Tuesday, December 28, 2010
SCN offers high art -- well, medium art, at least -- with AITA from José María de Orbe
TrustMovies would know the difference between high art and medi-um? Or low? And if it's art at all, can it be anything but high? Maybe the descriptive range should move from good to bad. But can there be bad art, if the art in question is real? And finally: Isn't it all just a matter of personal opinion, anyway? Which brings us to AITA, the "arty-est" of the movies in this year's Spanish Cinema Now.
Michael Bay or Steven Spielberg saying, "Person-ally, I hope this movies makes a billion bucks!") Aita, however, is anything but mainstream. The work of writer/director José María de Orbe, shown at left (with the writing collaboration of Daniel V. Villamediana), the film seems to me almost deliberately obfuscatory, beginning with its title -- which the SCN program lists as Aita aka Father, but which might just as easily aka as House. That is the film's main character and what it is most about: a house and its history, renovation and meaning. ("Father," it turns out, is the person to whom the movie is dedicated.)
Jimmy Gimferrer) -- of the interior and exterior of the house. The first image is of workmen hacking away at the overgrowth that surrounds the house. Soon we are inside it, seeing the decay, erosion -- and making discoveries. Will secrets be revealed? Not really. Or not much. Soon enough this seems to be a film of mostly images and light (or the lack of it). I don't remember spending as much time in the near-dark -- not even in Philippe Grandrieux's A Lake! -- as here, and after a bit, the experience of the house seeming to open up to light and then closing off to it again, grows oddly appealing.
Frank Gehry, which adds a whole other dimension to things) and the priest (in plainclothes, below, left) who occasionally comes to visit.
Anthology Film Archives might just jump, or some other museum/archival institution. If the film sounds like your cup of cinema, stick its name (or its aka, Father) in your memory bank, and when and if you see it playing again, make a point to go.