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anne maree barry says hi

I started this blog in 2007. No one had heard of The Wire and I was making experimental films that a select few saw. My initial tagline for this blog was: 'I write concisely. always. I'm trying to improve this - however, sometimes few words work better'. Then I found Twitter. However, I still post here once a week, so feel free to comment or just to simply say hii.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008 @ 7:59 AM
Docu-fiction
The concept of life imitating art and art imitating life is a frequent occurrence. What happens when the borders blur within film? Either a film so raw you can touch it or a documentary so gentle that the characters become make-believe.

I had heard about Shane Meadows through various articles but I had not seen any of his films. Dead Man Shoes (2004) is the most powerful piece of fiction I have seen in quite a while. Richard (Paddy Considine) returns home from military service to a small town in the Midlands, England. He has one thing on his mind: revenge. It's payback for the local bullies who did some very bad things to his brother. Everyone has met people like these before - who torment out of sheer boredom and mindless, ignorant insecurities. If you are anyway different - you are going to be punished - or at least taken advantage of. On this occasion it is Richard who employs guerrilla tactics, designed to frighten the simple men and put them ill at ease. It is through black and white flashbacks that we learn what these men exactly did to his brother. Richard subsequently steps up his operation, and one by one these local tough guys are picked off by the all-consuming vengefulness that has taken over him.
The naturalistic methods of acting - it appeared at times that people were ad-libbing - and Paddy Considine's performance contributed to the belief that something like this could happen in any small town. In the acid-tea-spiking scenes Meadows deprived the actors of sleep for 3 days-the closest legally one can get into any state. It is a visceral dark film that moved me so much - that if I knew Richard I would have supported his every move.

However, on the contrary, Etre et Avoir, Nicolas Philibert (2003) is a documentary that is so gentle in its execution, and draws on the simplicity of the real lives, that consequently one forgets that it is actually real. The film's focus is on the last term of a school teacher in rural France, before he retires, and his relationship with his students. We also see his student's backgrounds and insecurities. It is it's banality and celebration of everyday things that make it a great film.

What is obvious in both films is that they both demonstrate the human condition. They also give the viewer room to develop their own narrative within the film. I like that.


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