A visitor from foreign lands. New York, 2014
"Perhaps the only difference between me and other people was that I always demanded more from the sunset — more spectacular colors as the sun hit the horizon — that’s perhaps my only sin ( Nymphomaniac I, Lars Von Trier)”.
The film Nymphomaniac part 1 is a metaphor driven by streams of consciousness and memories from the past of the main character, Joe, portrayed by Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Lars Von Trier follows closely the style of the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky in the remoteness of his cinematic language. The cinematography has that haunting and poetic quality of some of Tarkovsky’s films. As a remote voice from a third character, nature enters in the camera frame and enlightens what has been darkened by the chaotic forces of life. Elements such as rain, the wind, and trees are part of the image system utilized by the Danish director. There is always rain in Tarkovsky’s films, and there is rain as well in Nymphomaniac part 1, and his previous film Antichrist. The bleak scenery in the film allows the director to travel into the depths of a void, where he unveils an often unspeakable truth
Nymphomaniac part I is an intriguing intellectual case study, which, like another Von trier films, Antichrist, makes use of therapy and a series of confessions by the female character in order to unveil a hidden nature of the self. This particular quality can be compared to a genre that the writer Mary Anne Doane calls “the medical discourse” in the tradition of woman’s film in Hollywood during the 1940’s, where women are presented as the object of study and understood under the interpretation of a psychotherapist. Nevertheless, Von Trier frees his female characters to some extent by allowing them to step away from the methodology of therapy. However, in doing so they risk their lives and their sanity, and face social punishment. There is often no escape in Von Trier’s films, but an alluring labyrinth where his characters experience an ambiguous reality that mirrors their ineffective attempts to restore their life conditions.
That reflective and combative existential quality in Von Trier films is constantly enhanced by the camera movement, which is actively driving the audience through this inescapable psychological space. As an illustration, in the opening scene in Nymphomaniac I the camera travels in one long single shot that is encompassed with the melancholy of the rain. This sequence can be compared to the magnificence of Orson Wells’s opening sequence in “Touch of Evil”. Von Trier cinematographer, Albert Claro,captures the entire expanse from the flakes of snow above the metallic textures to the red bricks of the buildings and ends the shot by entering a tunnel. Conspicuously, the film lures the eye and brings it to a provoking realm of sensory experiences, all while traveling in an inexhaustible narrative.
The hallucinating documentary about the film “Dune” is now playing at Film Forum in New York City. The Chilean writer-actor- director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who was considered one important figure in the early 70s art circuit, had a mystic approach to the novel and the possibility of making this film. He originally developed the idea for this project in hundreds of pages of storyboard, which became a revolutionary and imaginative platform for the science fiction film industry.
In order to create the vision he had, Jodorowsky worked with very talented artists such as Chris Foss and H.R Gigger. The storyboards were presented in the main studios in Hollywood, but they didn’t give Jodorowsky the financial support for the production of Dune. Nevertheless, years later Gigger and other members of Jodorowsky’s crew became involved in the creation of films such as ‘Alien” and “Star Wars”.
Jodorowsky, a real visionary that was ahead of the film industry in America, didn’t fear to create a project that transformed the science fiction world.
Although the project was given to David Lynch instead of Jodorowsky, his work is alive on his storyboards, comics books by the director, and now in this documentary.
The editing work in Eyes Wide Shot by Stanley Kubrick is remarkable and considered by some critics as one of his most important editing works. In an article by Jeffrey Scott Bernstein, he mentions how the editing in this film “might well be the best of any Kubrick film”. He points out the pace and variety of the geometry of shot composition, as “two different and highly important avenues of inquiry”. The juxtaposition of the patterning of shots is surprising and contributes to increase tension. The vertical compositions followed by horizontal frames in the film are extremely dynamic, and become even more dramatic when the vertical medium shot is contrasted with a close up in a horizontal frame.
An illustration of this dynamic editing is the scene in their bedroom where the couple have the conversation about Alice’s affair, the camera mimics the tension between the couple by using a particular frame and angle for each character in the sequence. When Alice is standing in front of the window, a vertical composition from a low angle brings her to the active position in the space just before she will tell her story to the husband. This shot is followed by a medium shot of Bill, Tom Cruise, over the bed from a high angle. Moreover, there is also a contrast in color and tonality between the couple. While Alice is surrounded by a blue metallic cold light, Bill instead has a red background in his frame. Bernstein suggests that this elements became “an emotional cusp, which is “forceful, thrilling.” The scene shifts from irony and laughs into malady and perversion as the camera gets closer and closer to the subjects.
From the short film “Aurora’s Requiem”, NY 2013.
Produced and directed by Katalina Gutierrez.
Photographer Assistant: Jose Pena
Actress: Rebecca Schall
Actor: Adam Resnick
From “Second Light”, under production, Allison Plamodon portrays a dancer in a metaphysical journey filled with wonder.
Shadows on Blue
I’ve been exploring with shadows and silhouettes as a way to represent the multiple layers of reality. The light creates a particular universe of possibilities, where the eye travels and encounters new worlds. In such dimension unknown realities can be explored and experienced.