I was pleasantly surprised by three wild cards from the video store last weekend. First up we watched Tarnation - Jonathan Caouette's doco of spliced together super-8 film, video, short art school movies and other bits of memorabilia stored up from throughout his life. All these remnants come together to paint a bleak picture of dysfunctional family life. This movie's been criticised for being self-indulgent but seriously - what movie isn't, and at least it was made on a budget of a couple of hundred dollars rather than several million. One critic's complaint was that 'the filmmaker makes little attempt to comment or find meaning' and to that i say 'thanks filmmaker - i prefer to find my own meaning (if there is any ultimate meaning to life's labyrinth)'.
I prefer these types of small personal stories anyway. Head On was a German movie about two Turkish immigrants who meet in a mental institution. It's about Turkish culture in German society and the different forms it takes. At first i thought this movie was straying dangerously close to romantic comedy but Fatih Akin the director is likened to R. W. Fassbinder on the jacket and the film accordingly packs a realistic, painful punch.
The third movie we watched was 21 grams and while i didn't like it as much as Amores Perros, the director Iñarritu's earlier film (and one of my favourites), i didn't think it was at all bad. The chopped up timeline is becoming a pretty popular device but i guess this film is 4 years old. Mr M opined that the mangled timeline was used because the story wasn't much chop on its own but i don't think a riveting storyline is necessary to make a good film (Mike Leigh's Naked is another of my all-time favourites and not much happens at all). I don't think movies are about telling stories but about how you tell the story so while this particular story was very uncomfortable viewing for me (a woman loses her husband and two daughters in a car accident) i thought the telling was worth watching.
I'm flying up to Exmouth tomorrow for a weekend of sun, surf and snorkelling (gulp) with Mr M, who's already there. It will be the first time i've ever spent more than one night away from the girls. See you when i get back.