prospective take...

[photos from here, here, and here]

The Trailer

Art is a bottomless pit of possibilities.

There is much to my mind right now. Basically, my thoughts are crowded by the structure of my criticism for Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994), a bunch of film noir podcasts, a reflection on recently concluded 14th French Film Festival in Manila, some scattered thoughts on Alan Clarke and Andrei Tarkovsky, and my intense deep conversations with my conscience on my reflections on contemplative cinema. If there happens to be a primitive root to all this mixed up thoughts, and also if there is an element of derangement, it might have reached the peak after reading HarryTuttle's absorbing and informative article on the AVERAGE SHOT LENGTH (ASL) of contemporary contemplative films.

HarryTuttle's analysis has elevated me to:

(1) Euphoria: A sheer joy of having found Kiarostami's Five (2003) to have the longest average shot length of 14 minutes and 45 second (885 second of continuous shot via a steady camera). Five: Five Long Shots Dedicated to Yasujiro Ozu, the whole title of the film speaks of two subjects of unmistakable greatness: one, the Japanese cinema giant, Ozu, who gave us one of the most unforgettable and remarkable films of all time (i have to say that in high pitch!), Tokyo Story (1953); and two, the use of five long shots. Yes, Abbas Kiarostami filmed this meditative film in five long shots on an average of 14 minutes and 45 seconds and it can be simply broken down below into five images:

Shot One: A washed up piece of wood on the beach at the Caspian Sea

Shot Two: People Chatting up beside the beach, no dialogue still

Shot 3: A shot of dogs frolicking beside the beach

Shot Four: Ducks walking on the beach that moves from left to right of frame

Shot Five: A shot of the moon reflecting on the pond

There is much of a question of why did Kiarostami compose this non-narrative piece of art. The reception of the film to the critics have been favorable:

Robert Davis wrote:

"And you know what? It’s a nice piece of work. It’s the kind of movie that succeeds when you’re willing to let your mind wander the way it does when you watch clouds. Maybe you’ll close your eyes and just listen for a bit. Maybe you’ll nod off. I doubt if Kiarostami would object; he even said once that he enjoys movies that are so calm they make you sleepy but give you something to reflect on later." (here)

Kiarostami doesn't care, he said it outwardly, if the viewer would fall asleep while watching the film because it is made that way. The amount of contemplation rewards the viewer the calmness, i think, one can savor while watching the real waves of the ocean, as Jeff Anderson says. Phase9 have a more descriptive take on the film. Their review says:

"Despite the lack of a story, the films are far more than just pretty pictures: assembled in order, they comprise a kind of abstract or emotional narrative arc, which moves evocatively from separation and solitude to community, from motion to rest, near-silence to sound and song, light to darkness and back to light again, ending on a note of rebirth and regeneration. “An entire world is revealed to us”, Kiarostami says. “It’s a work that approaches poetry, painting. It let me escape from the obligation of narration and of the slavery of mise en scène." (here)
This poetic non-narrative film is my target for the month of June. If there is a possibility to watch this film in the local videoteque of my university, the University of the Philippines, i might as well stop this blog and head off to the UP Film Institute. If i could not access this one, i might consider the option of having a DVD delivered from to my doorstep.

Perhaps the question lingers, for the more or less 50 minutes of dazzling imagery, why did Kiarostami made it?

Video: Why did Kiarostami made this film?

Two essential videos on Five (2003):

A Scene from "Five dedicated to Ozu" [from firouzanFilms, link here]
Kiarostami on Making of Five [from haridasb, link here]


(2) Ecstasy: A coalesce of my growing fascination of Bela Tarr's cinema and my intense devotion to Pulp Fiction as neo-noir lead me to another film with the average shot length of 4 minutes and 24 seconds (284-second shot of a roving camera). Bela Tarr's recent feature, The Man from London (2007), achieves an ample amount of contemplation with film noir twist. This absorbing CC (contemporary contemplative) film follows a conventional film noir narrative and techniques, however, the most noticeable innovation that Tarr did was to let the camera movement and duration take it all. The cinematic technique is at its masterful zenith. The low-key lighting, high-contrast images dominated the film and has always been the most significant element of the noir. One can clearly see how much every element have been executed it in this clip:

A clip from The Man from London

This two filmic realizations remains an ache in my heart. I wonder when will i see all these films. I wonder and I am stuck.