Tuesday, June 11, 2024

IN A VIOLENT NATURE

Elephant / Elephant / In A Violent Nature

However you may feel about Chris Nash’s In A Violent Nature, there’s no denying that the film draws from some cool unexpected sources. This is hardly the first slow burn horror movie director to pull from “unexpected”/outside lanes of cinema, but I can’t think of too many that mention the likes of Terrence Malick, Gus Van Sant & Alan Clarke as references.

Now… Nash does not deny his more obvious sources like Friday The 13th and Fincher’s Zodiac..

I would say FRIDAY THE 13th is intrinsic to the existence of this film because it built the framework. We’re not reinventing the wheel, but we are looking at the wheel from a different side - Chris Nash, Dreadcentral.com
Friday The 13th Part VI / In A Violent Nature

Friday The 13th Part II / In A Violent Nature

Friday The 13th / In A Violent Nature

Friday The 13th Part II / In A Violent Nature

Friday The 13th / In A Violent Nature

Friday The 13th / In A Violent Nature

Friday The 13th Part VII / In A Violent Nature


The Raft segment in Creepshow 2 had an indelible affect on me - Chris Nash, Flickering Myth
Creepshow 2 / In A Violent Nature


I can watch Zodiac anytime as soon as it's on. It just puts me in a mood. It puts me in a vibe. It's that same kind of calculated feel that I like where I'm just thinking, 'Oh, this is a plan' - Chris Nash, Indiewire
Zodiac / In A Violent Nature

And without needing any pull quotes, you can imagine this is the type of film to pay homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. TCM has the kind of impact where it can influence someone who isn’t even familiar with Tobe Hooper’s work.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre / In A Violent Nature

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre / In A Violent Nature


But what drew me to this films were the homages to the likes of non-horror/thriller directors like Van Sant, Clarke, and Malick…

Well, I came to the idea just inspired a lot by Gus Van Sant's trilogy, of GERRY, ELEPHANT, and LAST DAYS. I just love those films - Chris Nash, dreadcentral
Last Days / In A Violent Nature

Elephant / In A Violent Nature

Gerry / In A Violent Nature


Because Gus Van Sant's Gerry/Elephant/Last Days trilogy was inspired by Bela Tarr, Nash was sort of indirectly influenced by Tarr as well...
Satantango / In A Violent Nature

Werckmeister Harmonies/ In A Violent Nature


So just, especially the Van Sant films, focusing so much on the nature or the environment of where the characters are and how they're interacting and where they’re walking through - Chris Nah, Nofilmschool.com
The Sea Of Trees / In A Violent Nature

I thought this would be a pretty cool approach to just follow the slasher around and just treat it like one of those Van Sant films - Chris Nash, Nofilmschool.com
Paranoid Park / In A Violent Nature


The other directors we looked at were, yes, Malick - Chris Nash, thirdcoastreview.com
The Tree Of Life / In A Violent Nature

The Tree Of Life / In A Violent Nature

The Tree Of Life / In A Violent Nature

The Tree Of Life / In A Violent Nature

Badlands / In A Violent Nature

The Tree Of Life / In A Violent Nature


They showed me Gerald Kargl's 'Angst' and Alan Clarke's Elephant, just to give me an idea of what the feel was going to be - Ry Barrett, Indiewire
Angst / In A Violent Nature

Angst / In A Violent Nature

Elephant / In A Violent Nature


Angst went on to influence Gaspar Noe’s work so it’s not off-base that Nash would also find inspiration from other films from the school of Angst…

For me, I was thinking of Irréversible too, just the way the viewer is an onlooker for the whole thing - Ry Barrett, Indiewire
Irreversible / In A Violent Nature


I haven't found any hard evidence of Nash being influenced by the likes of James Benning or the Dardennes but his film definitely invokes their work on a surface level as well...
13 Lakes / In A Violent Nature

Rosetta / In A Violent Nature



Saturday, June 1, 2024

FALLEN LEAVES



It’s almost as if Fallen Leaves was tailor-made for the type of Kaurismaki fan that’s been patiently waiting for him to leave behind the overtly political messages in his films and return to more personal, smaller-scale storytelling. I'm talking about anything after Lights In The Dusk. There’s nothing wrong with being a political filmmaker but I find it interesting that once Kaurismaki’s work became overtly political, they became less interesting. I say overtly because just about any Kaurismaki film is going to have some layer of social and/or political commentary (most of his characters are lower income or homeless with low-paying thankless jobs in some type of oppressed position). I just personally feel he works best when the social issues and politics serve as the backdrop instead of being the main story. In the case of Fallen Leaves, class, poverty and & abuse of power certainly play a role in the film. But at the end of the day this is a love story first
I like for artists to stay in the lane they’ve mastered rather than try something new and fail. That’s just me. Now…I don’t want anyone to make the same exact thing over and over but I do like when filmmakers do slightly different versions of the same and/or similar things they're great at. Again - that’s just me. And to be clear - Aki Kaurismaki will always be a voice for the voiceless. 

Fallen Leaves is a love story about a lonely working class woman and a homeless alcoholic. It feels like an updated version of both Shadows In Paradise and Match Factory Girl but with newer actors. His standard formula is there: a deadpan dramedy where boy meets girl, boy and girl hit it off, a conflict/tragic event happens and things eventually get sort of resolved. Aki Kaurismaki’s films aren’t for everyone but I could see this is a good entry-point for folks unfamiliar with his work (definitely check out Shadows In Paradise and Match Factory Girl if you enjoy Fallen Leaves).

It should be noted that this is one of Kaurismaki’s best looking films. The colors reminded me of a late period Ozu film which makes perfect sense considering how much of an Ozu fan he is…

If I go to lonely island with only one film it would still be Tokyo Story - Aki Kaurismaki, Film Quarterly
Tokyo Story / Fallen Leaves

There’s a lot of banal Ozu-esque imagery all throughout the film (factories, kitchens, teapots in the background, etc). This is quietly one of Kaurismaki's greatest homages to his Japanese idol...

I refuse to go to my grave until I have proved to myself that I’ll never reach your level, Mr. Ozu - Aki Kaurismaki, Talking With Ozu
Late Autumn / Fallen Leaves

The Only Son / Fallen Leaves


Fallen Leaves also has a lot of easter egg references to everyone from Bresson & Visconti to his good friend Jim Jarmusch (besides a scene where the two lead characters go and watch The Dead Don't Die, the minimal dialogue between the two love interests is reminiscent of the sparse dialogue in Jarmusch's Ghost Dog)...
 
Bresson

Visconti

Jarmusch


Film Quarterly: Which directors reign supreme in your pantheon of influences? 

Aki Kaurismaki: Robert Bresson


some Bresson-ian moments in Fallen Leaves...
Four Nights Of A Dreamer / Fallen Leaves

L'Argent / Fallen Leaves

L'Argent / Fallen Leaves

Une Femme Douce / Fallen Leaves


Now that we’ve got the old Kaurismaki back, I’d like for him to stay put and stay in his lane for as long as possible. I know that sounds incredibly stifling and selfish, but I’m an only child and sometimes we can get a little self-serving.

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