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  • Writer's pictureDorsa Sajedi

Film Project: Seminar 5

Learning objectives and discussed films

  • Things to consider, all the selected films are ambitious in their mode of address & narrative structure

  • All explore personal experiential stories that overlap/engage in other stories (multi-stranded narratives)

NOTE: I have included the video version of the film that piqued my interest the most, but I will be including my notes and the elements that were raised from the discussions of these films in class.

As I Am
And so we put goldfish in the pool
160 characters
Black Mary

As I Am (dir. Alan Spearman)

  • Multiple narratives embedded into one, somewhat linking into the dialogue/voice-over that overlaps the montage-like footage

  • While this film does have strengths, and moments that stay with you - such as the still shot of the amputated woman going up the stone stairs - more often than not the film's intentions are lost in its chaotic and confusing multiple narratives. While this was my second to last least favourite film on this list, it is the one that confused me the most and I struggled to keep up with it.

  • In our class discussions I understood why this was the case. If one observes the synergy between visual and sound, you can tell that at some moments it feels too disconnected.

  • One will find themselves focusing on the visuals and forgetting to take in any of the sound, or vice versa. It's easy to drift away, and so meanings are unfortunately lost.

  • You can tell what its trying to achieve on the surface, but it doesn't stay with the different characters as long as it needs to in order to allow immersion -- you're easily 'taken out' of what you're watching.

  • I would definitely class this as a documentary, even though its not necessarily what one would call 'traditional'/use 'traditional' documentary conventions.

Krista (dir. Danny Madden)

  • Excellent executions of intercutting are present in this film, which fully draw me in and allow me to feel for the character and her awful experience. It succeeds in making her acting performance (as she plays an actor at a drama school), as well as the film as a whole, impactful.

  • Despite these overlapping narratives and also inclusion of lots of different characters, we do not lose sight of our main focus/protagonist. It's a lot easier to follow in comparison to the previous film.

  • The cinematography and the editing feed into each other very well, it truly shows!

  • One of the things we discussed was the idea of actors engaging in their traumas to bring out their performance and characters and how this could be somewhat damaging to them - in my opinion, the film portrays this as a cathartic process. After her performance turning awry and her classmate running away, she lies on the floor in laughter, as if a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.

And so we put goldfish in the pool (dir. Makoto Nagahisa)

  • This is a film that I would call chaotic - not in a bad way. It's fun, it has multiple characters, its colourful and its childish (as it should be with the characters its exploring!)

  • It follows a 'chapter' structure, where this separating into chunks in accompaniment with the bright colours, montage and text feels scrap-book like, an excellent stylistic choice that is very relevant to the narrative.

  • A point of discussion that stood out to me was the metaphor of the small goldfish being moved from one pond into a bigger 'pond' and how the group of girls act as a symbol for this. They each are struggling being stuck in the same old town wanting a bit of change and excitement.

160 characters (dir. Victoria Mapplebeck)

  • This film was my least favourite, being the least interesting in visual portrayal and in how the story was portrayed. It follows the same scrap-book-like-feel I mentioned previously, but it doesn't seem to suit it as much.

  • We discussed in class on better filming choices, such as what if she filmed on a camcorder - as this would fit into the style more appropriately?

Black Mary (dir. Khalil Joseph)

  • For me, this film was confusing at first UNTIL I read the description -- it felt very experimental, and I initially wasn't too sure what it wasn't about. It's not bad, but it's clear that, being an exhibitionist piece, it will be accompanying other bits of information that support it.

  • This encourages us to consider the importance of how one experiences a film, especially some of this sort. It's unconventional, but definitely would strive the most in its intended setting.

Lift (dir. Marc Isaacs)

  • A fun documentary that follows several characters in an apartment complex.

  • The film's multiple-stranded narratives work successfully as they don't end up confusing, they're easy to follow.

  • The characters are memorable, they feel like characters rather than simple flashes on a screen.

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