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I recently found this trailer for Black Pond (2011), a picture written, directed and produced by Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley, two young debut filmmakers. To be more accurate, I was pointed in the film’s direction by a friend who knows one of the pair. He was lucky enough to see the picture at its premiere in London and I certainly hope to see it in cinemas soon.
For the next six weeks, because of various commitments, I’ll not be able to give as much time to these posts as I’ve previously been able to (oppressive academic concerns aside). Instead of essays, I’ll provide only a few clips of things that seem interesting.
I begin with this video, which is beautiful.
I enjoy boxing. GORILLA productions frequently makes some excellent compilations celebrating particular boxers or particular bouts. The latest one I’ve seen is below (though I think you’ll have to click on the video to watch it on Youtube):
To use V.F. Perkins’s methodology for criticism, which suggests that you start with your intuition rather than with theory, I’d like to highlight a moment in the clip that captivates me, even though I’m not sure I can yet explain entirely why. At present, it’s enough to describe it briefly. At around 1.29, an overweight man – a promotor – with white hair tidily swept in a centre parting joyously swings his right arm. He comes soon after the voice over begins its emotive plea ‘to get up now’. He beams with delight as a boxer hits the canvas and the non-diegetic drums continue to crash. He fills the frame and moves surprisingly quickly within it. Perhaps he could have thrown a good hook in his youth, though we’re by no means sure. The gesture quickly passes and the moment is subsumed by the ruckus of the main event, the boxing itself. But this man sticks in my mind and his place in the video feels more enigmatic the more it’s considered.
It seems to be often the case that during the Christmas holidays we sit down and enjoy iconic and heart-warming films. A flick through the Radio Times reveals festive films (The Santa Clause 3: the Escape Clause (2006) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)), family films (The Incredibles (2004) and James and the Giant Peach (1996)), classic films (Citizen Kane (1941) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)) and not-so-classic films (102 Dalmatians (2000) and Rambo III (1988)).
A few days ago, on Boxing Day, I watched the 2002 20th anniversary edition of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. It is a wonderful picture and it is interesting to compare the original with the re-released edition. Spielberg made use of improved computer technology, enhancing the eponymous alien’s facial expressions and editing out the guns with which the soldiers are armed, exchanging them for walkie-talkies.
It struck me, while watching, that E.T. looks a lot like WALL-E, another squat and lovable hero from a film that should also be playing in homes during the holiday season. Merry Christmas.