Short Film Review: The Escape

 

Niall McArdle takes a look at Paul Franklin’s science-fiction short, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

 

Paul Franklin has made his mark in cinema in the dizzying world of visual effects, having done work on the likes of a few Harry Potter films, a Bond movie, and most recently, Captain America: Civil War. It’s his relationship with Christopher Nolan, however, that has been the most fruitful. They’ve worked together five times. Franklin turned city streets and hotel corridors on their head in Inception, and built an infinity of bookshelves for the purpose of space-time travelling (or something) in Interstellar (Franklin earned Oscars for both films).

All that time hanging out with Nolan has obviously rubbed off: Franklin’s directorial debut, The Escape, is a handsomely filmed science-fiction short that wears its influences on its sleeve: it feels like something that Nolan might make over a few days while waiting for Hans Zimmer to finish scoring his latest blockbuster.

Based on a short story by Robert Sheckley, The Escape has a mysterious, contrived set-up and much foreshadowing; its characters barely register as people; and it seems to exist in a fictional world just out of reach of our own.

Mr Lambert (Julian Sands looking scruffy, harried and old) scurries along a back –alley for a clandestine meeting in an antiques-filled warehouse with Mr Kellan (Art Malik, oozing charm and looking like a luxury car dealer). Mr Kellan is offering Lambert the opportunity to live any life he dreams – “free from the life to which you are chained” – in exchange for a high fee and ten years of his lifespan. He can do this because there are many worlds other than our own, “containing all possibilities, all outcomes.” How Lambert has mastered travel between parallel universes is never explained, nor why he needs to run his business out of a darkened warehouse, other than the fact that “the authorities take a dim view of my activities, so I’m obliged to exist where I can.”

Meanwhile, Lambert’s business is suffering, his daughter is heading off to university, his young son frets about the torrential rains the country is currently enduring, and his wife Sarah (Olivia Williams) feels that life is going too fast.

Franklin saves his big visual effects money shot until the end, and it’s a doozy (although I suspect you’ll see it coming). Until then, The Escape looks rather ordinary. However, the choice to begin work behind the camera making a short film was a wise one. The Escape is a decent enough calling card for Franklin, unlike, say, another of Nolan’s associates, cinematographer Wally Pfister, who made his directorial debut with the feature-length snooze-fest Transcendence. Franklin’s next film will be an adaptation of the YA novel Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson.

 

 

 

 

The Escape premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on 20th April 2017

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ADIFF 2017 Irish Film Review: Maudie

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Niall McArdle looks into the frames of Aisling Walsh’s Maudie.

What is the most important thing for a painter? After all the arguments about colours and symbolism and composition have ended, what’s left is what the artist has included in a painting and what has been left out. In other words, the borders of the canvas are perhaps the most important parts. I say perhaps because painting long ago abandoned representation, and the exact position of a splotch of colour on a canvas is arguably unimportant. In film, however, framing and composition still matter and are vital clues to the filmmaker’s intent.

It is heartening, therefore, to see a biopic of a painter that pays close attention to the frame, for frames were of paramount important to Maud Lewis, the Canadian folk artist, and the subject of Aisling Walsh’s superbly crafted, marvellously acted, moving Maudie. Living for all her life in a tiny fishing village in Nova Scotia, Maud Dowley suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis from an early age, which makes her seemingly unfit for work or marriage. Limping, bent, shuffling Maud has a fierce will, however, and so when she sees an opportunity to work as a housekeeper and cook for Everett Lewis, a gruff local fish peddler, she seizes it.

Everett’s tiny shack is a dismal place, and Maud begins painting the walls to brighten it up, much to Everett’s anger. Then again, he is furious at her for almost every little thing and given to violent outbursts. Maud paints Christmas cards and helps Everett with his rounds (she’s better at keeping track of business than he is – one of the strong aspects of the script is it’s never explicit how illiterate Everett is). When one of his customers offers to buy one of Maud’s paintings, Everett’s resentment is clear, but five bucks is five bucks. Later she’ll become famous – another source of bitterness for a man who doesn’t much care for people tramping outside his house.

The two fall into a routine. He sells fish and does odd jobs, she keeps house and paints, and is happiest painting by the window because a window is “the whole world framed.” They share a bed only because the alternative is for her to sleep on the floor. Several weeks after moving in with him, they marry. Maudie is a love story with a moving narrative arc covering several decades, with a heartbreaking secret at its centre.

Maudie is an intimate, almost claustrophobic film. Many of the scenes are interior, yet it never feels stagey or a cheap television production that somehow wound up in cinema. Walsh frames her actors under low slanted ceilings and in small doorways (including one shot of Everett that seems a deliberate echo of John Ford’s ending of The Searchers). By the film’s end, there isn’t a surface in the Lewis house that isn’t painted with bright, colourful scenes.

There is much to admire in the film’s look and feel, but it is the performances that will stick with the viewer. As Maud, Sally Hawkins gives an outstanding physical performance matched by a quiet resolve and a somewhat mischievous sense of humour. She’s in almost every scene and it’s easy to see why there is already awards buzz for her performance: she doesn’t demand sympathy or take the role as an excuse for some damp-eyed Oscar baiting, yet she’s unforgettable.

Ethan Hawke brings intensity of a different sort to the taciturn Everett. The impoverished rural working-class male is a character that the cinema has all but forgotten or doesn’t know how to represent, but Hawke has captured something authentic here (even if his Maritimes accent roams a fair bit). He mumbles and grunts a lot. When he speaks, it’s in short declarative statements, mostly to complain. Physically, he retreats into himself. This is a performance worlds away from the Hawke we’re accustomed to seeing. Even his button eyes, usually so bright, have dimmed.

Maudie is a quiet triumph for Aisling Walsh, and for Irish cinema. The Irish-Canadian co-production was the gala presentation on the opening night of the Audi Dublin Film Festival, and when this fantastic film is on release in Irish cinemas, be sure to see it as it is undoubtedly one of the year’s best Irish films. Bring tissues.

 

Maudie screened on Thursday, 16th February 2017 at Savoy 1 as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: Jackie

Natalie Portman as "Jackie Kennedy" in JACKIE. Photo by Pablo Larrain. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

DIR: Pablo Larraín • WRI: Noah Oppenheim • PRO: Darren Aronofsky, Martine Cassinelli, Pascal Caucheteux, Scott Franklin • DOP: Stéphane Fontaine • COS: Madeline Fontain • DES: Jean Rabasse, Helena Gebarowicz • ED: Sebastián Sepúlveda • MUS: Mica Levi • CAST: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, John Hurt, Greta Gerwig, John Carroll Lynch, Billy Crudup, Richard E. Grant, Max Cassella

 

How do you breathe new life into the Kennedy legend? The images of the events surrounding JFK’s presidency and assassination have been rehashed so many times, it’s nearly impossible to present anything new about the man. Jackie opts for something different, therefore: an arresting portrait of JFK’s widow.

The most recent fictionalized version of the Kennedys was a well-made, decently-acted, but sudsy TV melodrama starring Katie Holmes as Jacqueline Bouvier. No disrespect to Holmes, who did an admirable job, or indeed to any of the other actresses down through the years who’ve essayed Jackie O, but Natalie Portman has set the bar way, way high in her portrayal in Jackie.

Set in the few days following the assassination, with flashbacks to Dallas and to scenes of happiness in the White House (including a famous TV tour of the place that helped cement Jackie’s image as First Lady of Style), the unconventional biopic’s structure presents a selection of takes on Jackie Kennedy: a grieving widow on the edge of a nervous breakdown; a resourceful wife; a canny manipulator of the media; an image-conscious superficial, silly, spoiled brat; a woman angry and resentful at God for taking her husband and two of her children, and an inveterate chain smoker who wouldn’t be out of place in Mad Men.

Through it all Portman mesmerises, capturing the peculiar vocal mannerisms and patrician authority of Jackie O, but also her vulnerability, will, and finally, determination. Even in moments when the script calls for her to go big, Portman holds a little back, aware, perhaps, that she’s playing an icon, and keen to make an unrelatable celebrity an identifiable human character.

She’s in almost every scene in the film, usually in close-up. This is a very invasive film, both visually and aurally – cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine isn’t a fan of the long shot, and the score is mixed too high, threatening to overwhelm some scenes (remarkably for a film with such melodramatic potential, it still feels very real – harrowing, but real: I thought that after so many JFK movies I’d seen every possible iteration of the man’s brains being blown out – it turns out I hadn’t). It was only when the end-titles appeared and I saw that Darren Aronofsky is one of the producers that it made sense. Jackie does feel, at times, like a companion piece to Black Swan, in that it matches its protagonist’s sense of growing hysteria with a suitable visual and editing style.

I said the film was an unconventional biopic. It is, I guess, but in many ways it adheres to the traditions of the genre. There is a framing device, which is an interview that Jackie conducts with a journalist (Billy Crudup), and which allows the audience a bit of insight into the personal life of one of the world’s most famous people. The interview is then ruthlessly edited by Jackie herself, eager as she is in the days following her husband’s murder to preserve the image that the Kennedy administration worked so hard to maintain (the interview is based on a real interview which she gave and which created the Camelot myth of the Kennedy years).

Apart from Portman, the rest of the cast does admirably well in playing famous and not-so-famous people. If the film is trying to make the point that no celebrity is ever the way you expect, then it deserves points for casting Peter Sarsgaard: he doesn’t look or sound anything like Bobby Kennedy, and the film is murky on his intentions, implying, if only briefly, that he may have harboured a thing for his sister-in-law. The always-reliable John Carroll Lynch is a stubborn Lyndon Johnson. Greta Gerwig plays a close confidant and continues to show why she is one of the best screen actresses of her generation. John Hurt, looking frail and sporting a not-too bad Oirish brogue, is the family priest (his one scene is a triumph).

Directed by Pablo Larraín and scripted by Noah Oppenheim, the film only has a few missteps, the principal one being that we get to see JFK alive and well and dancing with his wife. For a movie about the power of myth-making, it would be better that his character was left only alive in our imaginations. But no matter: this is Portman’s film through and through: she gives one of her best performances (better even than her Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan). For one brief shining moment there was a Camelot, and for a hundred intense amazing minutes there is Natalie Portman in Jackie.

Niall McArdle

99 minutes
15A (See IFCO for details)

Jackie is released 20th January 2017

Jackie – Official Website

 

 

 

 

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Review: Morgan

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DIR: Luke Scott • WRI: Seth W. Owens •  PRO: Ridley Scott, Aidan Elliott, Elishia Holmes • DOP: Mark Patten • ED: Laura Jennings • DES: Tom McCullogh • MUS: Max Richter • CAST: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Michael Yare, Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Sullivan, Paul Giamatti, Michelle Yeoh, Boyd Holbrook, Vinette Robinson

 

“We don’t want another Helsinki,” someone warns early on in Morgan, an occasionally interesting, flashy-looking but by-the-numbers sci-fi thriller. It occurs to me that you could build many a movie out of the line “we don’t want another Helsinki,” one of many clichés that the film’s screenplay runs through. We never learn exactly what happened in Helsinki, but people died and there was a mess to clean up.

One of those tasked with cleaning up messes like this is Kate Mara, a “risk-management consultant” who dresses like an executive but has moves like a Mossad agent.  She is sent by her corporate masters to an isolated mansion deep in the middle of nowhere to investigate what went wrong with a hush-hush science experiment. There she meets an assortment of scientists as well as the film’s title character. Tensions rise. Tempers fray. Mayhem ensues.

You have seen Morgan many, many times, as it tells an old story: a corporation finances a wacky science experiment; something goes terribly awry; a company stooge has to square off against earnest boffins and say things like, “I’ve been authorised to shut this place down. Effective immediately, this experiment is terminated”; and then people start dying.

But there’s a twist, one that you’ll see coming a mile off. Morgan isn’t really a subtle film.

It might remind you somewhat of Ex Machina, concerning as it does Artificial Intelligence, and containing as it does scenes where the experiment’s subject is kept in a sealed room behind bullet-proof glass. Morgan, however, has none of that film’s existential concerns. A closer comparison is to the highly silly but very enjoyable Deep Blue Sea, only with a weird not quite human with homicidal instincts instead of intelligent sharks. Beat for beat, it tells almost the exact same story as that or any number of low rent science-fiction movies from recent years, from Species to Splice.

The country-house setting and motley cast of characters might also have you thinking of Agatha Christie, and there is I suppose a certain pleasure to be had guessing who will die next. The characters are the usual bunch you’d expect in this sort of thing: the well-meaning head of the project; the one who feels sorry for Morgan; the token Black guy; and the hunky one.

Mercifully, it doesn’t get bogged down in the science – it’s sort of hazy on the details, actually, which go something like this: Synthetic DNA Something Something Nano Technology Something Something Accelerated Growth Something Something Amazing Ability – and it runs through the necessary exposition in a couple of minutes.

Watching it prompts an interesting question (more interesting than the film, actually): with the exception of Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina, whatever happened to fictional scientists who could fund their own work? Would Doctors Frankenstein or Jekyll have achieved as much as they did if they had always to be concerned about the bottom line and the value of the company’s stock?

Morgan is directed by Luke Scott (son of Ridley). Luke doesn’t quite have his old man’s eye for a great shot, although there are a couple of nice images here and there. He does have decent taste in music, however: the film has a great, moody electronic score by Max Richter, and at times I found myself enjoying the soundtrack more than the visuals, which for the most part aren’t that interesting, save for some brilliant overhead shots at the beginning.

Thankfully, Morgan doesn’t outstay its welcome: it’s a brisk, ninety-minute B-movie with an A-list cast. A-listish, anyway. Mara is still most famous for House of Cards. You’ll recognise the great character actor Chris Sullivan from The Knick, and Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones. Paul Giamatti pops up and snarls a bit. Toby Jones looks worried a lot. Jennifer Jason Leigh gets to do most of her work lying down. Brian Cox (uncredited) phones in most of his performance (I mean literally: he speaks to Mara on the phone a lot.) A cynic would say that most of the actors are only here for an easy pay cheque. That’s not true: they’re here for an easy pay cheque and the chance to stay in a nice house in the country.

Niall McArdle

92 minutes

15A (see IFCO for details)

Morgan is released on 2nd September 2016

Morgan – Official Website

 

 

 

 

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Review: Author: The JT Leroy Story

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WRI/DIR: Jeff Feuerzeig • PRO: Jeff Feuerzeig, Jim Czarnecki, Danny Gabai • DOP: Richard Henkels • ED: Michelle M. Witten • MUS: Walter Werzowa

 

Federico Fellni said “a created thing is never invented and it is never true: it is always and ever itself.” This observation is used as the epigraph for Author: The JT Leroy Story, Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary about how Laura Albert, a San Francisco writer in her late twenties, created a pseudonym, JT Leroy, a  fifteen year-old boy from the Bible Belt who had been abused as a child and was a drug abuser and a prostitute, and who was living with AIDS.

While everything about JT Leroy’s life story was a fake (well, almost everything; Albert herself had been abused and spent most of her adolescence in a group home), one thing about LeRoy was undeniable: he had literary talent. His fiction was filled with authentically seedy details about turning tricks at truck stops, shooting up heroin, and vagrancy, told in a style that had critics comparing him to the giants of Southern Gothic.

It isn’t long after Albert conjures  JT that the author becomes a literary and pop culture sensation: publishers and agents come calling, and soon after, celebrities grab on to the rising star. The documentary is very good at examining the way in which the worlds of publishing, media, Hollywood, and rock n’ roll intersect and conspire in a media-feeding frenzy.

To keep up the fiction, Albert ropes in her sister-in-law, Savannah, to be LeRoy in public. Hiding behind dark glasses and a blonde wig that makes her look eerily like Andy Warhol (an interesting comparison: Warhol would probably have loved the idea of a fake artist lauded for his brilliance), Savannah initially adopts the persona for a one-off television interview, but soon has to be LeRoy all the time at readings, literary events, and parties with the likes of Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, Lou Reed, Billy Corgan, Michael Stipe, Eddie Vedder, Gus Van Sant, Winona Ryder, and U2. One hilarious anecdote recounts Bono huddling with LeRoy at a party offering the young author career advice.

Leroy has an assistant, Speedie (Albert with a dodgy English accent), and where Speedie goes, so does her musician boyfriend Astor (Albert’s husband and Savannah’s brother, Geoff). Soon the trio are in Italy with Asia Argento (who would go on to star in and direct a film of LeRoy’s The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things) and hanging out with Gus Van Sant (Albert wrote much of the original screenplay for Elephant).

Author: The JT LeRoy Story is a Frankenstein tale, or more properly a Pygmalion tale, as Albert finds herself on the sidelines, watching as someone else is praised for her work, and the subject of intense scrutiny from LeRoy’s new friends, who think that Speedie and Astor are holding the young author back and are just riding his coattails and using him.

Eventually the fraud is exposed, and although ‘hoax’ is not the word that Albert would prefer to use (she regards JT LeRoy and the other personae she created as avatars who could express things that she couldn’t), lawyers tend to see things differently from artists. The same people who adored JT LeRoy now want nothing to do with him, but more than one person advises Albert to capitalize on the scandal and write a tell-all. This is not a film which portrays celebrities well; you might walk away from it with an even lower opinion of Courtney Love.

As fascinating as the stories of trips to Cannes and partying with Hollywood celebrities are, an equally interesting aspect of the film explores Albert’s reason for creating JT LeRoy in the first place: her own childhood and adolescence. Abused, bullied, and neglected, she retreated into a fantasy world, and would create disturbing tableaux with her Barbie dolls: bloodied, beaten, and raped. Albert struggled with her weight for many years, and reluctant to go out, the teenager would dress up her sister as a punk and send her out pretending to be her. She would phone crisis hotlines and put on accents and assume identities to tell her story (these were not prank calls – she was unable to speak as Laura and felt the only way she could confide in people was from behind a mask).

Author: The JT LeRoy Story couldn’t arrive at a better time. While examinations of identity and authenticity have generally been the reserve of academics, recent events in the Zeitgeist have put the issue of what is real squarely in the public eye.  As I write this, the media is engrossed by a plagiarism scandal involving Melania Trump and her speechwriter (a woman who may not even exist), by a Kanye West music video that uses lifelike wax models of famous people (without their permission), and by the possibility that West’s chief celebrity rival, Taylor Swift is involved in a fake romance with the Internet’s boyfriend, Tom Hiddleston for the purposes of publicity .

Niall McArdle

110 mins

Author: The JT Leroy Story is released 29th July 2016

Author: The JT Leroy Story – Official Website

 

 

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Review: Men & Chicken

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DIR/WRI: Anders  Thomas Jensen • PRO: Kim Magnusson, Tivi Magnusson • DOP: Sebastian Blenkov • ED: Anders Villadsen • MUS: Franz Bak, Jeppe Kas • DES: Cornelia Ott • CAST: David Dencik, Mads Mikkelsen, Søren Malling, Nikolaj Lie Kass, Nicolas Bro

 

Men & Chicken concerns, in part, combining different species to create monstrous hybrids, and the film itself is something of a hybrid. Imagine The Island of Dr. Moreau crossed with The Three Stooges, the result spliced with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and the whole concoction left to stew in a rambling, crumbling old country manor (or is it an old mental asylum?) straight out of Psycho or a Daphne du Maurier gothic nightmare. In Danish.

It’s a comedy.

“The humour on this island tends to be pretty basic,” says one of the characters. The line would serve as a comment on the film’s tone, which is slapstick, scatological, juvenile, and crass.

I loved it.

It is one of the film’s strengths that it gets to have its politically incorrect cake and eat it too, because while the set-up is farcical, the tone blackly comic, and the characters horrific, writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen (writer of In a Better World and After the Wedding) creates a great sense of warmth and – this might seem odd – gentleness.

On a remote island (pop. 44), the villagers know to stay away from a dilapidated, filthy sanatorium. Farm animals roam the hallways and live in the bedrooms. Five brothers (or half-brothers, or to more exact, varyingly fractional brothers, watch the film and you’ll understand what I mean) spend  much of their time together beating each other with pots, pans, and stuffed animals. Each brother is physically disfigured. One has sex with chickens because he has never met a woman. One is compulsively violent.  Another is a compulsive onanist. The basement is locked up and off limits. When rules of the house are broken, the perpetrator is locked in a rusty cage. Shift the film’s tone a few degrees and choose a more ominous soundtrack than the jaunty score by Frans Bak and Jeppe Kas, and you’d have one of the year’s more disturbing thrillers.

As it is, we are presented with a dark comedy about family, parentage, madness, and fraternal love. The brothers, Elias, Franz, Gregor, Josef, and Gabriel, are played by Mads Mikkelsen, Søren Malling, Nikolaj Lie Kass, Nicolas Bro, and David Dencik, and all are clearly having way too much fun. Mikkelsen, especially, with a harelip covered by an ugly moustache, and sporting a dreadful perm, must have relished the opportunity to play against type. Elias is a sex-starved buffoon who thinks he’s something of a Lothario. Imagine if Jerry Lewis or Bob Hope had to leave the movie every five minutes to masturbate, and you come close to Elias’s character. Gabriel (Dencik) is the most normal of the brothers (or the least bizarre, at any rate), and the film’s ostensible protagonist and stand-in for the audience. His occasional hiccoughing gag reflex at the others’ goings-on might be the nearest that the film comes to a meta moment.

“Life is life because the alternative is unthinkable,” someone says in Men & Chicken. It certainly is; this is a highly life-affirming film, and death is laughed at from the opening minutes. God also comes in for a decent slagging. Some have compared the film’s absurdism to Kafka, but there is a better comparison to another giant of European modernism. If Samuel Beckett had written dick jokes, he might have written Men & Chicken.

Niall McArdle

15A (See IFCO for details)

104 minutes

Men & Chicken is released 15th July 2016

Men & Chicken – Official Website

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: Notes on Blindess

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DIR/WRI: Pete Middleton, James Spinney • PRO: Mike Brett, Jo Jo Ellison, Pete Middleton, James Spinney, Alex Usborne • DOP: Gerry Floyd • ED: Julian Quantrill • MUS: James Ewers, Noah Wood • DES: Damien Creagh • CAST: Dan Renton Skinner, Simone Kirby, John M. Hull

What does it mean to a theologian when he gets ill? Does his view of God change? Does he regard his illness as divine caprice or simply chance?

Those are some of the questions that plagued John Hull for many years. In 1980 the Australian theologian and academic began losing his sight, his vision growing gradually dimmer until he was left completely blind in 1983, just days before the birth of his son. Hull’s final sight was of a church steeple.

In an effort to take charge of a life he felt he was losing control over, Hull began making audio recordings of his conversations with his wife, Marilyn, the sounds of him playing with their children, as well as his feelings about his blindness, his depression, his memory, and God.

Those tapes were the basis for Hull’s memoir Touching the Rock, and are the soundtrack to Notes on Blindness, a remarkable reconstruction of Hull’s life by Peter Middleton and James Spinney. While the circumstances of Hull’s life would make for a decent enough conventional documentary, Middleton and Spinney choose an immersive approach in an effort to get inside Hull’s mind, filled with blurry imagery and characters coming in and going out of focus. More remarkably, though, while actors Dan Renton Skinner and Simone Kirby play John and Marilyn, they lip-synch the original audio from Hull’s tapes.  This approach takes a cliché of documentary, the re-enactment , and uses it to create a film which raises questions about the idea of authenticity in documentary, and in which the sound design is as equally important as the imagery. The supervising sound editor is Joakim Sundström (Berberian Sound Studio).

Notes on Blindness is a poetic examination of, in Hull’s words, “a world beyond sight.” He adopted many coping strategies to ensure he could still teach at the University of Birmingham: counting the number of steps to a lecture hall; recognizing students by the sound of their voices; and most astonishingly, after his discovery that most audio books were romantic novels and detective fiction, corralling friends and volunteers to record themselves reading academic texts and philosophy books.

Much of the conversation between John and Marilyn is quite dull, and Notes on Blindness is, if nothing else, a quiet celebration of domesticity and marital bliss. Hull finds his memories fading, struggling at one point to remember what Marilyn looks like, and finding that he can recall old photos more easily than people. The film takes inspiration from that idea, and, at times, the imagery is deliberately grainy or shadowy.

Hull sank into depression, particularly during a trip to visit his parents in Australia when one of the children was injured, and Hull could not find her and began for the first time to feel useless. He had a recurring dream that he was drowning, and images of water and rain abound in the film (including one of rain falling inside a room that seems to have been lifted from Tarkovsky’s Solaris). He eventually finds solace in the familiar surroundings of his home, and in God (a visit to a cathedral results in Hull feeling a calming, divine presence).

Notes on Blindness is a moving, intimate documentary, a triumph of sound and image, and a poetic examination of love, loss, memory and marriage.

Niall McArdle

90 minutes
G (See IFCO for details)

Notes on Blindness is released 10th June 2016

Notes on Blindness – Official Website

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