antipodal elements put together by an elusive jump-cut edit of unrelated clips. She's 21, american, had dated men from Brazil, Colombian, Mexico and UK. He's 30ish, british, well hung and analyzes ice samples from Antartica. They are in London, go to rock gigs and make love. The plot is this shallow, or should I say selective, because every other aspect of their life is eluded.
The wordless succession of multiple sexual positions alternated by live songs, could look like a non-violent version of The Empire of Senses, thanks to quality lighting and delicate cinematography. But the film wouldn't be as dreadful if there was a meaning to all this. The message escaped me at least. Nonetheless, these 2 young actors going through non-simulated sex scenes and naked dialogues, are remarkably natural.

C:+ W:0 M:+ I:++ C:+++


> CRIT <10e Chambre, instants d'audiences
2004 - Raymond DEPARDON - France

Not that good. It's an interesting sneaky peek inside shut-doors trial room, and the passive close ups of the offenders, lawyers, attorney and judge, give a certain anti-dramatic "naked truth" to it. But these are only minor dismeanor, and the hearrings are largely edited so I felt frustrated by the missing information. I'm not sure this could appeal to a foreign audience unfamiliar with french laws. However the humor is universal as the woman judge condescendingly ridicule the defendants who are dumbed down by fear of this impressively staged justice.

A thematic TV documentary inserted in a debate with guests and journalists would do, but a stand-alone theatrical piece seems much boring for an audience not related to these cases, let alone foreigners to french law.

To add to your little audience study, the one I attended to, mainly french, was rather studious, like myself, aware of the non-fictional aspect dealing with real people's lives. We had a couple of similar repetitive laughters too, but some of the material is definitely comical by essence, whether it is to mock the defendant or the judge, justified in both case.

Personaly I grew more confident in laughing as the film progressed, conscious of the over-dramatic farce staged behind closed doors, a spectacle we are never given the chance to witness without being in the position of the humiliated culprit. In the second half I was laugging at the grotesque exaggeration of this disturbing serie of petty arrangement between people obviously denying responsability of their acts, and totally oblivious of the official procedure already engaged, trying to backpedal, lie and smooth talk the judge into dissmissing the case.

It didn't strike me how the defendant benefited the same low angle framing, but I assume a lot of this stylish purity is due to the narrow leeway left to the filmmaker by the court, which never allowed a camera before. The footage is largely edited, it feels like a digest of highlights, skimming through with a fastforward remote control. I'm not sure his idea to compile pairs of cases with pairs of verdits was truly helping. Let's not forget the people all agreed and signed to allow filming their case, they are self-conscious and the "movie-star" effect plays a certain role in their behavior. No doubt to feel the presence of the neutral filmmaker on their side in this court full of unknown people (who all know each other and are paid to punish you), was a welcome external eye, in a maybe illusionary hope to keep for the record the injustice falling upon them. Most of the cases show a definite sense of denial and injustice, even when obviously guilty (the pickpocket who pretends to be stalked by the policeman, the knife holder man who takes notes and did a preliminary study of law to teach the judge!...).

This is scary to wonder why we're laughing, and what we are laughing at, like you and Girish discussed. But I'm not sure the form this film takes nor the subject used was the best material to make this demonstration. Also the 2 last cases with open ended outcome felt more frustrating than seducting to me. Why not cutting out all verdicts then? or keeping them all for the end? It was too confusing to make a meaningful statement anyway. More intertitles commentaries all along, to precise context at hand, would have made the film much more educational if it was intented to.

It's reality, not a game. I wanted to appreciate the judicial procedure of my country, to see what happens, what decisions are made, not to play the role of the judge. I know these things are common things on american TV, either real-TV or fictionous-reconstitution, maybe you are more prepared for such "voyeur" experience.


> CRIT <11'09"01 - September 11
2002 - Omnibus

  • Youssef CHAHINE (Egypt) *
    oportunistic. trying to justify palestine suicide bombers without any in-depth development. cluelessness of a director in a middle of a political crisis. irritating. the only "muslim" director tho. (dont miss the funny american GI played by a blond egyptian!)
  • Sabrina DHAWAN (India) ***
    good real TV touch of a post 9/11 injustice in an indian-american family in NYC.
  • Amos GITAI (Israel) **
    a long plan-sequence of a car bomb in Tel Aviv (i think) where breaking news TV reporter loses "on air priority" to 9/11.
  • Alejandro González IÑÁRRITU (Mexico) ****
    amazing. rough. unbearable. no reviewable...
  • Claude LELOUCH (France) ***
    original point of view of a mute living in NYC clashing with the TV saturation. somehow of a Contempt parody...
  • Ken LOACH (UK) ***
    minimalist docu on the anniversary of the assassination of democratic president Allende in Chile during the coup d'état by the CIA in september 1973.
  • Samira MAKHMALBAF (Iran) *
    boring and redundant. pointless.
  • Idrissa OUEDRAOGO (Burkina-Faso) ***
    very funny! a touch of derision in a 3rd world so far from all this.
  • Sean PENN (USA) ***
    i thought quite off base from the only american, but nonetheless one of the most beautiful piece.
  • Danis TANOVIC (Bosnia-Herzegovina) ***
    perspective from the post Bosnia war life. not the most pertinent to the project on 9/11 though. Quiet observation of the broken lives of bosnian widow women after this war incompetently handled by the UN forces due to total ignorance of the situation. Boosnians are very bitter about it. A few women gather to protest in the street and watch the breaking news about the 9/11 terror attack on NYC, then go on with their lives like if nothing in the world could really affect their fate...
  • Shohei IMAMURA (Japan) ****
    the tale of the snake-man. looks out of topic at first glance, but so meaningful: just the madness of violence destroying a man inside, helplessly witnessed from the outside.


> CRIT <Twenty Days Without War
1976 - Aleksei GERMAN - Russia
awesome Black&White photography!!!
1942. Tankhent, a city away from the war, living a hard daily life, waiting for news from husbands and children, working in the ammunition factory to feed the front and help crush the fascists. a famous writer comes back from the front, for 20 days off, to meet his ex-wife and bring back the personal belongings of one of his man, died, to his wife. Nobody welcomes him very warmly, he realizes he has nothing to look forward to back home... A woman will look after him, and a swift passion will illuminate their lonely lives.
a "film within the film" structure type, to give German's subversive perspective on the official propaganda. the writer, on the set of the film adaptation of his book, pushes his first hand knowledge of the front to break down the fake idealized picture of "war musicals" where the soldiers are neat, happy and well equiped.
this is a beautiful vision of a man's experience of the war in his personal destiny, without any overwhelming philosophy, a succession of encounters and discussions with people who share their tragic story, we understand the metaphysical nausea destructuring all social structure in a country at war.


> CRIT <800 Balas / 800 Bullets
2002 - Alex DE LA IGLESIA - Spain
another "raving mess" filmed by Alex de La Iglesia !!!
this is a trash hommage to the western golden age, to stuntmen, to heros of the west, to famous films shot in the Spain Sierra (Texas-Hollywood, Almeria).

Julian is an ancient stuntman who claims having worked with Clint Eastwood, and on the greatest films shot in Almeria by Sergio Leone or Preston Sturges.
With a wild bunch of friends he runs a far-west show in the ghost town of these derelict movie sets. their universe frozen in time is threaten to be destroyed by a big company searching for a scenery to implant their Theme Park. After a long melodramatic development exposing disfunctional family settings, and the lame economy of this area, the films jumps into a big bullet fight between cowboy stuntmen and the national special forces!
reminded me of the swedish comedy Kopps : a different atmosphere, less spectacular (smaller budget), but better warped up.

i found it less gore and sarcastic to de la Iglesia's standards... but still good fun!


> CRIT <2046
2004 - WONG Kar-Wai - China/France/Germany/HK

I don't know how different is this cut from the one shown in Cannes last may... but I doubt this film could be inferior to Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11! Shame on Cannes.

Wong Kar Wai gives us an introspective autobiographic diary of the maker of In The Mood for Love. More a making of than a proper sequel.
Tony Leung is Wong Kar Wai is Chow Mo Wan is the man who loved Su Li Zhen in ITMFL is the writer who invented this story based on personal experience... The playful circular narration creates a self-referential universe where time goes backward and forward, comes back on the past through re-enactment of lingering emotions and recreation of new characters standing for missing ones in a projected future. All this is a post-ITMFL de-briefing therapy to confess and develop all he couldn't say in the previous film about absolute love and etheral romance.
This study on existentialist romantism is disguised behind a S.F. novel, inspired by a non-violent Blade Runner, written by Chow. A fiction within the fiction, this writer at work is exactly Wong Kar Wai himself telling us how he created ITMFL, step by step, from his own emotional experience, grounded in the political history of Hong-Kong... Everything is stylised in this aesthetic melodrama. Chow is a womanizer who unconsciously runs after an idealized image of his lost true love, and can't get attached to all these gorgeous women he meets along the film (Faye Wong, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Carina Lau, Maggie Cheung) who all fall in love with him. The voiceover narrator spells out everything going on, whereabouts, questioning, reflexions about his relationship his novelist work and the mystery of his true love. The complexity of love birth with a woman is decomposed into several successive relationship with apparently distinct women who only recall him Maggie Cheng. Even malfunctioning androids become a metaphor for the mysterious mechanism of women's emotions.
The cinematography directed by Christopher Doyle is groundbreaking!!! Wonderful colors, matching costumes with set design, constant reframed composition within the 2.35:1 aspect ratio in each plan, sticking the characters in the corners, behind furniture and trunkated walls. A hide and seek game with us and the stars on screen. Absolutely delicious.

Extremly recommended... fuck Cannes!

Personaly I was happily surprised by the result, after all the gossips around Wong's cut and re-cut and re-shooting, and the disinterest of most critics at Cannes. I expected to be disappointed by an overtly aesthetic, intellectual, experimental pointless film... And after all it is a very simple film about the several love affairs a man has throughout his life, only here they all take place in the same place.
The film has a lot to say about the history of hong-Kong, the libertine way of life of women escorts, the discrimination against japanese or a mentally disturbed girl... The structure is very melodramatic, but the subtext commentary is deeper than what the wroter-narrator would let us believe.
The futurist setting is also largely overplayed by the buzz around the film, in fact, I don't see the point to even mention it in a review, as it is a fiction-within-fiction, as part of the writer's imagination, not a proper time travel into the year 2046... so all the publicity around this is pure deception.
Most of the film takes place between In The Mood for Love (1962) and today, and has little to nothing in common with ITMFL, except for the lead character.