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Short Film - 5 minutes -
Verdict: Quite simply, a masterpiece
London - Curzon - Sep/Oct 03
The opening credits are the words The Modernista picked out in the sand, and washed away by the backward sweep of the tide. What follows is a breathtaking journey into the senses.
A man sits watching the tide. He's wearing a white suit and formal hat drawn down his brow. He's lost, whether in
thought or within some wilderness inside his imagination, it's impossible to guess. He paces the beach as the waves move forward. Dancers appear, a troupe of performers staging a matinee on the beach. Among them is one woman in particular. Seeing the man, she lingers behind as the others pass. But she can't make him see her.
Finally breaking into contact by a kiss, they're together. They dance. In the end, the man's left by himself, sitting alone as the ocean rises.
There are many possible interpretations of The Modernista. What's clear, discussing the film, is that everyone has his or her separate, and extremely specific, version of what exactly it contains. It's not remotely woolly or pointlessly arty. On the contrary, it's exactly the best kind of art - the kind that changes perceptions and allows every viewer to take from it an individual delight. It's a stunning piece of visual poetry, exploring the centre of
The lyrical quality of the film is built from several exceptional strands. First, there is the astonishing physical beauty of the principal actors, Louis Waymouth and Myfanwy Waring. They look moodily, pace, dance and kiss - which on its own doesn't sound hard. But these two elegant actors dance and pace with a breathtaking elegance, kiss delightfully, and Louis Waymouth's moody looks redefine the words. They both have gorgeous faces, which the camera continuously celebrates.
Second, the extraordinary original music score. It consists of two pieces, by David Malin, and by David Bronner & Lidia Baich. The two sections match perfectly, providing a striking depth and texture to the physical
action on screen. Third, the supporting players, who provide a disturbing element to the film, which underscores the
not-quite-real events occuring between the lovers. Ostensibly smiling and happy, and with the appearance of normal human beings, there's something not right at all about this bunch of troubadors and their unusual entertainment.
The final element is the luxurient cinematography, by Mathew Titterton. Perfectly exposed, framed and focused, his work creates joy for the eyes, guided by the inspired direction of Emma Malin. Her intuitive understanding of what makes a cinematic story informs the whole of this extraordinary creation. Quite simply, it's a masterpiece.
Cast Credits: Louis Waymouth (Man). Myfanwy Waring (Woman). Troupe (alpha order): Colin Crow, Gemma & Berty, Una Jovicic, Georgia Jessamy Lee, David Malin, Emma Malin, Marlon Minta, David Nock, Ben Owen.
Company Credits: Director - Emma Malin. Producer - Una Jovicic. Director of Photography - Matthew Titterton. 1st Assistant Director - David Nock. Original Music - David Malin; David Bronner & Lidia Baich. Production Assistant - Ben Owen. Company: Redeeming Features - tel 07977 104182.
Thanks to: Matthew Titterton (www.advisiontv.co.uk). Andy Barret (www.ramsgatebrewhouse.com). Sarah Lee & her cupcake. Stanley, Maude, Sampson, Delilah & Alice. David Parker. Conrad for The Lips. Frederico Fellini. For Ganga & Senka.
reviewed 27 September 03 / Curzon Mayfair
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