Saturday, February 15, 2014

The 70th-minute Screenshot

The other day, I saw an invitation in Facebook for a multimedia project. The invitation wanted this: Pause the movie you are seeing exactly at the 70-minute mark, take a screenshot and post the picture to them, with the name of the film. What the coordinator of the project wants to achieve is beyond me. He probably wants to find a meaning in randomness, or whatever. But I found the idea fascinating. As somebody argued, in a standard 90-minute film, the 70-minute point is where the story takes a dramatic turn, from its so called second act to the final third act. I am not really sure about that, as films are more often than not longer than 90 minutes. Anyway, I thought, it would be quite an exercise and I wasted some time taking snapshots of the movies I have in the hard drive of my computer right now. Here they are, in their random glory…

Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, Russia, 1972) Kris is more perplexed than ever, as since his arrival at the Solaris space station, he has already witnessed his dead wife manifest to life, then die and then come to life again
Samsara (Ron, Fricke, US, 2011) Like its predecessor, Baraka, this one is an odd beast, a movie made entire of moving images from across the world, cut at random. Here is a scene from a mine somewhere in Asia
Ender’s Game (Gavin Hood, US, 2013) After training to fight the ant-like alien species on earth, Ender Wiggins finally reaches space, in a planet which was once a colony of the Formics, and he looks through the window of his cell
Gloria (Sebastián Lelio, Chille/Spain, 2013) Gloria with a man, and she seems happy, a scene to be repeated and despaired
Heli (Amat Escalante, Mexio, 2013) After his father has been killed, his sister has been abducted and he himself has been severely tortured, the titular Heli is grilled by the cops for his possible involvement in drug crimes
The Congress (Ari Folman, 2013) This half-live action, half-animation film, a commentary on Hollywood studio system becomes a bizarre sci-fi trip about hallucinatory drugs at this precise moment
Thor: Dark World (Alan Taylor, US, 2013) The action blockbuster of impossible objects finds an emotional anchor in the bickering of the two brothers, Thor and Loki, atop a flying ship
A Hijacking (Tobias Lindholm, Denmark, 2012) The top brass of the company whose freight ship has been hijacked by the Somali pirates weigh their options
Captive (Brillante Mendoza, Philippines/France, 2012) Even the kidnappers are lost in their own game
Drug War (Johnnie To, China, 2012) Almost like a violent love story where opposites attract, the obsessive anti-drug official and the drug seller trying to survive at any cost are at each other’s throat, again
Happy Together (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong, 1997) The exact moment when Tony Leung realizes that he doesn’t love Leslie Cheung anymore, but the other guy
Mongol (Sergei Bodrov, Russia, 2007) One of those bloody wars that Tem├╝jin had to fight and win
Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve, US, 2013) Two fathers divided by opinion, united by the same goal — to save their daughters
Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton, US, 2013) The precise moment when we learn what’s really bothering our young heroine
Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, Canada, 2013) The precise moment when the heroine’s private life is threatened to go dangerously public
Strangers by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, France, 2013) The moment when this young protagonist falls in love with the killer and is fascinated and repulsed
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix Van Groeningen, Belgium, 2013)
The Butler (Lee Daniels, US, 2013) But of course, Oprah Winfrey, in prosthetic
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, US, 2013) Katniss in a wedding dress which will soon turn into a mockingjay
The Past (Asghar Farhadi, France/Iran, 2013) The rain, of course, the inevitable symbol of sadness and loss
Wolf Children (Mamoru Hosoda, Japan, 2012) The precise moment when the lie that the Yuki is a wolf children is threatened to be revealed

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