Monday, 6 September 2010

Day 249, on which John still has The YMCA stuck in his head [6.9.10]

Dag to hundrede niogfyrre. Woah, only one day to go then I hit Day 250. That's quite a big mark, I think. Sure, it's nothing important proportionately to my 365 project, but it's a nice round number that people can relate to. Say '250 days' and they'll be impressed, whilst say '182.5 days' and I think they'll be less excited. But anyways, I'm way past halfway. That was back in June, month six. We're on month 9 now and still going strong.

And I seem to have The YMCA stuck in my head after my neighbours' party two nights ago. Still. I just can't get it out of my damn head. At least I'm not doing the actions. You'd think a good Danish song (in this case, 'Bedst når vi er to' by Christian Brøns) would get it out, but after repeated playings of the song I can't shake The YMCA from its place atop my mind's playlist. Dang.

So the question I'm going to ask today is thus: is there any space in the market for experimental short films? Quite an out-there question, I'll admit, but it's something that's been bugging me since my trip to Denmark. When I was there I took a quick trip from central Copenhagen (which pretty much is Copenhagen) to Ishøj, a suburb. There I saw the art gallery Arken, and in Arken I saw several short abstract films by Danish filmmaker Jesper Just.

A Voyage in Dwelling, © Jesper Just
So here's a little frame, thanks to Just's website, of one of the films that I saw, called A Voyage in Dwelling. As I've mentioned before, these films really moved me. I can't say the silent, spooky atmosphere and setting of the Arken gallery didn't help, but even without it I would have been impressed by these films. They were playing in a dark room just off the main room of the gallery, where people were sitting silently on seats taking in the mood of the films.

I can't remember if there was sound. It was very quiet. Perhaps there wasn't, but I certainly heard ambient noise from the films. Perhaps it was just inferred. Anyways, the three films playing (each about 10 minutes in length) showed the stages of a woman's coming to terms with certain emotions and stages in her life. Whilst her performance was the best it could be (she was not cast very well, in my opinion), the cinematography and rustling ambient noise created a moving experience.

A Room of one's own, © Jesper Just
A Room of One's Own was the second film of the three that I watched. It depicts a cabin of a boat, where our poor protagonist (who's constantly breathless and pensive, because she has to be because it's the mood because she's Danish) is examining each of the chairs, feeling their contours and generally being odd. However, the film is directed so perfectly, with the breeze from the window flapping the covers of the bed, causing slight waves in the calm cabin. The hushed tones of the breeze and the short-DoF cinematography just make this film for me. Much like the woman's struggle dragging herself up the stairs (terribly painful to watch, might I add) made A Voyage in Dwelling for me. There's no dialogue, of course.

But is there really any market for these sorts of films? Sadly, I doubt it. Just's films are far from mainstream, and I don't think we'll see them anywhere other than art galleries and the odd one on YouTube. This is a real shame, but it's fair to say that the average cinemagoer will have trouble relating to this. Also, most average cinemagoers are shallow, thick kids who can't be bothered to watch anything other than Iron Man 2. The chances of them being able to watch a film about a woman's sexual awakening - let alone understand it - are miniscule. But I'd still like to try something like Jepser Just's films, maybe a little more accessible. To create such an acute mood would be heavenly to me. I just need to find the actors, somewhere...

~John

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