Filmic discourse of various kinds. No generic boundaries. Just interested in intelligent conversation on good (and bad) cinema.
“Cinema is truth at 24 frames per second.”
“Cinema is lies at 24 frames per second.”
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I get a lot of requests to review short films and in the past I’ve rarely been able to get to many of them. However, having spent the last five months as a short film selection panellist for the Melbourne International Film Festival (I finished up a couple of weeks ago), I feel a renewed sense of obligation towards the artists working in this space. So I’m going to start showcasing some of the shorts sent to me here on CurnBlog. If you’d like me to take a look at a short film, let me know by posting a comment on the Curnblog Facebook page.
Elizabeth (Joslyn Jensen), a babysitter who spends much of her time caring for an infant boy, finds herself trapped in the child’s family apartment by an unwanted visitor. Elizabeth manages to leave the apartment and wanders the streets to kill time. Alone with the child, Elizabeth reflects on their connection.
Christopher Bell does a wonderful job of directing this short film with a simple air of contemplation that allows the viewer necessary time and space to ask the questions that reside between the lines. Without a single moment of unnecessary exposition, Bell shows us the powerful bond between the woman and child; the lonely isolation that seems to come with her duty of care; and the way in which this loneliness only further serves to fuel her emotional investment in the young boy.
For those who are interested in film’s more experimental modalities, check out Alex Bowlin’s Afterglow. A beautiful fusion of abstract and every day imagery combines with a stirring score and ponderous narration to form a quite mesmerising experience. An ocular massage that will conclude with you feeling far more at peace than when you began.
I was recently asked to put together a post on films that deal with the experience of migration by a friend who is about to take the big plunge. Of course, this is a huge topic. People migrate for all sorts of reasons, and so the experience is hardly a unified one. The act of leaving behind what one knows for an entirely new frontier can be an act of hope that brings about fresh beginnings, a means of escaping from tyranny or oppression, or of course there is the ultimate final migration and whatever that might entail (depending on what you believe).
So without further ado, here are ten films that encapsulate some of the many incarnations that the migration experience can take.
1. The Immigrant (1917)
Where better to start than with Charlie Chaplin’s classic short on the difficult and yet hopeful experience of migrating to the United States? Chaplin is at his finest when he achieves a perfect balance of social commentary and comedic ingenuity and this film is certainly a demonstration of that. From the boat ride over, to the struggle to maintain dignity in a foreign (and not always welcoming) land, Chaplin’s film is a great window into the rewards and complexities of starting again without a cent to your name.
2. The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972)
Not so much a story of migration as that of a pilgrimage, this is the irreverent tale of an Aussie bloke (Barry Crocker) who finds himself unwillingly going on a trip to England with his aunt Edna (Barry Humphries). The film is loaded with a savage critique of both Australian and English culture at the time, and people offended by the coarser side of humour should probably give it a miss. The closest American equivalent would probably be South Park.
(And yes, Aunt Edna’s character carries on beyond the McKenzie films and eventually becomes Dame Edna.)
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