The face of an exhausted man breathing deeply, his face agitated and, nearby, the sea. A Buddhist monk walks barefoot and incredibly slowly through Marseille – so slowly, that his progress is barely perceptible and he becomes a calming influence in the midst of the town’s goings-on.
More like a performance or installation art project than an ‘art film’, “Le Voyage en Occident” (Xi you) is a follow-up to the 2012 short “Walker” or a kind of second segment, set in Marseille (South France – French Mediterranean coast).
Consisting of only 14 shots of varying lengths – from very brief to a centrepiece of approximately 20 minutes – the film shows two men, narratively unconnected, who finally come together in a sequence that shows off both actors’ physical skills and sense of timing.
Lee Kang-sheng, who features in all Tsai Ming-liang’s films, plays the monk with impressive energy. His uniform slow motion footsteps and devoted posture turn his performance into a veritable tour de force as he unswervingly makes his way from the coast to the market in Noailles (popular market with mixed communities people), like an illusion in his bright red robe. Xi You represents another edition of the director’s series of short films that expand Lee Kang-sheng’s thirty minute slow walking performance at Taipei’s National Theatre into a ‘slow walking expedition’. Unusual, brilliantly chosen camera angles provide a collage of various districts in Marseille, creating a hypnotic space in which this meditative peregrination becomes a surprising journey of discovery. Continue reading
Pasolini’s ‘Decameron’ at the Film Festival
Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian director, has always been something of a puzzle for American critics, not simply because we have to reconcile his announced Marxism with what appears to be a kind of reformed Christianity (as reflected by the neo-realistic “The Gospel According to St. Matthew,” as well as by the austerely allegorical “Teorema”), but because he forces us to keep shifting critical gears. No three Pasolinis are ever quite alike. At best, they come in pairs, like “Oedipus Rex” and “Medea,” neither of which have yet been released here.
There is, however, a peculiar kind of romanticism throughout all of his films. It is a middle-class romanticism that idealizes the spiritual and emotional freedom that Pasolini sees in what we used to call The Common Man, who, in slightly more straightforward, class-conscious Europe, is still The Peasant. As if he were some medieval maiden locked in a tower, Pasolini seems to long for the freedom to do what the simple folk do, which, to Pasolini, evokes sexual liberation as much as anything else.
In none of his films has this been more apparent than in his marvelous new work, “The Decameron,” which is as close to being uninhibited and joyful as anything he’s ever done.
There is seven of them, aged 23 to 60: a man, women, mothers, girls, they come from different backgrounds.
All speak openly, quite frankly, with courage.
Each one of them shares his story, his emotions and memories.
Each story is unique, but universal in its way. Everyone tells the silences,
the feeling of guilt of the victim, the lack of points of reference, the cowardice of the whole family, the tragic role of the mother, the denial, the feeling of being alone in the world.
The film shows the mechanisms of incest and that one can not understand it
without considering the whole family.
The documentary also wants to transmit a message of hope with these men and women who were able to rebuild themselves.
Their stories offer a helping hand to those who, like them once, suffocate under a blanket of silence.
A young woman in a deep depression leaves her husband and returns to her parents. She discovers her father is having an affair, becomes jealous of his mistress and tries to turn his feelings in her direction.
Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel. An attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this, but wants to live out his passion anyway. Continue reading
Eve Charlier is poisoned by her husband, an unscrupulous state official, so that he can marry her younger sister. At the same moment that she dies, a political agitator, Pierre Dumaine is shot dead by a police informer on the eve of an uprising against the state. Eve and Pierre meet up in the afterlife, where they can observe the world of the living but cannot alter anything. When they appear to fall in love, they are allowed to return to the land of the living for one more day. If they can prove that they love each other sincerely, they will be permitted to live out the rest of their lives together. Otherwise…
My Mother (French: Ma mère) is a French-Austrian-Portuguese-Spanish 2004 movie about the fictional story of an incestuous relationship between a 17-year-old boy and his attractive, promiscuous, 43-year-old mother. The movie stars Isabelle Hupert, Louis Garrel, Emma de Caunes, Joana Preiss, Philipe Duclos and Jean-Baptiste Montagut. French director Christophe Honoré, who wrote the screenplay, based it on the controversial and posthumous novel of the same name by French author George Bataille. Honoré shot the film on location on the island of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain. Its dialogue is almost entirely in French with brief segments in Spanish, German and English. Film distribution company TLA Releasing released Ma mère in France, at the Cannes Film Market, on 13 May 2004.