A violinist in a provincial Polish orchestra, whose husband is the director of the ensemble, on a visit to the U.S., ties up with the world-renowned symphony conductor. As it turns out, he ... See full summary »
Zoë is a single mother who lives with her four children in Dartford. She is poor and can't afford to buy food. One day her ex-boyfriend drives by and asks her to go on a date with him. ... See full summary »
In part III "The Orchestra" -like in part II "Steps"- the technology is sophisticated (sometimes multi-layer) green screen. (Part I "Media" is very different; it has much more of an "animation" feel to it, and seems more accessible and interesting.) I found "The Orchestra" impressive even by today's standards ...except feet often meet the background a bit awkwardly, something that's generally finessed nowadays by making the elements the actor actually touches real physical props. The "making of" featurette on this disc shows these green screen effects happened in real time inside the camera; what the director saw in front of the camera and what he saw on the monitor were quite different. The director could make adjustments on the spot, without deferring anything to the editing phase. Interestingly, the effects were done entirely withOUT a computer; it's hard to imagine green screen these days except in the company of computer photo editing, but it wasn't aways that way.
"The Orchestra" is six segments -all of which meld music and video in sophisticated ways- woven together to total about an hour. (It's a believable next step from here to MTV.) "The Orchestra" feels rather like some other of that era's public television: famous grand architecture, classical music, just a whiff of intellectual elitism, and myriad references for the cognoscenti. There's nothing abstract, all the segments feature plenty of real people. There's no dialog, just the music and the foley. The actors' actions are roughly (but seldom precisely) synced with the music, and are broad and schematic, portraying stereotypes or perhaps "everyman".
Originally the standout segment was the last one, "Stairs to Lenin", a tour-de-force encapsulation of the history of the USSR and the Soviet Empire to the tune of Bolero. Unfortunately it seemed to me that segment's time has passed; while still impressive, it's more of an intellectual puzzle than I wanted, and my reaction was along the lines of "who cares?". My own favorite segment was a different one: the couple flying through the air a bit like acrobats inside Chartres Cathedral to the tune of Ave Maria.
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