Daily Archives: October 4, 2012

StringCaesar by Paul Schoolman (2010) #rdff

Where the depth of this project begins and ends is incredibly hard to establish. Schoolman has achieved results that cannot be compared to anything done in the resocialization of prison history.
Schoolman entered three prisons as distant as South Africa, Canada and the UK. There, he worked with the inmates on recreating the life of Julius Caesar between the ages of 14 and 33.

The project is fascinating not only because of how it has been created but also with the merit it delivers.
There are a few actors (only 10% of the whole cast) such as Derek Jacobi, Alice Krige and the main Warren Adler playing Caesar. But the main corps cosists of prisoners.

The fascinating story changed the lives of the inmates and apparently noone before did drama workshops in prisons.

All in all the film should be admired for not only the idea of making it in prison, but also for the story that Schoolman took on board. This is not Shakespeare’s Caesar. This is Caesar as presented in historical sources. The dialogues, the songs, the majority of the text has been created by the inmates involved in the project.
The result is stunning for its theatricality – remember prison has a very limited amount of space, for its drama, for the involvement of all who took part.
Amazing, incredible watch delivering a proper old Greek classic catharsis for the viewer. A must see.

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Culture Shock by Steve Balderson (2012) #rdff

Lightweight comedy bringing to mind Scooby Doo group of teenage friends solving criminal mysteries.

Four twenty-something Americans are forced by their parents to visit Europe ‘as adults’. That means they have to deal with issues by themselves rather than ring parents for help, who refuse to pick up their calls.

Realised in a true indie spirit – most of the film was shot on a handheld digital camera. A list of thankyous is quite long – mainly to locations. Apparently the cost of the film did not exceed £3000. And yet, it is a nice dose of entertainment.

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Ballroom Dancer by Christian Bonke, Andreas Koefoed (2011) #rdff

How often does a documentary watch like a love story? Not that often in my experience.

This is a love story.

Camera follows Slavik – a Russian ballroom dancer, who works on returning back to fame, back to the good old days when he was the World Champion. He starts anew with new young partner and competes against his old flame, who kept the title – winning with her new partner.

This film is so amazingly photographed and scored, that only for those two elements it is worth a watch. And on top of that you have a great true story of one man fighting for his career, his love, his life. Amazing film.

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Percival’s Big Night by William Sullivan (2011) #rdff

One room, one continous take, four characters, three bags of ‘herb’.

Salvatore (Sal) is an ‘herbal enterpreneur’ – i.e. NOT a drug dealer.

His flatmate named Percival (Percy) is a struggling actor.

The two behave like an old married couple – but it becomes obvious that just like a married couple they couldn’t live one without the other.

What do they talk about? Girls, life, future. Then – when the girls arrive, they split into twos, however, whoever leaves the room is not followed. Just like in theatre, just like on stage.

I like such confined setups. It allows to focus the whole attention on what is being said rather than what happens. In a way this is a social analysis of contemporary 20-year olds and their lives, their hopes, their plans.

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