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MIFF09 review: A LAKE (dir. Philippe Grandrieux)


Review by Conall Cash (catabloguing.wordpress.com)

The third feature directed by Philippe Grandrieux, A Lake is an astonishing, almost unbearably passionate film; it is unlike anything I have ever seen. The film alienated most of the audience that ventured into the small cinema at ACMI last night – roughly a quarter walked out during the screening, and afterwards I heard at least three groups of viewers express anger, confusion, resentment and dismissal. Such responses are understandable, particularly from the uninitiated, for Grandrieux’s film offers nothing at the level of what commonly goes for ‘cinematic appreciation’: utterly unapproachable in terms of characterization, narrative development or ‘good directing’ (well-constructed scenes made up of a sequence of artfully designed shots, with the elements of the scene and their relation to the positioning of the camera reflecting or emphasizing the nature of the narrative situation or the psychology of the characters), A Lake strives for an elementality not heard of in the cinema since F.W. Murnau’s 1927 masterpiece, Sunrise. Continue reading


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