January 18, 2017No Comments

Paterson, Jim Jarmush, 2016

Paterson is an atypical proposal. It lacks a proper story engine, there’s no conflict what so ever that propels the plot forwards. One might argue that it’s precisely that which drives the film, and I’d partially agree. But what I believe pushes the film forwards is its cyclical form, the unity given by the daily routine starting on a MONDAY is due to come to a closure a week later. 

Several things make Paterson a very attractive film:

  • its plotlessness. Because nothing really happens in our lives as well, right? By betting on this, Mr. Jarmush takes a spin from traditional storytelling (yes, not the first one to do it) which places emphasis either on the exceptional or on the depth of detail, and brings to front a regular week in the life of a bus driver…
  • which happens to write poetry in between. (So, character design) He’s neither overtly good at it, nor silly, and he’s at ease enough with himself and mature enough to see things for what they are. Plus, Adam Driver is hugely rewarding to look at. Much has been said about the man’s face and voice, one that let us read his thoughts, as if.
  • Tone. All of the above to say that Paterson’s cinematic language, its tone is soothing. There’s a lot of comfort in waking up seven times along this film’s characters.

The ending brings so much subtextual light and the low key kind of hope that only some artists know how to provide. Mr. Jarmush is one of them.

Winking Easter Egg bringing together Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, of Moonrise Kingdom fame.

——
I’m not too happy with the female character design as well, but could be explained by observing a poet’s way of creating his own kind of muse. Laura is by no means a realistically portrayed character, so we shouldn’t judge it likewise. 

April 26, 2016No Comments

House of Cards, Season 4, 2016

Beau Willimon, the show’s creator, became the go to name for spectacular contemporary TV writing. The man is trained in stage playwriting.

Reflections at the end of Season 4:

  • David Fincher’s stylistic legacy carries on - framing, camera movement, blocking;
  • colour scheme is at its most precise ever, the apparent affinity of the palette, the dominant pale shades of blue, together with the costumes and props, create a sort of reversed intensity. There’s menace and suspense in this, almost inhuman, calm and ordered visual arrangements;
  • Willimon, who’s bound to leave the show, abandons his characters at their lowest, most difficult imaginable point, adhering to the traditional school story design, by bringing the values at stake for the characters to survival levels -» (throughout the seasons, the values have an arc of their own. The values at stake for Frank begin with influence - power - absolute power - personal freedom - survival - destiny of America);
  • Frank Underwood becomes the modern day Nero, as Willimon brings the show on the brink of REAL, nightmarish American ideological battles. (Twitter was buzzing with people expressing real feelings of discomfort with the show’s characters. That’s really something.
  • Frank’s cynicism reaches unprecedented high notes, I almost anticipate a real backlash in terms of numbers of audience: 

Wife: “I’m done trying to win people’s hearts.”

President: “Let’s attack people’s hearts.”

W: “We can work with fear.”

P: “Yes we can.”

  • You are left contemplating that for the past 4 seasons you have actually rooted and felt deep sympathy and attachment to a pathological cheater, a lying, egocentric, megalomaniac, manipulative, murderer of a politician. It’s a rush of Stockholm Syndrome. 

P: “We don’t submit to terror. We make the terror”

Contact

Email: hello@bogdanstamatin.com
Twitter: @bogdanstamatin
Letterboxd film diary

© Bogdan Stamatin 2020