Flesh

Proposal deadline day! Time to add a little flesh to the fragile frame of my initial ideas…

Film 1 Ė Adjustment:

It is Sokurov’s Russian Ark crossed with a Sesame Street trip to a frankfurter factory. It is one quarter of Mike Figgis’s Timecode meets that bit in Baraka where they burn the beaks off hundreds of battery chickens.

We follow our live-action protagonist on a short, everyday trip through many different locations in one unedited handycam shot. As their journey progresses they relate a story, perhaps to a friend who walks with them, perhaps over a telephone call, perhaps something else. The tale involves a very close friend of theirs, who has done something terrible, and our narrator is now mulling over whether they should try to forgive the perpetrator, or permanently severe all ties with them.

As the film unravels, various common objects in the periphery of the frame occasionally spring into motion, unseen by the protagonist. Their movements are initially inconsequential, but soon they become a platform for short, crude animations by using the techniques of early mechanical animation devices; a hanging item of jewellery becomes a thaumatrope; a rolodex becomes a mutoscope (a revolving flipbook); out in the street a speeding carís hubcap becomes a praxinoscope. As these cartoons get more sophisticated, it becomes apparent that they have been carefully placed by the subject of the protagonistís tale as a way to tell their side of the story and save the friendship.

The underlying themes of the piece are the awkwardness of human communication, even between close friends, and the pressures of a modern, mechanised society. Towards the end of the film, the unseen friendís contraptions become impossibly large, complex and prescient, adding a surreal element to the film and suggesting that the root cause of the friendsí altercation is the effect of metropolitan alienation taken to a fantastic extreme.

Film 2 Ė Destra e Sinistra

The frame shows two clenched fists, side by side, knuckles down on a wooden top. The hands open; the right hand draws a simple cartoon character on the left hand palm, and vice versa. The hands snap closed and open again and the palms are magically blanked for the characters to be drawn once more. This process continues, constantly speeding up until the characters are moving at 25 frames per second and the movements of the hands are a frenetic blur. With the open palms as a canvas a conventional cartoon story unfolds.

The story will be in the style of a dark and hoary folk tale, heavy with metaphor, stereotype and ethical zeal. It involves two siblings, one restricted to the right hand and the other to the left and respectively representing absolute moral right and wrong.

The narration will be earnest and intimate, being spoken by the owner of the hands. All sound effects and music will be made by the handsí actions (the wooden tabletop will turn out to be the lid of a piano), and the story will also feature a selection of appropriate props that will be brought into shot by one or other of the hands. The movements of the hands will be continuous as if filmed in one sitting, though the film will be aggressively edited to create an uncomfortable feverish atmosphere.

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