Patrick Gamble takes a look at director Patrick Shen's documentary 'In Pursuit Of Silence' and ponders what the implications are of our increasingly noisy cinemascape.
In Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 film Bande A Parte, there’s a famous scene in which the film’s three misfits decide to conduct a ‘minute silence’ in a busy café purely because they don’t have anything else to do. Godard’s playful observance of cinema’s often meaningless pursuit of noise, is becoming more prevalent in today’s multiplex Marvelverse.
With so many horror films trading ideas for scares, its refreshing to find one that has an abundance of both. Placing a mother and child into the same psycho-supernatural danger as films like Rosemary’s Baby, Poltergeist or more recently The Babadook, Babak Anvari’s Under The Shadow continues a rich tradition of horror films in which the unresolved traumas of a conflicted mother and child manifest themselves as malevolent entities. Set in 1988, during the height of the Iran-Iraq War, Under The Shadow doesn’t immediately announce itself as a horror.
Comedies of manners about privileged individuals struggling to embrace the era they're born into is a description that could be directed at the works of either Jane Austen or American director Whit Stillman. This sense of detachment has long informed Stillman’s work and, coupled with their verbose dialogue and fascination with class, has seen his films repeated likened to Austen’s novels. With Love And Friendship these comparisons are finally put to the test, with Stillman crafting a riotous comedy from Lady Susan, an epistolary novel unpublished in Austen’s lifetime.
Stillman’s films, not unlike Austen’s novels, are ornate cabinets of wonder: elegant pieces, that once opened, reveal a world of enchantment, not to mention a few dark secrets. Love And Friendship focuses on the life of Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), a recently widowed woman considered “the most accomplished flirt in all England”.
Richard Linklater has merited his reputation as one of contemporary America’s most fascinating auteurs. His eclectic back catalogue isn’t defined by an immediately recognisable aesthetic, but through a longstanding fascination with time and identity. With Dazed And Confused Linklater mastered the ‘hangout’ movie, whilst the formally ambitious Boyhood captured the relationship between the passage of time and the development of character. However, it was the ’Before’ Trilogy, and how the evolving relationship of Jesse and Celine articulated the growing fear of mortality that accompanies aging that cemented Linklater’s reputation as one of modern cinema's great observers. Everybody Wants Some!!, an '80s set college baseball movie based on the director’s own booze soaked memories of teenage philandering and on-field camaraderie continues Linklater’s preoccupation with time and identity, yet sadly lacks the emotional intelligence that so often informs his work.
Charlie Kaufman’s script for Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich, a film about a puppeteer who discovers a portal into John Malkovich’s mind, thrust him into the limelight when it was nominated for best screenplay at the Academy Awards. Ever since, be it the scripts he’s penned, or the films he’s directed, Kaufman’s work has been fascinated by the subjectivity of characters tormented by loneliness and depression. His latest, Anomalisa, makes for a fitting companion piece to Jonze’s surreal comedy, with puppets once again utilised as a symbol for human isolation, except this time its Kaufman ‘pulling the strings’. A study of the human mind, this stop-motion animation is a poignant story about alienation and the search for individualism in an environment that breeds conformity.
Prior to Danny Boyle’s recent biopic Steve Jobs, the life of the titular Apple co-founder and former CEO had already been the focus of a documentary by prolific director Alex Gibney, a biopic, Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher and two prominent biographies. It’s the authorised biography, written by Jobs and American journalist Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs that forms the basis of Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle’s script, a grandiose and ferociously verbose study of self-aggrandisement and the cult of personality that loomed large over Apple.
Tangerine director Sean Baker and actress Mya Taylor talk to Patrick Gamble about trans-gender representation, shooting on an iPhone and why we all need to stop being so sensitive.
Digital Løve: Patrick Gamble reviews Daft-Punk-Featuring French house music drama, Eden. Mia Hansen-Løve has cultivated a remarkable talent for charting the ephemeral nature of time. Her previous three features form a loosely autobiographical trilogy, each someway calibrated to the ebb and flow of the director's own experiences. From the teenage heartbreak of 2011’s Goodbye First Love to the mature exploration of grief in 2009’s Father Of My Children her observational naturalism beautifully extracts the universal from the personal. Her latest effort, Eden (2014) is an ethnological voyage into the Parisian Electronica scene that gave the world Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, better known to the world as Daft Punk.