Mother and Son (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
"Nostalghia". Clear out, "Hiroshima, Mon
Amour". Step aside, "Last Year at
Marienbad". You boys thought you had a chance for
the gold. That someday, centuries from now, when the
whole history of cinema is complete, that mankind could
look back and say that you were the most pretentious
movie ever made.
Well you boys are history. There is a new champion in town, and his name is "Mother and Son"
|I guess I should explain before I start ranting that the tradition of Russian intellectual cinema comes directly from painting, not from literature. The words are almost unimportant, the plots are sometimes non-existent. This particular movie is not really a movie at all. It is simply a painting that moves.||
|And it doesn't move very much.
It has all the worst elements of Northern European filmmaking. It is filled with gravitas and self-pity. The dialogue is self-consciously meaningful. The acting is exaggerated and hammy. The pacing is -- I can't say slow because merely slow movies seem like that first scene of "Roger Rabbit" compared to this. At one point I stopped to see if my DVD player was broken because nothing was moving - and it was in 8x speed at the time, working perfectly.
Here's what happens. A mother is dying in bed. Her son comes in and asks her if she wants to go for a walk. She does, and he carries her outside for a while, then carries her back inside. He sets her on her bed, goes out for a walk on his own, stands in a field and watches a train go by, returns to his house to find his mother dead in bed.
The end. About 50 words of dialogue in the entire movie. Maybe a half dozen different camera set-ups. Virtually no sound.
Oh, and I should mention that most of the scenes are filmed through distortion techniques - colored or curved glass or maybe special lenses, that make the film seem like it is being shown in the wrong aspect ratio with the colors desaturated.
guys know that I have no problem appreciating the work of
the Russian masters. I have said that Tarkovsky's Andrei
Rublev is the Pieta of filmmaking. Having offered that
preface, let me hasten to add that I couldn't stand this
film. It is irritating, pseudo-intellectual hokum
masquerading as art. It is mimimalism as a pure
On the other hand, if you could enjoy looking at a single painting for 73 minutes, provided that the painting changes very, very slowly, then this is your Holy Grail.
Provided you don't mind the fact that it is a mediocre and distorted painting to begin with.
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