Zion National Park Time Lapse

I was browsing through Vimeo and came across this really cool time lapse by Issimo. It’s of Zion National Park and was made for the National Park’s service centennial year.

The camera is fitted with a tilt shift lens for some shots, really focusing your attention on small elements in-between the vast cliffs and canyons. The people and vehicles look like miniatures, roaming around the landscape which is truly stunning.

Check out more of Issimo’s videos here. I’m off to book a plane ticket!

The Walk (2015)

The Walk follows the story of Philippe Petit who, as a boy, sneaks into the circus and is transfixed by the high wire performers. The skill, the daring do, the showmanship. He has to learn how they achieve this amazing feat. This chance glimpse of another world leads him on a trajectory from a rope around two trees, through performing in the streets of Paris, to walking between the World Trade Centre Towers.

This is a story about ambition, following your dreams and making them reality no matter what. Anything is possible if you just believe.

We first see Philippe stood on the Statue Of Liberty as an adult regaling us with his audacious tale. This framing device is used throughout the film and is a constant distraction along with the narrative that stems from theses scenes. It pulls you away from the film sometimes at moments of high tension, when they’re hiding from guards in the tower or when Philippe starts his life changing walk between the towers. This would be much better left to the audience’s imagination, let them fill in the gaps rather than pulling them out with unnecessary narration.

At times it feels that visual effects are used because they can be, rather than to drive the narrative forward or emphasise a point. This can be seen when we catch up with Philippe in Paris, nearly all the colour is drained out of the frame except for certain items such as the food on the table at a Parisian cafe. Why? I will never know.

The cast do well with what they’re given, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s French accent seems strange at first but you do get used it as the film goes on. You can measure his commitment to the role by the fact that he learnt to walk the wire for real. The rest of the cast, bar Ben Kingsley’s Papa Rudy, are just there. Kingsley gets more to work with as he possesses the knowledge that Philippe needs to fulfil his dream. We never find out what motivates them to follow Philippe and essentially collaborate in criminal acts. Even he points out during the film he’s not the easiest person to get along with! The supporting cast are two dimensional, the focus is completely on Philippe.

The walks, oh the walks are truly breathtaking, tension filled scenes of bravery, madness, pushing yourself to the limit. The camera swirls around Philippe, closing in on the concentration and determination palpable on his face, his feet slowly making their way along the wire suspended in the heavens. These sequences, especially the final walk between the towers, give you a real sense of scale leaving you breathless as if you were on the wire with him. The audacity and the drive of the man all come together in one glorious wire walk above the streets of New York.

As much as this is a about Philippe Petit, it’s about the World Trade Centre. What it meant to people, what it inspired and how nothing stays the same however much we dream. The dream surrounding the building of the towers was as much as Philippe’s dream of walking between them. They stood for a different world for the one we live in today.

The film is bittersweet for all his achievements, he will never have that feeling again. The exhilaration of walking out into the void above us all where no man is meant to be. Forever never lasts forever.

The First Post!

With this blog I’m going to concentrate on what I love, devouring hours of films and boxsets. Sometimes this can be to the detriment of other areas of my life, we all have our vices. I can’t say I’m not scared trying this but I had to give blogging a try!

The title of the blog is a reference to my name and the house in Citizen Caine, I can promise you it has nothing to do with the Olivia Newton-John film of the same name! Xanadu means place of great beauty, luxury and contentment, it seemed fitting when talking about films and great TV.

There is just something about film that just drags me in to the images dancing in front of my eyes time and time again, I’m always searching for that feeling you get when you know you’ve seen something great that stays with you forever, gets you talking and coming back for more. It’s like a drug it can make you feel euphoria or the lowest low. The best cinema can make you question your place in the world.

The cinema to me is a place of reverence, a darkened room with row upon row of seats, the rustle of packaging (only cool before the films starts, of course). The sense of anticipation waiting for the lights to go down further until the projector jumps into life. It’s light throwing 30 foot images that have to be seen to be believed onto the screen. I even enjoy the adverts, I would live there if I could!

I’m partial to a boxset binge, who hasn’t spent a day off doing nothing but watch one show or hardly slept because you just have to watch one more episode?! There’s some great TV shows that let you explore the inner workings of characters, the major and minor changes in them in ways a movie can’t in two hours. My favourite of all time has to be The Wire and still if I find that someone hasn’t seen the show, I make it my mission to at least get them to give it a try, it’s all in the game after all.

So that’s a bit about how the moving image makes me feel and an idea of what this blog will be about. Time to get back to watching some stuff and forget about the world around me, escape is here!