Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"Parallel Lines" / "The Incident"

My latest theatre visit, on behalf of the British Theatre Guide, was to see Katherine Chandler’s “Parallel Lines” at Chapter, the script of which won the 2012 Wales Drama Award (indeed, the press night coincided with the announcement that she’d received a runners-up award for another play from the judges of the Bruntwood Prize). An impressively angry, funny and poignant piece, about young people being severely let down by their elders.

In an attempt at flash fiction, I wrote an 800 word short story entitled “The Incident”, and posted it on the Readwave website, just to see if anybody would read and comment on it. So far, so good.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Poetry Storehouse

Up until now, the majority of poetry films I've made, using material from the public domain Prelinger Internet Archive, have taken audio from other public domain sources, such as Librivox. However, my attention has recently been drawn to the Poetry Storehouse website, where established poets have chosen to upload their work for the express purpose of having it repurposed. Well worth a look. Here's my first attempt at a video-poem based on a piece I found there.

"Playing Duets with Heisenberg’s Ghost" by Peg Duthie from OTHNIEL SMITH on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Gravity" (in 3D)

I’m predictably sceptical about 3D cinema, or more specifically, the cynical money-grubbing that characterises it. Nevertheless, it has to be said that Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” really needs to be seen in the format for which it was designed.

The story is a simple one – an astronaut gets stranded in space whilst making a modification to the Hubble telescope, and struggles to make her way back to Earth. It’s a B-movie plot with an A-list cast - Sandra Bullock, effortlessly likeable as the heroine who is already struggling to find a will to live as the story begins; George Clooney as her coolly reliable, drily amusing co-worker.

Unlike previous successes in the format (I was especially fond of “The Life Of Pi”) 3D is inherent to the story-telling within “Gravity”, and is immersive throughout. We share Bullock’s disorientation and desperation via some gleefully impossible camera angles; both the imagery and the tension are breath-taking. The Cuarons (the co-writer is Alfonso’s son Jonas) play wittily with science-fiction clichés, as well as with the conventions of the format, with all sorts of objects floating around and hurtling towards us.

The film sticks strictly to Hollywood convention in terms of narrative structure, and the message, if there can be said to be one, is somewhat basic (“Choose Life”); but, frankly, it gives us more than enough to worry about without throwing in intellectual challenges as well.

The fact that Cuaron’s film is an artistic triumph does nothing to suggest that 3D is the future of cinema – there are few filmmakers who have the imagination to use the technology to its fullest, and not that many stories for which it’s appropriate. “Gravity”, however, is a major achievement, both technically and aesthetically.

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Friday, November 08, 2013

"Say It" / Moving Poems

"Say It", the short film I wrote for the It's My Shout scheme, kicked off the Made In Wales series this week on BBC2 Wales, and is currently available to view on the iPlayer. I rather enjoyed it - excellent work from all involved.

I've also got some work featured on Dave Bonta's fascinating Moving Poems website. Which is also lovely.

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