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Archive for November 13th, 2010

by MovieMan0283

#100 in Best of the 21st Century?, a series in which I view, for the first time, some of the most critically acclaimed films of the previous decade.

Rounding out the top 100, this entry on Silent Light concludes the “Best of the 21st Century?” series begun in February, with The Hurt Locker. If the previous post, on Let the Right One In, was the climax of the series, this is the epilogue. Not a written post but images from the film’s quiet, entrancing opening, in which the camera tracks in while the sun rises. Paradoxically, a good sequence to close with. Thanks for following the series, and I hope you enjoyed it. The pictures begin after the jump.

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(Canada 1977 10 min)

Director Caroline Leaf

by Stephen Russell-Gebbett

Purely from this one image of sand lit from underneath we can see movement, change, shame, sadness and isolation. We can see horror and innocence : AAARRGH! and Aaaaaaaah! It is an image that pricks the instinctual and awakens the elemental.

Mr. Samsa wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant beetle. Quickly he is shunned, feared and despised by his family. He is unable to reach them, shooed away into his room whilst his loved ones debate whether he should be fed, imprisoned or killed. This metamorphosis from love to hate and from human to bug is reflected in the animation style, where negative space becomes positive with an unaffected shift in perspective or the graceful illusion of a camera move. Black is darkness and then it is Mr Samsa’s hard shell back, the sand is his belly and then suddenly it is the wooden floor of his bedroom.

We can relate to the family’s disgust as the shifting sands render his hairy-legged bulk skin-crawling. When he stands at the closed door scrabbling at the grain it sends shivers up the spine. Revulsion is natural and so is pity. The Metamorphosis of Mr Samsa takes us into that hinterland between him and them, and between the emotional and the rational. The overriding feeling created by this pathetic and tragic story is anxiety. Everyone in the film is panicked and unsure of what this new reality means. Even his own sister, Grete, cannot bring herself to approach her brother.

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