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Archive for the ‘Film’ topic

Inception Explained, almost.

One of the strangest lucid dreams I’ve ever had was indeed being caught inside a dream in a dream in a dream in a dream. I found myself waking up one morning, taking a shower, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, and going to school. During my first class, I woke up again. And so I got out of bed and repeated my morning rituals. This time round though, I only got as far as the bus ride to school. I found myself waking up again. That’s when I realized something strange was going on. This scenario would continue to repeat itself several times, each dream sequence getting shorter and shorter until I couldn’t get any further than stepping out of my bed before ending back to where I was. Finally, I was awake. But even then, doubts remained. How could I be sure I wasn’t still dreaming? It was only after my day had progressed well passed the afternoon that I started to relax and assume that I really had returned to reality.

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Short film: Tanghi Argentini

Scene from Tanghi Argentini

Once in a while, something worthwhile can be seen on television. Yesterday, Canvas not only aired the quirky love story “Steve + Sky“, but  also several pretty good short films. In my opinion, it’s something they should do more often.  Even though shorts are perfect for the internet, they are not always easy to track down.

Passion

One short I did manage to find on the net was actually the Oscar nominated “Tanghi Argentini” (subtitles). It is not the first tango short film I’ve mentioned here, but I guess it’s a subject that lends itself well to telling short passionate stories.

In Tanghi Argentini, an office clerk, after having landed himself a date with a woman he met on the internet,  finds he has only two weeks to learn the tango if he want to make an impression on her. Having never danced before, he enlists the help of one of his colleagues to help him learn the dance of passion. The big question is: will he be able to convince his date he has been a Tango dancer all his life? As with all good shorts, it ends with a twist. So watch it here.

Learning the Tango

While two weeks is indeed very short to master this dance, this is in many ways how it was taught 19th century.  Only, it usually took a bit longer than just two fortnights. Before a young boy could actually step on the dance floor and impress the ladies, he would first have to find a more experienced male dancer to teach him. First he would have to watch and observe the more skilled dancers, than learn how to follow (the woman’s part), and only when he got that down could he be taught to lead. Once he got all that down, a process that could take up to three years, would he now be able to dance with an actual real woman.

screenshot from the altruists

You can choose your friends.

Of one of the other shorts shown yesterday, “De Onbaatzuchtigen” (The Altruists / no subtitles), I was only able to find a fragment. You might have heard of the phrase: “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”. Well, in this short film, you can. As a matter of fact, every member of the family can be sold or bought as long as the rest of the family agrees. Though never explicitly mentioned, in this society, prestige and wealth is exhibited by the size of a family unit and the qualities of each member. Showing off to the other families is done by the daily walks on the street with the entire family together.

A member of one family, who like the rest, constantly lives in fear that the others will tire of him and sell him off, decides to play his cards in such a way, that only he is left. After realizing he is now alone, he gets himself a dog for companionship. Someone he can trust won’t sell him off if they ever disagree.

Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times: The Ultimate Reality Game

Play the Modern Times Game! The idea for this game came to me in a dream. It is based on a scene from Modern Times, a Charlie Chaplin film. It’s the one where Chaplin is working on an assembly line, mind numbingly screwing in bolts with a spanner until he finally goes mad. Continue reading…

Animation: Logorama

Logorama is a pulp fictionesque animation contrived completely out of logo’s. You have to watch it once, and then watch it again, the second time freeze framing a single frame at a time to notice every single detail such as Pink Floyds The Wall or the colonel himself serving at his own KFC and so much more… really well done.

Short Film: The Third and The Seventh

The Third and The Seventh by Alex Roman

This architectural short film grabbed my attention once I noticed it included the parliament building in Dhaka. I briefly mentioned it in the TEDx post (it includes a link to the video about its history and the life of Nathaniel Kahn, the architect).

This short however starts with some beautiful architectural imagery. It’s filmed in high definition and best viewed full screen. But just when you think that there isn’t that much more to it, it slowly starts to pull you in as a wonderfully strange imaginary world comes to life. One I wouldn’t mind living in to be honest. I was quite impressed by the camera work and first thought it was done with the new range of DSLR’s that support video while offering more depth of field control at affordable prices.

But I was a bit surprised that one would travel all the way to Bangladesh just to film a building. Then I realized the entire movie was created with CGI. Quite impressive as it was all done by one man, Alex Roman, and a lot of time. That it really is all just bits and bytes can be seen here. Real buildings in an unreal world.

Animation: Alma and the Toyshop

Animation: Alma lured in a toyshop

This one is truly a little gem. Especially if you have very young unruly kids running about. Not only will this lovely animation creep them out and give them nightmares, they’ll  never hassle you in a toyshop ever again.
The story starts with a child that’s lured into a toy shop.. and from there, I’ll say no more. Just enjoy…

Short Film: Just a love story (not quite safe for work)

Boy meets girl in an elevator

Boy meets girl in an elevator. Boy likes girl. Boy too scared to ask her out. So far, so typical. However; this is not your every-day-garden-variety-love-story.

Just when you think his situation is nothing more than awkward at best, the film takes a turn for the strange. Our boy not only invites an odd bedfellow into his life, it is through this curious action, that he is led to believe that there might be more to this girl than meets the eye.

Short Film: On Time

A young man inspecting the contents of a suitcase in On Time

A young man sitting in a departure hall – hurting over broken dreams – is approached by a traveling salesman. With him, he carries a unique proposition: he sells the future. The young man, skeptical of what he is being offered, and puzzled how seeing the future could possibly repair events gone wrong in the past, takes a peak into our salesman’s attaché case. His face turns to amazement.

At this point, I was expecting a MacGuffin, a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock. It’s a plot device that has no other use than to further the story along. So I was expecting a Pulp Fiction moment, were the case is opened and starts emitting a golden glow as bystanders look at its content in amazement. But to us, the viewer, the contents is never revealed. It’s merely a prop that gives its characters a reason worth killing for. So in the end, it doesn’t matter if it is gold or a fresh batch of tasty Royale with cheese.

So great was my surprise that in this little short, we actually afforded a peek inside the case. And I have to admit that I too watched in amazement. He actually was selling the future. Our young man decides to seize the moment, but at what cost?

Lost Highway: Explained

Patricia Arquette as Renee in Lost Highway

As the ending credits of Lost Highway swept over the cinema screen, I was left behind in a state of total perplexity.  Instinctively, I knew I had witnessed one of the greatest movies of all time. But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I had just been watching for the past two hours. It was the first time a film had ever evoked such a bewildered feeling out of me.  I had to know why.

The dialogs were in English, but the film conventions used were foreign. Subtitles were nonexistent. It was a film that would take many viewings to figure out, though many claimed the film could not be explained. That it was nothing more than one long dream sequence from a twisted brain that made absolutely no sense. I never really believed that. And I’m glad I didn’t.

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The Box

Cemeron Diaz starring in The Box

Recently – and not knowing what to expect or what I was about to watch – I went to see The Box. It’s one of those films you’ll either love, or hate. It’s from the same director that brought us Donnie Darko, the movie that brought us the wonderful Mad World cover.

The Box starts with a simple premise. A family is presented a mysterious box with a large red button. They are given a day to decide whether to press it or not. If they do, they will receive a suitcase with one million dollars, tax free. But – and there is always a but – someone whom they do not know will be killed. If on the other hand they decline to press the button by the time the offer expires, the box will be taken away, reprogrammed and sent to someone else.

Given this choice, what would you do?

If this has peaked your interest, stop reading here and go and watch it. Otherwise, I have to warn you that the rest of the post contains spoilers.

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