20 posts categorized "Experimental"

June 16, 2011

GENERAL ORDERS NO. 9

General Orders No. 9 Robert Persons's humorless depiction of the world's ruination is glimpsed through a large area of the South between Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. Droning ambient organ chords sustain under Persons's meditative monologue about the "vast and wild middle South" where "deer trail becomes Indian trail becomes county road."

William Davidson reads the repeated text like a man out of time. A fish out of water gasps on the ground for an extended period. We're left to wonder at the cruelty of a filmmaker whose belief in the Lord harbors no patience for characterless grey cities where he believes everything will end. Although he never says it, apocalypse is in on the filmmaker's mind.

The Film is a Ghost: An Encounter With “General Orders No. 9” — CinemATL  Magazine

A fundamentalist bent of Christianity takes hold. "The Lord loves a broken spirit." "In April you can feel that something is pushing against things." The opaque reasoning of Persons' weird old-timey logic is circular to a fault.

Watch General Orders No. 9 (2009) - Free Movies | Tubi

Recurring lines hint at an obsessive compulsive disorder that alienates more than it attracts. The film fixates on a courthouse that sits as a compass touchstone for everything that Persons views as virtuous and true. It doesn't take much to see the hypocrisy in Persons's warped view of reality and disdain for modern culture.

The Film is a Ghost: An Encounter With “General Orders No. 9” — CinemATL  Magazine

"General Orders No. 9" is an experimental film that is more art instillation than feature film. "Peculiar Flatulence 173" would be just as apt a title — and it would add entertainment value. Pastoral vistas clash with cold visions of freeways and endless colorless corridors. Think of it as a poor relation to Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life."

General Orders No. 9' Review - The New York Times

Its poster shows the silhouette of a rabbit smoking a pipe. He looks kind of cute. Perhaps if the filmmaker had left out the voiceover narration and included a rabbit with a tobacco fetish in his storyline, the movie wouldn't be so insufferable.

Not Rated. 72 mins.

2 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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June 03, 2011

FILM SOCIALISM

Film-socialismeGoddard's vaguely accessible collage-essay on the ennui of the modern existential moment, "Socialism" is an inarticulate bestiary of bullshittery. The film's overarching theme of its repressed social condition derives from a caption that informs us "the bastards are sincere." A lot of two and three-word slogans come at regular intervals to express Goddard's cryptically coded editorial political commentary.

Movie Reviews - 'Film Socialisme' - Godard, In Fine Glitchy Form : NPR

"Palestine Access," "Love Yourself Silly," and "Napoleon Burning Moscow" are some of the ideas Goddard splinters apart with characters speaking just such stilted language. Much of the film's first-act action takes place on a mammoth gambling cruise ship.

FILM SOCIALISM | Wild Bunch

Rock poet Patti Smith shows up briefly — she's onboard with her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye. Inexplicably, Patti Smith only shows up in a couple of brief scenes where she barely speaks. Patti's subplot is never returned to again even if her presence is the only thing that promises a soothing poetic voice to augment Goddard's revved-up barrage of international media-styled fictional situations imposed with some touch of political anarchism.

Film Socialisme

An obligatory visit to the modern-day Odessa steps is intercut with a clip from Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin." "Socialism" might work as a long piece of installation art, but it doesn't hold up as a prime example of experimental cinema.

Rated R. 109 mins.

2 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

May 30, 2011

THE TREE OF LIFE

Tree_of_life_ver2"The Tree of Life" is a bold but flailing attempt to create a transgressive experimental cinema of cosmic proportions. Terrence Malick introduces this lush but unsatisfying odyssey of '50s Americana with a biblical quote from the Book of Job. The hyperbolic text sets the abstract narrative that follows in thematic quicksand. 

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?When the morning stars sang together,And all the sons of God shouted for joy?" For long stretches the film fawns over Hubble-inspired images from the vast reaches of space. Mammoth, colorful, nebulae groove in iridescent delight. Billions of stars twinkle. The Earth's sun erupts with gargantuan volcanic ferocity in extreme close-ups that put the viewer smack in the middle of boiling lava.

Tree of Life' Gets 50 Minutes More in New Blu-Ray Version - Variety

Perhaps Malick is making an oblique case for intelligent design. If so, he plays his narrative cards too close to the vest to tell. Think of the wallpaper movie as cinematic Xanex. No amount of coffee will keep your eyes from wanting to shut. As for the inevitable comparisons critics will be tempted to make with Stanley Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey," beware. No such comparison is appropriate. Inevitable, yes. But not appropriate. 

Tree-of-life

Malick is clearly making a statement about the impermanent speck of astral dust that humanity represents against the infinite and expanding continuum of the cosmos. His meta-meta-micro vision does achieve the desired effect of making the audience feel small. It also makes us feel like we're being preached to by a filmmaker with not much more to express than how insignificant humanity is. If this sounds like a revelation, as it must have to Malick, you've come to the right place.

Tree

Rated PG-13. 109 mins.

3 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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