🎬 #99 Story At The Edges Of The Frame.
First of all I apologise for the shortness of the newsletters the past couple of weeks - normal length will resume next week 👌
‘Enjoy’ this week’s two films that tell stories that are happening just out of frame.
Happy choosing, happy viewing
FILM ONE: THE ZONE OF INTEREST
2023 Dir Jonathan Glazer
[1hr 45 mins]
I’ve been wanting to talk about this film since I saw it at the London Film Festival. It was the film that left the audience most floored from those that I saw. You could feel it in the room as the film ended, and as people made their way out - there was the sense that everyone had just seen something special.
Glazer is one of my favourite filmmakers as I’ve mentioned here a few times and with his latest he tells the story of a family trying to build a perfect life, the catch is that they are nazi’s living just over the wall from Auschwitz. The film is so unviolent and graphic that the rating is PG 13. But by leaving almost everything to linger on the edges, through sound, lighting, and the debris of the horrors of what was happening feet away, Glazer makes it all the more powerful. Like the underlying darkness of a family living in picture perfect suburbia, this ‘normal’ family are existing, living as anyone would want to, just at the fringe of the nightmare they’ve helped create.
This normality is helped by the fact that Glazer wanted to remove ‘the artifice of filmmaking.’ By building a house, then planting multiple cameras and microphones within it, he could just let the actors exist. The weren’t trying to conjure up drama or ‘perform’ because there was no single camera to perform to. The results are a compellingly numb / unadorned look at what it was like just at the outskirts of evil.
Even though it isn’t on release yet - I urge you all to see it when you can.
TL;DR Glazer’s take on the horrors of the Holocaust will leave you dumbfounded.
*In cinemas for a limited release in the US on December 15th and from February 2nd in the UK.
Fact: This is the UK’s submission for Best International Film at next year’s Oscars.
FILM TWO: LA RÉGLE DU JUE
1939 Dir Jean Renoir
[1hr 50 mins]
Renoir’s film is a chaotic comedy of errors in many ways - a portrait of a different class as they don’t let a small thing like a World War interrupt their lifestyle. While that is brewing on the edges of the frame, they are too involved in their own idyllic getaway in the country, too caught up in the love triangles and who loves who and who wants to run away with who, to care too much about the horrors that are coming.
Renoir’s film was the most expensive French film made at the time and went through a tough post-production phase. It didn’t stop after the Premiere - Renoir, based on audience reactions, made a lot of drastic cuts to the film. But in later years, like so many others, it was reappraised and has since become a mainstay of best film polls.
This is a deep satire about what it means to avoid the violence on the horizon and hide away from the facts of the world.
TL;DR Renoir’s film will make you laugh about impending doom.
*Available for a small rental fee on Amazon, Apple, Google and YouTube in the US and on BFI Player, Apple and Amazon in the UK.
Fact: The one film that’s always been in the top 10 of Sight and Sound’s Greatest Films Of All Time list.
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