Notes on Short Film

Lengthy diatribe on brief cinematic experience.

To Each His Own Cinema (2007)

with 3 comments

This anthology was commissioned in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Cannes Film Festival, and the credits read like a snooty film class syllabus. While some reviews state that these auteurs manipulated this framework to make a film about whatever they damned well pleased, many of these shorts have something unique to say about the ritual of going to the cinema, the devotion which we pledge to the chapel of film, the way the art of film mirrors our lives and how we shape our lives to mirror it, and finally how, as with every other artistic endeavor, technology and modernity are killing everything we love. Variety.com says this of the collection:

Especially through the first part of the grouping, the overwhelmingly dominant image is of old movie theaters fallen into states of disrepair, disintegration and disuse. In the films of Takeshi Kitano, Theo Angelopoulos, Andrei Konchalovsky, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Tsai Ming-Liang, just for starters, one beholds the spectacle of a world in which cinemas, at least as a home for shared experienced in a privileged domain, no longer seems valid or valued. A mourning for the passing of the classical Euro-style art cinema of the ’60s — of the sort very much represented by films commonly shown in Cannes — filters strongly through the proceedings, no doubt in great measure because they were made by men who belong to that tradition or grew up on it (Jane Campion, still the only woman to have won the Palme d’Or, is the sole femme in the group here).

My personal favorites were Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Anna, about a blind woman’s visceral reaction to Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, and  Zhang Yimou’s Movie Night, in which a young boy is so excited during the preparations for the town’s outdoor movie night that by the time the film is actually shown, he has fallen sound asleep. This anthology is definitely valuable, especially in terms of short film study, though I wish we had focused on each short’s context (who directed it, where they are from, and what else they’ve directed) in order to understand fully the range of celebrated talents featured on this DVD.

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