The film seems almost out of time. It could have been filmed fifty years ago. The gently swaying palms of Los Angeles fit between buildings easily but seem to have a romantic life in this film. The music, a piece for theremin and string quartet by Herbert A. Deutsch, fits the imagery in Jennifer Sharpe’s film to perfection. This kind of filmmaking, done with a small camera and then edited and colored in a relatively simple digital editor, is very close to the simplicity of the poet working in a notepad or the artist sketching from her window. Sharpe’s films are deeply felt poetic expressions that seem to exist in the only possible form that they could have. She turns her video images into something close to painting, extending time and finding mystery in simple movements. She has a very gentle approach but with strength in her observation and emotional ability, sort of like a butterfly with steel wings.
I once suggested on this web site picking up a camera and spending the day on a street corner making a film. Moulin Rouge is a film that does that with spectacular and sublime results. Filmmaker Luciana Botelho wanders the world with her camera and makes films that take my breath away. Standing in front of the Paris landmark, she makes a film that celebrates movement more effectively than anything going on inside the actual Moulin Rouge. Her film is also a very simple and charming celebration of the act of photographing or filmmaking. Botelho’s films are beautiful and subtle and extremely emotional. She fits image to music perfectly. I’m ready to go and buy all the songs after watching these!
With the great pile of film and video available on the web, one must maintain some sensitivity to the gentle – the delicate. Botelho is a gentle filmmaker. She impresses me because she seems to me to be an artist of the glance. Her art seems based on immediate vision and impressions made almost in passing. She makes films about travel that capture the essence of a place, but primarily focus on the behavior of people, turning the overlooked into something captivating. The films hold an enormous grace and convey very powerfully the impression of an artist whose every turn of the head can lead to a film.
I like the fluctuating frame rate of these films. It focuses you in on the interesting physical movements caught by the camera in everyday situations. And yet the films flow smoothly in overall effect. The small camera in hand that follows the eye is modern cinema. In the film, Tokyo Slices – People, when the camera swings to catch the girl in the scarf on the subway platform you are seeing most of what you need to know about modern cinema.
I look forward to Luciana Botelho’s Los Angeles film.
The National Film Preservation Board of The Library of Congress has added a film to its National Film Registry by Mary Ellen Bute called Tarantella (1940). Here’s a short documentary about this animator and her total dedication to her art. Cartoon Brew has more information about the recent additions to the Registry.
Here’s a music video made entirely out of illustrations, photos, and text from second-hand books! I never watch music videos all the way through. But I watched this one and admired its clever associations of images to lyrics. It’s all spelled out for you in the most charming and humorous way. Good song too! Ben Reed made this for a band called The Wave Pictures.
Look at this astonishing music video from a Japanese breakbeat duo called Hifana. It explodes.
Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest rock & roll band in the world.