« In Praise of Shadows | Main | Revised Mid-Year Favorites »

July 3, 2005

Ten Minutes Older: The Cello

Histoire d'eaux (Bernardo Bertolucci) - A whimsical, cross-cultural melding of east meets west romantic comedy presented in highly fractured (if unremarkable) ellipses that chronicle the couple's chance encounter, marriage, extramarital temptation, and bizarre separation.

About Time 2 (Mike Figgis) - Multichannel split screening in the vein of Timecode, sometimes converging towards the encounter, other times intersecting temporal planes between childhood and adulthood, life and death. At each transection, the incompleteness of connection, the failure of intimacy, the painful awareness of intranscendable distance.

One Moment (Jiří Menzel) - Poetic, affectionate, lyrical, and elegy for actor Rudolf Hrusinsky composed of a wordless montage of slowed film footage spanning Hrusinsky's entire career that embodies the human experience: toil, rest, education, romantic love, rejection, desire, aging, frailty. A recurring interstitial black screen with the words "ten minutes" becomes a constant reinforcement of transience, a career and life distilled to the precious few minutes of the film, a reflection of its brevity.

Ten Minutes After (István Szabó) - Jeanne Dielman meets Joseph K. (by way of Michael Haneke) surreal nightmare tale of a meticulous, bored housewife who is aggressively confronted by a drunken husband. Neither the cinematography nor the narrative, however, is particularly memorable or engaging.

Vers Nancy (Claire Denis) - A train conversation between an immigrant French woman and novelist Jean-Luc Nancy centering on the idea of intrusion within every foreigner (a more philosophical precursor to L'Intrus). denis.gifA social commentary on the inherent fallacy - particularly in nations with a strong national identity like the U.S. and France - of the social notion that assimilation and integration embrace cultural differences; rather, it erases them. The idea of intrusion is also present in the creation of the Schengen Zone which allows for free movement of people from European countries within the agreement signatory countries (note the opening sequence in L'Intrus), creating a buffer between Old Europe and the "other" Europe (an exclusion similarly explored by Aleksandr Sokurov in Russian Ark) that flouts the idea of globalism and a unified Europe, essentially establishing a segregated European "homogenous zone" where populations from outside the zone become "intruders" within it. Themes of transplantation, assimilation, rejection, and identity expound into broader cultural and social themes beyond Nancy's medical heart transplant.

The Enlightenment (Volker Schlöndorff) - Based on Augustinus (A.D. 354-430), the film is part philosophical meditation on the malleability and ephemerality of time, wryly (perhaps even cynically) set against a trailer park family barbecue. The point of view from the unidentified, seemingly all-seeing narrator is never still: always moving, floating, weaving, impermanent as time.

Addicted to the Stars (Michael Radford) - Hyperstylized time travel and homecoming, a transfigured, Einsteinian space-time odyssey, an Odysseus returning - not to his beloved Penelope - but to an aging Telemachus, the loneliness of returning after a long separation, the consciousness of time passed.

In the Darkness of Time (Jean-Luc Godard) - Brooding, ponderous elegy on the death of cinema. Juxtaposed images of disposability and history (shots of garbage collection cuts to images of Holocaust victims being loaded into a truck) underscore the confluence, obsolescence, and marginalization of film as a tool for social document. A micro-version of Histoire(s) du cinéma punctuated by a Kenneth Anger-esque, clandestine, sinister ritual, filtered through the aging filmmaker's cynical, contemptuous, and impotent gaze.

Posted by acquarello on Jul 03, 2005 | | Filed under 2005


Just wondering: what were the segment(s) you liked the most?

For the record, I didn't read your above descriptions, just skimmed them :-), because I want to wait till I've seen it. I just discovered it's at my local indie video store.

Posted by: girish on Jul 03, 2005 5:39 PM | Permalink

Geez, I was still correcting accents and punctuation! :) Actually, I specifically, wanted to study the Denis segment, so of course I liked that one. I also liked the Figgis and even the Godard segment, which is, well, very (late) Godard. The Menzel installment reminds me a lot of Steve Dwoskin's Dad, very personal and touching. The Schlöndorff piece was a bit disappointing, but Irm Hermann is in it, so it wasn't a total waste. The same can be said for the Bertolucci piece with the presence of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.

Posted by: acquarello on Jul 03, 2005 6:00 PM | Permalink

Nice coincidence. My copy of Ten Minutes Older is en route from YesAsia.

Posted by: Darren on Jul 09, 2005 10:46 PM | Permalink

Cool! Overall, I prefer the collection of films in The Cello over The Trumpet, although the latter has two excellent short films in it: Spike Lee's We Wuz Robbed (on the 2000 presidential election) and Victor Erice's Lifeline, both of which premiered at the New York Film Festival (2002, I think).

Posted by: acquarello on Jul 09, 2005 11:50 PM | Permalink

Post a comment:

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)