Forks, frames, staghorns— and a fish

Institute Benjamenta
A follow-up to the last post— I watched Institute Benjamenta last night. A surrealist experimental film by the Brothers Quay, their first live action project (as opposed to stop-motion animation). Tap the image above to see a bunch of stills.

The basic premise follows Jacob to the eponymous institute, to learn how to be a servant. The story is based on a novel, Jacob von Gunten, by Robert Walser, and you can read more about it here.

Institute BenjamentaIt’s beautifully shot and directed, with precise framing and timing of every shot. The light and shadow are treated almost as animated characters, and the look of it is very typical of a Brothers Quay project— worth watching on these merits alone. Personally, I want to live in the set.Institute BenjamentaHowever, as it nears the climax of the film, it begins to fall apart as a story-telling device, or at least to begin to lose one’s attention. The filmmakers attempt to sustain an unreal tension for too long— it was mainly, I think, the score in the last 20 minutes or so that seems to cause the failure, making the ending of the film feel anti-climactic, disappointing, but was perhaps intentional.

Still, well worth watching, and Mark Rylance is very adept in the waking dream sort of atmosphere of the film.Institute Benjamenta

I’ve finally been inside the inner chambers, and I hate to say they don’t exist. There is only a goldfish.

la petite revue

Le Week-End

Saw Le Week-End the other night. It’s bloody gorgeous. For the obvious reason, of course, that being it’s shot in Paris. But no, not just visually, it’s such a finely told interval in these characters’ lives, with brilliantly subtle dialogue and interaction. Utterly believable connection / tension between them.

Continue reading

Movie review! Snow White & the Huntsman

SWatH

I recall wanting to see this film on the big screen, but was stupidly cowed by lukewarm critical reception. Finally watched it with Zac last night, and it’s pretty fuckin’ badass on several levels.

Immediately noticeable: it’s beautiful. Gorgeous photography and VFX*, and seamless compositing thereof, at least from what I can tell on a 27″ screen. DP definitely borrowed some shots and inspiration from LOTR, but who wouldn’t for something like this?

Also, it’s a female-empowered telling, and a more nuanced iteration in general. It scrambles gender stereotypes— just enough to undermine the moral structure in which the ‘evil’ female has power, while the ‘good’ female is necessarily helpless. While Ms White does require help (as does the evil queen), she has her own inherent strength and power. (Thanks!)

(Spoiler alert from here on—) Continue reading