Tag Archives: masterpiece

Why ‘A Ghost Story’ is a modern day masterpiece

 

There was something about the first look of A Ghost Story that was so brilliant, I couldn’t wait to watch the film. Everything seemed minimal, well designed and in some ways like a painting. After waiting for the film for quite a few months, I finally had a chance to watch it. I was awestruck. The film blew me away.
David Lowery’s imagery is thought provoking and extraordinarily immersive.

Here’s a summary describing the film via IMDB :

“In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.”

The film is simply fascinating. Anything more than that brief ^ would be giving too much away. Lowery uses long takes, gorgeously designed shots, incredible silences and creates a truly immersive experience. Needless to say, we are mostly watching the film from the Ghost’s point of view. Lowery’s depiction of the wandering ghost is so compelling, it forces you to think and rethink a lot of theories you might have heard about ‘life after death’.

The film is far from a horror. It’s more of a fantasy, drama and in some sense, a journey movie. Needless to say, the film is thoroughly original in it’s entirety. There’s a scene quite early in the film between the Ghost and Rooney Mara that for me, was on par with some of the best scenes from Spike Jonze’s Her. The strangeness, mysteriousness and ambiguity used to establish such an emotional connect has been done so brilliantly only a few times in modern day cinema.

A Ghost Story is a modern day masterpiece. David Lowery has created something so fascinating and original that it will be remembered as a benchmark indie film for years to come.

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Remembering a masterpiece: Picnic at Hanging Rock

***NO SPOILERS***

To this day, the mystery behind Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, an Australian Classic, remains… well, a mystery. Joan Lindsay, the novelist on who’s book the film is based, is one of the main reasons for all the ambiguity. Her descriptions left it unclear whether the film is based on facts, or is entirely a work of fiction! For all it’s hauntingly beautiful imagery, impeccable tonality, breathtaking treatment surrounding a discomforting subject, Picnic at Hanging Rock remains a great favourite of mine.

Here’s a synopsis:
“During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls’ school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.”

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Web-based critic Kevin Maynard had said, “The film is just too damn impenetrable for its own good,” and it could not have been said better. It’s extremely hard to make a “mystery movie” that leaves just the right amount of questions unanswered. Peter Weir and his DP Russell Boyd make each frame look and feel like a painting. The entire incident could be perceived as a gorgeous, beautiful, hot, sunny day out…until it was. From start to end, the film is stunningly shot. At times, Weir uses close ups in slow motion. It’s an assurance, you will never forget these images. Never.

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“We worked very hard at creating an hallucinatory, mesmeric rhythm, so that you lost awareness of facts, you stopped adding things up, and got into this enclosed atmosphere. I did everything in my power to hypnotize the audience away from the possibility of solutions.”, Peter Weir told Sight and Sound. Whenever I read about this film, I find it quite puzzling how not many (or not enough) people talk about the score. It’s the evocative score, in correlation with that stunning imagery and Weir’s direction, that makes this film what it is.

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Joan Lindsay infamously “fuelled the fire” when it came to answering questions about the mysterious incidents that occurred at Hanging Rock during the 1900s. All of her descriptions about the story, leave loopholes. Obviously, these are intentionally left for your mind to run around in circles but I must say, there’s a beauty to that. According to a website, Lindsay made sure the final chapter of the novel only released after her death. In that she explains whatever remains answered. However, according to readers, her conclusions to the story are woven in an even greater ambiguity.

What a writer. What a film.