A friend of mine introduced me to some new work to research, Jean Painlevé. Jean Painlevé (1902-1989) was a film maker, who made documentaries, the animal documentaries being of particular interest to me. On first glance, he seems to have enjoyed cropping the scene really closely around the animal (or parts of the animal), which creates a kind of magic and implied personality.
Although the films are in French (and so I don’t understand all the nuance, unfortunately), he seems to have a subtle sense of humour in the narrative, which is especially evident in this line from “The Love Life of the Octopus”:
“There’s no officially sanctioned position for doing that.”
From the Wikipedia article (which must always be taken with some amount of salt): “Advocating the credo ‘science is fiction,’ Painlevé managed to scandalize both the scientific and the cinematographic world with a cinema designed to entertain as well as edify. He portrayed sea horses, vampire bats, skeleton shrimps, and fanworms as endowed with human traits — the erotic, the comical, and the savage. Painlevé single-handedly established a unique kind of cinema, the ‘scientific-poetic cinema’.”
This is the stuff I miss most from school- the sometimes off-hand suggestions from other people, constant conversation, and eyes other than my own.
I need to watch more, I think!
(Be sure to also check out Isabella Rosselini, who I mention in this post, Green Porno.)