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Elisabeth Bartlett is blogging the festival scene from Cannes to Los Angeles.
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Everything Strange and New in San Francisco

Last night I watched 'Everything Strange and New' - showing one last time tomorrow- Saturday, May 2nd at the Kabuki cinema for the San Francisco International Film Festival

Two minutes in I wanted to skip back to the beginning because I was stopped in my tracks by the style of film making.   I wanted to watch it over so as to catch every detail. 

This is a BLEAK movie.  And man, the filmmaking is incredible at illustrating bleakness. 

Eerily slow zooms and dolly shots (which my cinema major roommate says is a trend right now) come one after the other and don't stop.  Voice over has a huge role in this bleak illustration too.  Often the camera holds on one vacant, nonliving space in the protagonist's daily life (like parts of the construction site where he works, or the empty street he lives) while we hear voice over of him talking about his life, or of he and his wife arguing.  slow.  silence.  pain.  monotony of daily life.

The shot that brings us down the most is a frequent long shot of protagonist Wayne, walking.  Just walking.  But he walks so slow, in no hurry, without any cares, not looking forward to anything next. Silence.  Walking.  After half a minute we are depressed too.  Because we can feel it.  We fear it for ourselves. 

Director Frazer Bradshaw says on the film's website that his goal is to "create work that opens viewers to themselves."

While watching and after, I did spend some time assessing parts of my life (I guess to make sure it isn't going where Wayne's is).  And though while watching most of the film I was quite depressed and down, today I feel extremely happy.  Coincedence?  Purging?

Bradshaw says further "I hope that viewers will reconstitute characters and events for themselves, bringing their own ideas and sensibilities to bear.  In shaping my stories and characters, I leave important narrative and emotional spaces to be filled by the audience. My characters develop naturally, as if they absorbed what the audience imagines about them. I leave moments of silence so that viewers can employ their own motivations in driving the film's emotional content." 

WHOA.  I'd like to talk to Bradshaw more about this.  I feel like that's exactly what this film did.  

'Everything Strange and New' gets scarily depressing.  (AT least that's how I feel?) Wayne and his wife detest each other.  They're unhappy.  There is no smiling and there aren't any birds chirping.  Then suddenly, out of nowhere, Wayne and his wife embrace in a thick hug.  Love and hate at the same time?  I'll keep watching.

Frantic orchestral interludes accent. 

I recommend this movie.  The film making is incredible, so much that it's maybe a bad thing because it's all I could focus on.  

Comments (1)

Thanks for recommending this

Thanks for recommending this film, I am not sure I should watch it though, I might see too many similarities with my life and I don't want to deal with this now, maybe I should though. I don't know anymore, bleak movies do make me feel bleak, I generally prefer movies that can make me forget about myself, that's why I love to check the Phoenix movie theaters every now and then.


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About Elisabeth

Bartlett Elisabeth
Blogging about the festival scene from Los Angeles

Los Angeles

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