Thursday, October 12, 2006

Random DVD round-up 1 - SONG OF SONGS ****

There are a lot of films I watch that I don't get round to reviewing because of time constraints and because they are on such limited release it seems less relevant. Some of them are great, some odd, some are pants, but they're all available on DVD. Here's a quick round-up:

SONG OF SONGS is a highly original film by writer-director Josh Appignanesi. He sets his contemporary drama in London's Orthdox Jewish community and homes in with brutal intensity on a young brother and sister. She is utterly devout - even wearing a wig to cover her hair - and has returned from Israel to care for her sick mother. She tries to reach out to her alienated brother with murky emotional and sexual consequences. The movie is filmed on DV with a shoe-string budget but has a decisive visual style and makes an impact nonetheless. The two leads - Joel Chalfont and Nathalie Press - deliver intense performances. My only criticism is that in depicting the austerity of this community - and in particular, Nathalie Press' character - engaging with the movie can be rather difficult. There are few openings - few points of empathy or contact. SONG OF SONGS is therefore hard work - but very rewarding, and that rarest of things - a genuinely original film.

SONG OF SONGS was originally shown at London 2005 and was given a super-limited release in the UK back in February. It is available on Region 2 DVD.

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