Saturday, 9 October 2010

Psyop & MassMarket "The Dread" (2010)

The Dread has rather more turbo charged brio than your average automobile commercial. The Nissan Duke’s gleaming metallic red is given prominence by being placed in a car demolition zone, all grey escaping steam, detritus and terrorising 500 ton "Dread", a vast maker of scrap whose nemesis this time is not an Arnold Schwarzenegger but Duke. A Big Brother-like projection of the narrator voices the drama of it all but the undoubted star is the CG of Psyop (slogan "Persuade, Change and Influence") with impressive visual effects from MassMarket. Would I buy the car based on the ad? I might, were I single, younger. And allowed! Thanks both to Shannon Stephaniuk and Jaime Chen for their separate recommendation, of ad not necessarily car.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Aya Zakaria "Swing" (2009)

Aya Zakaria graduated last year from Egypt's Helwan University, her film Swing acting in no small way as an antidote to those dreadfully mischievous French students a day or so ago. A little girl ventures onto one of those boat-like swings and is transported rather more spectacularly than she had intended .... onto, and very nearly into, an ocean where pirates cascade cannon balls down upon her. But not before she has enjoyed flying fish and whale. Aya majored in book design and animation and I can just see her artwork translated into one of those glorious children's books I read to the kids, where the drawings are clear-cut and story gentle. I provide all the voices. One for the kids and me!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Dmitry Geller "Greetings from Kislovodsk" (2000)

The arrival of a man and woman at a hazily drawn railway station, together and yet apart, sets the tone for Greetings from Kislovodsk, a film depicting the breakdown of a relationship in an oddly fragmented style. The figures are simply drawn, but with a grace about their movements at once sinuous and affecting. The action (courtship, departures, meanderings) is movingly set against a series of atmospheric photographs from earlier in the 20th century, frozen moments on vacation or with family, speaking of happier moments that give the parting of the pair a universality, emphasised by an effective soundtrack of music and sound effects, of which the sound of the train is predominant. Russian director, Dmitry Geller, uses locations evocatively, the station of arrivals and departures, the subtly lit dance floor, tango music speaking of courtship and romance, the beach with a battery of photographs almost as stage flats projecting images of happy families, a fairground’s carousel heavy with symbolism, life played out in circles, the condensation on the railway window as those photographic images pass by as poignant, discarded billboards. Dmitry’s allusive world of watery colours and shadow is a treat, exploring love's freshness and loss. Thank you, Pavlovich, once again, for your recommendation and fine taste in movies.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

"Maternelle" Guilhem Salines, Jean-Bathiste Bister, Matthieu Gouget de Landres & Marine Perraudin (2010)

I remember my first day at school well enough. It was not a nightmarish experience in any way. My older friends reassured me from the adjacent playground and we mixed oil paint with water. Innocent days! Not so now. Maternelle was made at the Georges Méliés School in Paris by four of those talented French students they seem to breed there: Guilhem Salines, Jean-Bathiste Bister, Matthieu Gouget de Landres and my 22 year old correspondent, Marine Perraudin. Childhood allows a rich resource for animated films though seldom this nightmarish. All commences well enough as our little boy accompanies mummy to the school, only to be drawn to those dark tears in the walls where lurks who knows what. Naturally the adults and, in fact, the other children, are unaware of anything unpleasant but our boy is inquisitive. That tear in the paper is helped along a little. But surely my friends across the channel are well intentioned, compassionate people, sensitive to the fears and foibles of tiny folk. Fooey! I’ve lived a sheltered life. The bright artwork is appropriate for a light tale of childhood, the kid having large blue eyes, there being other colours a-plenty. I used to love those pools of brightly coloured balls into which I’ve dipped my kids in my time, never suspecting that at their base lies something visceral and altogether unpleasant. No fears though, mummy and teacher are always at hand to help, aren’t they? At a time, in the UK at least, when our family tax credits are in jeopardy maybe this is the moment to sample a creepy bit of film-making. Do visit the talented quartet's website.