85 min. France,
2008. Produced by Baba Yaga films, part of the Festival Pocket Films project.
Review by Diego
Glauber Rocha’s maxim “A camera in the hand, an idea in the head” was supposed
to encourage little crew, more concept (less money, more rawness) in 1960s
filmmaking. Half a century later the realization of Rocha’s spirit seems
much more easily obtainable, but the notion that due to easy access and affordability,
digital cinema would turn everyone into a filmmaker is quite disturbing.
If you do the math: the more bad filmmakers, the more bad films to weed through.
A few years after the introduction of the technology that idea is, thankfully,
being proven absurd. Most amateur work has remained within its amateur boundaries
(be it in iPhones, YouTube or Facebook), whereas film art has increasingly
incorporated the technology. Joseph Morder’s feature-length J’aimerais
partager le printemps avec quelqu’un (I’d Like To Share The Spring with Someone)
dares a crossover, as it uses a cell phone camera to shoot all of its 85 minutes
of essay filmmaking.
Of course, the subject matter is the filmmaker himself. It seems that with
an apparatus so small one can’t help but turn it toward oneself. The result,
however, is rather compelling: a string of reoccurring fragments giving shape
to a video diary (dates on the screen, et al.) that succeeds due to its verbal
“Today is an important day because I turn the age that my father was when
he died,” Morder announces, as he quickly moves on to something else. A family
apartment that is being sold; a new friend (lover?) who tries to both dodge
and conquer the camera; a desk, blank sheet of paper, a window; a mirror (there
is always a mirror); a cat (there is always a cat).
In a way, Morder’s film echoes Agnes Vardas’ The Gleaners and I (2000),
which was, apart from being so much else, a portrait of an old generation
(the filmmaker) getting to know a new one (the filmmaking machine) – with
all of the bedazzlement that comes with it. Which may soon get very dated,
as one gets used to the new: like a child who cannot stop playing with the
zoom when she gets her first camcorder.
“J’aimerais partager le printemps avec quelqu’un” was in Cannes this year
and is currently playing at the seminal Mk2 Beaubourg cinema in Paris, but
even here, the city of cinema and of the avant-garde, I shared the 8 o’clock
séance with only four other moviegoers.
It’s curious, perhaps disturbing, to think that the new generation may have
such little exposure to 35mm (or any kind of actual film stock) that its concept
of aesthetics will be limited to fat pixels and a flow of images that get
stuck every once in a while. The challenge may rest in being good gatekeepers
in deeming what belongs on the big screen and what belongs on the blog screen.
Morder’s film utilizes the tools of the prosaic with the intentions of the
initiated. The novelty makes the film, which were it shot with conventional
cinema devices would lose its raison d’être. I suppose a good poem is a good
poem no matter what kind of paper it is written on (a book, a moleskin or
a McDonald’s wrapper), but cinema has historically been about visual precision.