Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jamie Lidell, Obscenity of the Jungle, Walkabout

Just starting a much need break from school.  After doing a whirlwind study of Occlusion over the last 3 days, I passed the exam and got to get out of school 2 days early.  It's a beautiful thing.  The strange thing is, almost out of habit, I found myself spending most of the morning studying for the exam that will occur after we get back.  At least it's studying without stress.  Then I decided to take a second to update blog.

Some new Jamie Lidell to the right there ====>

On Friday Nat and I went with some Dental school friends and saw the new James Bond movie.  It's amazing to me that this character has been around so long.  It's one of the few series of films with sequels that we don't roll our eyes at so much.  Maybe Bond was like that for a while and just had to get over the hump.  Or maybe every couple films was actually pretty good, and so people just learned to put up with it.  Are there any other film series that we just expect another installment to come out every few years?  I can't think of anything besides 007 that does that.  Anyway, we liked it.  Good popcorn flick, Home Alone rip off or not.
This last weekend we had my sister and her husband come to visit.  Nat made Tortilla Soup and we hung out in our freezing cold house and played games and tried to stay warm.  It actually makes us more likely to go work out just to get out of the house and get blood moving a bit.
This week I watched Walkabout, a 1971 film set in Australia directed by Nicolas Roeg.  Roeg uses this technique throughout the movie where he intersperses images from the outback throughout the movie to break up the story.  The images have a tremendous effect on you while watching the film and change with tone as the story grows darker.  The beginning of the film almost felt like watching a horror movie.  Things start out very dire and only get worse for the protagonists until the aborigine shows up.  Watching the brother and sister start to get more and more worried cut against shots of the harshness and indifference of nature makes things even more tense.  The way that Roeg treats nature reminded me a lot of Werner Herzog's style.  He loves nature, but against his better judgement.  He does not see the outback as an evil place, just as a place without a real order that we can understand.  It is chaotic; it has no investment in the well-being of the characters either way.  The absence of purpose actually makes nature as a presence in the film more scary than if it appeared to be against them.
When the aborigine shows up and his tragic story plays out, the shots that are interspersed seem to change in tone and intent.  The outback seems more like a place to be understood and adapted to than a place to escape from.  Aside from a few scenes like the butcher chopping meat, it all is very subtle.  And then again the tone switches as the aborigine boy begins his dance.  You see this from the girl's point of view even though as a viewer you can guess what is actually happening.  The results of their inability to understand each other brings the movie full-circle.  The depressed father at the beginning of the film couldn't fit in his world and exited in a terrible way.  The aborigine couldn't fit inside the new world he discovered on his walkabout and made a parallel decision.  Very sad illustration of culture clash and not fitting into the societies story.
Some random things I liked:
-The cinematography was awesome.  You could watch the movie with the sound off.  Even the scenes where the kids were just walking among the sand dunes were shot in an interesting way.
-I really liked the soundtrack.  Like I mentioned above, the beginning looked like a horror movie, and the soundtrack sounded like one.  The actual main theme was beautiful though, something to get stuck in your head.
-The little boy's monologue about superheros was interesting, but I'm not sure I can figure out how it fits into what the film was trying to convey.
-The final scene with the girl back in the city and remembering her time swimming in the outback was also a great, bittersweet moment.  Now that she has experienced what she has experienced, maybe she will never fit into society either.
-So the verdict on this one is that I would watch it again.  It was highly enjoyable and felt like it deserved repeat viewings.
Next week I am watching the Seventh Seal.

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