Tuesday, 13 October 2015

BFI Film Festival - 11 Minutes

At first, I thought this was a thriller. It does have that aspect to it, thanks to the amazing score but overall, this is about impending destruction that can occur from just a few small actions. 11 Minutes, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, feel like it was going to be a different film but turned into something else. In the Q & A Skolimowski actually mentioned that there were over 80 edits and that he had to write out each storyline separately and the begin to cut into them. There are several characters that interact with each other, even more a brief moment. There are even characters you only see once or twice and there is even a POV for a dog.
 The film starts with short introductions to a few of the characters through filming on a phone, CCTV, laptop camera, skype and an interview camera. This was described by Skolimowski as the prologue to the main feature which was shot beautifully.

We see the various characters and their 11 minutes, but not in a straight forward one by one, the stories interlock, playing with the time line, this is made even more obvious by a shot of water strickling down a building in reverse. Not all the characters experiences are dramatic but their background is and vice versa.
A newly married couple act as the opening and closing sequences, which bring the film full circle and could even possible lay blame to just one person for the, for me anyway, unexpected dramatic closing scene. The newly married couple are filming themselves on their wedding day or day after and their happy. The wife is a model and actress and goes to meet a classic sleazy American producer at a hotel. The husband wakes up in a sweat, he panics as he remembers he put sleeping pills in their drinks and runs over to the hotel to warn her. He also seems worried about the meeting too as he stalks the hotel floor trying to get into the room. Another story is a couple have broken up and the girl gets the dog. A hot dog seller speaks to a group of nuns, giving away his last hot dog before being spat at by a teenager who ensues he was released from prison recently. A group of paramedics go to the aid of a women in labour in cramped buliding where a neighbour has blocked the stairs with a wardrobe. A old man painting the bridge witnesses a stunt shot for a film. A young man tries to rob a pawn shop only to find that the owner has hung himself.
 Throughout the film, several of the characters notice or point out something dark in the sky. A man watching the CCTV traffic footage rubs his screen but a colleague says its a dead pixel, but this is hint there is something more sinister going on. Coupled with a low flying  plane, gives the impression of unease. Skolimowski, said that this was a cancer, a disruption waiting to happen. This impending doom becomes something we are gradually aware is happening or going to happen, in 11 minutes. The end sequence is slowed down for the maximum dramatic effect taking about 2 or 3 minutes to happen when in real time took seconds. I have to say, again, I wasn't expecting the end, at all. I thought it was something else entirely.

A brilliant film overall, a few niggles from me here and there but I won't say anymore as I hope people will see it if it gets released wherever you are.

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