Tuesday, July 31, 2007

MIFF Day 7

I only saw one film at MIFF today. With evening French classes, I needed a bit of free time to regroup my energies for some of the heavier days ahead. I'm hoping to see four tomorrow, but we'll see if that eventuates. I met a MIFF regular yesterday whoMIFF is a marathon, not a sprint.

Maborosi (Maboroshi no hikari, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 1995)
Not having seen a Kore-eda film before, the style of this film took a while to get a handle on. It is a film about grieving, about loss. A young woman with a newly born child loses her husband, who has apparently committed suicide. There is little dialogue and little development of relationship dynamics with much of the gaps to be filled in by the imagination of the audience. The film had the style of a 1970's art film and with a disappointingly scratchy print, it certainly looked it. There was a sense of timelessness about the film.

Kore-eda has an aesthetic that won't appeal to the casual film-goer. It is very slow-moving, and some of the indoor shots are quite dark. After a while, I got the sense that the viewer's attention is not meant to take in the whole screen, but rather parts of the screen such as the illuminated side of a woman's face in a dark room or the shapes of people reflected in water. Kore-eda seems fascinated with light and exploration of its use. Frames of illuminated subjects are contained within the larger screen frame. Light reflects of different surfaces, and at different times of the day. This is a film where you really need to 'get in the zone'.

I liked the film. It rewards the patient viewer and the ending was very moving. A repeat viewing will enhance my appreciation and I look forward to seeing more of Kore-eda's films at MIFF.

Maborosi had a single screening at MIFF as part of the Hirokazu Kore-eda retrospective.

Also still to be screened: Nobody Knows, Hana (Kore-eda's most recent film, which has two screenings), Distance, & After Life.

Links: Index of MIFF films reviewed to date / MIFF website


Maya said...

Paul, your coverage of MIFF has been outstanding. I strongly recommend all the Kore-eda films (though, admittedly, I've not seen Distance). I look forward to your assessments.

Paul Martin said...

Thanks Michael. My 'assessments' are really just my own explorations of what I have experienced. Kore-eda is such a celebrated auteur whose work has been covered extensively by those who know much more about him and his work that I. My comments are really just an opportunity to engage in dialogue with others (such as yourself). Maybe I'm just stating the obvious.

I certainly like what I've seen so far. By the time I've seen them all, I'll probably have a better handle on his work and want second viewings of each.

I find it takes quite a bit of organisation to write on everything one sees at a festival, and it's forced me to limit how many films I see (which is a good thing). Next year I'll be better prepared as I've learnt a few productivity tricks.

Maya said...

Festival coverage can be an exhausting animal, that's for sure. I'm finding that I focus on getting about four or five interviews per festival with three or four reviews thrown in for good measure. Lately at The Evening Class I've been fortunate in having my cohort focus on capsule reviews while I turn my attention to interviews. That seems to work nicely and takes some of the pressure off me.