To see that which is enlightened: Living the Light – Robby Müller (2018)

Light, for any cinematographer, is first and foremost a technical problem: how do you make sure that the scene’s action is adequately perceptible? At what point does the light’s brightness block out the detail of the shot? Beyond the technicalities, light exerted on Robby Müller a positively metaphysical attraction. When Müller died this summer (aged 78), cinema lost a relatively unsung hero. Luckily, we have Claire Pijman’s new documentary Living the Light – Robby Müller (trailer) to show us how light became for Müller an object of endless fascination, disarming and empowering him at the same time.

Continue reading To see that which is enlightened: Living the Light – Robby Müller (2018)

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Beneath the cobbles lie the Hamptons: violence and aesthetics in Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)

During May ’68, 50 years ago this past month, Paris students took to the streets, literally. Under the slogan “Sous les pavés, la plage!” (“Beneath the cobbles, the beach!”), protesters tore loose the stones that made up the streets of the Quartier Latin in Paris, so as to gain ammunition against the gendarmes. But this was not only an anticapitalist battlecry. At the same time, it was an affirmation of one of capitalism’s guiding principles, the desire for leisure and luxury, the ‘beach’ waiting at the end of their struggles. While not an activist film, the 1989 comedy Weekend at Bernie’s (directed by Ted Kotcheff, written by Robert Klane) also represents an attempt to get to the beach, the luxury summer estates of The Hamptons, New York. And like the ’68ers, the film’s protagonists are not only youths violently seeking to liberate themselves from the yoke of capitalism, in so doing, they reach for remarkably aesthetic means: by deploying the dead body of their boss as an object to be manipulated in a performance of the nouveaux riche lifestyle.

Continue reading Beneath the cobbles lie the Hamptons: violence and aesthetics in Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)

‘De kut regeert’: vrouwen aan de top in ‘Zuidas’?

Financiële schandalen, handtastelijke cliënten, nachten doorwerken en kantoorborrels die volledig uit de hand lopen; achter de spiegeltorens op de Zuidas speelt zich een wereld af die alleen toegankelijk is voor insiders. Tot nu.

Aldus, apetrots, de website van BNNVARA over hun nieuwe achtdelige serie over het reilen en zeilen van een prestigieus advocatenkantoor op de Zuidas, eveneens de titel van de serie (want ja, subtiliteit is ook voor knorren). Maar is de serie écht om het zo maar te zeggen, oprecht?

Continue reading ‘De kut regeert’: vrouwen aan de top in ‘Zuidas’?

Dunkirk (2017) never happened: Christopher Nolan and the fabrication of history

In blatant honesty: I am not a fan of the films of Christopher Nolan. At best, his films provoke in me just a mild irritation. An annoyance which, sadly, gets amplified, when a reviewer, without the slightest sense of irony, glorifies him as the next Stanley Kubrick. So, with that confession in mind, one would be justified in thinking that I was stacking the cards against Nolan’s new war film Dunkirk (2017). To be frank, Nolan’s latest is also his finest yet. But I still don’t think it’s a good film. Dunkirk (2017), while officially about the evacuation of British soldiers from France during the opening stages of the Second World War in 1940, is not really a war film. It barely even classifies as cinema, rather it is more akin to an episode of confabulation.

Continue reading Dunkirk (2017) never happened: Christopher Nolan and the fabrication of history

Total eclipse of the plot: Bruckheimer, Schopenhauer and the essence of music in Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Ask yourself this question: can you rehearse to yourself the plots of Eddie Murphy flicks Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988)? How many scenes come to mind? Maybe you’re thinking of the one scene in Trading Places where Murphy’s character is pretending to be blind. Or you might be thinking of the barbershop scenes from Coming To America. Now ask yourself whether you can remember any particularly funny scene from Beverly Hills Cop (1984)… No? Try searching YouTube to refresh your memory: it just doesn’t yield anything memorable. Well… except for the theme. That one you can remember, right?

Continue reading Total eclipse of the plot: Bruckheimer, Schopenhauer and the essence of music in Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

De gedeelde werkelijkheid: gemeenschapszin in Passengers (2016)

Stel dat je wordt veroordeeld om de rest van je leven door te brengen in eenzaamheid. Je wordt van alle gemakken voorzien: luxe suite met kingsize bed, restaurant, sportschool en zelfs een bar. Je mag enkel en alleen geen enkel contact meer kan hebben met anderen. Akelig? Stel dan nu dat je de kans wordt gegeven om de man of vrouw van uw dromen met je mee te nemen. Dat klinkt al beter. Het addertje: kies je hiervoor, dan beslis je ook over het noodlot van je partner.

Continue reading De gedeelde werkelijkheid: gemeenschapszin in Passengers (2016)