Thursday, September 8, 2011

Breath (2000)

I’m tired of really long films.

I’m exhausted

Seven hours Monday, another seven Tuesday and eight yesterday making for almost twenty four hours in three days, that’s a lot of time sitting watching very few movies.

I’m going to take a break here and go off the board and do a short film; a really short film. It runs two minutes long.

The film Breath was made by Damien Hirst as part of the Beckett on Film series back in 2000. It’s the 45 second play stretched to two minutes thanks to opening and closing credits and Hirst’s pacing.

The film it self is a flying tracking shot of a garbage strewn landscape while we hear some one take a couple of breaths. There is very little that could have been done with the play since the Beckett estate imposed strict restrictions on filming (as they inflict on any performance) which say that you have to follow Beckett’s directions/ intentions to the letter. Any variation has to fall outside of things that they can’t control. In theory this should assure that all versions of Beckett’s plays are all close to being the same on the same level in execution and in quality, however as anyone who’s had to suffer through a bad version of say Waiting for Godot or Happy Days knows that isn’t the case.

Hirst took what he had to work with and transformed the play into an intriguing cinematic convection. It’s a brilliant little film that had me playing it over and over again the first time I saw it…

…of course it pissed off the Beckett estate who didn’t think it was what Beckett intended. Actually from what I heard the Beckett people hated many of the films in the series because they didn’t like what was done to them. I do, as the fact that I've reviewed 4 of the films last year in a pair of double features.

Worth a look.

No comments:

Post a Comment