Mar 31, 2010

Francois Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451

Kieran and I managed to catch Francois Truffaut's 1966 Fahrenheit 451 at the Chauvel Cinematheque on Monday, and I thought I'd quickly share an insight of the film with you.

"Fahrenheit four-five-one is the temperature at which book paper catches fire and starts to burn."

Based on the novel of the same title by Ray Bradbury, the film is set in a dystopian future where books are deemed as the oppressors of society (staying home to read your book makes you anti-social!). The firemen of this society don't put out fires. Instead, their job is to destroy all the remaining books by making fires out of them. The story follows a fireman at the verge of a promotion to a higher ranking officer, who begins to question the entire system.

As one of the pioneers of French New Wave cinema, only Truffaut can make a jump-cut/zoom shot so damn deliciously appropriate. This was Truffaut's first film in colour, and I admire this. Having only seen The 400 Blows and half of Jules et Jim prior to this, I think his style is consistent here. Also, given the fact that this is his first (and only) English film, and that it was an American large-scale, bigger budget production compared to his previous films of small crews and smaller budgets. I really liked the style of this film, and loved the crazy French Nouveau techniques such as the weird zoom shots and how Truffaut continuously crosses the line of perception with the camera, playing on our understanding of character relationships.

I think for a sci-fi film, the story doesn't resonate as strongly as I would have liked. The concept was great, and I like the fact that Truffaut took on the project with his New Wave ideas. I love dystopian type society films with anti-heroes such as Montag, our story's lead.

I do recommend this film to all fans of French New Wave, or simply experimental techniques used in large-scale films such as this.

I rated this 7/10.

Mar 27, 2010

Film Ratings Column

On another note, I've added a new section to my blog's column titled Film Ratings. It's for films I've seen this year and that I have rated.

I guess there's nothing else to it.

Ten Callbacks and Four Interviews Later...

I managed to get two offers both for internship positions at two different production companies.. One is for a film distribution/production company, and the other is a film production company working on Australia's first Mobile-orientated film competition and festival. You can imagine how stoked I am about this. I wondered if there is a made-up law of Interning which questioned the idea of being an intern of two different companies. I guess only time will tell whether I can manage two different sources of work.

Also, let me tell you about the second interview I had just yesterday for one of the production companies. I was in a rush as usual in the morning, trying to get my clothes on while brushing my teeth. I couldn't find my black shoes, which I wear to interviews and jobs alike, until I remembered I'd left them in my little unpacked suitcase from my recent trip to Singapore. I thought Great!, at least looking for them wasn't much of a problem -- that was, until I put my hand into the hotel's laundry bag where I'd put my shoes in. After experiencing a short sensation of 'fluff', I pulled my hand out to discover my shoe had a very serious case of the mould! Thankfully, my sister's smaller pair of black Vans and her day off from work allowed me to borrow her pair. To make things worse though, upon arriving to the interview, I was asked if I had my CV on me and had forgotten to bring it.

So if, in the next couple of days, a new strain of the swine/bird/name of textbook animal flu arises... Well.

On a more positive note, now with the two internship opportunities before me, I imagine my networks have doubled in coverage, and for a budding film-maker and aspiring producer, this is a dream.

I start both internships next week. This couldn't have been better timing for me too, since next week the school is running a week-long course on Cinematography, which I'm not a part of and therefore have the entire week off (including the Easter weekend). Wish me more good things and I will think of you in return.

Also, for all the callbacks I received from every application I sent, I have to thank the greatness that is ScreenHub. It's a great tool for those in the Media industry who are looking for work. It works like Seek or CareerOne only dedicated to those in Media. So, check it out. You have to pay to subscribe, but so, so worth it.

Mar 20, 2010

Spike Jonze's latest short film, "I'm Here"

Just yesterday, Spike Jonze in collaboration with Absolut released a short film of a love story between two robots, I'm Here. There short can be found at its official site here, which only allowed a certain number of viewers access to the film every few hours. Disgruntled by this, I waited a whole day for Youtube to pick it up and found the entire film in three parts, as I've shared below. It won't be long before they remove it due to copyright, I'm sure. Catch it while you can. Otherwise, queue up at the film's official site.

My comments about the film are below the three Youtube links.

I hadn't heard about this film until I signed myself up for an account on The Auteurs and stumbled across this film's info page by accident. The website for which the film can be officially viewed at only seemed to give viewers access to the film on a first come first serve basis, and I was just unlucky enough to keep missing out every 2-3 hours. Soon enough, I managed to find the entire film on Youtube and happily watched the film in full quality.

I really, really loved it. To me, this film further defines Spike Jonze as a filmmaker and auteur. The film's style is distinctly his with the urban landscape and setting of the story, and simply just the overall visual look of the film reeks of Jonze. I felt that it was very close to his recent film Where The Wild Things Are, and I really like that about his style. It seems like he is getting more and more creative with his visual style, and I am loving it.

I rated this 9/10.

Mar 19, 2010

The Switch

This actually looks quite good.

I don't really like Jennifer Anniston post-Friends, but this has Jason Bateman, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goulblum and they counter her being there - so I think this could be potentially good.

Mar 12, 2010

26 Ways To Die, School and Callbacks

Hello. Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been terribly busy with school and other things. Kieran and I recently finished our latest production, which is in collaboration with Kino Sydney titled 26 Ways To Die. The completed works will be up in about a month's time when it is put together and premiered at the next Kino event.

I've also just started my Thesis and Directing workshop classes, which have been going quite well. I've to keep a diary for all my concepts and potential ideas for my final thesis film, which may suggest where my time is being spent the most. The directing workshops were fun - I created a character and held my first casting session (which was apparently received well). Otherwise, I skip the odd Meet The Filmmaker sessions and fall sick on the right days to stay home and watch movies.

I have been up to see some of the films at the French Film Festival here in Sydney. I just saw Phillipe Lioret's Welcome, and two days ago I saw Emmanuel Mouret's Fais-moi Plaisir! (Please Please Me!) - both of which I rated 6/10 for reasons I may explain in a later entry.

And apart from that, I have been to two interviews this week, both of which were for internships. They both went very well, and I hope to get called back for a second interview if not immediately given the job!

In other news, I'm off to Singapore for the weekend to attend a family reunion of some sort. To be honest I don't know much about it, and will probably not know the majority of family members due to attend - therefore, my idea of a out of town sojourn is and always has been from the start, a complete failure.

I leave you with a music video directed by Michel Gondry. There are some really great techniques and effects here that I think are worth sharing. Also, it's Everlong by The Foo Fighters.

(Sorry, Youtube won't let me embed the video in this post, so click here. You won't be sorry)

Mar 7, 2010

A Semi-Retrospective: Spike Jonze

For my birthday, Kieran bought me Spike Jonze themed presents, including Volume 1 of the Directors Label series - the Spike Jonze collection. It includes a selection of his music videos, interviews, audio commentaries, rarities, documentaries and shorts. I was going through it yesterday and decided to also put on Being John Malkovich as a way to start my Spike Jonze retrospective. Having already seen Where The Wild Things Are, I thought I'd start some sort of a marathon of his work to see what he has to offer.

I think as a music video director, Jonze is highly versatile in his style. I felt that there was no definitive style I could put his name to. On one hand, you have the very elaborately choreographed video of Fatboy Slim's Weapon Of Choice (an old favourite of mine, too), featuring Christopher Walken; and on the other hand, you have the very simple, long shot music video of Weezer's Undone (The Sweater Song). However, I do believe that there is a distinct 'urban' feeling behind his videos. It could just be the type of music he creates videos for, or perhaps something deeper than that.

In terms of film, I do believe the partnership he has with Charlie Kaufman is one to be reckoned with. Being John Malkovich, to me, was similar to that of Michel Gondry's work - just brought down to a lower level of intensity compared to Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind or The Science of Sleep. Kaufman comes back to work with Jonze in Adaptation, a film I haven't seen yet, but will do in due time when I get my hands on the DVD.

Ten years later, we see Jonze taking on Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. The film bore some similarities to Jonze's unidentifiable style through his music videos, yet it's so different to Being John Malkovich or anything else that he's ever done (not including Adaptation since I haven't see it yet). And I guess that's what I'm beginning to love about Spike Jonze. I love his ability to change his styles and experiment with different ways of telling a story, while keeping the 'urban' aspect throughout - some more subtle than others.

I will keep following and watching Jonze's films till I find that definitive style, and until then, I'm going to explore the Jonze-Kaufman/Gondry-Kaufman partnerships, and snuff out the greatness behind Charlie Kaufman.

Till next time.