Friday, May 3, 2024

Brief thoughts on Ryusuke Hamaguchi's GIFTwith live performance by Eiko Ishibachi

I went with Ed Douglas tonight to see  GIFT  at Lincoln Center. 

The film is silent  recut version of Hamaguchi's EVIL DOES NOT EXIST. It runs about 75 minutes and contains a lot of alternate or extended takes. The film is designed so that Eiko Ishibashi can play a live score to it (her set up is in the lower right of the picture above).

While the film essentially tells the same story, things play out differently. In this film titles spell out a bit more of the plot at times. At other times we are left to figure things out for ourselves. The film is not really designed as a narrative but as something Ishibashi's score can play off of.

As a concert it's very good.  Several passages were hypnotic with the music. It was so good that I really wish that all notion of a narrative was thrown out and we could have just had random sequences with the score.

If you are looking for a narrative or new great film from Hamaguchi you are going to be disappointed. Too much is missing. Having seen EVIL... at last year's New York Film Festival  I think GIFT is a pale imitation...but then again it was never supposed to be a "film" like EVIL

I enjoyed myself and consider the screening more a concert. It is not anything I would watch again- though I would listen to the score. If you can see it live do so.

On the other hand if you want a solid narrative see EVIL DOES NOT EXIST.

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