Paris filmmaker Luciana Botelho travels and films her love of light and color. In this one, filmed in Lausanne, Switzerland, she turns carnival rides into a celebration of exploding light and pattern that seem to exist in their own realm apart from reality. Her interests seem to lie in the unnoticed beauty of everyday environments. Her camera observes with that sly calm that I admire in any artist. She steals moments of beauty from the unaware because they do not own the moments – she does.
The film takes its name from a neighborhood in Paris. It was directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff and is considered to be his greatest work. It moves very quickly, using a montage technique that tells the story without a single intertitle. It’s a riveting and powerful tale of disillusionment and violence. The lead actress is wonderful and has some of the best eyes for silent film I’ve ever seen.
Luciana Botelho turns cab rides in Tokyo into a gorgeous abstraction that maintains its romantic atmosphere flawlessly. What I like about these films is how the filmmaker seems able to surrender herself to a particular time and place over the extended period of time necessary for making the film. Not an easy thing to do. I’ve posted about this filmmaker’s work before.
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.