A depiction of a series of violent killings in Northern Ireland.
A depiction of a series of violent killings in Northern Ireland.
Gary Walker Bill Hamilton Michael Foyle Danny Small Robert Taylor Joe Cauley Noel McGee Patrick Condren Andrew Downs Terry Doyle Michael Liebmann Gavin Bloomer Barry Brent Paul Nemeer Sam Doyle Burt Murray Tim Loane Kenny Harris Paddy Rocks Ken McIlroy Hamish Fyfe Trevor Moore William Walker Brian Giffen Billy Dee Michael Fieldhouse William McAllister Stephen Potter David McDade Show All…
Re-watched this film after several years. Wow. You can see why this was so influential. The steadicam combined with the wide angle lens combined with the pacing makes for something that still feels fresh and unique even 30 years later.
The BFI/BBC Special Collector's Edition Blu-ray for Alan Clarke's The Firm has this film as an extra on the disc. It is accompanied by commentary by Danny Boyle and Mark Kermode.
By the way... did you know that Boyle produced?
3 lines of dialogue.
No structure, seemingly.
No rhyme or reason, seemingly.
Just the elephant in the room.
A brutal uncompromising look at Sectarian assassination that dramatises genuine events and forces you to consider the Troubles in a way that acres of news coverage cannot. Just what is your gut reaction at the end of it? Does the endless cadence of footfall and gunfire go some way to desensitise you or does it make you realise this has to stop.
Those who don't 'get' this, really need to educate themselves. Especially if you live in the UK, there's no excuse.
A minor masterpiece from Alan Clarke.
Anti-narrative, anti-entertainment approach towards a reality that a handful will immediately reject as a source of entertainment in a media that is normally approached as such. A wide lense, steadycam scope of realistic perfection is impressionistically constructed to deconstruct the act of killing and its lack of rhyme and reason makes the viewer focus on the brutal, dehumanizing futility of the act. The ends are flushed down the toilet (sometimes one could speculate that there are not any) and condemns the means because it entails the execution of a human life. The routine is simple: depict the setup impressionistically, show the act minimalistically, repeat the first style for the getaway and repeat the second style for dedicating some seconds witnessing…
Set during the Northern Ireland conflict, which started in the late nineteen sixties and ceased with the nineteen ninth eight Good Friday Agreement, this short film directed by Cheshire born filmmaker Alan Clarke and produced by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) avoids any visible political or social commentary; instead, it discerns the filmmaker aspiring towards attracting awareness to the casualties of everyday inhabitants of the towns and cities of the region that were primarily being overlooked by the media of the day.
It's perhaps better known nowadays for inspiring Gus Van Sant with his 2003 feature of the same name by echoing its style and similarly observing the ruthlessly clear manifestations of unnecessary violence, and while the matter-of-fact neutrality conferred to the depiction of the brutal murders within their isolated sequences are startling, it's their overall incremental impact which is devastating. The film's absence of narrative results in abolishing any possible rationale for the killings and renders the message even more poignant.
Hoop-Tober, year three, film #10:
Love you Gus, but Alan should've been the Palme d'Or winner instead (not that the situations are comparable considering that this flawlessly realist short film didn't even screen at Cannes, let alone win any awards at all). Alan Clarke: the true, little known master of the steadicam. Clarke's crowning achievement, clocking in at only 38 minutes; I'm very much looking forward to Penda's Fen, which I'll be watching ASAP.
How does a filmmaker, pace Godard, go about making sense of an incomprehensible tragedy? What should be his or her approach? On the one extreme, we have countless examples of "true stories" where a Don Cheadle or a Juliette Binoche or whoever serves as our beleaguered yet determined surrogate who ably navigates the treacherous waters of history—and, more often than not, comes out ahead. Everyone is satisfied: the studio, the audience, the actor, the custodians of the politically correct version(s) of history. I don’t think it would be too far to say that Alan Clarke’s Elephant falls somewhere close to the other end of the spectrum.
This is not a film.
I think that’s an idea to remember while watching Alan Clarke’s Elephant. Of course, it is a film, but what’s happening on screen isn't fiction, it isn't made for entertainment. This film is the living embodiment of one of my favourite David Fincher quotes: ”I don't know how much movies should entertain. To me, I'm always interested in movies that scar.” Elephant is here to tear off your clothes, expose your flesh, drive a sharp knife into your chest and tell you to look at the damage it’s caused.
Appreciating the full impact of this film might require a little back story. The film itself doesn't give its audience any clues, there are no title…
First of all, fuck Gus van Sant for stealing every stylistic decision from this film and making it into a fucking hipster-indie-shit that is also expoitative as fuck and tries to be much more than it actually is. Second of all, the original Alan Clarke's Elephant is a masterpiece by all means. This is my very first Clark's film but I can say with confidence that he is a true master of filmmaking and steadicam shots (unlike Gas van Sant), he doesn't try to make Elephant a pop-culture, it's in a way TCM, it shows uncompromising and undramatized violence, there's no character development or even characters, just monsters floating through streets who are eager to kill innocent people. Alan Clark doesn't even trying to make any kind of statement in this movie, the movie itself is already an extremely strong statement.
A man walks into a space, pulls out a gun, shoots another man. Blood splatters on the wall. A Steadicam shot follows the killer's escape. A static shot lingers on the victim. Then the whole process repeats itself in a new space with different men, more blood splatter, until a couple dozen of these quick vignettes have accumulated, and that's the whole of Alan Clarke's 40-minute, near-wordless Elephant. Each modular mini-narrative plays like an excerpt from a more conventional crime thriller, but here they're stripped of causality, dialogue, motivation, or anything else that might help the violence "make sense." They're arranged in a serial structure common to much avant-garde filmmaking, and as with many a-g shorts, Elephant invites the viewer…
This controversial short is as bleak as it gets.
It’s truly chilling, leaving the viewer to reflect upon the uncomfortable images they just witnessed again and again. It unapologetically depicts senseless violence in a way impossible to ignore. As a whole, it’s extremely relevant to today’s society, especially with what we have been seeing in the media lately. Filmmaking wise it’s brilliant. The tracking shots and lingering camera are haunting. I have never seen anything like it, and probably never will.
If impact is what this film aspired, it certainly achieved its goal.
18 asesinatos. 18 víctimas. 18 verdugos. 18 planos secuencia a steadycam. Esa reiteración, esa frialdad es lo que nos va convenciendo de un Reino Unido inmoral. La violencia sin cesar, de la que cada día se hace más presente y de presunta normalidad es lo que Alan Clarke nos hace ver sin ninguna censura. Un problema que es el elefante en el salón de nuestras casa el cual intentamos ignorar, pero que siempre estará ahí.
Me puse a pensar que siempre estamos en esa línea moral de disfrutar la violencia dentro de obras de ficción mientras que en la realidad es algo que repudiamos. Manteniéndonos en esa pequeña hipocresía o, si lo quieren ver, esa separación de la realidad y…
WINTER "HIGH ART" MARATHON 2.0 #53
Wish that Elephant (2002) was half as effective.
This film is beautifully shot and harrowing as fuck. One of the coldest looking and feeling films I've seen in quite some time.
It captures rural suburbia extremely well and portrays the violence in a very realistic and unsympathetic way, almost feeling like a documentary.
This is also one of the better examples of not using music that I can think of. The scene with the two friends walking down that path in the park really stands out to me. The frost on the grass, the mist in the air, it's almost like you can smell the shot through the screen. Same with that nighttime scene…
A hidden gem/experience
I mean great camera work ! but I don’t really know what I’m supposed to take from people being murdered out of context.
ritz in the background makin me hungry 🤤
Sean Bakers said it all.
Sure, I get it... but I feel like having slightly more dialogue would have made it more realistic and impactful...
anyway, murder five was my favorite?! is this ok to say....
Word has it that Harmony Korine once told Gus Van Sant this was his favourite movie.
really cool visual presentation. the steady cam + wide angle lenses makes for a really fast paced and stimulating short film. i think i would have liked it more though if it were either a bit shorter or they had switched up a bit instead of showing what is essentially the same thing over and over for 40 minutes. i was never bored though, and that last one was really interesting.
since no one asked, here’s a list of movies this made me want to rewatch:
thank you for your consideration
wasn't excepting this film to be so striking but now i want to watch more alan clarke films, maybe something with dialogue this time
Violence in its most detached from is what Elephant presents to its audience. The camera work always keeps a distance from it subjects trying to make you end up feeling more like a witness to a crime scene, rather than watching a piece of entertainment. This is further exemplified through its usage of close ups, saving them for when we see the murders happen, giving us either looks at the weapons the killers are using, or a look at their face when they do so. With that said, something that brings this short a little down for me is how fast this moves from one killing to the next. It happens so much that it eventually lost its affect after…
*westside gunn vox* boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom BOOM
esto es tenebroso y adictivo
Haunting and somber, Elephant is special in its cold documentary-like feel and brutal realism. Some exceptional long takes and mini twists in certain scenes
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First of, I'm convinced that A LOT of people are deeper into these types of films than I am, and…