J’Oscar’s 2017 : Film Review Awards

J’Oscar’s    A glass half full?

Here’s the envelope. Thanks. Oh this is exciting and after last year no mistakes, right? Oh it can’t be – didn’t it star, well he was under a white sheet most of the time, but surely you can’t give it to this movie. Didn’t he get embroiled in some sleaze about behaviour onset? OK, there’s no mistake.

The J’Oscar for Best Picture of 2017

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……. goes to A Ghost Story

Through clenched fingers up to my face and I Place at No. 1 of all the films I saw throughout 2017 the remarkable A Ghost Story.  As a Film is greater than the individuals and one should not destroy a films validity I discard malice felt towards an actor whose case has boot been publicly aired from a decision on the meet of a film. While some and those privately hurt by any actions that may have taken place will have their own reasons to denounce such a position it is to be balanced alongside,

 

1. Where it known, would the man have been given the part?

2. Does the entire cast and crew making this astonishing film have to be dismissed along with the actor making their achievements null?

3. Should film producers not have a role in calling out misdemeanours and passing on details to authorities outside the businesses instead of muck slinging inside it which becomes friable as a result when newspapers and other media get to speak of it?

Creating such a remarkable film David Lowery does not deserve to be snubbed in recognising the immense quality of the whole ensemble including Rooney Mara and the editing sound and cinematography contributions.  Blazingly brilliant film.

Perpetuity in a singularity 

A Ghost Story is a film about perpetuity and the ever moving wonderous world we inhabit and has a touch of heaven about it.  Surreality is dictionalised yet the reality is with us as we pause in watching this film to consider the outcomes we have been apart of and how the future will happen regardless of our presence.  The Ghost is us looking in on the immovable constant moving on.

Other awards go to ………

Mary Queen of Scots was a Platform for two brilliant performances from actresses, Ireland’s Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Australia’s Margot Robbie as Elizabeth the First. With them both having accomplished great roles and performances in respectively I,Tonya and Ladybird the closesness to Best Actress must be a sharp call. They are also challenged by Meryl Streep who many are in awe of despite the performance in The Post being lauded largely because it creates a large canvas and she as a fine actress has the skills of ‘pause and reflect’ timing which is allowed here due perhaps to the eras pace not the rush through a more contemporary part would have pushed upon us. So the Oscar goes to – see below!

The I,Tonya story is an excruciating piece of drama for lovers of fair play and points to the winner at all costs mentality pervading many sports. From dodgy injections in footballers to dampen pain before a very crucial match, to the Olympic level drug and substance abuse to the on road ‘replacement therapies cyclists partake in to get to the head of the pack, the story rarely is covered by cinema. No one loves a cheat and the scenarios are usually not pretty. The last time I liken an athletes grime story and reinstatement was the brilliant Matthew Maconaghy in The Dallas Buyers Club which was an epic and underated dramatic off road, road movie. The endurance and counterpunches of Margot Robbie whose immersion was instantly believably in my mind skated off with the Best Actress Award.

The J list

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Extras

Hogh flying films such a short Killing of a Sacrificial Deer and Insyriated will last long in the memory and of course are worth seeing several times.

The Farthest was a remarkable documentary worth mentioning and revisiting.

Notable hypes include Dunkirk and Real Actresses Don’t die in Liverpool.  Along with the over rated – exceptional though of the mark In his choices of going off on his own reading of the man is Gary Oldman. Darkest Hour.  The films Shape of Water and Ladybird rank highly but not notably and it is only through the gifted direction and playing of Saiorse Ronan does Ladybird achieve the distinction of a near miss director award.  That went to a someone whose films are gaining the storytelling and visual connection with audiences. (Jordan Peele – Get Out)

Much more can and will be written about this turn around year for Film making. Jennifer Lawrence is off on Exec. Producing the #metoo as a series. It will unearth and keep the profiling of the film industry high but not unfortunately with the added distinction of keeping belief in a fictional portrayal as a means of entering an issue or providing very important insight on aspects of humanity. Most is seen in the minutiae of drama in the big picture and The Florida Project was a sensitive other form of insight which is near the top in terms of films I rated this past year. It and other stranger ones.

John Graham

28 February 2018

Belfast

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Speculative Skins & Amanda Turner Pohan : An Arts Review

The Meditative one

Science is made fiction and the body is altered. In the NI Science Festival a co-operative installation by Rachel Steinberg of SOHO20 Gallery Brooklyn is commissioned by The Naughton Gallery Belfast to produce the exhibition Speculative Skins. Known in the festival under the title Science Fiction and the Body it explores the boundaries of ‘where does a body end and a piece of technology begin’. I found one piece in particular engrossing and integral in the open thought bringing those boundaries which are constantly under revision as our potential futures are explored by art investigations in media, propositions of artists in music word and the visual arts, while along with scientists bring new meanings and alterations to our perceptions. The exhibition is supported by The British Council.

The Subject

It is itself. The artist. From Orgasmic Exhalation Device for Body Spray #11 (2014), Amanda Turner Pohan recorded her CO2 emissions during orgasm and used the data collected to algorithmically compose a formula for scent – a perfume that is wafted into a space periodically through an atomizer. Using the same data she plotted a form to print with a CNC@ router the physical body Orgasmic Exhalation Form #01 (2014).

The form occupies a Gallery space as a body might. Onto the Gallery wall beneath shared text of four lovers conversations found on google are adhered. The wall is grey. For Amanda Turner Pohan this replaces the components of our own stand-ins for the body, self-consciously attempting to synthesize a formula for human empathy, that even the best of our current technology can’t quite master.

 

 

With the distance between the two spaces – the one it resides in, in New York and this Naughton Gallery installation, curator Rachel Steinberg came up with the idea of the projection presented on the Gallery Wall as an active moving image floating over the text and the emitting Orgasmic Exhalation Device for Body Spray #11 (2014) which is not a substitute but a transfiguration of the concept. It when seen in conjunction with the atomizing device creates a distinctive correlation. The atomistic choice with the projection is almost to a transuding state. The tenuous relation is very apposite. A body is acting in the space and this is the figure raised and floating in as a projection in space.  I likened it to a future state where the body is capable of space travel without a protection and the/our ‘speculative skin’ is developed to withstand the elements of space and take the cubist form and then develop the instruments of our dexterity when summoned.

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Atomic signals possess us and this installation is miraculously astute. It has a synthesis of elements composed to bring down, breakdown structures from their complex abstraction as entities to a body which in the true sense of legacy similar to Picasso and masters of the cubist collage and self figurative genre would call pictorial self analysis. Here the artist is present in more ways than one. It is a beautiful piece of art in every sense. The assembly is from an orgasm and height of excitation intense and female. For both male and female it is release. One both giving. There is a reassurance in the act of future spoken. When one happens in the presence of another the conjoining is a unity of purpose over and above the physical spasms of its engagement. The artist expresses like hot milk a olfactory stimulus.

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The work is part of a series delving into the self. From her perspective Amanda Turner Pohan asks many questions of the reality of our lives and the future we patrol and expect through exploring the limits and boundaries and pushing them out in separated forms awaiting their return as something reconfigured. The series is know as The Signals are Caressing us. The accompanying exhibition literature (italicized) explains the body’s complicated relationship to technology is her source material. Other works digital and physical are extensions of the themes.

Using present materials as they are on our and the artists journey of utilization the work is contemporary reality. The simple forms of chemistry are bold and defining. To this synthesis Amanda Turner Pohan seeks to unfold her continued speculative encounter with in creating further work some of which can be seen at the originating gallery.

 

 

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The Encounter

The eyes are sharp and clear. Blue and perceptive. This is an encounter of introspection. You cannot explain the world in metaphors. You can see it though for what it is or is not. The imagination is your strongest ally. From where it came only your atomic composition of phosphate and deoxyribose. The explosive actions inside you of this miraculous helix of dna is what drives each of us and collaborates to creating a being. Amanda Turner Pohan is a practioner of the exploration on the edge of discoveries made known through her incisive clawing into the self awareness which makes u# identify as somehow spirits in transition. Awareness is to regard the self as a simple helix form from which to evaluate all other entities. By taking chemicals and enclosing them in a liquid the container is fed a tube and it exhales and gathers in from its presence as we do. Our presence is engineered by our gathering techniques and by our exhilarations.

The simplest form which profoundly touched me was the image of a body form which had itself been edited back to a point where it remained recognisable as limbed breasted form like a woman in an anthropomorphic state. I live next to a former bakery. It must be nearly eighty years since last made bread but I see and sense it’s past life. The energy of others resides inside and it resting like a process of manufacturing awaiting its recall. The people who made bread have moved on and others take on the task elsewhere. This function is therefore displaced and the building awaits repurposing. It is not empty but vacant. The Bakery in Brooklyn is where Amanda Turner Pohan shows her work and collaborations. Consciousness expels from the rooms of the repurposed Bakery. It’s food is nutrients for all to imbibe. You will not eat it but will consume it. Not in a materialistic fashion but as spiritual nourishment.

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The grey carpet ‘receptor’.

Our society has this duality of materialism. The lotus on the water is separate but recognisable as difference. Combinations are sent to us in the bakery we visit to feed our lives. In this space the artist has found something for us to see and experience. A sightless person can have the surroundings described to them, a deaf person can feel the vibrations and sense the place as we cannot. On the floor of The Bakery is a the white anthropomorphic form I see as cubist reality. It is still but in the transport of the idea to the Naughton Gallery here in Belfast it’s projected as a floating digital image onto a nineteenth century university wall. The wall bounds The Great Hall and beneath is the colonnade which keeps the rain off its visitors for the grand occasions in its calendar. In it Presidents and Queens, Senators and Religious leaders have been. The white spirit of the anthropomorphic shape spirals on the wall oblivious to the past accolades it now surmounts.

Form takes precedence over notions of form. The cubist reality was a symbolic stripping back of form striving to distill the watery world we occupy. The fluidity of essences are sought and combined with allegory and space shifting determinism. The form I see floating on the wall is much more than this unsettling presence and is without any external attachment when I view it. The attachments would come later. Instead it is transportive. It has layers in its movement which halt and talk of its otherness. It is a piece which is cubist in every sense. It is an evolving piece also. It allows the medium to give you another dimension through its movement and gentle soliloquy like a ballet in space. The artist of this is conscious of the newness of the relocation by means other than its physical presence. It is after all back in Brooklyn a three dimensional object. There it is similarly venerated and casting out senses of its organised form.

Here it conveys passage and future. Where the spaceships of Star Wars and science fiction remain harnessed to familiar tropes this object speaks of other things. Instead of a protecting shell the body is itself protection as if in a future world travel will be as humans in an anthropomorphic vessel which when required and elegantly, from its cubist shape, evolve the dexterity fingers to touch feel and caress, hold other things. The mind itself within the shell of its form – unlike the pod capsules of Altered Carbon – carries memory and learning and skills forward in a peaceful receptivity. The way the work conspires to throw ideas out is both alarming and satisfying in a way that is beyond the measure o& its parts. That itself is metamorphosis of some kind as art. How can art convey such things time after time. Like an antelope in a cave painting it is meant to be nourishing – for the artist and the viewer.

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Today’s modernity is stated here and it is projecting more than a cave painting as criticism is since Aristotle and probably further back, as art it is subject to diverse opinion and thought.

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Braque and others created the form of cubist art and a local Irish Artist Mainie Jellet -Death of Procis shown here (below), also created in her work interpretations via. very methodical line graphs and preparatory drawings – much the same as the collection of data to form the piece here dealt with.

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Mainie Jellet -Death of Procis

This is a ‘new’ age renaissance kind of work as it puts up our future kind for us as conjecture with meanings and an infinite range of imaginings. I see it as a symbol of the human in the future as a continuing evolving entity capable of reinvention and containing all pasts. The chemical composition of your atomic composition of phosphate and deoxyribose will be taken away an reconfigured as memory which is laden with crossed out errors and the empathetic result is forging frontiers beyond out wildest imaginations. Perhaps even as an earth world no longer in existence except as new stars and elemental dust particles. The richness of art presently is to be seen and appreciated for its presenting us with such imponderables.

This work has much more to convey and is one I have still not reached the apogee of.

Further reading

From The Planet of the Blind by Stephen Kuusisto

I. The Village of St Ovide

”For Sun and Moon supply their conforming masks, but in this hou4 of civil twilight all must wear their own faces.”

-W. H. Auden, “Horae Canonicae”

“ ‘My soul wandered, happy, sad., unending.’ “ (Neruda)

“ ‘The branches are dying of love.’ “ (Lorca)

“ ‘Show me, dear Christ, thy spouse, so bright and clear.’ “ (Donne)

“ ‘Here is the shadow of truth, for only the Shadow is true.” ((Warren)

from chapter 6.

II. Motion.

. . . If we propose

A large-sculptured, platonic person,

free from time,

And imagine for him the speeech he

cannot speak,

A form, then, protected from the battering, May

Mature: A capable being may re-

place

Dark horse and walker walking rap-

idly.

-Wallace Stevens

“The Pure Good of Theory”

Speculative Skins is on at The Naughton Gallery from Thursday 15 February through to Sunday 25 February 2018. May extend. Hours 11am to 4.00pm (closed mondays) and features artists Loney Abrams & Johnny Stanish / Salome Asega & Ayodamola Okunseinde / Brice Dellsperger / Nora Khan & Steven Warwick / Son Kit / Katie Skelly / Naoko Takeuchi / Amanda Turner Pohan / Katie Torn

15.02.18 – 08.04.18

John Graham

22 February 2018

Belfast

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Loveless : A Film Review

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Loveless

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev, 124 mins, Cast: Maryana Spivak, Aleksey Rozin, Varvara Shmykova, Matvey Novikov.

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A continent unseen

As winters black and white poles contrast the snow covered land and roads blend into fields the view in the opening of Loveless is of a lake with fallen trees alongside tall leafless ones.  Beside them runs a pathway with lampposts high and marking out a route between neighbourhoods.  On the horizon as the film scopes out tower blocks of mass housing and the community of a modern Russian city appear.  It moves onto a scene where a school discharges into the afternoon Alyosha and his friends are despatched from a careworn rudimentary education positing a regular uncared existence of a society in its own limbo.  The vastness of Russia occurs to me in reflection, from St Petersburg in its isolated North Western location from the Urals to the Soviet Kazakhstan and the lands forested and regionally contested over centuries where socialism became a lost ideology, this modernity is playing out right now.

When Director Andrei Zvyagintsev says : ‘Living in Russia is like being in a minefield’ it seems futile to suggest it is a generality after viewing this film.  The horror of that is where the Leviathan director takes us.  Into the minefield. Exploding tropes and myths by using frameworks of cinema familiar to audiences seeing drama of the most perturbingly psychological kind where films – L’Avventura, Scenes from a Marriage are mentioned as similar themes, take us in it is gloriously but troublingly insightful.

Emptying

A couple are in the process of separating, Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) Boris, (Aleksey Rozin) and on hearing an argument, itself a witness to his solitude and the lack of love from his parents, 12-year-old boy Alyosha (Matvey Novikov) goes missing.  The household is in a uniformly drab tower block and he is seen initially wistfully looking out over the winter cloak of white snow into the deep horizon of a vast Russian urbanity from his bedroom. The forest and nature is a form of consolation but his world is made ever more harsh by the insensitivity of the mother and father whose only child Alyosha is, giving him little love or conversation.  Zhenya has moved on, Boris has moved on and while they embark on selling their comfortable apartment, the despairing ‘elephant in the room’ taking care of Alyosha, hovers and causes even more antagonism which Alyosha is an unfortunate witness to.  Ignored and distraught he disappears with the abandonment itself becoming an almost fated outcome given the weaknesses and the couples selfishness.

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Boris has a new partner and it’s a bit of deja vu with love and kisses for him like ‘starting over’.  His younger companion is less sure and new to the expectations of making a home. She is also a step removed but not as far as Zhenya, from her own mother.  Some of the pleasant rites of passage are visible in her outlook and it is not played or cast as naivety but as raw concern of new horizons.  In the case of Zhenya her partner has a daughter reached only by Skype whose fortune is outside Russia. He is a oligarch type or class protected older man living in a futuristic ‘dacha’ which allows his thai chi to evolve.  Zhenya has a protector and savior after the mistake she made hastily leaving home and her cantankerous mother for Boris it appears.

Measured scenes

The film follows relentlessly the intensity of emotions clashing around the central loss of Alyosha.  His disappearance heightens the immediacy of untangling the weave and knots of a broken loveless marriage.  Each scene is carefully economically placed in a line of almost fated tragedy but the inferences and questions which arose are put to the viewer as whether or not a good outcome will materialise. As a type the film could be categorized as a procedural crime thriller but as Andrei Zvyagintsev insists through his artful direction it is much bolder and thought entangling.

The tension throughout is heart felt and the possibilities of loss are slowly dawning on and emerging from the recesses of Boris and Zhenya’s insular thoughts. From the moment the rescuers come on board an cautious element of optimism, ever so small but present arrives – after a very well handled portrayal of the police element – a huge and stoic but helpful officer puts the cards on the table as to the probabilities and the needed actions.  The apparatus of Policing is as tough as nails the film proposes but their is goodness within.

With the form of a crime drama this Russian hiatus of intense emotional drama is a warning of how brutal our world is becoming. The themes of realism in concert with dark nationalist, unrelenting Religious angst ridden theocracies, our complaint and complacent conformity is shockingly portrayed through the medium of a lost child.

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Working environments

Disappearance is a wholly unconscionable notion for a parent whose duty is foremost the child while the breakdown of their aspirations affect the state of their family unit. The forces around allow freedom of individual choice. The central protagonist is Boris, (Aleksey Rozin) a lookalike Fidel Castro. I recently learnt of the early demise through mental illness that the late Fidel Castro’s son who bore a striking resemblance to him recently took his own life.  Boris is not easy to like and his workplace environment is a large corporate type well heeled office and it appears as though his job is to create fake news.  The whole building is in the process of regurgitating propaganda for the Government via. an agency run by a Religious zealot whose compromises regarding family issues are finite. Zhenya is in charge of a Beauty salon and is in an orbit of similar disappointments as conversations with her employees draw out lines of dissatisfaction but in a pleasant stoical way. Society is to blame. In the background, sometimes foreground there are TV broadcasts of Russia going wrong and the outsiders being to blame. Society is to blame but not their own society. Rebellions are put down and countered by the fake diet of news the outlets spill out.

This vastness of the Directors ‘minefield’ is part of the bewilderment that franks this film. How the individual is facing contested self image, from the day they are born through a fixed national identity from which it is virtually without moving away to escape.  Escape routes are taken in parts of the story but none are a satisfactory retreat or utopian alternative.  It is a quarter of a century on since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The currency of the occupation and sequestration of the Crimea is seen here.  The former autonomous republic of the Soviet Union, now a region of Ukraine, is configured into the narrative to show the lack of progress and the democratic deficit apparent through the world to observers. The West as ‘actors’ may maliciously have a hand in the Crimea annex but whether it does or not is merely a statement of man made divisions.

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Individuality

There then is the fate of the individual in the context of family and in a wider sense extrapolated here in the workplace where Boris is in a setting where family is a signal of unity of purpose and it is given a religious slant here also. The Lutheran idea of individualism is challenged by the preorder of Catholicism and adherence without scrutiny.  The theory is that (Protestant suicide attributed to free spirits) the greater concessions a confessional group, the less it (Russia) dominates lives, the less its cohesion and vitality makes to individual judgement.  In this film it is perhaps being said that – without the suicidal propensity angle – that the weakness of the mind when empowered by thinking and ‘sensible’ things developing reflective powers renders them susceptible to morbid impressions.   So is the film portraying in a minor part of its vast observation that there is a failure arising in individuals not accepting their affinity within community and necessary interplay?  There is the added dilemma of the titles presence itself.  Lovelessness existing maybe because the lack of self control, earlier as youths when bad choices were made and for intractable headstrong reasons – or finding in their individuality sensations and temporary joy from exploration and satiated desires. Such pitfalls are almost arbitrary in most lives.  The form of the film is of it taking time and taking an external view of the many sexual intercourses – they are short on words and are for the most part in one take – makes me think the intensity of the pleasure seeking is being portrayed paramount as each characters driver.  There is time taken also after intercourse when to differing degrees they express their new found love as a place where they are safe from the outside.  So what does it say about the presence of love in a place where other sacrifices are made for the common ‘good’.  The male is seen to ignore these emotions as the society is harmful from whichever way you look so they take it as it’s found,  by finding also what they seek.  The family togetherness is implicit. The detachment from the birth family is evident in each relationship.

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Hunting

When the disappearance of Alyosha happens another element takes on huge significance.  In the absence of a ‘proper’ process of police management of the required intensive searches it is the whole community who rally voluntarily and in a shape which is performed to take charge of every forensic and civil aspect of the search.  This is again implicit of the community in service for others. Where the state has failed this is the alarmingly professional organised communities answer. Therein implies the strength of Russians beyond the stereotypes of indolence and trammeled individuals found routinely.  Each has forsaken their time and individual diversions, needs, to focus on finding Alyosha. They have his welfare in mind untiringly.

A hero emerges in the form of a leader of the large community unit in the shape of a pragmatic and smart coordinator, veteran (Aleksey Fateev).  Some of the most harrowing scenes are during the period of the searches and stoic stark raw emotions grip with the growing tension of not finding Alyosha.  The searches are coordinated and segmented and woven into the parallel story of the couples breakup and their new relationships forming and the connections each has with their ‘estranged’ families.

The world itself is not loveless but a host to our misguided often secular illusions.

There is then the division individuals within a family unit is on trial and this is central to the films narrative.

Plausible synecdoche
Russia is both a place and an image. The Sochi Olympics in 2014 came into play in Loveless in a simple but significant role. The tracksuit top which the freshly reinvented and reborn Zhenya wears as she steps onto her outdoor treadmill at her lovers and now her home, is a Bosco white and red shock of the new top. Emblazoned with Russia across it the notion – it is symbolic – is challenged by its director Andrei Zvyagintsev as a mere coincidence of our times. Without synecdoche it would not amount to a message of any kind he mildly insists. An actor from the town of Novosibirsk he is responsible as one of the most respected directors of his time in putting out work which is formative and provocative and using storytelling from the initial success, The Return, (2003) about brotherly tensions on reengaging with their father on a fishing holiday, through The Banishment, (2007) Elena, (2011) which is a story of a capital class and marital gloom, to the large scope of examination in rural Russia of Leviathan, (2014) marking a tense conflict in expansive steepes uniquely epic in its portrait of a Russian psyche. The beast is universal, a sinuous, spiraling, undulating, or serpentine line or linear motif, in the obvious mode of Thomas Hobbes philosophical treatise on the organisation of society politically. It floats and pins you and grabs you by the throat with unsettling force. Ballet never was meant to be pure and white as the Russians understood, understand.

If talk of synecdoche is to be made it is only on reflection due to the cinematic exposure and storytelling quality found often in Russian novels from Gogol to Solzhenitsyn and the play’s we are accustomed to seeing being replaced in this time by art of a different luminosity. Film has come a long way to provide other than features in the pleasuredome. Conflicted memories and historical propaganda are challenges filmmakers can treat with the memes of our times. In Loveless, Siri gets a question, so the Oracle is in the detail of storytelling in a candid frank and shocking way not for pure entertainment or underpinning presumption or prejudice. We are as my review of Loveless pressed, 25 years on from the dissolution of the Soviet Union and with sport being the glue of the masses, sans Cicero, about to embark on a post Sochi, World Cup, Andrei Zvyagintsev is probably more concerned with us getting his first name right, Andrey or Andrei, than fixating on the politics which inevitably come with filmmaking. The production of his work takes many players to embrace the work for multiple reasons. Factor in the Russian state support of only Leviathan his task is difficult enough. Shaping the story in a plausible and parallel synecdoche path is a skill which we can ourselves welcome and be fortunate to be presented with. No one actually makes or draws similarities between the films in their construct but it is a common theme to appreciate the human examination in a fully coherent form is achieved in each individual work. When asked about his politics he is clear in those separations given his role is as a filmmaker not as a protagonist or spokesperson for a viewpoint. He considers for example the period over which he has developed his oeuvre. “In the 1990’s there were real hopes. But now, with the re-Stalinisation and the re-Sovietisation, there are negative tendencies.” *. In the report noted it is recollected by Andrei Zvyagintsev the appeal of the mirrors reflection is undeniably at times unattractive. Something un-contestable..

*via. translation in Irish Times 07.02.18 interview, Donald Clarke.

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Conclusion ####4

The simple form this film takes draws you into the harrowing story of the disappearance of a 12 year old boy and provides an unsettling experience seldom found in cinema.  With Director Andrei Zvyagintsev‘s commitment to delving into the conditions faced by his fellow Russians.  The political constraints and formation of society detaching itself through state indifference and corruption from the family of community is foresaken in the materialistic pursuits found on the edges.  The individual is found floundering and having lost the direction of shaping a meaningful life. In the disappearance of a Alyosha many realities become exposed.

For the viewer, this one, it is compassion which is driving through this film despite the invidious world of circumstances and is seen through the societal response.  The true egalitarian response when harm is encountered.  The edginess of the relationships pale into – albeit parallel dominions of supposed utopian thinking – minor concerns.  The real protagonist is the duel of state and the suppression of the individual and at what cost is the freedom sought to be accounted for.  The polarities are Religious, Molecular, Unknowns, Universal and contribute to a very vexing movie.  It was hard to sympathise with the couple at its heart yet there was some sign of they felt enormous pain and an outcome would be found to satiate the pessimism and sense of disorder that grew as the film progressed.   What outcome is likely.  You will have to sit gripped through its daunting telling to find out and draw your own conclusions.  A spiritual minefield.

John Graham

8 February 2018

Belfast

 
Opening at Queens Film Theatre Belfast 9 February 2018 until 15 February 2018.

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