“Geraldo” – Dirk Domen

Geraldo is a short film by the Antwerp director Dirk Domen and is selected at the Short Film Festival in Leuven in the Vlaamse Fictie 3-series along with 5 other very good films. I personally liked the fact that Geraldo is shot in black-white, or ‘in the style of Woody Allen’ like Domen himself calls it. This made the film stand out of the rest and adds some extra tristesse to the clown Geraldo.

geraldoAs a professional director of commercials and advertising for AXA Bank, De Morgen, Gazet Van Antwerpen (Belgian newspapers) and many more, this is his first short film I see. Domen managed to cast plenty of professional and talented actors for Geraldo. The title refers to the main character called Gerald, a very uncheerful person, who left his job as an oncologist to become a clown in the national touring circus.

Ben Segers plays the part of Geraldo, which was a relief to see he could also perform in more serious parts. On screen he more or less gets typecasted for the doofy roles, but when you have seen him on stage in the theatres, you would ‘ve already known he has so much more to offer.

Marie Vinck (Loft, 2008) plays the busty make-up assistant of the circus, and in my opinion she keeps on repeating herself, because her entire carreer she always seems to play the femme fatal in plenty of sexscenes. This time once again. Stefaan Degand (also in this year’s Niemendal) plays the role of the cynical and grumpy circusowner. We also see Ludo Hoogmartens (Groenten uit Balen, 2011) as Geraldo’s highly religious but hypocrit father and the very talented Katelijne Verbeke (Zot van A, 2010) as Geraldo’s mother, who also supported her husband in disadvantage of her own son by stating that ‘The Bible says that a wife should obey her husband’. She uses the Bible as an excuse for her past living in denial. Religion and hypocrisy become seriously intertwined in this short film.

The film frequently uses flash-backs to go back to Gerald’s (the clown’s real name) childhood, but the reality is many years later and his father is dying. The only thing that seems to matter to Gerald though is detaching from the man he despises and starting over again in the circus.

What attracted me the most in Geraldo is not only the choice of making a black-white film, but also the beautiful symmetry and balanced images. Domen’s mise-en-scène is flawless.

Check the site for more information and a trailer.

“Het Paradijs” – Laura Vandewynckel

Paradise, a short film that originally served as Laura Vandewynckel’s end work for the Belgian RITS School of Arts in Brussels in 2014, was afterwards selected for the 2015 edition of Séléction Fondation at Cannes. It definitely reached beyond Laura Vandewynckel’s wildest dreams, but sometimes dreams do come true. And although she didn’t win at Cannes, she has now even been selected for the Short Cuts at the Toronto International Film Festival that takes place September 10th-20th.

para1Paradise (Het Paradijs) is an animated short film by the young Vandewynckel. At the young age of 29 years old, she already has her very first nomination at Cannes after winning several awards in her home country Belgium for the same project. Some of them are the SABAM-award and a wildcard from the VAF (Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds/ Flemish Audiovisual Funding).

The title of the film refers to the exoticism people experience when going abroad. Vandewynckel’s own description of Paradise reads:

An animated short about people heading for a better place on either side of the ocean. Although at times their paths do cross, they never really seem to meet.”

She makes use of several metaphors to point attention to the strict divide between the modern western society and ‘the others’ across the ocean. The modern protagonist of the film is white, living in a white house. The use of colour stands for the opposition between the remarkably cold and sterile atmosphere of  the white society and the warm and colorful one on the other side of the ocean. The crossing of boundaries is marvelously suggested by the handmade oceans, trees and deserts. Most obviously, the natives have a different skin colour, which signifies the strong contrast between the hospital land the protagonist arrives in and his own one, living in denial. Whether both worlds get to meet eventually in a less superficial and distanced way – well, one should find out for themselves.

paraIt is a shame that people who have never watched Vandewynckel work before would not realize how much work has got into this project. If it wasn’t for Vandewynckel’s own introduction, the audience wouldn’t know she made every puppet herself, since nowadays everything is so easily created by using computers. These figures were indeed handcrafted. Also, Paradise is completely without any dialogue, but the folkloristic soundtrack, consisting of thumping rhythms, definitely fits the exotic atmosphere. The entire process took her 6 months and it must have been an intense period full of passion and devotion. The short 5’38″ is the worthy result of this tireless work on stop-motion animation.

Find out more about Laura Vandewynckel’s work at lauravandewynckel.com and watch the trailer.

 

 

“Victor XX” -Ian Garrido Lopez: Interview

Victor XX is the 2nd short made by Ian Garrido Lopez (26 years old) and is selected in the Hola  Catalunyaseries at this year’s Short Film Festival in Leuven. The film is a project for the Spanish Arts School ESCAC and set in  Almeria, where Garrido himself comes from.

victor1I’ ve already watched Victor XX at the Cannes Film Festival last May, where Garrido was selected in the Cinéfodation-section. There he won the 3rd prize. What struck me most though, was that jury member Cécile de Freance, a Belgian actress, asked for a standing ovation for the main actress Alba Martinez, who performs the role of Victor. A girl, who questions her gender and sexuality. In her search for her identity she gets confronted with how it feels to fall in love, while you are actually a boy in a girl’s body. Also, the film depicts the difficulties of keeping a secret in a small village in contrast to the anonimity of the big city, where you can be whoever you want to.

The entire cast consists of actors without any previous experience, which Garrido himself explains by stating “that it is there, where the magic of the story lives. The story is built with people, not characters.”

I met Ian Garrido Lopez at the Short Film Festival to talk about his film.

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Ian Garrido Lopez

Alba Martinez did an excellent job in performing the role of the transgender Victor/Mari. Where you already friends with her before you started the project?

No, I did some serious castings in Almeria, where I live, because I wanted to find the suitable person to express my feelings to the world, and to kind of play ‘me’. Alba was perfect for the part, because she looks a bit androgynous. She’s tall and quite muscular, that is because she used to be the junior champion in putting the shot when she was 16 years old, so she has very strong arms and shoulders. When we started the shooting, she already turned 18.

Nice! Was it hard for her to do the explicit scenes, like those where she films herself in front of the mirror?

No, she was immediatly willing to join us in the project, once she knew what Victor XX was all about. She wanted to help me in telling the world what I was going through, namely the search for my sexual identity.

So, like I already assumed, the story is autobiographical?

Yes, entirely.

Did you get any negative reactions on your film, because of the heavy subject?

Yes, of course there are always people who judge you, but nobody ever said something negative to my face. Mostly, I got positive reactions, also from other young people that struggle with their sexuality, like I did. They felt like I made it easier for them to talk about being a trandgender.

You won the 3rd prize at Cannes with your film. So what are your plans now?

I’m planning on doing another short film. But it takes time to do it properly, also the writing and collecting fundings. Although, since I won the prize in Cannes, getting funded has become easier. The money I won in Cannes, though, we split up with cast and crew. We also use it to travel around to promote Victor XX.

And also, I don’t have that much time right now to be creative, because I am doing all the travelling, which is an amazing opportunity! And I’m so grateful. Cannes was my first film festival ever, and look where I am standing now, I recently even went to Seoul in South-Korea!

Thank you, Ian, for the nice talk! I wish you nothing but the best in the near future. You’ve got my full 100% support and respect for reaching out to a thematic that is not always so easy.

 

 

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Check the website for more information.

“Las Elegidas” – David Pablos

leLas Elegidas (The Chosen Ones), by the Mexican director David Pablos, depicts the misfortunes of a young Mexican couple living in Tijuana, near the American-Mexican border which is known for its illegal sex trafficking. The film gets under your skin by Pablos’ realistic representation of Mexican hard-knock life. The film was selected in Cannes this year in the Un Certain Regard-section.

In this modern version of Shakespeares’ Romeo & Juliet, the more honourable Ulysses (Oscar Torres) falls in love of 14-year-old Sofia (Nancy Talamantes), but he is forced by his family’s tradition to turn her into a prostitute. Just like his father and brother, he is meant to trick all of his girlfriends into a web they’ll never escape from again. Despite the fact that Sofia was supposed to be his ‘first one’, Ulysses sincerely loves the girl and wants to buy her off from his own father, which is not allowed without him giving another girl in return. Consequently, the entire scenario seems to repeat itself, including another birthday party for the father to introduce the girl to the family. This rather ironic and repetitive representation gives the film its lighter tone and functions as a break from the otherwise dominant pessimistic and almost hopeless atmosphere, this time with another protagonist though, namely the poor Marta (Leidi Gutiérrez). As such, this film portrays the brutal violence these young girls get confronted with every day in real life, without any mercy or regret.

Ulises-personaje-detona-historia-amor_MILIMA20150417_0017_8One strong technical aspect of Las Elegidas is the use of asynchronous sound, which means that the soundtrack runs separately from the visuals. Actions that are not shown to the audience on purpose are nonetheless covered by post and pre-synchronisation or remarkable shifts in volume. So for example all the horrible experiences Sofia has to undergo in the whore house are nonetheless directly linked together by the sound fragments and dramatic soundtrack. In general, the relation between image and sound enables the audience to experience the tragic of being forced into prostitution by the one you love and trusted and sexual abuse through the eyes of the young Sofia.

Las Elegidas perfectly illustrates that being ‘chosen’ is not always a gift from God unfortunately.

“Youth”- Paolo Sorrentino

Youth is a film directed by an Italian in Switzerland with an American cast that was selected for the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival in France. How could it be more international? After his award-winning The Great Beauty (La grand Belleza) 2 years ago, Paolo Sorrentino actually managed to get selected again, but this time with an entirely different story in a completely different context. Youth is his 2nd English film after the terrific This Must Be The Place from 2011.

youth2Youth is about Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine), a retired composer of the “Simple Songs”, who retreats in an luxurious Swiss hotel with his lifelong friend Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel). Boyle is a film director working on a new project with his young team of co-workers. He has an eternal adoration for the actress Brenda Morel (Jane Fonda).

The clash of generations is the leading motive in the film, with several personalities from different ages coming together and seeming to intertwine. Paul Dano plays Jimmy Tree, an actor in retreat to get more in touch with his next part, the ‘role of his life’, of which we get a delicious taste near the end of the film. Rachel Weisz is cast as Ballinger’s daughter and assistant, Lena, who has to keep her head up high after her husband leaves her for a young pop star because she is ‘good in bed’.

youthWeisz fits the role, but she does not stand out next to Michael Caine, whose performance is marvelously down-to-earth and quirky at the same time. Although his character is retired, the love for music still runs through his veins, so for the little candy wrappers he constantly uses to give his relatively boring existence some meaning. Also, Roly Serrano as the overweight but world-famous Diego Maradona, and Paloma Faith as herself, are worth mentioning. It is nonetheless the appearance of Miss Universe (Madalina Gheneathat makes the two old men’s heart beat faster and makes them feel young again.

The amazing soundtrack serves to contrast the elder and the younger generation. Classical orchestras and bouncing beats alternate, and that is exactly what Sorrentino aims for. The film does not merely want different generations to oppose one another, but it also wants to show the possibility for past and future to intertwine and how easily the divide between young and old is crossed.

The Swiss Alps and their sunny natural feel form the perfect setting for Ballinger’s revivification. He brilliantly composes the cows and their bells during his solitary walks. Scenes like this turn Youth into a feel-good feature film and makes one aware to enjoy every single banality in life.

youth1Youth is a well-directed and technically flawless film. One should definitely pay attention to the marvelous mise-en-scène. Nonetheless, when it comes to the narrative plot, Sorrentino pushes it too far and makes the end rather conform to Hollywood formula. The final part of the film has too many twists, causing it to miss its shot when it comes to conveying a proper lesson in life. Cut those last 20 minutes and the contrast between fortune and misfortune, or past and future would have been in perfect balance.

Check YouTube for the wonderful trailer.

“Rosemary’s Baby”-Roman Polanski : The abject theory of Julia Kristeva

rb1Women don’t always play a noble or powerful role in film productions. In horror productions, the female lead can either stay alive as ‘the final girl’ or can be portrayed as some kind of monster. The latter characterization ties in with Julia Kristeva’s famous concept of ‘the abject’, the idea that anything that deviates from the ordinary or threatens common life – in this case, a woman in the eyes of a man – can be regarded as ‘abject’, or repugnant.

Kristeva, a Bulgarian-born French philosopher, first wrote about the ‘abject’ in the 80s. What makes a woman ‘abject’ is the patriarchal association of the feminine with blood and other body fluids (i.e., menstruation blood), that make her different from her male counterpart and turn her into ‘the other’. This idea and the horror genre are closely related, partly because of some striking social changes since the 60’s, such as the rise of feminism and the rejection of patriarchal power.

As Robin Wood says in Barbara Creed’s book Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine, “one might say that the true subject of the horror is the struggle for recognition of all that our society represses oroppresses.”

A film to which this concept fits perfectly is Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, released in 1968. Based on the bestseller by Ira Levin, the film was Paramount Pictures’ first horror blockbuster, and won multiple awards including a Golden Globe for lead actress Mia Farrow.

rb2In the film, housewife Rosemary (Farrow) and her husband Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes), an actor on the verge of a breakthrough, buy themselves an apartment in The Bramford, New York. They befriend their rather eccentric neighbours Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), who look innocent but soon reveal themselves to be a meddlesome couple who want to control every aspect of Rosemary’s life.

It is when Rosemary decides she wants to have a baby that aspects of Kristeva’s abject “monstrous-feminine”start coming into play. On the night which Rosemary and Guy have chosen to conceive, Rosemary faints after eating an unpleasant chocolate mousse given to her by Minnie. We then witness a dream sequence in which Rosemary is raped by a demon with fiery eyes. Although this is a dream, Rosemary nonetheless wakes up again with scratches on her back, after which Guy confesses to have had sex with her while unconscious so that they could conceive.

Rosemary then suffers a particularly gruesome pregnancy, which brings the perceived horror of the female experience to life. Kristeva’s reasoning that the female figure herself – known as ‘the other’- is seen as different from her male counterpart is embodied in Rosemary’s pregnancy. Her deteriorating health is used to disgust the audience; she loses weight, feels serious pain and even craves raw meat.

Rosemary’s unusual suffering leads her to confide in her friend Hutch (Maurice Evans), who gives her a book about witchcraft. In this book, Rosemary finds out that Roman Castevet is an anagram for Steven Marcato, a former Satanist who lived in The Bramford. Rosemary suspects her dear neighbours, and her own Guy, to be part of a religious sect who are trying to take her baby as a trophy.

rbWhen the audience learns this, Rosemary no longer seems much of a “monstrous-feminine”at all. Instead of being repulsed by Rosemary, the viewer experiences her pain as their own. One can clearly imagine her fear for the satanic conspiracy against herself and her offspring.

Despite this, the idea of the abject remains relevant to the film’s themes, as it’s not only the woman who is considered to be ‘the other’- her unborn child also serves as a threat, because as Kristeva would argue, pregnancy is something ‘alien’to men. This alienness is accentuated by the fantasy elements that drive her difficult pregnancy, such as the strange drinks and the necklace with tannis root that Minnie gives her. But although Rosemary’s complaints result from supernatural powers, they still resemble how some women experience pregnancy in reality.

By the end of the film, Rosemary’s presumptions are only confirmed, when she is disgusted by her newborn son Adrian’s physical appearance and the fact that he is the seed of Satan. Eventually her mother instinct conquers all repugnancy and she accepts her role as a caring mother for Adrian as long as she does not have to become part of the Castevets’ religious sect.

This is an example of Rosemary’s autonomy against the patriarchal oppression; throughout the film, Rosemary is the one who makes decisions for herself, although she first seems to subject herself to the established norms and values (‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’) and consciously seems to opt for the life as a housewife. She constantly seems in want of Guy’s permission, although she eventually does as she pleases, such as cutting her hair, calling a doctor for a second opinion, and so on.

Rosemary’s Baby seems to confirm and simultaneously deny any possible similarities between the feministic ideology and its envisioned female rights of self-determination, by Rosemary’s choice to still be a loving mother for her demon son. On one hand, she seems to accept the patriarchal norms and values of our western society by accepting the nurturing role, but on the other hand she is an autonomous – and therefore powerful – woman by staying away from the ritual activities of the sect in which her husband is involved.

It is by the above analysis of Rosemary’s maternal behavior, which is not deviant from what is regarded as natural, that I cannot fully reject nor confirm Julia Kristeva’s concept of the abject monstrous feminine. Multiple aspects of her theory can be applied to the film, such as the demon baby and her unusual physical suffering, but the surrounding negative atmosphere can easily be countered by her maternal instinct and autonomy.

 Check the trailer on YouTube.

For more information about Julia Kristeva’s abject-theory, check Wikipedia.

“Patriot” – Eva Riley

patr1

Eva Riley, a well-known and talented British director of shorts, perfectly captures the effects of family tradition and social prejudice in her 14-minute drama appropriately called Patriot. No wonder this short film was selected to compete for the Short Film Palme d’ Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

In the aftermath of a series of racial tensions in a rural British community, the young 11-year old Hannah (played by the new young talent Halle Kidd) bumps into a boy (Rafael Constantin) from a forbidden district. They play together, although different in every possible way; she’s native British, he’s a gipsy living in a trailer. But even though they initially get along, eventually things go wrong, and the film seems to end where it started. Hannah unfortunately lives a brainwashed existence, influenced by her chauvinistic far-right and foul-mouthed kin.

The opening and closing of this short film is framed by an English patriotic hymn called Jerusalem, celebrating the rich heritage of the native Brits. But while the film starts with Hannah singing in pride, it ends with the ambiguity between faithfulness to her own cultural mores and values and the shame of how she got moulded into a racist.

Patriot‘s strength lies in its symbolism. Hannah leaves her father (Michael Elkin) wearing their red cross-flag like a superhero would wear his cape. Standing tall and fierce, she seems to not be afraid of the unexpected, until the moment she bumps into a gipsy boy. When she returns home, there is no trace of the flag; she has put it away just like her short-sighted attitude.

patrThe use of space also adds to the themes of the film. The closer she gets to the boy, the closer the camera approaches them, but nonetheless, the montage techniques are kept at a bare minimum and one should definitely pay close attention to the mise-en-scène. Riley’s approach of distance and proximity between the characters symbolises their relationship and emotional attachment. There are no flash-backs and forwards. The entire narrative looks like a continuous shot, which almost literally sucks the audience into the story.

Riley leaves her audience abashed, making us aware of any negative stance we take toward other cultures and of the discriminating behaviour we ourselves are guilty of. At the same time, she also takes us back to those good old times of our childhood innocence by showing us in only 5 minutes how easy it was back then to get over social prejudice and accept each other as equals. Although Patriot ends like it started, the circle is not completely round, because one can tell from her face that Hannah struggles internally with who she truly is, and who she is expected to be.

Check Eva Riley’s website for more information and a trailer.

 

“Hard Sun” – Canyon Prince

hs1Hard Sun is a drama written and directed in by Canyon Prince and the first feature film production for Two Guys and a Film, Inc. Although the film probably won’t make it to big commercial success, it nonetheless was nominated for Best Picture at the Carmel International Film Festival in the United States. That is also where its lead actress Robyn Buck won the award for Best Performance playing Ruth and John Bain was nominated for Best Supporting Performance for playing her younger brother Riley, who has Fragile X syndrome.

Multiple story plots seem to intertwine in Hard Sun, but it eventually all results in the one confronting notion that there is only room for one in life, and that is Ruth in this case. In short, the film depicts the life of this young woman (Robyn Buck), who becomes the primary guardian of her brother Riley (John Bain) after her parents’ death. Also, her grandfather (Myron Natwick) lives with them. But at the same time, she attempts to keep her life in balance by combining these responsibilities with a job as a waitress and her own growing romance with the caring Josh (Ben Begley).

The title of the film may refer to the sunny weather of the southern state where the film is shot. Sometimes you can almost see and even feel the simmering heat radiating from your television screen. But it might also point at the hard time Ruth and Riley have underneath this sun and the apparently not-so-beautiful and peaceful lives they have together. Ruth struggles with what she wants to achieve in life and what she is actually capable of while taking full responsibility of her brother. She gets confronted with some strong inner struggles. Their grandfather, for example, tries to push her to get Riley into a care centre, and at her job she constantly gets confronted by her alcoholic ex-boyfriend Randy (William Stamey), who becomes manic and physically abusive after a couple of drinks.

As a viewer, you sympathize with Ruth and feel the deepest respect for how she copes with her sorrows and ‘burdens’. The sometimes blurred and faded visuals as well as the tactical use of silence and soundtrack add up to the power of the message Prince wants to convey. Although the focus of the film lies on Ruth, he makes the audience encounter Riley’s sensory experiences.

hsThe performances in Hard Sun are not all screen worthy, unfortunately. The lead actors Robyn Buck and John Bain definitely stand out, but their talent gets counterbalanced by the unrealistic, and almost overacted performances by some of the teenage extras and the rather weak attempt of William Stamey to play the role of a ‘sensitive’ alcoholic.

When it comes to drama, Hard Sun is full of it, and at some times, unfortunately, it seems that the film becomes a big pile of sorrow, instead of carrying some notions of optimism or moral lesson. And when you think things couldn’t get more worse, they actually do.

Also regarding Hard Sun’s sense of reality and its approach of the controversial medical condition Riley suffers from, the viewer might still have some questions. Nowhere in the film is the name of Riley’s condition mentioned. Once in a while he is referred to as ‘retarded’, but when people don’t know anything about the Fragile X syndrome, you would rather say that he has a very severe form of autism.

After doing some research on the film and the Fragile X syndrome, I do have to confess that actor John Bain hits the sensitive spot with his performance, since he does not suffer from the condition himself. Fragile X syndrome – or FXS – is a genetic condition that causes intellectual and behavioural disabilities, which go along with various physical characteristics such as large ears, flat feet, hyper-flexible joints and ear infections (which might explain why Riley wears headphones all the time). Behavioural characteristics could include social anxiety and poor eye contact, which is also witnessed with Riley in the film. Nonetheless, I consider FXS a rather unknown medical condition that truly deserves some more public attention. In that sense, Hard Sun sets the example.

Check the trailer on YouTube.

Première “Life” – Anton Corbijn

On a rainy Monday night – September 21st, 2015 – I took the train to Bozar in Brussels, for one simple reason: the premiere of Life. The screening of the long-expected 4th feature film by the Dutch director Anton Corbijn, who is also a photographer by profession, was attended by the great man himself, after which he enthusiastically answered all of our burning questions.

life3The film depicts the friendship between the iconic 50’s actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan, star ofChronicle and Kill Your Darlings) and the photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson, Twilight). With the title of the film Corbijn refers to the US magazine for which Dennis Stock took pictures as a freelance photographer. Stock wanted his pictures of Dean to be more personal and not like those of the ‘red carpet maggots’. Therefore, he followed Dean to New York, Indiana and back to LA. Keep in mind that this all took place in the short period between East of Eden and Rebel Without a Case, after which Dean died at the age of 24.

The film seems divided in two parts, the first of which follows Stock, a very hardworking photographer, who almost has to stalk the slack, rebellious and egocentric Dean. The second part of the film, in which the two go for a trip to visit Dean’s Quaker family in Fairmont, Indiana, shows Dean open up, enjoying the little things in life, such as reading to his little cousin. There is then a reversal, and it is Stock who seems the arrogant and unthankful one, who forgets to actually ‘live’. Nonetheless, both of them are so self-fulfilled to think that they do each other a favour, Dean by posing for Stock and Stock by publishing pictures of him.

life2As a Corbijn fan, I felt very much pleased with Life, but can’t deny that he made a serious mistake by casting Robert Pattinson as Dennis Stock. Just like in every other film he acts in, his physical appearance remains static, and his acting is not really convincing due to his eternal poker face. Dane DeHaan on the other hand surprised me by showing some of his best method-acting skills. DeHaan has that cool aura that turns him into Dean – only, theSLOW, whispering speech made me wonder at times whether the real James Dean was a drunk with a never-ending hangover.

Unlike with his 2007 production Control, a biopic about the deceased Ian Curtis, lead singer of 80’s-band Joy Division, Corbijn shot this film entirely in colour. He told the audience at the premiere that although he initially wanted to shoot the film in black and white like Control, he eventually opted for full colour, to show the contrast with Stock’s original black and white images. Also worth noting is the accuracy of Corbijn’s film, namely how he manages to come close to copying Stock’s original and epic pictures of James Dean – for example, the well-known shot taken in Times Square in New York.

lifeDid I already mention that Corbijn is a professional photographer? He is mostly known for his artist photography, such as for U2, Depeche Mode and Michael Stipe (R.E.M). This similarity caught my attention. Both photographers, Corbijn and Stock, have their own protégées and muses – a good motivation for Corbijn to tell the story of Dean’s relationship with Stock. By making Life, Corbijn wants to convince the audience how a photographer and his subject mutually inspire and construct one another. It is not plainly a biopic. And this is how he told it at the premiere in Bozar, the passion flowing from his enthusiastic smile.

One could also tell from the visual and aesthetic style of the film, that Corbijn is more than a filmmaker. Every shot simply looks like a perfect picture in a frame. Everything fits in, such as colours, composition and camera angle.

Life, simply, is a visual masterpiece. Enjoy the complexity of every shot, how it is built up in several layers yet seems so simple at the same time. The director’s passion for photography is clear, and for those who loved his former work, this film will be another pleasure to the eye.

 Check the trailer on YouTube.