Collection of short films the summaries of which include; a foreign man moving to Italy, getting married and having a child; a four split scene short involving plot-less images of old ... See full summary »
Collection of short films the summaries of which include; a foreign man moving to Italy, getting married and having a child; a four split scene short involving plot-less images of old people with television sets for heads, a beautiful woman having sex, and overall confusion; and an old man reminiscing over his youth. Written by
'With complete creative freedom, fifteen directors bring their interpretation of time to the screen', says the British National Film Theatre screening note. Alas, most of the film(s) take this carte blanche at it's worst implication and indulge themselves at the exclusion of the audience.
Good things to come out of the showing though... Mike Figgis' splitting a linear story into a 4-way split screen of different perspectives. What's the real narration? Are the dull gaps in each linear tale as important as the action in another? This also finds expression in Schlondorff's The Enlightenment and Denis' Vers Nancy where coherent but quickly unengaging voiceovers give way to the visual dialectic. Which is the essay on time - one, the other, or a linear combination of the two? The most accessible is Micheal Radford's largely straightforward tale of time travel.
A bit of a grouch - there's an element of 'oh, it's just a short so we won't bother with detail because it's the concept that matters'. Well (for example) Szabo and Bertolucci's efforts seem a little plastic as a result of off the peg costuming. Plus there's an element of the director's wanting to tackle a different issue, that of immigration - although the context of the intruder is a companion of the linear nature of time. And the idea of unifying the shorts beyond the title with meditative 'cello music is a bad one, blunting the idiosyncratic nature of each.
The film ends with a nod to three other directors. I was pleased to see the name of Chris Marker there: his 27 min narrated stills feature La Jetee is a much more approachable and thorough investigation into the nature of time (and memory). I don't recommend this as a film for anyone beyond film students and perhaps philosophers.
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