A woodcutter goes about his work.
A woodcutter goes about his work.
It's only been 12 years, but this already feels like some kind of cinematic turning point — more modest in throwing down the gauntlet than e.g. L'Avventura, but a movie whose strangeness/divisiveness at the moment of release is hard to recapture. Alonso said he was influenced by Kiarostami and thought of himself in the same vein as Tsai Ming-liang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul; slow cinema directors all, and Tsai and Kiarostami had already been working in that loosely defined idiom for quite some time before Alonso. But La Libertad strips away Kiarostami's overt authorial interventions and panoramic landscape views, denies itself Tsai's urban settings or artificial lighting and doesn't have Weerasethakul's casual integration of the fantastical: the throwdown element is basically…
The image does not depict the wind in the trees. The image is the wind in the trees.
Mesmo sendo um dos culpados por toda uma leva derivativa de docuficções contemporâneas e afins, o filme sozinho só cresce. Alonso está mais interessado em uma ontologia soberana, uma energia que já é natural de um ambiente, do que na ritualização fetichista de um cotidiano. É justamente essa precisão na intervenção, na pura mediação anti-alegórica, que distancia o filme dos seus derivados. Uma rigidez que depende diretamente de um projeto formalista, mas que consegue extrair lampejos de um humanismo poderoso.
A woodcutter seems to have the bare necessities and to enjoy a life without corporate oversight, yet the eventual intrusion of bosses and demanding customers offers a reminder that everyone, even someone who lives off armadillos and just enough gasoline to power a chainsaw, has their masters. The title suggests that "Arbeit macht frei" is the sick-joke tenet of capitalism itself, not just fascist camps.
finally, a film about me playing runescape when I was 12
Still can't quite figure this one out. But I do like it very much. After watching this movie I no longer believe in strict boundaries between fiction and documentary.
This is a film that feels immensely personal and completely singular - overwhelmingly so in fact. Although what presented on screen seems to be very little, Alonso uses this to direct our minds to a larger context, a world outside of the frame, a world rich with repressed emotion, disguised through simple, repetitive action. I lost count of the number of times I found myself casually slipping into the woodcutter's point of view, often not even noticing the process.
Easily the most palpable of Alonso's cinema, less informed by the landscape but simply through physicality. Every swing of the axe carries profound power, some of it becoming almost unbearable to me. The balance between brute force and delicate precision culminates…
Jeanne Dielman takes a shit in the woods and it's exquisite.
Having no idea what to expect from Alonso, found this mostly agreeable as a day in the life narrative, if somewhat hard to exactly hold onto in terms of the all important why am I watching this? question. Thought that the untranslated radio bits might provide some secret context, but research notes there’s no context to be had. Simply a man at work—chopping some trees, bring wood to a seller, grabbing a Coke, and then cooking an armadillo. However, I’m sure many academics have examined this as a critique of capitalism/products of our labor/what have you, but I’d rather enjoy it on its own terms. Alonso’s shots are always striking while never set to a rigorous in structure, which means…
Along with Clara and Richard Serra's Steelmill/Stahlwerk (1979), the least sentimental worker's film in existence. A true action film. Manny Farber would have a field day with this.
The Lumière’s cinema adapted and repurposed for the new millennium: Alonso fluctuates between a stationary camera set-up (reminiscent of the Lumière brothers), in which The Lumberjack’s actions produce kineticism within the static frame, and orchestrated camera movement (reminiscent of most modern films), where the camera intuitively tracks the characters (usually in a nondescript manner), or, in one scenario, devolves into uninhibited movement. One of the singular filmmaking achievements of the 21st century, La Libertad invalidates the Lumière Brothers’ near-sighted assertion that "the cinema is an invention without any future.”
The endless toil of man against the serene indifference of nature. Bruegelian.