Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
The Loneliest Planet
A local guide takes a young couple through a twisted backpacking trip across the Georgian wilderness.
Nothing happens for an hour. Then one thing happens and someone makes a knee jerk reaction. Then one no one talks about either the thing that happened or the the reaction to what happened. Hard to say since no one's talking. Then nothing happens for another hour until there's an awkward moment. Then nothing happens at the end. I was riveted.
[reviewed from AFI 2011]
Second go. Feared I might find the first half a little get-to-the-Incident enervating this time, but Loktev has an uncanny knack—also on display in Day Night Day Night—for making the eventless eventful, mostly via attention to arresting details that are unusual without being "quirky." (I was about to note that the "chimpanzee" headstand arguably crosses that line, but then suddenly suspected that that's an actual alternative to e.g. "Mississippi" somewhere or other, and sure enough. Headstand itself's still a bit cute, though.) And I remain in awe of the high-wire act that constitutes the aftermath, in which any and all discussion of what happened gets postponed until after the credits roll—a stunt that only works…
The Loneliest Planet is a film I really want to love. It's slow, and takes its time, and wants to reel you into the relationship between the main couple. However, The Loneliest Planet is also slow and takes too much time.
I really love when films take their time to show you things instead of rushing, but there is a difference between taking your time and meandering around in a vain attempt to stretch out the running time.
There's a real subtle beauty to the main theme of The Loneliest Planet, but it really doesn't need to be a 2 hour film. This would be fine at 80 minutes, and actually manage to make a harder impact. Gael Garcia Bernal…
The visuals, beautiful.
The story, ugly.
A hopeless film,
and also a brilliant one.
Edit: after a few hours rest, I have reflected a bit on the final few scenes of this film, and found something to hope for.
Two unintentional moments of betrayal sour a hiking excursion in the Caucasus Mountains taken by a couple and their local guide.
Julia Loktev's otherwise extraordinarily uneventful narrative follows the couple leading up to the trip. The set-up makes clear they are enthusiastic and somewhat well-traveled, but the bulk of the film consists of simply following them as they explore the very isolated landscape.
Whether or not you connect with the film depends on how prepared you are to take very human-sized conflicts into deeper consideration. Speaking for myself, I was initially ambivalent towards the movie. I am all for stories that require a certain amount of "leaning forward," as I like to call it... but felt like this was one that asked too much.
But after that... I found myself still thinking about the film (and to be clear, really the film and not the situation depicted in the film) for quite a while later. Undecided.
Barring the mid-film "event" and its subsequent happenings which open up WAAAAAAAAY too big a can of worms for me to write about in the time I have, this is a film that thrives on juxtaposition of intimate human gestures and the utter mind-boggling vastness of the spaces in which they occur. As such, it routinely conjures wrenching existential thoughts concerning the all-encompassing nature of our relationships on a personal level and just how little they actually encompass on a more cosmic one.
This is best and most devastatingly demonstrated in a scene where these two particular themes formally converge. Nica and Alex are taking part in a headstand contest on top of a hill that overlooks a massive valley.…
I feel I cannot rate this because, believe it or not, I actually missed the so-called 'pivotal scene' (that 'crucial' behavioural glitch, to be exact) first time around, decidedly because the scene itself (i.e. the event that triggered said 'glitch') seemed so ludicrous and asinine at that point (of having almost given up on the whole tiresome affair of waiting for the characters to reach the other end of the screen) that my perception was instantaneously blunted. Now that I know better, I am still unsure whether enduring this self-indulgent exercise in pretentiousness to the end was worth it or not (and I am certainly not going through it again), but I do know that I disliked it with progressing intensity at the time of viewing. Yet I feel that rate this I can not
If you want to see the best parts of this than I suggest just popping in some Planet Earth.
First half of the movie: An engaged couple backpacks through Georgia. There's a clear emotional bond. Then something happens and their trek continues, the two of them now very much separate emotionally. There's a minimal amount of dialogue both before and after the turning point occurs. You'll probably either really like this film or think it was a boring, total waste of time.
In “Day Night Day Night”, first time filmmaker Julia Loktev took a rigorous approach to the final hours of a female suicide bomber wandering around New York. Filled with airtight tension and an almost impenetrable over-the-shoulder relentlessness, it was a terrific masterwork by a young artist. Her second film, “The Loneliest Planet” is just as opaque and relentless in its single-minded attention to the journey of not one but two people this time- a couple hiking in the Georgian countryside. Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg are the couple… smitten in love and embarking on a harmless adventure that turns out to harbor psychological terrors that will rear its ugly head about halfway through the film. But unlike “Day Night…
A relationship is established, damaged, and begins to mend. The establishment, perhaps takes too long and most of us have lost interest. The damaging moment is well played. The mostly silent processing of the moment and it's effects and repercussions is extremely well handled. And then another crucial moment is simply botched apparently with the idea that further damage is more interesting to the audience than healing is.
The tedious journey was not worth the destination.
Υποψιάζομαι ότι κάνει φανταστικό double feature με το Sightseers.
- Only God Forgives
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Spring Breakers
- A Field in England
- 20 Fingers
- Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
- Almayer's Folly
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
- Border Radio
A list of films directed by women, in alphabetical order by director. The notes show the director's country, name and…
- Men, Women & Children
- The Bling Ring
- The Poughkeepsie Tapes
- Magic Magic
Films that I find to be (either only a bit or way too) lowly rated on Letterboxd; these are just…