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Film Portrait (1973)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 43 users  
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Title: Film Portrait (1973)

Film Portrait (1973) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Fragments of several (mostly) silent films are shown. They're guided by quotes from, among others, Plato and Sappho and a soundtrack.

Director: Gustav Deutsch
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Jerome Hill ...
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C.G. Jung ...
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Grandma Moses ...
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Albert Schweitzer ...
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Edwina St. Clair ...
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30 December 1973 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Cinema Magic, Contemplation and a Human Life
22 August 2014 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

This sensation could hardly have come more unexpectedly, but from the minute we see our narrator, director, writer, composer and, if you will, lead of this essayesque autobiography stand before a mirror, all in negative, shaving his blue face - I was captivated beyond belief. Already from the first second he contemplates about life and the function of time, all while turning colors on their head and in his sink, via a magical combination of shaving cream, water and distortion of reality - creates patterns representing not only the movement of time - but also also looks pretty damn dope.

Jerome Hill is the perfect narrator, bringing a massive amount of wit - and going to so many different lengths of dissecting the power of time. He hypothesizes his future - all in comic sketches - but then we move away from potential and impossible futures and all the way back to his childhood. It's incredible what emotions he manages to convey, as instills both nostalgia and the true spirit of childhood wonders, recreating his childhood through multiple animation techniques, from cut-outs, to drawing on film, to more traditional animation - to shooting at the presumed locations, recreating some of his pastimes in real life. Pictures and very early home video also plays an extreme part - and together these all form one of the most unique cinematic experiences I have had.

Each effect and image, coupled with Hill's own thoughts, wits and insights invokes an ever-lasting sense of magic and wonder - one line that particularly stands out is: "My father didn't have the skill of a professional cameraman. Result? Avant-garde cinema" - and it was quite true. The off, over-exposed images he shows us are effective in their own right. It's remarkable how much of the flaws in the material he presents us becomes strengths and qualities in the context he presents it. Soon he himself begins to be in charge of the projects he presents

  • and he shows how youthful experiments with film directly affected his


later cinema.

He even shows two full shorts, one his largest experiment as a youth, and the second his first true short, the 12 minute La cartomancienne from 1932 - which blends perfectly in, and really shows the magic he had in his heart. Some of the magic withered as the film started to focus on his career and the level of experiments decreased, but he quickly won it back as his contemplations returned to those of the beginning. A unique experience. A wonderful masterpiece. And what a beautiful note it managed to end on. 10/10.


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