The Series of Unfortunate Events (2017, Netflix Series)

Day 13: 31/05/2018 

The Series of Unfortunate Events, Barry Sonnenfeld 

The story of The Series of Unfortunate Events is among my Top 3 in my life. When I think of the story written in the books, it sparks a feeling inside me that I can’t put my finger on. TSOUE is highly influential in my taste and love for gothic mystery. Not only the plotline but look at how well written this is:

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 7.37.17 PM

If you have walked into a museum recently—whether
you did so to attend an art exhibition
or to escape from the police—you may
have noticed a type of painting known as a triptych.
A triptych has three panels, with something
different painted on each of the panels.

I am a writer, and not a painter, but if I
were to try and paint a triptych entitled The
Baudelaire Orphans’ Miserable Experiences at
Prufrock Prep, I would paint Mr. Remora on
one panel, Mrs. Bass on another, and a box
of staples on the third. 

Incredible intro to a new chapter.

However as much as the storytelling in the first book impresses me, the series are incredibly disappointing and unreal. This makes the series a great lesson on how good stories can be told bad. I believe the problems lie in directing which also causes Neil Patrick Harris to portray Count Olaf in a very loose way that gets boring. In the style of directing I sense the influence of Wes Anderson but it is done so dull that it feels like the actors are reading the book in costume which is a shame because the production design looks incredible. Also the series lack a lot of the meaning VFD which is one of the biggest mysteries in the book. It could be argued that the books also keep those mysteries really closed but what I would do with it would be to translate it to the medium of the screen where there is more emphasis on those topics. Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) released Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography right after the book series have finished which contains a lot more information on background story of the Baudelaire orphans, their families and the secret organization they belong to called the VFD. One interesting thing that has been done in this story is that both the protagonists (parents of the kids) and the antagonists belong to the same secret organization and at first you question what to feel about them (a lot like the concept of Horcrux in the Harry Potter series) but later on the truth about it is revealed. So what I would do would be to integrate information from that last book on the series as well in a natural way so the story would not feel as disconnected. The series fail incredibly in going deep into the story, it feels to me that it is being filmed without being understood.

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Es war einmal Indianerland (2017)

Day 12: 15/04/2018

Es war einmal Indianerland, Ilker Catak

Such a fun film that I watched in Istanbul Film Festival where every scene is thought upon. A lot of time manipulation which not only happens with the editing but also with shooting angles. The movie definitely had a rhythm of its own and the soundtrack is super lively. This could easily be watched as a film class assignment and trying to recreate the scenes would be so much fun. My favorite one is when Mauser gets high and starts hearing noises from water in a plastic bottle when he opens to drink it. When he puts his hand on it like a lit the sound stops and when he opens it again the music starts playing again. One thing I learned from director Ilker is that he told us the actors and actresses who come from acting school stay more truthful to the script whereas the non-schooled ones choose to improvise and play with the dialogues. Interesting to see that native American man in crucial scenes which adds another layer to the movie.

Get Out (2017)

Day 11: 21/03/18

Get Out, Jordan Peele

First glance, I loved the soundtrack and color of the titles – signaling that what I am about to watch is going to be something original.

The film was very good – very very good. It is not just a horror movie to plainly scare you but it is a social commentary on marks of racism in American society. The film starts of with a more contemporary approach to the issue – such as police asking African Americans for IDs, a family meeting an African American boyfriend, the reactions of a group of old caucasian people towards Chris (the main character). However, the movie goes much much deeper than that.

I love the main symbol of the movie = which is hypnosis through a teacup. Teacup can easily be seen as the main symbol of colonialism and how British rule spreads its poison all around the world.

The second symbol I love is how Chris pulls out the cotton out of the armchair he is tied to – it is as well a reference to the history of African American history where they are set to work in cotton agriculture, and to save their life they need to collect that cotton just like Chris.

 

 

 

The Florida Project (2017)

Day 10: 24/02/2018

The Florida Project, Sean Baker 

A great example of “Show Don’t Tell” : we are being shown A LOT and said nothing directly. We can see that even though these people are living in those conditions, just around their corner there are beautiful abandoned condos looking over the river and the government is doing nothing to help out, we can see that we don’t need anything material to be happy – indeed you can give the rainbow as a gift to your friend, we can see that people who are in worse conditions than we are may be trying their best to get out of it and can’t (like how Halley is trying to be a waitress to earn money but she can’t, like how she decently tries to sell perfumes but gets threatened to be delivered to the police) => so they would even be doing things they wouldn’t like (like prostituting), we can see that people can be really cruel and even if they are closer to them in terms of social class they could be cruel to each other. It really hurt me as a reality how the police and the social security could come to their door when they wanted to but does not actually help these people out when there are abandoned houses really close to them – we see that Halley really likes her daughter but she is stuck in a circle that she can’t get out of – and if those people can come to her door, they can also help people like her to be out of that cycle.

The scene that affected me the most is when Halley takes Moonee and Jancey to a roadside by hitchhiking, we realize that it is Jancey’s birthday because they have a candle on a cake for her but it is not quite certain why they are at that place – and suddenly fireworks start lighting up the sky. All us lucky kids can understand where they are coming from, Disneyland. 

The characters in this movie could easily be taught in cinema class – both by their own characteristics and their relationship to other characters are really valuable to me. Halley and Ashley are great friends but Ashley is slightly better off than Halley since she manages to work in Waffle store – and this underlines the hardship of Halley even better. Or how Bobby is tough on Halley but always keeps an on the kids.

Also loved how this movie was almost in the form of a documentary – just showing life as it is, no melodramatic scenes, no heavy music, no music to give you a clue on what is gonna happen next – it is almost as if we are being shown raw footage in an order and I really like that in this sense.

I love how the whole world they created is in tones of pink, the motel is painted purple, the sky is always in tones of the golden hour, kids are really colorful and even Halley’s hair is blue. Such a nice take on a difficult condition – doesn’t force you have a bad time watching it, it manages to make you get lost in its own world by giving you the messages it likes to give. This is the sort of a movie I would like to watch again to see the things I haven’t realized the first time.

 

.On Time.

The Man From Earth, 2007

Jerome Bixby, Richard Schenkman

Dan: Time… you can’t see it, you can hear it, you can’t weigh it, you can’t… measure it in a laboratory. It is a subjective sense of… becoming, what we… are, in stead of what we were a nanosecond ago, becoming what we will be in another nanosecond. The whole piece of time’s a landscape existing, we form behind us and we move, we move through it… slice by slice.

Linda Murphy: Clocks measure time.

Dan: No, they measure themselves, the objective referee of a clock is another clock.

Edith: All very interesting, but what has it got to do with John?

Dan: He, he might be man who… lives… outside of time as we know it.