I’ve had a busy time recently.
On Sunday I went to see We Need To Talk About Kevin, a film based on the book of the same name by Lionel Shriver. I read the book some time ago and wondered how the film would portray the disturbing subject matter of a killer teenager. I know my OCA course isn’t about film making, set design or theatre but having spent many years as a miniaturist creating scenes, scale models and period pieces it’s obvious that I have a liking for this type of thing. Anyway, back to the movie.
The filming was edgy, disjointed and moody – utterly brilliant. I was surprised at how little dialogue there was and yet how powerful the film became. Dark somber sets, with dulled lighting, rainy days and a lot of nighttime scenes helped to set the tone. The sheer drabness showing the current day circumstances of the mother had me feeling her complete dissociation with what we would consider ‘the normal world’ and her resignation (is resignation the right word? Possibly ‘numbness’ would be better) with all that had befallen her family. The splashed red paint thrown across the front of her home provided a shocking brilliance in colour which just heightened the drama of the event.
This was a disturbing, powerfully made film which forced everyone in the cinema to work to understand and follow the course of events, a refreshing change from a lot of the middle of the road productions we see these days where the plot is laid out and we are led along an easily followed route to a predictable end. I don’t have children but for those who do I imagine this film would be confronting and would bring to the fore every parent’s worst fears. I strongly recommend going to see it, but don’t expect an easy ride.
A couple of weeks ago I went to see a staged production entitled The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. This end of year play was put on by second year actors at NIDA – National Institute of Dramatic Art (Film & Television). On arrival I was thrilled to see the whole of the theatre foyer was filled with an exhibition of students work. Unfortunately I hadn’t realised this exhibition would be in place so I hadn’t got my OCA Research Point questions with me and I didn’t record as much info as I could have. However I did manage to have a good look round.
The exhibition was extremely well set out with full length period costumes on display and accessories in glass cases near by each one. These included head wear, gloves, the most exquisite handmade shoes, umbrellas and the like. In another section there were fantasy costumes with glass fibre breast plates, ornate and wonderous headdresses, swords, weaponry and foot wear. Amazing stuff.
Removable partitions had been erected to hold many, many sketches of costumes and another section had shelving which held scale model set designs. Loved those!! The set for the production we were seeing was there along with themed boxes obviously made as assessment tasks. Visual diaries and workbooks were also on show and we were able to flip through some of these.
The most amazing part was a section slightly apart from the rest which had long white flat columns standing in a circle. Each one had a photograph of a person and a set of headphones. This was how the producers and directors work was being made public. They had recorded their work process for all to share. It was so enlightening.
Without a doubt the highlight for me was looking through the costume sketches at the range of drawing skills these designers have. I came to one student who could portray the wearables and bodies wonderfully but clearly had a problem with faces. He had cut out models faces from catalogues and stuck them onto his designs. It reminded me that if you can’t achieve something one way, look for another.
And the play? Well, it was interesting – arty and a bit long – but entertaining all the same. I never thought I would see Satan on stage wearing a white suit, white shirt, white tie and white loafers. Mind you, the profanities that came from his mouth were just what you would expect!!