Friday, January 25, 2019
A Great Lamp (2019) Slamdance 2019
I get beaten down and broken after seeing so many films that are the same- and then every now and again I stumble on something and go HELLO.
Why do I watch as many films as I do? Why do I try not to filter the world premieres? Because every now and again that makes you go- "YES that's what I a looking for"- it's proof that there are people who refuse to follow the well traveled path
God bless Saad Qureshi and everyone that worked on his film -series of tweets after seeing A GREAT LAMP a second time
The PR person who sent me the information on Great Lamp told me that this was a film unlike anything he had seen before. Normally that’s hyperbole that I get from PR people all the time. However in this case, these were words I hadn’t heard from this person. What was it about A GREAT LAMP that made him use these words?
A GREAT LAMP begins with Max as he goes around a city putting up posters with his recently deceased grandmother. Along the way he meets some people and has some wonderful discussions and tries to find things in life that make life worth living.
And I was in no way ready for this wonderful dream of a film. Shot in moody black and white with manipulations of the image, animation and lord knows what else, this is like looking at a replay of someone’s memory. We are somewhere else, in some other existence that is kind of like our own. It s weirdly warm and fuzzy even if there is sadness.
Truly A GREAT LAMP is not like any film I've run across. Director Saad Qureshi, along with his co-writers have made a film that doesn't travel like a typical cinematic rocket. Rambling and meandering all over the place they have made a film about people and emotion rather than plot. We are watching lives arc not plot threads come together. Since this is about people things come and go, or randomly happen. There is no real order except when we look back. This is a film about life lived.
That the film manages to always hold our attention is due in large part to star and co-writer Max Wilde. Max's on screen Max walks across the screen with wild hair and a skirt making you wonder, at first, if this is just some pretentious ploy by the filmmakers. And then Max speaks and we fall in love. He is just this person going through life trying to find himself, or as he says "having character development". I loved the character so much that I fell in with the film. Part of me wants to pull him off the screen and just hang out with him.
What goes on in the movie? Lots of talk. I'm not going to say about what because you really want to see this film and not listen to me talk about it. You need to find the truths inside this film not have them spoon fed to you. Besides what I have found inside A GREAT LAMP may not be what you find.
The film ends with a note saying that the film was made because director Qureshi was sad and everyone decided to make a film. Whatever the reason this was made this is a case where sadness has produced joy.
While I am an absolute fan of A GREAT LAMP I am not going to guarantee that you will be one when the film is done, this is a bit too atypical for that. On the other hand I will assure that when the film is done you will know you have seen something. In an age where everyone is remaking each other's films A GREAT LAMP is unlike anything else out there.
One of the best films at Slamdance and more than likely one of the best films of 2019.