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🎬 #91 The Power Of A Title.
Choosing a name for anything is tricky - let alone a film whose title can help land the entire idea and grab the attention of an audience worth potentially billions.
Sometimes the original source material / original title is more captivating or bold but you can usually see why they went with the final title. This week’s two films have titles that I find fascinating in very different ways.
Happy choosing, happy viewing
FILM ONE: EDGE OF TOMORROW
[ALL YOU NEED IS KILL].
2014 Dir Doug Liman
[1hr 53 mins]
The film is based on a Japanese ‘light’ science fiction novel which was then adapted into a manga - whose title オール・ユー・ニード・イズ・キル translates to
‘All You Need Is Kill.’ One of the coolest sounding titles I’ve ever heard. The film is a smart, funny and refreshing take on the alien invasion tale. A really enjoyable, smartly and intricately plotted game-like adventurer. It sees the central character become stuck in a time loop, reliving the same day of battle over and over again so that through sheer hours in the proverbial cockpit, he becomes one of the best soldiers out there. Super smart, tight premise.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about the title - because this film has gone through more title changes than any other I can think of. Originally, it was announced that it would retain the original title - the above bad ass one. But then it was produced under the working title - We Mortals Are. Finally it was released as Edge of Tomorrow which is also a nice title, but pales compared to the original book title. The accompanying tag line on the marketing was Live. Die. Repeat. Which sums up the premise in a pretty bang on way. Then, like I mentioned before, in a move to clarify the central concept of the film - its unique selling point, they flipped the hierarchy of the title and tag line. So from one point onwards other promotional material read as ‘Live. Die. Repeat……Edge of Tomorrow.’ The tagline had become in the title.
You can see why they went this way - they wanted people to understand the coolest part of the film - it’s central premise. Something that ‘All You Need Is Kill’ doesn’t do in a straightforward way. Which is why it’s so appealing to me - it kind of gets at it but in a more unusual, more obtuse way. Just kill over and over - that’s all you need to sharpen your skills to succeed against the alien threat. But it also has this nice haze of the idea that all you need is to be killed over and over again, death in this case isn’t the conclusion but the solution to the obstacles that lie in front of the soldier fighting to save humanity.
TL;DR This is a film not to be underestimated, a looping, action-packed twist on the alien vs mankind clash-tacular.
*Available for a small rental fee on Amazon, Apple, Google and YouTube in the US and the UK.
Fact: The original screenplay written on spec by Dante Harper was sold to Warner Brothers in a deal worth $1 million to the writer.
FILM TWO: SANS SOLEIL
1983 Dir Chris Marker
Translated to Sunless, Chris Marker’s film - even more than his others I have see, feels like a dream. In fact, if you want a film to fall asleep to, in the most complimentary way possible, I recommend this one. Like a long visual meditation that’s not quite a documentary, not quite a narrative - it falls somewhere along the same spectrum as Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi but with voice over. What I love about the title is how the sound matches the feeling of the film - it’s soft, whimsical, poetic.
It’s a hard film to categorise or explain, like a dream or memory which is tries to unravel. It’s random but relational - it tracks with reality but moves away from it. It’s a patchwork quilt of a film, that fuses original footage, stock footage, and footage from Japanese TV shows and Vertigo into a ‘home movie’ as Marker describes it. It does feel like an experiment intended only for friends and family to see - and is as beautiful as the title sounds.
TL;DR A dream-like mediation in the shape of an abstract travelogue - put this on just before bed to unwind and relax.
*Available to subscribers of Criterion in the US and for a small rental fee on Amazon in the UK.
Fact: Marker was in a political commune when he made the film.
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