Calico is a documentary in the sense that it is a collection of footage shot at personal leisure in the period of one year. As a result of this the film is free of a plot or dialog. The ...
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A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip's birthday.
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Calico is a documentary in the sense that it is a collection of footage shot at personal leisure in the period of one year. As a result of this the film is free of a plot or dialog. The sole purpose of the film lies in enjoyment of the various atmospheres created by picture and sound. Written by
Calico is a wonderful, dialogue-free work which looks at the world, time, growth, Americana, and culture, through the eyes of a filmmaker. Beginning somewhere in the South, and accompanied by both ambient noise and a haunting soundtrack, black and white footage shows the viewer the world through the visual surroundings of the protagonist. He reveals the good and the bad, using a variety of filming techniques and composition elements to symbolically explain how his nostalgia and his apathy can coexist. He begins movement across the country, shown through the changing architecture and geographic contextual clues. At some point, color footage is startlingly woven in, and the soundtrack becomes an open mike, as we eavesdrop on the sounds of the middle America small town. You freeze, as a viewer, listening to the time tick by, realizing the moment. The protagonist continues on, resuming the soundtrack, to the West Coast, presumably Los Angeles, as this is a work made by a filmmaker and using a filmmaker's perspective to tell the story. Is the first half what has come before, the middle interruption for us to realize the present moment and the second half a projection of what will come? I don't know the answer to that, although I would be interested in seeing more of this director's work.
I quite enjoyed this film. I can't pretend to understand what the filmmaker's intentions may have been for the audience to feel, but that would be a critical fallacy, anyway. Art needs to speak to the audience, and what we understand to be meaningful is so personal, I won't even say what I got out of it. This film, with neither obvious plot nor dialogue, got me thinking about twenty different esoteric, philosophical things at once, which is a rare accolade in this age of quick-serve decaf soy lattes, Hollywood sappy-ending clones, and trendy social commentary du jour served up in handy stick-on, color coded ribbons for the family minivan.
Art reflects life, and life reflects art; I hope that this film is an indication of where we will be headed, in stark contrast to where we are right now.
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