20 May 2009



bobbyperu came up for air


All right, here I am again.
Before opening champagne I'd like to inform you that my return is a one-timer - at least for a while for sure.

I have also good news for you: bobbyperu will haunt you on a new platform! You know: the twitter™ is the new blog, so it's time to listen to the geek winds, and follow me, moreover follow me on my twitter site (if you haven't got twitter account yet, you can create one here within no time).

From now on you'll receive tips and remarks, questions and answers, ideas and theories, evaluations and devaluations, etc. ... Thus you don't have to read my pretentious film or scene analyses but only the pure facts which might help you to decide: should I watch the particular film or shouldn't. So simple. Only 140 characters, I'll blow my mind!

Now it's champagne-time!


12 December 2008


"My name's Bobby Peru. Like the country."

I know we aren't friends or buddies to share our lifes between each other, but still. Due to a major maintenance in my life (moving from Finland to the Netherlands, changing jobs, plus the usual Christmas visit to another 2 countries) the blog goes offline for a while. 
Be aware, "Bobby Peru don't come up for air!"

See you in 2009! 

06 December 2008

Bisztrókirálynő (2003)

Another Hungarian short, this time picked out from the selection of Hungarian Short Films vol. 2. As with Márton Szirmai's Tripe and Onion the story, especially the funny turn at its end was the reason of talking about it, Márton Csillag's short is more interesting due its cinematic style.

What I really liked in Bisztrókirálynő ("The Queen of the Bar"?) is the way how the film combines the traditional, silent era's film language with the absolute contemporary set. Talking about the film language of the silent era, the film goes back to the first years' picture quality, gestures, acting, camera handling, framing, music (at least how and what we associate to the era), its speed and rhythm, etc. This mixture gives a special feeling for the viewer, especially for those, who have seen several silent movies from the very beginning of the film history. This feeling is nothing else but an encounter with our temporality, more precisely confrontation with the ephemerality of our view: today, in 2008 we see and feel this particular film's problems of the above detailed cinematic qualities, but these feelings are compensated with the knowledge on the early cinema's production standards and styles. We know how the early films looked like, how they were conveying information, how they handled continuity, how their actors had to overact, and so on.

Above the obvious practice reasons (the film was made for a film school) there is one important consequence: This confrontation and recognition is extremely essential for the reflexive nature of our viewing strategies and interpretations.

If you sacrifice 5 minutes for the film you'll see these usually exploited and ruined archaizing cinematic approaches* are working very well and elaborate in this try. One more thing: it's Hungarian, but don't afraid, Bisztrókirálynő is 99% silent (I mean the film:) without any dialogues.

* for example music video- and advertisement clips are exploiting the early style, where usually their focuses are on another values (the band, the image, the product, ...) than the recreation of the history of film style.


01 December 2008

Film-induced tourism

On the other day I was watching Rossellini's Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy, 1954) and thinking about its innocent, unintended approaches on film-induced tourism. Film-induced tourism is under the umbrella of cultural tourism – to be clear what does it mean take a look at its definition by Hudson and Brent Ritchie:

Sometimes called movie-induced or film-induced tourism, film tourism is defined here as tourist visits to a destination or attraction as a result of the destination’s being featured on television, video, or the cinema screen.” (HUDSON, Simon & BRENT RITCHIE, J.R.: 2006. Promoting Destinations via Film Tourism: An Empirical Identification of Supporting Marketing Initiatives. Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 44, May, p.387)

So during watching Ingrid Bergman's flâneurish visits on Southern Italian sites – Naples and Pompeii – I was wondering how many tourists (or even disaffected couples...) decided to travel to this side of Europe just because they've seen the film. We exactly know how the directors of the Neorealism were fought against the government's censorial efforts which tried to sweep all the postwar problems under the society's carpet. Already at the end of the '40s Italy stepped on the well paved sidewalk of the prosperity, where the realism didn't mean poverty and social exploitation anymore. Finally, Giulio Andreotti's law in 1949 officially controlled and restricted the possible ways of talking about contemporary Italy (if I'm not mistaken, he is "that" Andreotti..). From the time being the voice of Visconti (Ossessione, 1943), De Sica (Ladri di biciclette/The Bycicle Thief, 1948) or De Santis (Riso amaro/Bitter Rice, 1949) couldn't be as effective (and "real") as it was before (btw, according to the legend, after the screening of Visconti's Ossessione Mussolini himself stood up furiously and shouted: "This is not Italy!"). To take into consideration of this contextual background some might get answers on the baffling mixture of a depraved relationship and the sites' beauty, moreover maybe on the strange, sudden ending of the film as well.

But back to the film-induced tourism: Compare Rossellini's intentions which were narrowed and shaped by an indirect censorship (they subsided only those films which created a positive view on the country) with a production which obviously and deliberately serves interests of certain countries' or cities' touristic aims. Mentioning an extreme example: Phyllida Lloyd's terrible (a simple exploitation of the deserved success of the ABBA songs – as a cinematic production doesn't worth anything) Mamma Mia! (2008) was openly sponsored by the Hellenic Film Commission Office, and as a result the represented island (Skopelos (its made-up name in the movie is Kalokairi)) might face with an extreme growth in tourism. There's nothing wrong with this – the phenomenon is more and more part of the productions' PR logic. 

See the better example of Martin McDonagh's In Bruges (2008). Better, because it's "product placement" is less obvious, at least it is covered with an ironic voice (McDonagh's apologies – following his film's unexpected success – in the Flemish television on the possible American tourist hordes visiting Bruges was really funny). Click here for a movie-map of the city.

What is more interesting is the elevation of the consciousness around the importance of the film-induced tourism (from the "wait-and-see" PR to the anticipatory strategies), the sites appearence as an integrated product, the changing film language which bends in order to catalisate the need for travel in us. But this is another story... (currently I'm working on a pilot project which combines the values of the film-induced tourism with the European Capital of Culture brand's potential).

27 November 2008

Grand Hotel (1932)

Since I have an assingment to write something about possible connections between films and hotels it was rather obvious that I need to evoke my memories on Edmund Goulding's classic Grand Hotel. If a movie has a protagonist called Greta Garbo it is always a pleasure..

But – as the last time I used to do – I'll focus only one scene again, which is the first from the film. It's its first "chapter", a perfect exposition (notice the nice fade in and fade out), a clear-out way of introduce the main characters (Senf, Kringelein, Preysing, Suzette, the Baron and the Doctor). This is Classic Hollywood cinema: informative, economic, progressive (using the new possibilities of the sound), goal-oriented, functional, consistent and continuous (Kringelein mentions Preysing who appears immediately in the phone booth). Every bit of information serve the fast and economic introduction of the hotel guests: How? What are you doing when you call somebody? Normally you introduce yourself...
(More about the rules of the exposition in David Howard's classic on screenwriting: "Exposition is a cousin of backstory. (...) exposition is information the audience needs in order to participate in and understand the events and relationships in the story." (p.158.))

Talking about speed. Bordwell's thoughts about the intensified continuity (The Way Hollywood Tells It) and his revisited ideas on the topic could fit here, but better take a look on the rules of an exposition. Basically there are two ways: it comes right at the beginning communicatively sharing concentrated information on characters or on the following situation, OR it might come late to delay information in order to maintain and uphold suspense. Goulding's film obviously choose the communicative way.

If we draw simultaneous consequences from Bordwell's idea on raising speed and the first example of a classic exposition, we might see the real differences between the classic style and its new Hollywoodian (or European) followers. The rules of exposition didn't change at all, only the original conventions altered by the style.

Exposition nr. 1: Grand Hotel (1932):

Exposition nr. 2: Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996):

(One more funny thing. Be aware of Preysing's English (3rd and 8th speaker in Grand Hotel's scene), who – since he plays a German entrepreneur – curiously imitates German language. "Is that you papa? Ja?! Ja!" :)


23 November 2008

Szalontüdő / Tripe and Onions (2006)

Dear reader,
in this snowstormy dark Sunday afternoon let me introduce a short film, actually an almost seven minutes movie which was chosen as the best Hungarian short film in 2007. A typical one-timer gag which – at its twisty end – definitely pays your attention off.

Directed by Márton Szirmai (directorial debut),
D.O.P. Gergely Pohárnok (remember his name since he is one of the best Hungarian cinematographer)
Screenplay by András Nagy Bandó, a well known Hungarian humorist (he isn't a comedian anymore – sank too deep into Hung. politics (became a mayor of a small town), and probably lost his sense of humour...)
16mm / K.V.B.

The film, and other Hungarian short movies are available at the ambitious Daazo website. Good luck guys!


19 November 2008

Play Time (1967)

During reading a perfectly detailed review on Jacques Tati's excessive cinematic masterwork, a small, but absolutely talkative example came into my mind what I'd like to share with you this time.

The mentioned and other reviews on the film are approaching from Tati's critical point of view on modernity, more precisely on modern architecture's and modern cities' sterile, alienating, dehumanising contexts (Le Corbusier: "the machines for living"). These contributions are sharing valuable investigations on the co-operation of the visible and audible (Tati's films have little audible dialogue, but carefully integrated sound effects which are participating in the creation of his jokes), on the attributes of Monsieur Hulot's character and its relation to the early silent comedy-stars (eg. Chaplin's physical attributes and moralizing character), on the unbelievable (expensive) sets of the film (he fabricated a huge set called Tativille, based on Paris' recently built (not existing anymore: 1963-1993) Esso-Tower), on the modern technologies, billed as conveniences, which are actually complicate interferences to natural human interaction (my favorite example is the completely silent door, which can't express what the characters feel during shutting it furiously:), in general on criticism about homogenity, standardization, functionality, automatization, ephemerality, unbearability.

All the above are true, but the question is still open: HOW the film's comedic practice is able to deliver all these critical platforms on modernity? The chosen scene tries to exemplify it: the short scene looks like a simple, very-very basic joke, but if we look closer how Tati built up the situation, we'll see that nothing else but the strict environmental shapes become the real protagonist, the real source of the joke.

Notice that the scene starts with a conversation between two characters in the foreground. Their role is to attract our attention, moreover to distract our attention from the glass window behind them (they completely block the view of the doorhandle). They make the way (and our view) free at the very last moment, just before the poor guy runs against the glass. Not only the unlucky character but the viewer can't see either where exactly the glass is. For safety, Tati incases an extra visual trick, namely the overlap between the shapes of the glass door and the building further in the background (plus: the very end a black car arrives to make the door's outline completely visible). See how:


16 November 2008

Whirlpool (1949)

"All the sounds have faded away."

In a hot Summer night of 2007 I've seen first time Otto Preminger's Laura (1944) in a friendly open-air cinema in Vienna. Even if I've found out the trick of its twisty plot, I had to realize that in 1944 its way to mislead the audience was quite unique among the more and more complicated noir films' languages (Bordwell constant argument ("Nothing comes from nothing" – in. The Way Hollywood Tells it, p.75.) on the continuity of the classical film language exeplifies from the '40s the origins of contemporary films' obligatory twisted stories).

But the choosen (and uploaded for you) scene isn't from Laura, but selected from a less known Preminger-noir, Whirlpool (1949). The film's story is rather silly (a quack hypnotist exploits a psychoanalyst's wife to commit a crime...), so let's focus only on the well tempered hypnotic situation and its cinematic execution. The sequence shows the charlatan's first hypnotic try on Ann (after Laura's role we have again Preminger's – and my – favorite Gene Tierney). The shifting states and the differences between the film's reality, the moments of the hypnosis, the hypnotic act, and the coming-back-to-the-reality are told very moderate (almost as undefined way as it was in Laura – remember the misleading moment when Dana Andrews is falling asleep with a booze in his hand...).

Anyway, here the case is more simple: according to the above, there are 4 indistinguished different states within one sequence: 

1. before the hypnosis
2. during the hypnosis
3. under the spell of the hypnosis
4. after the hypnosis

The shifts are visually almost invisible (small changes with the light and the focus), but are well divided with the help of the sound! See how:

1. before the hypnosis: diegetic music (the party's live music)
2. during the hypnosis: silence
3. under the spell of the hypnosis: extra-diegetic music
4. after the hypnosis: the diegetic music fades back.

Preminger's ability to change character objectivity and subjectivity back and forth makes him one of the most exciting directors of his age (it would deserve another post how Tierney's acting supports this tricky shifts: Tierney is as mechanical that sometimes you are not able to recognize the difference between her normal behave (with her guilty kleptomania she is sick anyhow) and her actions under the spell of the hypnosis...). About other examples (without Preminger) of this cinematic shift you can read here.


13 November 2008

Ali (2001)

There shouldn't be any doubt about the fact that Michael Mann is one of the best directors in contemporary film business. I won't argue here, if you don't believe me, maybe you're reading a wrong blog.

He is one of the best, even if his sportfilm, Ali from 2001 induced many contradictory critics (especially in connection with Will Smith's role as Ali, who isn't my favorite actor at all, but I have to admit that in this film he made his transformation into Cassius Clay terrifyingly perfect).

The selected and uploaded scene elevates boxing to artistic registers (Ali's first fight against Sonny Liston, 25th of February, 1964, Miami Beach Florida). How else you could visualize Ali's airy, fluent boxing technique than with an almost invisible cinematic trick. Around 2:59 there is a "flying" leg-movement which is balancing at the border of the fight's raw realism, an exceptional boxer's supernatural ability, and an (almost) unrecognizable stylism of a feature film.

This perfect movement tells more about Ali's famous "swift feet" technics than any biographical documentary.