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This is Martin Bonner


Overstreet
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I love the understated cinematic qualities of it. 

 

I love the way the Las Vegas environments seem so desolate and lonely, emphasizing why Travis instinctively grabs hold of the lifeline of an authentic, meaningful relationship when he finds it. (There's a wonderful 360-degree turn as Travis realizes his new environment, and it is paralleled by a shot of Martin's lonely new apartment.)

 

I love the shots of the eye tests, the way the auction lamp is lit as an indication of how Martin will put Travis "in the right light."

 

I love the way Martin's apartment is shot, especially the shot of him pacing outside the window while talking on the phone. Somehow he turns, pauses, and smiles at perfect points without ever looking posed, and what that shot suggests about his willingness to "brave the cold" for relationships.

 

I love the patience of Hartigan at the camera while Martin sits quietly and eats and reads.

 

I love the weight of the sky applying pressure to the car where Martin and Travis are first getting acquainted.

 

It's not cinematic in a showy way, but it isn't just "footage." Not by a long shot.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Oh, and another thing. That strong scene toward the end with the twist that's been pointed out above. Of course I loved it for the reasons that have been discussed above, but I also what to say: I'm not sure I've ever seen the pain and awkwardness of a long-absent parent and a grown child tentatively, fearfully trying to reconnect captured with more precision than that scene. Holy smokes. 

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Oh, and another thing. That strong scene toward the end with the twist that's been pointed out above. Of course I loved it for the reasons that have been discussed above, but I also what to say: I'm not sure I've ever seen the pain and awkwardness of a long-absent parent and a grown child tentatively, fearfully trying to reconnect captured with more precision than that scene. Holy smokes. 

 

Secrets and Lies

 

That's what it reminded me of, although far more understated than Blethyn's spectacular meltdown.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Yeah, I see why you made that connection. (FWIW, I've seen Secrets and Lies, although it's been awhile.)

 

To clarify, by "captured with more precision than in that scene" I was thinking of capturing such pain and awkwardness in a single scene, in a movie that wasn't primarily about that situation. Also, by "precision" I meant to suggest that instantly recognizable quality that runs through so many such relationships, i.e., the universality that comes through in the specificity of the characters. IIRC, Secrets and Lies devotes far more plot and screen time to developing the crucial relationship—and it's a pretty unusual situation, and I'm not sure it has the same universal quality this scene did. 

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Yeah, you're right. S&L is a very unique situation, and an emotional fireworks show as a result. But the overdue meeting between parent and child is similarly up-close, and if I recall correctly it's performed in one long shot as they sit side by side at a cafe.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Love this thread. Loved this film.

 

I love the way the Las Vegas environments seem so desolate and lonely, emphasizing why Travis instinctively grabs hold of the lifeline of an authentic, meaningful relationship when he finds it. (There's a wonderful 360-degree turn as Travis realizes his new environment, and it is paralleled by a shot of Martin's lonely new apartment.)

 

That is exactly the moment that came to my mind when I scanned past Christian's comment concerning the film's cinematic quality. The pace of the camera matches that of the plot beautifully. There were a few moments that made me think, "ah hah, indie film," but for the most part the composition felt relaxed and confident, never trying too hard and yet never being dull. There was a rich maturity to the film, not only in the character dynamics but also in the way it was shot. Great colors. Incredible use of the frame. Aesthetically, it was a pleasant experience.

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I liked this film quite a bit, for the reasons mentioned here, up until the last fifteen minutes or so, and then I think I started really liking it.

 

The connection I made near the film's end was to The Loneliest Planet. When Martin returns from his "phone call," he is in one moment making a decision that is going to impact the situation at large and change things for years to come. I don't think he can possibly know the impact his decision is going to have -- he is simply following his own gut, his own "instinct" (the word that has been used many times in discussing the decision made by Bernal in The Loneliest Planet).

 

There are certainly quite a few ways to dissect and discuss this quiet little movie. To me, that's proof of its strength.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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  • 1 month later...

The Muriel Awards caught Paul Eenhorn's eye. (See his brief comment at the end of the long post.)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 5 months later...
  • 5 years later...

Hartigan was a special guest via Skype in my Glen Workshop film seminar in Santa Fe last summer. We watched Martin Bonner and then he joined us for 45 minutes of Q&A. It was great. He was so generous with his time and perspectives.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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  • 8 months later...

I'm interviewing Chad Hartigan tomorrow about his new film Little Fish. Has anyone here seen it yet? It's uncanny about how pandemic-focused this project was already before the pandemic hit.

Anybody have a burning question for him? I'm happy to take suggestions.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Jeff, I doubt this is what you want to talk about with Chad, but I am interested in the *mechanics* of filming during (this stage) of the pandemic. Have most productions resumed? Is he just on hiatus? Is it different for small indies (do they have to deal with unions?) That sort of stuff. 

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