Sunday, August 26, 2007

quelques chiens, quelques canards et quelques grenouilles

abbas kiarostami: five dedicated to ozu 2003

dogs episode:
abstraction from gradual overexposure (annihilation), with the subtle sound of waves.
"this (everything moving towards an absolute brightness) suggests eternity, birth, life, and resurrection" kiarostami

ducks episode:
800 ducks pass by the camera (the best kind of direction a director can achieve) with the sound of their feet producing a gentle, beautiful symphony.



moon and swamp episode:
in this sequence; we see the moon reflected in the water, clouds passing by (through water), outbursts of thunder and lightning, finally leading to dawn. helping these fine liminal moments along, we hear the sounds of dogs, frogs and other animals of the night, mixed with the soft rhythm of rain, gradually becoming more audible. the moments of black give the sounds an importance we are not accustomed to in today's cinema.
on (not) understanding a film: "nature is full of secrets, and discovering these secrets should not be easy" kiarostami

in abbas kiarostami's five dedicated to ozu (2003), we find a beautiful example of an artist with strength enough to take his hand out, and let nature become the artist.

many of these theartofmemory posts lately have dealt with the relationship between film (narrative or non-narrative), literature/poetry, photography, painting and sound-art.
much of this drive toward abstraction seems to be in the air at the moment, and i don't know if there is much of an influence on narrative film from the drone/sound-art field (there is the other way around), but it is hard not to look at much of contemporary film and sound-design (bela tarr, nuri bilge ceylan, gus van sant for example) without thinking of many of the fine recordings i have been enjoying over the years.

in watching kiarostami's five, i immediately thought of the sound work of chris watson, and his virtuoso recordings of nature.
besides his cd releases, chris watson has been one of the main sound recordists used by david attenborough for his programmes: the life of birds, the blue planet, life in the undergrowth, the life of mammals and life in cold blood.

here are some of chris watson's recordings:

-storm (with bj nilson) 2006
-number one (with kk null & z'ev) 2005
-weather report 2003
-outside the circle of fire 1998/2003
-stepping into the dark 1996

(information on five taken from the documentary around five: abbas kiarostami's reflections on film and the making of five, 2005)

((on a side note, any information/thoughts regarding sound art and film would be greatly appreciated. it seems there are few out there discussing it.))

(((title: some dogs, some ducks and some frogs)))


dave said...


dave said...

sound is so much of what transmits meaning and context in a shot, but in some ways is more ephemeral. unlike images, we can't capture a frame of sound and revisit it; sound is always and exclusively an art in time. sound is cinema - even in its absence.

the art of memory said...

yes i agree, that these films stand on thier own without image (maybe?), that is something. just as sound works, i have the cd of the bela tarr sountracks that i enjoy, but i think i miss all of his sound-work, and it is more enjoyable to just listen to the films. five is truly stunning soundwise, and i don't think there is much "design", maybe just with the last episode. the last one is great in its "tricky" editing and camera movement.