i am a writer and cinematologist. i write and produce films, work as a film lecturer at falmouth university and contribute to clash magazine, bright wall/dark room, the big picture, periodical/hope lies at 24 frames per second and directors notes among others.thanks for finding me. neil (email@example.com)
After Boogie Nights I wanted to see what was next. After Magnolia the same.
After Punch Drunk Love my life changed and I knew the films would become events. I had childish, fanboy anticipation in a way that was unique amongst the filmmakers I loved. The only other contemporary filmmakers that are maybe similar are Jarmusch and James Gray, but they don’t really come close.
After There Will Be Blood he became my favourite filmmaker ever, period, regardless.
After The Master, and one of the greatest theatrical experiences of my life he scared me. He’d made two huge films that loomed, just seemed so big, so rich, so full of stuff that needed serious attention that in the case of The Master, I still don’t feel entirely ready for.
So every tiny movement matters now, and I’ll be front and centre for anything he does. And we don’t have to wait long until what’s next. And that’s exciting. And fuck if it doesn’t look like he has nailed the tone of Pynchon’s superb off-kilter pulp thriller.
You just simply can’t afford to speak up. You can’t afford to have a mental illness. You can’t slip in any way, even a tiny fraction, or that’s it. You need to be grateful you have a job at all. It doesn’t matter that you want to work and/or are good at your job. Be grateful. Be subservient. Keep silent.
Despite the bleakness of the latest Dardennes film it’s subtle and requires your personal context and understanding to work. It’s a dialogue and a conversation and I know some will see it and think
Find another job.
It’s enraging and it’s saddening and it’s real.
But the film is clever. It uses narrative tricks and elements to remain gripping and suspenseful and is only somewhat diminished by the utterly ludicrous BBFC trigger warning which gives away a major plot event and has me pondering a strongly worded email. It has the most Hollywood ending imaginable for a Dardennes film in that there is a modicum of hope and stability beneath the almost total fog of despair and should we be grateful for that? Is that living, is that life?
Existence. Clinging on in service to the 1%. Unable to feel, unable to crack and fall occasionally, unable to struggle, Darwinian capitalism at our necks.
We see snapshots of lives and most are struggling. The rest are ignorant arseholes. It’s biting because we know, some of us, that this is the world we live in and faced with this moral fable, on which side of the line would we stand, when the ballot box beckons.
Gripping, simple cinema imbued with thought and humanism and featuring maybe the world’s greatest current actress just, delivering.
A long delay in posting some Sleevenotes because it’s been a long and writing heavy summer of planning and doctorate finishing.
Was nice though, to spend my first weekend, without any doctorate work to do, for four years, writing up four separate Sleevenotes journeys, although one was kinda one journey split in two. Anyway, they are back. And I’m on the road again next weekend so expect more soon. With less delay in posting them. As always check out the blog where I post them over here.
This lot has one of my albums of 2014 and a desert island disc.