Sunday, September 16, 2012

MOTELx'12: day four with "Suspiria", "Midnight Son", "Crawl" and "Emergo"; highlights of day five with Dario Argento Masterclass

After last night's short intervention by one of the Masters of Horror, a full house of fans and admirers of the genre and his work were locked down in red cushioned chairs and assisted to a masterful assembling of colors, lights, sound, music and gore that though grounded on a little sloppy narrative (not pure trash cinema, like Inferno (1980) or Mother of Tears (2007)), produced a psychedelic paralyzing of my senses of lucidity and serenity. Unforgettable experience of devastating fright, where contrarily to the rest of the trilogy magic and witches loom so close and real you might sometimes be alone in the room, sitting on a fluctuating recliner, your perception driven by their powers and your attention guided by their muffled footsteps. Suspiria (1977) is not the last Dario Argento playing in the festival, as today screens Demons (1985), written by himself and directed by Lamberto Bava.

Midnight Son (2012) features interesting notes on the vampire genre and tracks the course of their complete humanization. The atmosphere of uncanniness was never completely lifted and so it takes wrong steps like the healing skin by the end. We followed a character progressively discovering his symptoms which helped the narrative to move forward, but it was constantly stalling due to lack of new and subtler ideas, fresher decisions, and a determined arc. The relationship with Mary needed a little bit more time and better acting and the one with the brothers was simply awful, in a movie where you feel like you're watching the first fifteen minutes over and over again.  

Crawl (2012) reminded me of the title of a fine tv show canceled by HBO last year, Bored to Death. When the host of the session felt the necessity to state that this was a film in which the duration of the scenes was appropriate for the genre of suspense, I smelled something burning. Like so many others, this film could've been told in twelve to fifteen minutes. The scenes were made of everlasting intercuts between a hand and a door knob, a hand and a gun, a footstep and a door. That shatters suspense, romps with it. That's Gerry (2000) with guns, man. It pays homage to Blood Simple (1984) and No Country for Old Man (2008) but it lacks purpose. A pint of what makes the Coen brothers great storytellers is their conveying of profound themelines bellow their drop-dead-and-laugh bloodshedding dumb crime scenes - the morality of stealing and killing; a contemporary nihilistic America; a paranoid modern society; the meaning of life actually. China brothers characters were void, roaming, aimless, despite their grasps for some odd funny moments.

I am not a fan of found footage films, but I loved REC (2008) and kind of liked Chronicle (2011). And I wished Emergo (2012) had been produced before me and the world watched all the other spin-offs, except the first Paranormal Activity, from 2007. It was written by Buried (2010) and Red Lights (2012) director Rodrigo Cortés back in 2009, and I believe it would've known more praise for originality than it did three years later. Much more tell than show, developed an interesting drama-genre relationship between father and daughter but the rest wasn't more than predictable moments. Great aesthetics and camerawork though.


Masterclass "Os Clones", a Portuguese team of filmmakers dedicated to serie B trash gore short films. Stupidly funny and trashly out of the box, you can watch their work on Youtube - Papa Wrestling (2009), Blarghaaahrgarg (2010) and Banana Motherfucker (2011).


Masterclass Dario Argento, on his career, his films and his methods. The lecture of a legend. Unmissable.

No comments:

Post a Comment