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May 23, 2007


I just saw the most viscerally unpleasant film I've ever seen, called Caniba. It's by the same directors who did Leviathan, the doc where they attached a bunch of cameras to a fishing vessel and immersed you in the ocean.

They do the same thing here, with extreme close-ups, out of focus "fleshy" shots and a slurping, biting soundtrack while interviewing Issei Sagawa, a real-life cannibal now incapacitated by a stroke, and his caretaker brother who also has bizarre fetishes.

It wasn't a punch to the gut like The Act of Killing. It doesn't stay with you and provide much context or depth. It's just unpleasant, exploitative sensory overload going on and on for the sake of art. There's a minutes-long extended shot paging through a manga created by Sagawa graphically detailing the crime which is just so wrong.

The theatre had several walkouts. It's an aggressively confrontational film, and I have no idea what to make of it. I'm not even sure it'll have much of a run as a gross-out movie as so much of it is extreme out of focus shots that only work within the sensory overload theatre context. But I imagine youtube clips will give it a second life.

Just wow.

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May 23, 2007


I just watched Gianfranco Rosi's new movie Notturno and it's almost as good as Fire at Sea.

It's much more sprawling since it takes a look at the small moments of daily life by multiple Middle Eastern conflict zones, but just like Fire it has some of the best pictures ever committed to film.

It's a wonderful, languid ride and the sound design is incredible. Really sad I had to watch it at home instead of a theatre, but it's so so good at using small moments to speak for much larger ones.

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May 23, 2007


I just watched a really good experimental doc from 2010 called The Arbor which has actors lip-syncing to interviews with the family of Andrea Dunbar, who wrote autobiographical plays about growing up in Council Housing and died of an embolism at 29.

It mostly focuses on her daughter's struggles, but is a really great meta-narrative on Dunbar's own autobiographical writings, and plays with structure by splicing in excerpts of the plays performed in The Arbor neighbourhood and archival footage while having the actors distance it from poverty-porn exploitation.

If you're looking for a really good doc that is not just a standard format I highly recommend.

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