Introducing: Short Film of the Week series

January 22, 2010

This marks the beginning of a new series here at Something Offensive.  Pretty self-explanatory if not exceptionally original (that’s fast becoming my M.O., I know).

I think this will provide a nice outlet for myself and others to expose ourselves to and discuss more experimental works and help us better appreciate the cinematic form.

I plan to watch a fair amount of shorts every week, by filmmakers known and unknown, with content and ideas ranging all over the map.  And come each weekend, I’ll post my favorite find.

If there are any short films you would like to see featured in the weeks ahead, let us know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to check them out.

This week’s selection: “There’s Only One Sun”  (2007)

director: Wong Kar-wai

I wanted to kick things off by getting an obvious choice of filmmaker out of the way.  I’ve often touted WKW’s more well-known feature work, and in case you haven’t seen Fallen Angels or In the Mood for Love, this might serve as a good primer.

Philips commissioned the director to showcase their new HD TV’s capabilities, and couldn’t have possibly made a better selection.  Here we’re treated to Wong’s brand of narration, his striking use of light and color,  tragic romantic characters, very particular soundtrack, bold titles, notes of interpersonal isolation, etc.   I find both the French language and the futuristic neo-noir set-up are natural fits for the director; the central concept really allows him to demonstrate his craft.  My only major critique is that I  wish the narrative had maintained a greater sense of mystery.  The first minute or two had me fully intrigued, so I couldn’t help but feel somewhat letdown once it sort of revealed its hand.

All in all, between this and Wong’s somewhat aesthetically-similar 2046, I’d be greatly interested to see him tackle a feature-length of this or something close in line provided he had a more refined story.  It’s just a painfully beautiful vision to behold.

What are your thoughts?

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“I’ve heard that there’s a kind of bird without legs that can only fly and fly, and sleep in the wind when it is tired. The bird only lands once in its life… that’s when it dies.” (Film Draft)

July 27, 2009

Days of Being Wild

I didn’t intend on selecting another Wong Kar-wai. I scooped up Chungking Express a few weeks ago and thought maybe I had already grabbed In the Mood for Love, too (I hadn’t).

And yet here I am. Even the WKW films I don’t become particularly attached to possess elements or scenes that refuse to detach themselves from me. DoBW, for example: its dreamlike, seemingly disconnected epilogue that further enriches in the context of Wong’s future works.  (Dreamlike. There’s an adjective apt to WKW’s entire body of work.)

But it’s a 90-second sequence set down a path of palm trees, an empyreal shot by Christopher Doyle (his first of many, now almost legendary collaborations w/ Wong), that urged me to make this selection. Experiencing it sends you to the clouds.

Wong’s loosely set scripts have a charm to them, certainly infused by lush, living photography and vintage pop culture conceits, however also a room to color one’s own imagination into being. If you like what Wong paints on screen, off screen castles in the air will leave you in a perpetual subdued euphoria.

Days of Being Wild (goddamn, I love that title) lifts a kind of bittersweet inflection with lead Leslie Cheung’s untimely passing several years ago.  Like the works of a Ledger or Dean, right or not, the performer’s demise lends a new, singular allure and appreciation to this and other past pieces.

Pour yourself a rum and coke some slow weekend afternoon and give it a look.