Don’t go thinking the local high school staffroom is devoid of workplace rivalry, far from it, as Words and Pictures, trailer, the latest feature from Fred Schepisi (“Last Orders”, “The Eye of the Storm”), goes to show, as tensions between Dina (Juliette Binoche), the new art teacher, and Jack (Clive Owen), her English counterpart, start to escalate.
The antagonism, pointless as it is, however amuses students of their Vancouver prep school, while giving Dina, who is afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, and Jack, who struggles with alcohol addiction, an opportunity to see passed their personal issues, conditions that have also hampered the creative, and academic, output of both in recent years.
It becomes apparent very early on where “Words and Pictures” is going, and while it is enjoyable for a time to watch the sparring teachers trying to go one up on each other, it quickly becomes repetitive. Skipping this class is probably a better option, and in this instance it is unlikely that anyone will send you to the detention room for doing so.
A sequel of sorts is on the way for one of 1999’s most intriguing movies, Fight Club. But the follow-up, being written by US novelist Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote the book that the film was based on, will be released only as a graphic novel. Well, for now anyway.
The book will be set ten years after the events of the first book, with its unnamed protagonist married to Marla Singer and father to a nine-year-old son. Fight Club, says Palahniuk, was “such a tirade against fathers – everything I had thought my father had not done combined with everything my peers were griping about their fathers. Now to find myself at the age that my father was when I was trashing him made me want to revisit it from the father’s perspective and see if things were any better and why it repeats like that.”
When we arrived we had some problems with the tram that leads to the main building, but it was quickly fixed by the highly efficient lobby boy. Out of all the common areas the one you should give special attention to is the Turkish bath and the Greek spa. Food was excellent, and on our first day there were regional sweets from the Mendl’s bakery in our bedroom out of courtesy – that was really nice and they tasted delicious. Staff was particularly kind and helfpul. Next season we’ll certainly go back!
Charlie (David Gulpilil), an Indigenous Australian living in Arnhem Land, is in a bind. His overly dependent family relies on his pension money, and his house, leaving Charlie to live in a makeshift shed. Government regulations meanwhile prohibit him from owning a hunting rifle, something that makes living off the land difficult.
Determined however to embrace a traditional lifestyle, Charlie sets up camp deep in the bush, and for a time is content. After illness strikes though, he is sent to a hospital in Darwin. He soon discharges himself and connects with the city’s Aboriginal community, but it is an association that quickly leads to strife with local police.
Charlie’s Country, trailer, the third collaboration between Gulpilil and Australian director Rolf de Heer (“Bad Boy Bubby”, “Dingo”), in taking a subtle, almost tableau like, approach to the points it is making, often goes wide of the mark. This is still compelling viewing though, on account of Gulpilil’s brooding, dignified, performance.
Enough horror movies, set in cabins, in isolated forest areas, have been made by now for the rest of us to know the right and wrong things to do when partaking of such getaways ourselves. There’s over a dozen points you need to take into account, and even though there’s no guarantee of survival, at least you’ll know what to expect…
It doesn’t matter how many rooms the cabin has; tonight everyone’s sleeping together. Set up your sleeping bags or whatever in the cabin’s largest room, preferably in a circle allowing you all to face each other and past each other to all entrances to the room. The idea is to be able to see a threat coming from all directions simultaneously, while also keeping your fellow campers in sight.
Perhaps this explains why seeing a movie alone feels so radically different than seeing it with friends: Sitting there in the theater with nobody next to you, you’re not wondering what anyone else thinks of it; you’re not anticipating the discussion that you’ll be having about it on the way home. All your mental energy can be directed at what’s happening on the screen. According to Greg Feist, an associate professor of psychology at the San Jose State University who has written about the connection between creativity and solitude, some version of that principle may also be at work when we simply let our minds wander: When we let our focus shift away from the people and things around us, we are better able to engage in what’s called meta-cognition, or the process of thinking critically and reflectively about our own thoughts.
The example here about seeing a film alone strikes a chord. I’ve always thought film writers should see the movies they’re critiquing by themselves… it can sometimes be too easy to be swayed by the opinions of those around you otherwise.
Forty something British municipal worker, John (Eddie Marsan), has the unenviable task of tracing the often indifferent, and sometimes hostile, relatives of local residents, those homeless or living alone, who have died in his jurisdiction, in Still Life, trailer, the second feature from Italian filmmaker Uberto Pasolini (“Machan”).
After an elderly man who lived in his own apartment block is found dead, having died unnoticed some weeks earlier, John begins to realise just how socially isolated he has become. In meeting his late neighbour’s estranged family though, he begins to form what seems to be a hopeful bond with Kelly (Joanne Froggatt), the man’s daughter.
With a bittersweet blend of charm and poignancy, and a subtle humour, “Still Life” is a film that surprises, as it delicately explores a social issue that is more prevalent than many would prefer to admit. Marsan’s performance as a sensitive, diligent employee, determined to bring dignity to the deceased in his charge, is nothing less than superb.
Digital technologies are making it easier for documentary filmmakers, especially those who are emerging, to produce and distribute their work, but what are the chances of audiences ever seeing these productions? And if more documentaries are to be distributed solely online, what future, if any, will these sorts of films have?
Thanks to cheaper digital production equipment and a seemingly endless line of new distribution options, documentary filmmakers are experiencing boom times. But who’s getting the bucks from this bang? “An individual can pretty easily and cheaply put their film online; whether anyone sees or finds it is another matter,” Michael Lumpkin, executive director of the International Documentary Association, told TheWrap. “There have been a constant parade of new platforms to watch movies online. But I think for filmmakers, not enough of those opportunities are actually financial opportunities.”