Thursday, May 23, 2013

Seven Kilometres

A short film I wrote in January 2012, is now coming together.

You can find a write up about it, from our Production website 'Mad Gathering' here

Below is the trailer. (please watch it in HD)

I will keep you up to date with screenings and festivals.

Dean Marando

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Opposite Of Now

When the world collides, it surely would.
Longing for all you had, only for a film or two.
Rescuers on their way to what once resembled life,
remember that earth, will always be a foundation.
Empty picture frames and a blank canvas,
cameras and brushes you once filled with your mind.
Existing is what you do in the mirror of another,
forgetting that time had passed.
Miracles float like moths to a flame,
fear meanders ever so near,
with the realisation that you are now and they have gone.
Time, memories and a little yellow post-it, that screams a past,
finding what once was,
The opposite of now.

Friday, March 9, 2012

100 Films You Must See #86

Peter Weir

I remember fondly The Mosquito Coast as a young man for several reasons, but none so more than the fact, a man has choices and he can live by them or further more, die by them. Harrison Ford (Allie Fox) who plays an idealist who literally travels to no man's land with his young family for he is sick of the constant fear that America brings, is one of those characters in film that you love or hate. He ships out his family to Central America in a remote location to start his own community, his utopian vision is at risk from the initial idea.

River Phoenix (Charlie Fox) his son serves as narrator throughout and we get an account of what it must be like to be in such a position. We also see the reversal of Allie  through him and his becoming a man while his Father clutches to the vary ideals that are bringing down his family, who his goal is to make a better life for.

Peter Weir who also brought you Witness which has similar themes, out does himself again. I have not yet viewed Picnic at Hanging Rock which I am told is his best.

You may see this as an anti-American film, at times yes you could think that as Allie has his resentments. But The Mosquito Coast is simply about one mans vision and how that vision and all those throughout history have been brought down by the masses, for even idealists who have the best intentions for the human race can not ever appease everyone. Another film made much later is that of The Beach by Danny Boyle which explores the very same sentiments and does it exceptionally well.

The Mosquito Coast is a perfect example of what film is intended to do, it is supposed to question you, make you feel and put you in a characters situation, through identifying with them. I'm sure there is something in Allie Fox that is in all of us, and mostly that is an urge to see life in a different way and above all, go out an experience it.

100 Films You Must See

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

100 Films You Must See #87

Joel & Ethan Coen

:) I wondered if it was appropriate to start this particular entry with a smile, I thought No, I have a small audience, but an audience who expect well written pieces. Then I thought about the film I was reviewing and it came to me, I have had so much repeated fun with this film that who cares really and maybe you'll definitely buy into my mood, the mood in which the Coen's allow you to be involved in.

There is a lot about The Big Lebowski that is not of classic film and I think most will not agree on my selection. For starters you may ask if Blood Simple is the perfect crime film why does this film reign supreme over it? I don't see it that way. I think with films it is what your left with at the end of the day.

Anyway enough about that, it's all justification and I won't have anymore of it. The Big Lebowski is a triumph of the comedy genre. It does what many fail to and that is simply make you laugh. You may be laughing at the one liners, the innuendo, the observational, the caricatures, the futile conversations or the outright foul language, it all has it's place within context.

An example is when we open the film to see The Dude a.k.a. Jeff Lebowski played by Jeff Bridges in a shopping mall, he is an untidy, modern hippy and as he checks out milk for his white Russians, we hear George Bush address the American people on standing up to aggression, this mind you was from the time of the Iraq war (91' desert storm). Just before this we hear a cowboy voiceover introducing The Dude (which in fact is a name given to the Dean Martin character in Rio Bravo 59' who was a no-hope drunk) and we learn that those words of the then president actually wouldn't have an effect on the man, it's the world around him that has turned cynical and edgy. It's his friend the retired Vietnam Vet Walter played by John Goodman that 'won't stand the aggression'. watch this scene

The Big Lebowski is a ride for the paranoid and in the end these pivotal characters are fighting an unchecked enemy, something made up. The Coen's have fun with this idea and ride it into oblivion which reminds me of older slapstick comedies that have no plot but are a series of sketches and have that single character that is effected by all the moron's around him when all he wants to do is go bowling.

100 Films You Must See

Monday, January 30, 2012

100 Films You Must See #88

Arthur Penn

I can remember seeing Bonnie And Clyde as a young man and thinking it was a light take on a gangster film. The music and sometimes blase performance of Warren Beatty had me believing that he was a joker and that this film would somehow be over the top. When you finish Bonnie And Clyde you begin to realise that there was no joke, no whimsy, actually nothing light about it at all. If there is one word I could give such a film, it would be that of truth. You see I don't know what being a bank robber, criminal, gangster or all three of them combined would be like, but I'm willing to bet it starts out being fun and games but it will most likely reach the depths of that famous last scene. If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it.

You may find from my past reviews that I like my crime film with necessary violence, I always remember Francis Ford Coppola stating how much he hated violence and creating a crime scene on film. I think the violence he directs in his films is always necessary. Cut to Arthur Penn director of Bonnie And Clyde and he states he wanted to show what real violence would be like, none of your old Hollywood type murders and  subdued blood. I think what he achieved here is a portrait of the aftermath, something audiences can learn from, it's all justified within.

With some master performances from Beatty and Dunaway this is a must watch film that stands the test of time for it's brutality and truth.

100 Films You Must See

Friday, January 27, 2012

100 Films You Must See #89

Joel & Ethan Coen

Blood Simple is the first piece of writing and directing the Coen Brothers attempted. For me there are way too many first films from virgin directors to list that are perfect. It's something about your first feature that shows a freedom, a style and confidence in story, that really shines through. Here in Blood Simple a film from their thriller genre we are invited to go inside a small American community and to touch on what violence and what madness it brings.

Do you know what it's like to do something wrong once and be so upset with your self that making the same mistake seems like a sense of freedom is bestowed upon you. The Coen's touch on that here, Blood Simple does not give us a series of murders, but one, and in this you can't help but remember Alfred Hitchcock and harp back to the way his films and Blood Simple concentrate on one murder and their is no glorifying it. Also alike is the manner of the murder, and the complexity of one man's death, that with it, comes a conscience, regret, and what's most fun, a way to hide it.

The actions of these characters are so thought out that you begin to believe that yes this could really happen and what's worst is that you can mildly understand the bewildering decisions they make. Blood Simple is a fine achievement in the thriller genre and just maybe one day, the many thrillers made would see sense to drop the overt, in your face, jumbled flashback, flash-forward aspects of the psychological thriller and concentrate on how a murder can inhibit or release some from their burdens and learn from the masterclass of these very fine filmmakers.

100 Films You Must See
#90 Der Untergang (Downfall)
#89 Blood Simple 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

100 Films You Must See #90

Oliver Hirschbiegel

I'm still not sure if most Germans new what was happening under their noses. I wonder even if they knew, what could be done? One things for certain, this type of thing could happen again, people are so easily swayed, that's why Downfall is an important film.

I have recently viewed Judgement At Nuremberg 1961 (which should but will not be included in this list as it was viewed after the close of 2011) a film that delves into the trials shortly after the holocaust. The film had German judges up on trial, we the audience can swing either way as these men made and passed law to keep that abominable man in power and allowing him to do what he did. I bring up this film because I believe Downfall's themes are very similar, that is, do these people know what they are really doing and will anyone who can forsee the severity of their actions make a change?

Simply put, Downfall is a must see film. It's truly up to you what you take from the film. We take perspective from Traudi Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara) whom is hired by Adolf Hitler (Bruno Ganz) as his secretary, you can only imagine the atrocities she would become aware of. Downfall is actually that, the fall of a dictator all set within a claustrophobic German bunker as the allies drew closer and closer to capturing the man. "I do not want to live in a world without National Socialism" one associate would say as suicide became an ever apparent alternative to having been captured, but are these the words of an idealist or a coward? It's for you to decide.

If we ever chat about men that make films, then Bruno Ganz is at the very top. Never over the top or nonchalant, Ganz's adaptation of Adolf Hitler is flawless. Yes, I almost felt for this awful awful lack of a human.

I believe what Downfall does above all, is it reinstates the confusion and uncertainty of that time. It raises the same questions and some 70 years later gives no certain answers. Downfall is an account of a horrific time, that needs to be seen. Oliver Hirschbiegel understands that we the audience don't need anyone to tell us we need a trial or a lynching or a long dictatorial speech, what we do need are the facts and we will come to our own independent conclusions, something Nazi Germany individually could not determine for themselves.

100 Films You Must See
#90 Der Untergang (Downfall)