Sunday, April 17, 2011

BIPEDALITY (2010, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Ireland, 67 min, A+++++++++++++++)

Things I like very much in this film include:

1.It seems to be the most gorgeously cinematographed film I have seen since UN LAC (2008, Philippe Grandrieux). I like the landscape scenes in the film very much. Extremely beautiful. I like both their color tones and their damp-and-misty look.

2.At first I thought some landscape scenes are still photos, but when I pay attention to them, I found some small movements in them. I like this fact very much.

3. I also like the performance of the actress very much. It seems her character is a little bit uneasy, or has something hidden in her mind, or has something she really wants to talk about but doesn't dare, etc. The actress is great in hinting that there might be some hidden feelings, some troubled feelings, or some hidden thoughts beneath this character.

4. My English listening skill is very bad, so I can't follow all the things that the characters say. But I think it is interesting that the characters talk for a long time about the lives of some unseen characters. I think I have rarely found other films doing this before.

What other films usually do is that:
a) they pay attention to the "direct" effects of the crime or the loss of the child to the characters, such as THE COLOR OF LIES (1998, Claude Chabrol)

b) the "seemingly irrelevant events" are portrayed only as "the background", such as in NATHALIE GRANGER (1972, Marguerite Duras), in which we keep hearing from the radio about some murderers at large, or in INDIA SONG (1974, Marguerite Duras), in which we keep hearing the sound of the beggar woman and her story.

So I find that what BIPEDALITY does is very interesting, because this kind of thing doesn't happen in most films I have seen.

5. I like that BIPEDALITY seems to be half-way between "the extremely poetic/ambient" and "the extremely humanist". I mean its talking scenes are very natural and its characters are very human, very real, but the fact that the characters keep talking about "the loss of someone's child" and the fact that the scenes are interrupted from time to time by the landscape shots make this film different from other humanist films, such as the ones by Mike Leigh or Eric Rohmer. The landscape shots in BIPEDALITY are extremely beautiful, but their durations are not as long as the ones in James Benning's films, so BIPEDALITY is different from that group of films, too.

The balance between human-landscape in BIPEDALITY makes this film very interesting and very different from others.

6.The character of the woman, which is hard to understand. Normally I identify myself with a female character in most films, but in this film I sympathize with the male character who can't understand his lover.

While I think that the mysteries in LIGHT AND QUIET (2008, Rouzbeh Rashidi) result partly from the loss of dialogue, and the mysteries in ONLY HUMAN (2009, Rouzbeh Rashidi) result from spending too little time with each character, in BIPEDALITY the audience can hear the dialogue fully, and spend an hour with only two characters, but the audience may still not be able to fully understand this woman.

I also think the mysteries in ONLY HUMAN result partly from the fact that the audience knows nothing about the past of its characters. But in BIPEDALITY, the audience knows something about the past of the heroine and the past of the woman who loses her child, but it is still not enough. The past of these two characters that we learn doesn't help explaining why the heroine behaves like this or why the woman loses her child.

There is something mysterious, something left unsaid in many of Rashidi's films. And that's why I like them very much.

Though the heroine is hard to understand, she is still very human. I think she is as interesting as the heroine of THE GREEN RAY (1986, Eric Rohmer), who is "very difficult" and "very human" at the same time.

7.The face of the heroine when she watches the hero showering. It is very enigmatic for me. What is she thinking? Do her eyes speak anything or nothing at all?

8.The gestures of the characters, such as the heroine tearing up the small pieces of paper, or the hero throwing away the pot in frustration. I like the film's observation on human gestures or human interactions with each other.

9.The mysterious sound which occurs when the man and the woman sit on the sofa together after his shower. What is this sound?

10. The blurring or the obscuring of some images, especially the reflection on water of the two characters talking. I think it is very beautiful. The reflection on water can also be found in an early scene in ONLY HUMAN, but it is used much more fully and gorgeously in BIPEDALITY.

In some landscape shots in BIPEDALITY, some parts of them are clear, some parts of them are blurred, and they result in very beautiful images.

I like all the ways Rashidi uses to blur his images very much: by using optical effects in LIGHT AND QUIET and REMINISCENCES OF YEARNING (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi), by using reflection on water in BIPEDALITY, or by using unclear window in ONLY HUMAN and ZOETROPE (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi).

11.The mystery of the title of the film. Why is this film titled BIPEDALITY? I don't know. Does it mean human beings are very complicated?

You can watch many short films by Rouzbeh Rashidi in his Vimeo channel:

1 comment:

celinejulie said...

Thanks to Rouzbeh Rashidi for his DVD. Thanks to Bill Mousoulis for letting us know about this great filmmaker via his article.