Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
TIRANTI TRANSIT (2005)
Tiranti Transit is a short film by Italian director, Alessandro Fantini. It was interesting approaching this film because I can see so much of my own work in the film, both the triumphs and the failures.
The film's in Italian, and I didn't have access to the English dialogue, but I think it's so well made that you don't even need to understand the dialogue. The primary concern is building a mood, and what lingers with me after viewing the film is not the story, it's more this feeling of melancholy and warmth. In that respect, it's a very prototypical European art film. I haven't seen that much of his work, but it's reminiscent of Antonioni, with a decentralized narrative and a focus on aesthetic qualities.
I think that's what makes cinema so powerful, a Wong Kar-Wai film wouldn't work in any other medium because it's not solely about the story, or solely about the aesthetics, it's about the fusion of music and visual to create a singular feeling. The score in this film is fantastic, moody and Blade Runneresque, it's a large part of why the short works as well as it does.
The best moments in the film are at the end. There's a fantastic shot where the woman opens a door inside and there's a cut to a wide open road, which we then see her standing on. It's a great moment of surreal cutting, using editing to make a transition that's not possible in reality. This leads up to the really nice ending of the film.
My big issue with the film, something that's true of a lot of low budget, digital works, is that some shots just feel like home video, and that takes you out of the story. It's the biggest concern in working with digital, I absolutely love DV and would gladly shoot it over film, but it means that you need to better, to ensure that each shot has the care you would spend for a filmbased take. Even David Lynch had some really sloppily composed shots in Inland Empire, it's tough to nail every shot and a few here just didn't quite work. But, it didn't fully take me out of the story's mood, and I was able to quickly shift back in and reengage with the story. Maybe some color correction would resolve that issue, or more likely, just a higher end camera.
The other thing I wasn't sure about was the zooms. Some of them were great, but some felt a bit arbitrary. Some filmmakers use the zoom lens in great ways, most notably Robert Altman. I feel like with the zoom you either have to be really slow, or really fast. If you use the default camera speed, it can feel rote. But, I'm not sure if I'm reacting that way just because I know about cameras and can see how it worked. However, I'm still glad that he tried it, because some of those zooms made for great moment.
I'd rather watch a film like this than a polished Hollywood movie that doesn't have any energy in the shooting. I'd rather have a few shots that don't quite make it if it means having some of the fantastic compositions that appear throughout the film. As I've said many times before, I'd rather see a film that aims high and doesn't quite make it than something that has no ambition and nails it. So, the flaws of this film don't mean that it's not a great viewing. This film is a world you can slip into, and I really enjoyed my time there. And, the ending had a primal power that I found very affecting and well done.
If you want to view the film, it's on line here, and there's more information on Alessandro, including some fantastic art, right here. at his site.