gill moore photography

Archive for the 'movies' Category

Abbas Kiarostami, “Trees in Snow” inspiration for a challenge.

I have a long-standing project I began years ago, a mission to photograph my favourite trees.  Sadly, I am nowhere near finished, in fact by it’s very nature I probably never will reach completion.  One thing it does do though, is really get me thinking.  How can I make my work original and capture the subject with beauty and simplicity?  One series of shots from photographer Abbas Kiarostami is etched in my mind as a kind of benchmark.  
trees_in_snow_2.jpg 
 The work featured here is from the series “Trees in Snow”.  Kiarostami is an Iranian photographer.  He is super-talented and may be better known to many of you as an award-winning film-maker; “The Wind Will Carry Us” (1999), “A Taste of Cherry” (1997) and “Ten” (2002) are three from his impressive archive.  He wrote some words to introduce this series at the V&A, London in 2005.

“Snow descends from

the black clouds

with the whiteness of snow”

trees_in_snow_3.jpg
The “Trees in Snow” images were borne out of Kiarostami’s long, solitary walks to search for film sets, sometimes covering thousands of miles in the Iranian landscape. Photographing these landscapes allowed him a spontaneous immersion in nature.  When travelling alone, he sees his camera as a way of sharing moments which would be torturous if not preserved. The scenes became the equivalent of emotional states and the trees almost human, echoing the saying of the Islamic mystic Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi (born 1165 died 1240): ‘the tree is the sister of man’.
trees_in_snow_1.jpg 

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


film chat: “Silent Light” by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas and “Into the Wild” by Sean Penn

Time for a bit of film chat.  The compulsion for me to actually spend some cash and go and see a movie is often a completely random thing.  I try and speed read reviews so I don’t actually wind up knowing the whole plot but it proves sufficient for me to digest something, a gist or a theme.  Even how the film looks can nudge me to watch something,  from this accumulated heresay I can usually make a decision and word of mouth from trusted sources can assist things too.  
I spotted some stills from a film called “Silent Light” the other day in a magazine, worthy of further investigation I thought and duly noted the details in my phone (very useful if my notebook isn’t to hand!).  The film was released at the end of 2007 written and directed by Carlos Reygadas, a Mexican film-maker apparently deemed a bit of an enfant terrible judging by reaction to his previous two films; “Japón” (2002) and “Batalla en el Cielo” (2005).  He favours long-takes and often uses non-professional actors.  The wonderful cinematography is from Alexis Zabe.
The film is set in a Mexican Mennonite community who practice nonviolence and pacifism and deals with a married man who falls in love with another woman.  It is a quiet and very slow film, not always a bad thing and the reviews were fairly glowing.  I shall investigate and post back.  Definitely a bit of Terence Malick about him looking at the stills.
silentlight.jpg 
One film I have seen recently that made a deep impression was “Into the Wild” (2007) directed by Sean Penn.  I was really put off this film by some of the reviews and so decided against seeing it at the cinema.  The main criticism seemed to be that the hero was so flawed, egotistical and selfish that the audience simply hated him too much.  The result being that any message the film wanted to reveal was lost in a sea of annoyance.
intothewild_poster.jpg 

Though I would not go so far as to say the critics were wrong, in fact many rated it highly, it simply goes to prove how we are all so different in our tastes and take different things from the cinematic experience as a result.  The film is based on a true story and a book  written in 1996.  It is the fascinating tale of a gifted American student who decided to drop-out, hitchhike to Alaska and live in the wild.  
With his films Sean Penn sometimes has a tendency to veer into smugness and simplicity (though I believe his heart is in the right place) and maybe this explains the mixed reviews, I am not sure, but if you love open spaces and sometimes tire of the materialistic road we seem to be freewheeling down then I would say give the film a go.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button