I went to see a couple films at the DCA this week. This is something I would like to get into more, as it’s both fun and a good way to research visual material.
1. Eye of the Storm by Anthony Baxter
The first film I watched was the documentary “Eye of the Storm” by Anthony Baxter which follows Scottish landscape painter James Morrison at the end of his life, as he looks back at his art career. The film was a good historical account, giving a broad overview of the artist’s life and relation to other artists, most notably Joan Eardley. I hardly knew anything about him, besides going to his exhibition at the McManus in 2019, and I came out more aware of his place in 20th century Scottish art. I felt that the portrayal of Morrison’s physical ailments was quite touching and was inspired by how he adapted to them in his artistic practice.
On the other hand, I found the music to be overly sentimental and even distractingly grand at times, especially during the first half of the film. The film did a good job at humanising Morrison, so I don’t understand why they went for such a transcendental score.
Overall, the film was a informative and humanising, despite some cheesy moments. It was a great introduction to what motivated the painter throughout his life. Here are some of my favourite Morrison paintings, I especially love how rich the tones are in his skies.
2. Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethaku
The second film I watched was Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethaku. Here, we follow Jessica, a British woman working in Colombia, as she struggles with a reoccurring noise resonating in her head and memory loss. The film was challenging in its slow pace and minimal storyline. It did an excellent job at conveying a type of the mundane eeriness of memory loss. Jessica’s neurological symptoms creep in much like in a Lynch film, but end up playing out far more subtly. This was supported by Swinton’s excellent performance, which allows us to empathise with a character we hardly know anything about.
I really enjoyed the first half of the film, which takes place in Bogotá, and did a really good job at revealing what Jessica is experiencing in a non-linear fashion. The second half was unfortunately mostly lost on me, in the way it jarringly introduced the supernatural storyline. I’m not necessarily against this being a sci-fi film, but I thought it those themes could’ve been introduced far more gradually as it suddenly felt like we switched genres.
Also some of the shots were really beautiful.