I have recently finished a draft of a novel which follows a lone woman who is mentally cast adrift by the news of her father’s suicide, her grief manifesting in a strange obsession with the town of Strasbourg where she opts to stay over the winter. In one of its sections, I have addressed the concept of Fernweh. The concept is unusual in that it … Continue reading Fernweh and The Green Ray (Éric Rohmer)
One of my favourite scenes in cinema is, in fact, not really a scene at all but a moment; a collection of three shots that has very little to do with the overall narrative but everything to do with the humanity questioned in the film. The film is Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours: Blue (1994) and the moment is when Juliette Binoche, playing a woman in … Continue reading Skin On Stone – Grief in Three Colours: Blue (1994)
On a rock, there sits a man lost in thought. Or perhaps he is not thinking at all and is instead letting the landscape around him fill his thoughts unconsciously. Werner Herzog’s 1976 film, Heart of Glass (Herz aus Glas), has one of the director’s strongest opening set of images as the main character of the film sits in a foggy Bavarian landscape with life … Continue reading Heart Of Glass (1976) – Optimism in Destruction
“Once I loved a man who was a lot like the desert, and before that I loved the desert.” – Rebecca Solnit (2006). Late last year, I quite accidently combined the viewing of two films that spoke of a theme I have become interested in over the last few months. Viewing Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970) followed by Dennis Hopper’s debut as a director, The … Continue reading Sex and the Landscape in Zabriskie Point (1970) and The Last Movie (1971)
On watching all of Patrick Keiller’s “Robinson” trilogy of films recently, it struck home how effectively stillness within a visual frame can traverse the geographical plain and recreate a journey that is both political and sociological. This, of course, goes to the heart filmmaking itself, the relationships with cuts especially and its portrayal of time, space and movement within a diegetic reality all being key … Continue reading Stasis In London (1994) – Patrick Keiller.
Because of their tapestry-like nature, the films of Luis Buñuel lend themselves well to a more in-depth form analysis. Within their aesthetic ploys and their narrative spines lies a wealth of readings concerning Buñuel’s attacks and treatises on politics and class especially. His 1972, Oscar-winning film, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie is a perfect example of how a fragmenting narrative falls into dreamscapes that … Continue reading The Nowhere Road in The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (1972) – Luis Buñuel.
On finishing W.G. Sebald’s four quartered documentary piece, The Emigrants (1992), I felt as if a loose connection to some recent film or book was hanging midair, waiting to be tied up. The narrative is split into the stories of four émigrés, all seemingly interconnected by a multitude of strange images but chiefly connected by their fleeing from the rise of Nazi Germany to both … Continue reading Ghosts In The Ice: The Emigrants (W.G. Sebald) and 45 Years (Andrew Haigh).
Jean-Luc Godard has always had a quiet interest in the relationship between his politics and the space they inhabit. The topographies of modernity coinciding with his political questioning of capitalism occurs in films such as Tout Va Bien (1972), La Chinoise (1967), and Weekend (1967) – looking in particular at a factory, an inner-city flat/Maoist commune, and a busy roadway . These spaces have provided more … Continue reading Libidinal Circuits in 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967) – Jean-Luc Godard.
British cinema is obsessed with the effect of location upon the individual. In fact, it wouldn’t be so sweeping to suggest that large swaths of culture born on these isles stems from the idea that the individual can be deeply molded by their surroundings and any fictional drama from Albion will be bare the aesthetics of its areas as far more than a setting. While … Continue reading Fear And Loathing In The Countryside – Withnail And I (1987).
In last month’s issue of Sight & Sound (November, 2015) Nick James details his relationship with the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky in line with the season of films he’s curated for the BFI. Though the article is chiefly surrounding Tarkovsky’s (vast) legacy, one aspect in particular caught my attention whilst reading. He refers to a scene from Tarkovsky’s 1975 film, Mirror, which partly accounted for … Continue reading The Breeze In The Grass – Elemental Realisation in Tarkovsky’s Mirror (1975).