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Local News / Entertainment

Saturday, 26 March, 2011 2:26 AM

Music videos highlighted at the 2011 Ann Arbor Film Festival

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

AAFF Executive Director Donald Harrison introduces the next set of films.

by Pete Bublitz
petblitz@yahoo.com

 

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The second day of the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival, on Wednesday March 23, would save the meat that comprises the first competition films for that evening. The first lineup of such competition was titled “Amplitude and Scale,” dedicated to presenting 11 music videos made as far back as 2009.

First up was a La Jetee-inspired animation for Benoit Pioulard’s “Lasted,” directed by Josh Lowman and Rinee Shah. Clavius Crates and Silas Green followed with a bumping romp amid record aisles and orchestra footage to the soundtrack of “Classically Trained” in a Super 8-shot piece directed by Peter Dean. During a Q&A session afterwords, Dean said that the film was originally sent to video sites like Viveo, before deciding to focus on the festival scene.

While Michelle Latimer’s “Choke” and Darko Dragicevic’s video for “Ah!” by Oval deserve appreciation for conveying a respective representation of beauty in identity searching and beauty in bodily exhibition, the first jaw-dropping video came courtesy of Spain’s Nicolas Mendez. Filmed for El Guincho’s song called “Bombay,” the six minute video was a stream-of-conscience marathon of nudity, innuendo and random gags at blink-and-miss speed.

Also eye catching for its ticklish gratuity (this time in terms of gore), was Mike Winkleman’s computer-generated short for Flying Lotus’ “Kill your Co-Workers,” which had its United States premiere that night. Continuing the videogame imagery was Roomate’s “Snow Globe” directed by Kent Lambert, while Brian Boyce and Matt McCormick thrillingly channeled Hall and Oates in all of their 1980s glory for Broken Bells’ “The Ghost Inside” video.
The final visually appealing video was for Ramona Falls’ “I Say Fever” by Stefan Nadelman, a Wild West standoff surrounding an interesting take on the traditional werewolf plotline, this time concerning mask-snatching (if they are masks) were-“birds.”

The segment ended with the hoped-for-more feeling caused by the crossing-paths perspectives in Kid Sam’s “We’re Mostly Made of Water” by Sherwin Akbarzadeh, and the collage of U.S. Girls’ “Red Ford Radio” by Jacqueline Castel and Preston Spurlock.

A theme of longing, loss, and desire that dominated the “Love’s Secret Domain” segment became unique and purposefully nostalgic through the methods of which its shorts’ storylines were told. Ryusuke Ito’s Coming to this Theater, receiving a North American premiere as the first of eight films shown during the 7:15 p.m. series, follows the rapid collage of romantic imagery in both color and monotone, foreign and familiar. Keren Cytter’s Four Seasons was arousing in its presentation of haunting love as lingering as skipping records and burning scents probably would, its pondering of figures desired reflective of the likes of Vertigo.

The animated Handsoap by Kei Oyama is a heartfelt laugher for its storyline concerning a boy’s anticipations and fears while entering his adolescence and a type of Japanese surrealism that plays off those same moods. Both Turkish Delight and Home Movie (respectively by Basma Alsharif and Braden King) showed an outside view of the fallout of broken relationships (in the guise of empty rooms) and the build-up to what’s inevitable (through Braden’s fictitious hypothesis of what would be expressed in such an event, using his wife and two sons as the main characters). Yet so real was the staged predicament portrayed through the wife’s emotions, one would’ve not known of it until King said afterwards, “We are still married,” as if to relieve a mood among the audience on whether it was mental manipulation.

The work of Jennifer Reeder returned to the festival this year as a world premiere entitled Tears Cannot Restore Her: Therefore I Weep. Like earlier shorts, Reeder’s latest entry delivers what might turn out to be a trademark of treating questions of sexual and other intimate life obstacles faced by women with an air of sarcastic surprise (to go along with the trademark of red, white, and blue marching band outfits).

Abigail Child’s (If I Can Sing a Song About) Ligatures closed out the series with a slideshow of sensual nudes from throughout photography’s history underneath just as sensual poetry from Nada Gordon.

The night’s most eerie short, due to the passing of Elizabeth Taylor earlier in the day, was Michael Robinson’s 13-minute These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us. A montage of Cleopatra biopic clips, especially featuring Taylor, Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” video, and computer graphics that give a spiritual rhythm to ancient Egyptian imagery and the hope common in that time, as it is today, of passage to a serene afterlife.

The sense of coincidential memorial doubled when Robinson said that he began work on the project before even Jackson died, and conveyed a mindset of cautious relief on whether it was sound to include such a famed music video and film. “Showing it in an experimental context, I feel safe.”

Related Story: 'The Florestine Collection' opens the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A look inside the lobby of the beautiful, historic Michigan Theatre.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

49th Ann Arbor Film Festival poster

 

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