Ever heard of Sally Potter? Ever wanted to watch a mobile phone film? Ever wanted to see Jude Law turned into a woman?
Chances are the answer to all three is no, unless you are a film nerd or a regular reader of Sight and Sound. It was through Sight and Sound that I have discovered her latest film, Rage.
This film was simultaneously released in cinemas, on DVD, streamed over the internet and on mobile phones. I’m about half-way through one of the episodes, all of them around 15 minutes. Each of them has a series of interviews taken at various times.
The film stars a diverse range of actors including Jude Law, Steve Buscemi, Judi Dench and Eddie Izzard. All of them act out characters related to New York’s fashion industry as they prepare for a show then endure a murder investigation. Each actor is giving an interview to a person named Michelangelo who captures their increasingly frank confessions with a mobile phone.
The actors are alone and give straight to the camera interviews against blank backgrounds that change colour. Their bodies fill most of the screen. In effect, the scene is the actors themselves. It is their bodily actions, the costumes and the emotions on the face as they talk directly to you. The different coloured background work to highlight or match clothes, features, emotions making an effective coupling with the sharp visuals of the film while sounds from off-screen help to add atmosphere.
Watching each performance is wonderful. Jude Law could pass as a woman, so beautiful is he as the supermodel, Minx. Steve Buscemi is great as a wired war photographer with a skewed view of the world where mobility and chances are the most important things.
My favourite is Eddie Izzard with his ability to look smug and devilish and intelligent, the movement of his arms and the clothes he wears shows him as a man with a mind that covers everything and can run anywhere with possibilities, much like his comedy routines.
There are clear themes such as exposing the fleetingness of beauty and hollowness of the fashion industry which is undergoing change in a globalised age and the increasing monetisation of beauty and information.
Babelgum offers a great way to view the film as each episode and I salute the endeavour to tackle different communication mediums. I urge anyone with an interest in film to watch this. It’s legal and free and good!
Now I have to watch the rest.