Tag Archives: Culture

#89 – Dans la Vallée Ouverte avec le Soleil (In the Open Valley, with the Sun)

(1968, Fr, 97 min) Dir Jean Anno. Cast Patrice Melaud, Sandy.

A very of its time wigged-out hippy film, shot in France’s arid Biscot valley with a soundtrack of droney jams provided by Parisian proto proggers, Le Mog. Hunky young Patrice Melaud is, like, totally stifled by his bourgeois existence in the suburbs where every apartment block is like a cage, man. Into his life comes the free, keen and mononymous Sandy who, with frequent nudity and skills with the flute, leads him out to the totally amazing commune where she lives. From then on its dreamy montage a go-go as the beautiful young couple frolic in the countryside with their lovely hippy chums. Of course it’s ’68 and beyond the screen are the May riots and Vietnam so the film has to end, like Bonnie and Clyde the year before and Easy Rider the year after, in blood and fire with the Man and his fascist storm trooper policemen raiding the commune and, like, totally killing everyone to bits while Le Mog wail doomily in the background. In case you hadn’t already guessed this is a very sixties film and your ability to enjoy it will depend very much on your tolerance for the wishy-washiest kind of hippy nonsense and while there are salvageable aspects to the likes of Zabriskie Point, Jean Anno is no Antonioni.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#86 – Ed, Fred and Life Among the Undead

(2008, US, 98 min) Dir Jay White. Cast Justin Long, Tyler Labine.

A product of the post-Shaun of the Dead zombie comedy boom that brought us the likes of Zombieland and Life After Beth. Ed and Fred are a pair of housemates in Everywhereville, USA. Their lives were going nowhere prior to the zombie apocalypse and now that it’s happened, it looks like their chances of escaping this cycle are gone for good. So far, so Shaun. The difference here is that, like Dawn of the Dead and their zombies flocking to the mall, these zombies also retain some of their prior brain functions. But what does this mean for Ed and Fred? It means that the zombified relatives of both their families, as the film progresses, accumulate around their house since, presumably, they are the last surviving members of both. So Ed and Fred become progressively more and more unhinged, a situation probably not helped by the massive stash of ‘Tibetan Grass’ that they have managed to rescue from the collapse of society. At some point they’re going to have to kick the weed and do something about their situation… It’s a cheap movie but more because of the story it’s telling – which is essentially a one set play – than because they’ve constrained themselves and the invention on display in how it’s shot more than makes up for those constraints. The title also belies the fact that the film is more emotional than you would presume, dealing as it does with growing up, leaving cycles of dependency and saying goodbye to people you love though still, it has to be said, getting in enough adolescent stoner humour and dick jokes to sweeten the pill.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#85 – Transfer of Sovereignty Over Hong Kong

(1997, Fr, 47 min) Dir Remy Disco.

One of the shorter efforts of Remy Disco and his Institut de Réalisme Fictive (Institute of Fictional Realism), this is a reconstruction of the handover ceremony held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on the night of 30 June 1997 that takes place in the centre of a roundabout in Calais during heavy traffic. Its shortness is unintentional however – Disco hadn’t obtained the necessary filming permit prior to the event but decided to go ahead with the result that the police appeared about forty minutes in to disperse the performers. It’s testament to Disco’s cadre that they refused to stop with the planned event and remained spouting their vacuous speech-talk as they were led away with filming only ceasing when physically forced to by a particularly dogged officer. Incidental pleasures include the looks of the commuters trying to watch the actors representing Prince Charles, President of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin and Tung Chee-hwa, the first Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, while negotiating a roundabout.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#83 – Christmas Day, 1989

(1991, Fr, 102 min) Dir Remy Disco.

Produced by the Remy Disco’s Institut de Réalisme Fictive (Institute of Fictional Realism) during its nineties heyday along with their restaged compilation of Gulf War I related speeches, their nine-hour dramatization of Gorbachev’s three day house arrest during the 1991 coup and many other political moments of the era. The whole of the film is essentially a staging via court documents of the trial that ended with Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu’s execution but, in keeping with the Institut’s aims to realise the fictitious (i.e. to render ‘fictitious’ events like the news ‘real’), the whole thing takes place in the offices of an insurance firm with the two leads an anonymous and disgruntled middle-aged couple. It’s all here from the Ceaușescu’s ten minute meeting with their council Nicu Teodorescu to them being led away to be shot, though the film doesn’t actually show this as Disco eschews the use of ‘conventional dramatic props’ like firearms. The effect is totally boring and not in a slow cinema transcendental boredom kind of way but then I think that’s the point of it, to recontextualise world-changing events in language so banal that they can be viewed in their most elemental form. Or something.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms