Monday, 28 October 2013

Freeview (UK) film of the day : monday 28th of October

Waltz With Bashir (2008 86min.) [Film4 1.20am tuesday &+1]

Award-winning animated documentary. Haunted by his combat experiences during the first Lebanon War in 1982, film-maker Ari Folman interviews old friends and Israeli comrades from that conflict, presenting the collective memories in a passionate bid for redemption.

As a young man film maker Ari Folman undertook his national service in the Israeli army ; during this time he took part in the 1982 war with Lebanon.

This is his reflection, memoir and documentation of that time.

Twenty five years after the event he tracked down family, friends and other former members of his batallion of conscripts and recorded their conversations as they discussed the events that they had been part of and the effects it had on their subsequent lives.

He's then animated these reminiscenses using brutal low-key black and white drawings (almost outline sketches) which suddenly burst into vivid colour at key points in the narrative.

He doesn't shy away from the traumatic events of the war either : carefully pulling together different voices to tell the story of the massacres at Sabra and Shatlia in an almost dispassionate way that serves to underline the brutality of what happened and the way that Folman and his comrades are still haunted by their memories.

It's a beautifully executed piece of work; part-documentary, part-folklore - that allows Folman to explore the way in which the events scarred a generation of young people on all sides of the divide.

Very highly recommended.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Freeview (UK) film of the day : Monday 21st of October

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring (2003 98min.) [Film4 12.30am tuesday &+1]

An elderly Buddhist monk shares the wisdom of his years with a youngster in a one-room monastery floating on a beautiful lake. As the boy grows up, his burgeoning sexual desires overwhelm his need for inner peace and he abandons his master for a more modern life. However, when his quest for love ends in unhappiness, he returns home seeking enlightenment.

In the current century Eastern Cinema has gained a (deserved) reputation for producing some of the most inventive fantasy, horror and thriller films.

But it is also able to produce film such as this.

Kim Ki-Duk's direction and photography is elegant and poised, and he also takes the part of the adult monk; Oh Young-Su is the older monk and they are at the centre of a film that's about image, ritual and repetition and is more concerned with form and tone than action set-pieces or jumps & shocks.

It's not going to appeal to everyone (this may be an understatement) but it has a beautiful, quiet, reflective majesty which, if you allow it to, will entrance you for just under 100 minutes.