Why do spectators spend at cinema halls for three or four hours and how does this happen? Correspondent Forbes Life watched the longest films of the Moscow International Film Festival and appreciated what the filmmakers are testing
Yesterday at the Moscow Film Festival, prizes were distributed. This year, the international jury especially supported the Russian cinema. The main award was given to the Yakut film “The Tsar-Bird”, the director’s prize went to Alexander Kott for the film “Spitak”, and the jury’s prize was given to the sensational debut of Yang Ge “Nu”.
On a wave of patriotic celebration, the correspondent of Forbes Life drew attention to the fact that in the festival cinema, more and more bands predominate, whose timing is more than three hours or more. Does this mean that the directors have freed themselves from commercial hire of hire, have they forgotten how to mount, or has the art of cinema passed to a new phase of development? After a long movie can immerse in the atmosphere, tell the story to the smallest detail. Will the four-hour films remain within the festival format or turn into the mainstream?
“My brother’s name is Robert and he’s an idiot”
Length: 173 minutes
The film of the German director Philip Groening caused a resonance in the press of the Berlin Film Festival. Long plans in the field in the foothills of the Alps to read the philosophy of Heidegger look impressive. The picture is a biological atlas, where all the philosophical concepts literally respond in the bodies of the heroes, and the dialogues lead to action. Although the actions have to wait. Groening plays with time, the characters look at the clock, but it does not matter to them what time it is. Robert and Elena spend the weekend before the exam in the field at the gas station. We do not know why the action takes place there, but on the walls of the store there are growth marks of Robert and Elena from early childhood. In the charming characters there is a note of insanity. Robert is an intelligent young man, capable of love, and Elena does not attach importance to feelings.
The film was accused of cruelty, incest and violence. This is easily assumed if we consider only the moral aspects, and not the artistic work as a whole. The world of Robert and Helena was invented by them in their deep childhood. They live in it for years, because they were always left to themselves. Any of their actions seem childish pranks. “My brother’s name is Robert and he’s an idiot” – an exceptional movie about a passing childhood, the last weekend that the brother and sister spend together. The film was deprived of prizes at the Berlin Film Festival.
“Time of monsters”
Duration: 243 minutes
The Filipino Love Diaz is a frequent visitor to film festivals. His paintings last 8-12 hours, but changing the format to four-hour time has benefited the director. In 2016, he received the “Golden Lion” in Venice for the painting “The Woman Who Left.” At the moment this is the most spectator and accessible film of Diaz.
“Time of monsters” is arranged on the principle of a musical. Characters do not speak much, they sing, except that without music. The action takes place in the childhood of Lava Diaz, which happened in the 1970s, during the civil war in the Philippines, when citizens were given weapons along with the permission to kill those who appear suspicious. In the center of the plot is the poet and his wife, a volunteer physician.
Love Diaz as if freezes action – from a cold cinema hall it would not be desirable to leave. Especially on the third hour of the narrative, when, it seems, you begin to understand the Philippine language. In most Lava Diaz films, the camera is static, it is located somewhere in the corner and moves only when the scene changes.
“The elephant sits quietly”
Duration: 240 minutes
The young Chinese writer Hu Bo debuted at the International Film Festival in Berlin, sending his painting “Elephant sits quietly” in the “forum” section. Shortly before the premiere, he committed suicide. A fact from a biography that added feelings of hopelessness and an already depressing picture. The film tells about several families living in a small, but very littered Chinese town. Shkolnik Wei Boo heard that Manchuria is an elephant, which is apathetic in its cage. The boy decided: since the elephant sits and does not worry, it means that it is better in Manchuria than in their backwoods. In the film, everyone craves harmony, but how to achieve it, when they beat up in school, a dog is killed by a dog or driven out of the house. Lonely people live in an atmosphere of hatred, and their cries start to hurt your head.
The four-hour opus is reduced to a single statement: “it’s good where we do not exist.” “The elephant sits quietly,” despite the optimistic ending, not the most life-affirming movie.
“Mektub, my love. Song One “
Duration: 175 minutes
A new film by Abdelatif Keshish is a meeting after a long separation. “Mektube, my love” brings us back to the best period of Keshish’s creativity, when he took off the famous “Couscous and Mullet”. The director is again in the city of Seth in the south of France to talk about family restaurants, the city, vacations, the sea and youth. At the moment this is the most authentic film of the director, opening the future trilogy.
Keshish neglects the plot in the traditional sense. He sees beauty and talks about it. The viewer is an involuntary observer of everything that happens to the young man Amin on vacation. Amin abandoned his studies in Paris to earn money and write scripts (a self-portrait of the director). The camera admires the girls as they sunbathe on the beach and splash into the sea. She follows parties where they dance, drink and chat. There are many conversations in the film, perhaps even too much: gossip, confessions, revelations and even debates about how correctly in Arabic to say “I love you”. The painting recalls Bertolucci’s “Slipping Beauty”, only with a Tunisian accent. It’s amazing how Kesish, the owner of four awards at the Venice Film Festival and the Golden Palm Branch, was left without rewards for “Mektube, my love”.