Temos Archyvai: Tarptautinis Kauno kino festivalis

Saulius Kovalskas on the film „Fly“

How are you feeling about the idea of being abused? Not something, you would call dream of a lifetime? Then how about being raped by a fly? Do not worry if your answer is once again negative, because this movie already covers this issue. “Fly”, made in 1970 by Yoko Ono and John Lennon, both of whom were really interested in fluxus art and began experimenting with various themes, is dedicated to these questions. Yoko Ono (about whom John Lennon once said that she is: “the world’s most famous unknown artist: everybody knows her name, but nobody knows what she does.”) took fly as her alter ego and used it to create this disturbing picture.

The plot or, more likely, the lack of it, is about an unknown woman (starred by an actress, that goes by the name of Virginia Lust) lying completely naked on a white sheet and being “abused” by a really persistent fly. That’s it. And it lasts 25 minutes (which is way too short for a normal movie, but for this one it might seem like forever) with the fly moving from one body part to the next.

A question might arise: what is the point of this movie? As stated before, Yoko Ono imagined that fly is her second side of personality. To understand this fully, we have to touch the subject of symbolism. There are many explanations. For example, ancient Christian lore shows the fly as a symbol of impurity and a temptation to stray from the path of righteousness. Beelzebub, the prince of demons, was known as the “Lord of Flies”. This insect represents corruption and putridness. Even in ancient Tarot, the card of Devil has a fly depicted in it, representing the basic animalistic emotions and impulses. Not only that, but scientifically, the fly is a carrier of viruses. If we will keep this information in mind, we can say that Yoko was feeling unclean, tainted and in this film she shows just that: being lured to the dark side, towards leaving humanity behind and becoming an animal. Although, in the end, the fly leaves through the window, which symbolises that even though it spent 25 minutes trying to “corrupt” woman’s body, the insect – evil failed and left in hope of finding new, weaker victim.

Yet in ancient greek culture, the fly is sacred to the god Zeus. These “monsters with wings” signified omnipresence. And since the flies are everywhere (or at least were, in times, when hygiene was a rare sight), so is divine presence – always nearby, always watching and buzzing with divine energy. From this point of view, the fly in Yoko’s movie can be seen as purifier, consuming the negativeness and evil, cleaning all character’s body parts and then leaving her spiritually clean and perhaps even holy. In such case Lennon’s wife, when talking about the fly as her alter ego, may have meant that she sees herself as some sort of purifier, spending a lot of time absorbing the dark parts from other’s souls (this explanation also makes sense, seeing as John was constantly using narcotics and sleeping with nearly every girl that could move. He was even trying to find spiritual truth and learn more about transcendental meditation in one of India’s guru home, but was thrown out because of using drugs).

Whatever is the reason behind this picture, the film was made in only two days. The fly, which had over 200 of doubles, was collected by assistants and stunned using special gass and then deployed on various sedated actresses body parts. The camera work appears to be basic, but perhaps that was meant to be so. You can practically never see full body of the actress, only the part where the fly currently is. The woman is completely naked and her intimate parts are shown up close, but instead of creating sexual thoughts, it makes the viewer feel shock, like the female character is being abused or even raped. Another quite interesting thing about this movie is the spectre of emotions one feels during it, starting with feeling sorry for the actress, then it moves on to create a paranoia in audience’s mind, forcing to constantly check their own bodies for flies, ending with nervous laughter or even hysteria.

The soundtrack consists of sounds made by Yoko and John, imitating buzzing of a fly, pleasurous groaning and cries of pain. Such technique creates a creepy atmosphere, which is accompanied with disturbing scenes.

On the whole, it is left unclear what was meant to say by this film, but the emotions felt while watching it, make the “Fly” worth viewing, at least for testing your patience and seeing how long it takes for one to start imagining flies walking on his own body.

Marija Sajekaitė – „Arirang“

It appears that it’s possible for a single person to shoot an award winning movie using only a photo camera as an equipment and at the same time being a director, an operator, an actor as well as playing all other roles in the process of filmmaking. If you’re as talented as Kim Ki-Duk, you won’t necessarily need a film crew at all. Kim Ki-duk started distrusting people when one of his dear students stole a script they had written together. “Arirang” is an impellent and poetic documentary drama. It gives viewer a chance to take a glimpse into famous South Korean director’s soul and attempt to understand why he decided to desolate the world of cinema.

Even though the movie is an autobiographical documentary about secluded artist’s life in the mountains, it has all the elements required by a narrative story. Lyrical prelude, rising tension, bursting emotions, resolution. Daily household chores, uncomfortable nibbling, weatherbeaten heels and other not quite aesthetical images give you a hint from the very beginning: you shouldn’t be here if you came to watch a comfortable story. In one prolonged take Kim Ki-Duk is neatly brushing his long hair. When he finally manages to make a decent hairdo, he flashes a steady glance into the mirror and prepares for a confrontation with the viewers as well as with himself.

An intriguing solution to vary long monologues is to exchange them with even longer dialogs with… himself. Kim Ki-duk with a neat hairdo rigorously interrogates shaggy and emotionally unstable Kim Ki-duk. Kim Ki-duk talks to his shadow politely as if it was a spirit of his ancestor. Double personality? Just as well. Who else while living a secluded life than yourself could stimulate and inspire you to start living again instead of merely existing?

Director makes no bones and shows even the most intimidating emotions (modern cinema should have already disenchanted the fact that men don’t cry) – it’s perplexing and admirable at the same time. He constructs espresso machine while, ironically, strong coffee is an obvious symbol of stressful and rushing modern world. He even manages to engineer an elegant handgun. During the film Kim Ki-duk repetitiously bursts into “Arirang”, an old Korean song called by the word which has no specific meaning in the modern language. It seems that the crisis of the artist has no specific reasons either: it was a gradual progress during the intensive process of creating. Just like that handmade espresso machine.

A unique story of one person created almost without any money and using incredibly simple equipment has picked an award in 2011 Cannes International Film Festival. During the event Kim Ki-duk agreed to give only a single interview. Things appeared to be brighter when he told that shooting and introducing this unusual movie helped him to recover. Yet during the same interview everyone got confused when he started sobbing the same languorous “Arirang”.

Atgarsiai iš Kauno kino festivalio: „Gyvenimo medis“ ir „Išsiskyrimas“

Gyvenimo medis [The Tree of Life], rež. Terrence Malick, 2011

Šeši metai, penki montažo režisieriai ir štai – 138 minutės gamtos evoliucijos ir žmogaus gyvenimo paralelės įtaigiu stiliumi. Penktasis kino kūrėjo Terrence Malick darbas “Gyvenimo medis” – šešto dešimtmečio Teksaso šeimos istorija, kur trys berniukai auga apsupti motinos meilės ir spaudžiami tėvo reiklumo, o vyriausiasis sūnus Jackas ieško atsakymų į amžinuosius gyvenimo klausimus. Nelinijinė pasakojimo seka, tiesa, ne tokia sudėtinga kaip Christopherio Nolano “Memento”, visgi priverčia įsitempti viso žiūrėjimo metu ir tuo pačiu kuria intrigą. Detalės sudėliojamos filmo pabaigoje, tačiau nuolatos kylantys klausimai yra tikroji filmo vertė. Toliau skaityti Atgarsiai iš Kauno kino festivalio: „Gyvenimo medis“ ir „Išsiskyrimas“

Monika Gimbutaitė – „A separation“

Director’s A. Farhadi’s film “A Separation“ is morally challenging and powerful drama about modern Iran society, although the themes that are being analyzed in this film are universal and understandable to everyone.

An unhappily married couple want to split up. Simin wants to leave Iran for her daughter’s future but Nader refuses to emigrate because of his old father who has Alzheimer’s. The film starts in court where both of them try to explain situation from their own perspectives. As man and woman sit apart, avoiding looking to each other, we have a feeling that they have already separated. We can’t see the exact figure of a judge, characters talk directly to the camera. Audience becomes a judge and this happens to be the key to the whole film.

One mistake leads to another and terrible mess starts. As in his previous film „About Elly“ Farhadi is interested not in action itself but in consequences it may cause and, most importantly, in reactions and moral dilemmas of people. Characters in the film are separated from each other by sex, age, social class or religious beliefs, yet they all make the same mistake when they try to convince themselves that a small lie is not really a lie. There is no other word to describe acting besides brilliant. Every similarity as well as every single difference is shown as clear as possible, avoiding exaggeration or overacting. Clear structure of the narrative and powerful dialogues create an atmosphere of being right in the middle of what’s going around, feeling the same anxiety and suspense as the characters feel.

Farhadi doesn’t take sides. In this dramatic and psychologically complex film he uses clear and sensitive voice to prove that usually we can’t blame just one or another – everyone might be right, everyone might be wrong.

Monika Gimbutaitė

Edvinas Grinkevičius – “Meshes of the afternoon”

A shadow on a naked wall, a mysterious key hidden in a mouth, a kitchen knife on a pillow, a monk (or a death?) with a mirror instead of a face, a bunch of wild flowers left on a lonely road, a dead woman lost in a rope of seaweeds…

These images are from the first work of Maya Deren’s “Meshes of the afternoon” which is considered an avant-garde classic. Film shows a woman’s dream full of symbols and surreal elements. It concentrates on a vertical editing, distinct camera angles, repeated sequences of the same motifs, bright details, deep sense of aesthetics, poetry and creativity. In general, it makes a strong impression of a unforgettable cinematic illusion.

P.s. Everything looks even more surreal when you know that Maya (the name of director) literally means an “illiusion”.

by Edvinas Grin

Monika Gimbutaitė – „Kick in Iran“

Director Fatima Geza Abdollahyan documentary “Kick in Iran“ is about the first Iranian woman who qualified in Olympic Games. It was important event not just for Taekwondo fighter Sara and her coach but for all women in Iran who want equal rights and freedom in their country.

A viewer has an opportunity to watch physical and moral preparation for the Olympics. Two main characters – a fighter and her “master” – are very different from each other, although they both have to deal with a lot of pressure from society, where professional sport for a woman is considered a sin. In spite of the fact that the story is very interesting, especially with political context, “Kick in Iran” lacks action and variety of emotions. Every person who is preparing for something important in life has ups and downs, while in this film we can see only Sara’s efforts to persuade herself. We can’t deny the importance of Sara’s achievement, yet the film about this strong and beautiful woman is not as powerful.

Monika Gimbutaitė

Dominik Dušek – „Le Havre“

Le Havre

Le Havre, the new film from Aki Kaurismäki (The Man Without a Past), takes us into eponymous French city where Marcel Marx, a shoe polisher, tries to save an illegal boy emigrant. The film mixes up different culture stereotypes together (the directer is from Finland). The wine and the baguette are spiced by rock music tradition and are in contact with the left-wing culture references presented not only in the stage design (red flowers, red cloths, red details…) but even in the name of the characters (Marx with his dog Laika). The culture contrasts penetrate all the film and Marx has then his own shoes still dirty and needs someone else to do them up. His job is close to the people but his work is not really welcome in society. The score reminds the early sound-films melodies and its suggestive melodramatic tunes help us to understand the ordinary simple life of the protagonist. Le Havre is a dramatic comedy where the modern meets the old but the spirit of humanism wins.

by Dominik Dušek

Le Havre
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki
With André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Finland | France | Germany 2011, 103‘

Saulius Kovalskas on „Fly“

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You must be a serious person. Someone who’s looking at his watch even while he skims through these lines. But before you rush off with serious business, ask yourself: do you remember the color of the sky today? People are so in a hurry to get somewhere that not only the sky, but others close to them are left unnoticed.

Dripping Water, created by experimental filmmaker Joyce Wieland in ’96, gives you an opportunity to correct that. It’s a 12 minute movie with stationary camera about dripping water on a sink. The idea was to show audience how annoyed women feel when constantly being in a kitchen. Soundtrack is just that: sound of a dripping water.

During this movie, one falls into a meditative trance and that’s something that happens rarely in cinema. If you are always in a rush – stop for 12 minutes and think about your life in front of dripping water.