58th Cork Film Festival: ‘A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III’ & ‘Wavemakers’

 The 58th Cork Film Festival (9 – 17 November)

Matt Micucci on A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III and Wavemakers, which both screened as part of the 58th Cork Film Festival.

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A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III (Roman Coppola)

 

Charlie Sheen plays a graphic designer who descends into utter misery after his girlfriend leaves him. There have been some arguments in favour of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan III that have called it a misunderstood tribute to ’70s film. However, there is very little to admire in a film that is uncertain about whether it wants to be deadpan or childish – so in the end it is just cardboard.

On top of that, its general humour is rather weak and the filmmaker doesn’t appear skilled enough to give the drama any relevant importance. The saddest element of all, however, is Charlie Sheen. Not only is his perhaps premature casting in a role that feels like a surrogate of his own ‘controversial’ lifestyle often feel very uncomfortable, but it’s even worse to see the embarrassing rare instances where the film requires him to act – particularly when we remember that this is the same man who once starred in Platoon.

 

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Wavemakers (Caroline Martel)

 

Not many people will be familiar with the almost magical and yet obscure and mysterious instrument called the Ondes Martenot. Yet, this early electronic instrument has an infectious hypnotic charge that has made most people who have come in contact with it in one way or another fall in love with it, including filmmaker Caroline Martel, who came to know its haunting tones when she used it as the soundtrack to her previous film The Phantom of the Operator.

This certainly comes through in her latest documentary, Wavemakers, that tracks its lifespan from its inception in the mind of its creator Maurice Martenot right down to its relevance in modern music – whether it is through Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood or its most celebrated interpreter Suzanne Binet-Audet. Martel also shows a deep connection with the ondes Martenot by allowing its unique tones and vibratos to dictate its tone, mood and rhythm in a way that makes her documentary almost mystical and downright hypnotic.

A treat for the eyes and the ears, Wavemakers is also both a passionate and loving tribute to its subject as well as a warm appraisal of music’s most artisanal side.

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