I liked how they played with the birds as metaphors – instead of being heavy handed they let it morph into illustrating different, and often opposing, aspects of our culture giving a more complex portrait of both the birds and their greater context.
The meat of this series of 5 sitting in the middle. It is the best, but also maybe because it’s ambitions seem bigger, the more problematic. My issue with the films is actually something I find myself struggling with and trying to transcend in my own work. I think they are missing something, the film maker to be precise. He is the key here, everything is so personal and for probably a number of reasons I don’t think he is open enough. It seems like a kind of shyness that comes with a lot of high art. A fear of over explaining, of being on the nose, of ruining something delicate, but that balance has to be made or else it will never mean nearly as much to everyone else as it does to you. He said afterwards that he felt everything was impregnated with his feelings, but I just don’t thing that is fully true. The scene in the center of the film where the director vents to camera alludes to things as if we should already be aware of what we are never allowed to see. Even the reveal in the Q&A that one scene is a reenactment of a dream of his adds so much more to the film than the arms length style. I liked all 5 films, he shows great promise, but I feel like he needs to break down these walls. The clips from his upcoming feature that he showed at the end actually felt like this might be happening.
I thought I was getting more of a new independent take on a musical, instead I got a lower tier mumblecore movie with a few musical numbers thrown in. The camera work was atrocious with the combination of being unsteady and pushed in unreasonable close. If they wanted to give me a headache they did a good job, but otherwise I saw no reason for it outside of ill informed Cassavetes worshipping. I know I complain about this shit a lot, but until it stops getting so wrongly used I will continue. Shooting handheld can be a good tool, but pasting it all over everything you do as shorthand for any synonym of reality is obnoxious and 50 years too late. The final moment – when the main character expresses himself through his horn – almost redeems the movie, but instead just serves as a reminder of what could have been. I really don’t understand the hype on this one.