(Click here to read my general introduction to the 'Films This Week' series of posts.)
A slightly streamlined version this week as, although I've watched nine films, most of these have been for work purposes (I'm researching a new project), and this means that the notes I've made have been focused around a particular aspect of the films in question – useful for me, probably not very interesting out of context. So, I'm going to hold off from publishing them here. Maybe they'll surface in a future post, maybe in another book – or maybe they'll stay private.
Due to my heavy workload, there have also been films that I've seen and enjoyed (Spellbound and Verity's Summer), which I've simply not written anything about. So, only two this week…
|The Legend of the Suram Fortress|
Watched The Legend of the Suram Fortress, which was astonishingly beautiful, and quite extraordinary. I really responded to the tableau style and quirkiness…though it feels like a film you need to experience. Writing about it, or trying to intellectualise it, seems pointless. (This is not a criticism, but the highest form of praise).
Went the Barbican to (finally) see A Page of Madness. It was pretty much everything I expected it to be – and everything I wanted it to be. It comes across like a dizzying battering ram to the head. Since watching Sir Arne's Treasure last week I've been wondering if silent cinema somehow had a faster conduit to the inner lives of its characters, and A Page of Madness would seem to support (confirm?) this thesis. There's something about the purity of the medium when it was still silent, its use of a purely visual grammar, which somehow opens up the soul of its characters in a way few modern films seem to achieve. What's so striking about A Page of Madness is the way it's all so simply achieved: double exposures, whip pans, distorted mirrors, tracking shots – it's hardly a fully equipped experimental arsenal… and yet the skill with which these techniques are deployed, and the results achieved, are extraordinary. It's all a bit too much to take in in one viewing (I don't think I could write anything approaching a detailed plot synopsis) and yet the film, as a portrait of madness, seems all the better – all the more effective – for the confusion. I have a feeling that subsequent viewings may well confirm it as one of the supreme achievements of the silent cinema. Truly masterful.
|A Page of Madness|