Blakeson - Writer

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

"Arrival", "Blink", "Love, Lies & Taxidermy", "Cascade Dance Theatre", "Word, Image, Digital"

Recent reviewing assignments have included Phil Porter’s charmingly messy romantic comedy “Blink” at The Other Room; a diverse trilogy of small-scale contemporary dance pieces from Cascade Dance Theatre at Swansea’s Taliesin Theatre and, most recently, at The Sherman, Alan Harris’s “Love, Lies & Taxidermy”, a fast-moving teen-romantic comedy set in Merthyr.

"Blink" (photo: Aenne Pallasca)
 I also went to see Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival”, in which Amy Adams plays a linguist who is called in to attempt to facilitate communication when a number of huge obelisks from elsewhere in the universe arrive on Earth (or rather, hovering over a number of locations on it), since their intentions are unclear. It is a thoughtful take on Cold War-inflected alien invasion movies of the 1950s, with the military primed to attack and more scientifically-minded voices advising caution. Adams is the humanistic focus, receiving able support from Jeremy Renner as a wise-cracking physicist, Forest Whittaker as the buttoned-down military man under pressure, and Michael Stuhlbarg as the more gung-ho government agent. It’s not exactly action-packed, and the cerebral take on the representation of the alien language (rather like smoke-signals) means that developments are as hard for the audience to decode as the characters. A clever narrative twist towards the end, however, plunges us into deep emotional waters, forcing us to face impossibly profound issues. Powerful work, which lingers in the mind.


I couldn’t make it to the inaugural New York Jazz Film Festival, but at least my film of Carl Sandburg’s poem “Jazz Fantasia” was there, and picked up a prize in the “mixed genre” category, which was nice.

I also gave a rare academic presentation, speaking at a symposium entitled “Word, Image, Digital”- a return to Cardiff University where I did my first degree. My contribution was about films made by myself and others of poems posted to the no-longer-extant Poetry Storehouse website, and it seemed to go down quite well.

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