CamerImage 2013: Music Video Competition, 12 Years A Slave, Gravity
Posted on Saturday November 23, 2013, 19:42 by Simon Braund in Under The Radar
The big draw on Thursday at CamerImage was the Music Video Competition. The sixteen nominees played to a standing-room-only – make that no-room-only – crowd at Opera Nova. Highlights included director Floria Sigismundi’s bizarre and sinister film for David Bowie’s The Stars (Are Out Tonight) which portrays Bowie as a slightly seedy middle aged man, married to Tilda Swinton and seemingly menaced by an incarnation of his Heroes-era self and the two creepiest celebrity stalkers ever. Dizzee Rascal’s sweary and hilarious Bassline Junkie also scored a hit with the crowd (directed by Megaforce, cinematography by Mathieu Plainfossé), but the best of the bunch, in Empire’s view (one taken from the not terribly advantageous point of a crowded stairwell) was Joel Compass’s Back To Me, directed by Ian & Cooper and beautifully shot in black and white by cinematographer Pat Scola. A haunting micro-drama involving a young boy, a stick-up gone wrong and an eerie voodoo resurrection, it employs an unnerving technique whereby details in the frame move as normal – a blinking eye, a hand knocking on a door – while the rest of the image remains frozen. A world away from the standard ragbag of surrealist imagery-in-search-of-a-point approach, it’s an evocative, strangely moving piece that perfectly compliments the melancholic strains of the music. Way, way better than David Fincher’s song-and-dance pastiche for Justin Timberlake’s Suit & Tie, that’s for sure.
Things are hotting up in the festival’s other events. The audience favourite for the Main Competition appears to be director Steve McQueen’s harrowing historical drama 12 Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free black man in antebellum America who is abducted and sold into slavery. Up for a Golden Frog for that is DP Sean Bobbit. Another film in the Main Competition that caught Empire’s eye was Shirley – Visions Of Reality (cinematographer Jerzy Palacz) a sprawling, uncategorizable journey through 20th Century American history inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper. Not a film you’d expect to come out of Austria, but there you are.
On Wednesday, Alfonso Cuaron’s literally breathtaking Gravity screened in the 3D Films Competition. Other films in contention for the Frog in that category are Avatar, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, The Great Gatsby, Life Of Pi, Oz: The Great And Powerful, Pina (Wim Wender’s love letter to iconic German dancer Pina Bausch) and extreme surf documentary Storm Surfers. It’s a crowded field but – just to administer the kiss of death – Empire’s zlotys are on Gravity, the first film (with the possible exception of Werner Herzog’s Cave Of Forgotten Dreams) to which 3D is absolutely integral, rather than a gaudy add-on that gives you a headache and allows the studios to up the ticket price.