Tag Archives: must watch

TUNGUSKA DIARIES – A Different Take

The whole idea of my blog is to appreciate films that push the envelope and learn something while I do so. “Short films” is a medium that is really close to my heart and when I see a short film, so passionately made, it simply inspires me to make more and more films.

TUNGUSKA DIARIES from Alpha Hawk Films on Vimeo.

The film TUNGUSKA DIARIES is based on the true event near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia. It was a large explosion caused by an asteroid and it is the largest impact event on or near Earth in recorded history.

The first thing I did after watching the film is to read more about this strange incident. I suggest you to read about the incident first and then watch the movie so that you can enjoy it even more.

The film actually combines the “found-footage” method of filming with an impactful sound design. I could really sense the presence of something, which is not supposed to be there due to the whole POV treatment. And although not realistic, it works quite well for the film.

The cinematography of the camera needs to be appreciated as well! The camera is never static. And there is always something happening on screen. It really kept me intrigued. A few suggestions would be to search for a few facts on the technical aspect before filming, such as the aspect ratio and the quality of the footage to make it more believable. However, the short is a stylish and satisfying version of a real incident, so nevertheless it works for me.

Well, I can’t help but to go back to the music of this film. While watching the film, I knew something is about to go wrong. And the music built the suspense tremendously well. It felt like I was watching Cloverfield made by Alfred Hitchcock.

I feel it is never too easy to make a found footage film. And I also think that a found footage film should be as open ended as possible. The film does score well in that manner. The film is smart, scary in a way and showcases a creative twist. It brought this strange phenomenon to my notice. And now I cannot stop thinking about it.

Over here I want to give a big shoutout to the makers of the film, especially Martin Sommerdag, the Director. Their film – A Beautiful View is coming out shortly and it is already on my must watch list.

A Beautiful View [Teaser] from Alpha Hawk Films on Vimeo.

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#2 Timeless Classics – The Gold Rush by Charlie Chaplin (1925/1943)

After watching The Kid I could hardly resist watching yet another legendary film of the Tramp. I wanted to keep my journey as linear as possible but I could not find a good print of Woman of Paris (1923) or Shoulder Arms. I had to settle with this one.

Before we begin, here is some trivia about the film:

1. Chaplin himself declared several times that this was the film for which he most wanted to be remembered.

2. It is the fifth highest grossing silent film in cinema history and the highest grossing silent comedy film with $4,250,001 at the box office in 1926, now that’s a gold rush.

3. The film was re-released in 1942 with a newer music score, tighter edit and a narration by the maker himself. I watched the version with the narration. The new music score by Max Terr and the sound recording by James L. Fields were nominated for Academy Awards in 1943.

4.  The “roll dance” the tramp character performs in the film is considered one of the most memorable scenes in film history used again in many other films as a tribute or just because it’s too good.

5. For the special effects in the movie, a remarkably convincing miniature mountain range was created out of timber (a quarter of a million feet, it was reported), chicken wire, burlap, plaster, salt and flour. The spectacle of this Alaskan snowscape improbably glistening under the baking Californian summer sun drew crowds of sightseers.

I’ve begun to decode his formulae with his second film. What Chaplin does is he creates a very minute complication, something like sharing a shoe with Big Jim or surviving the blizzard and one problem leads to another where the innocence of the little tramp wins our heart.

Throughout the film I hated the character of Georgia. Even her pretty face seems ugly when she laughs with cruelty at our hero. I felt her character non gripping and uni dimensional. It was not just our hero in the Kid but also the kid and even his mother that shaped the intriguiing structure of the film. Over here, it was more or less Chaplin and to some extent Big Jim that felt lovable. Maybe the great showman wanted to portray the utter bargain based world, seeking for something in return from you.

I’ve mentioned the special effects above. For further understanding watch the video linked over here. The best part about all these effects, keeping aside there was no digital film making back then is the illusion that they create. We all know that this, what is happening in front of us is fake. We all know that Chaplin did not make the cliff fall off for his film. But the overall experience including the amount of details put into the act, the music and even the impeccable expressions of the actors make us wonder for just a second, how did they do this?

I loved the repetitive Chaplin style parts which make you laugh even though they are quite senseless. They celebrate the beauty of cinema. I wasn’t quite impressed by the story. Having watched quite a few films on the same premise could’ve hampered this statement. (I tend to dislike most of the classics in the first go due to all the hype!) And I was astonished with the awesome visual effects. In short, I can’t wait for another film by this little master.