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SIFF Double Feature No. 2: Modern Life and Still Walking

By FilmNerd May 23, 2009

Modern Life (Raymond Depardon, France, 2008) is a love letter to the French countryside and the dying breed of farmers who live there. The movie alternates between long takes from Depardon's car window as he navigates mountainous country roads and interviews with the locals—often ancient, taciturn subjects, whose weathered, craggy faces take the place of their voices.   

Depardon uses widescreen shots—not only to highlight the mountain vistas—but to put interviewees in context. Even at a close angle, head and shoulders only fill a third of the screen, leaving room for a barn, a brightly colored tablecloth, or a cluttered kitchen counter.  

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="427" caption="Raymond Privat in Raymond Depardon's Modern Life"]Raymond Privat in Raymond Depardons Modern Life[/caption]

Next up:  Still Walking (Kore-eda, Japan, 2008)—which got top honors at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.  In this character-driven piece about intergenerational differences and family tension, Kore-eda concentrates on the emotions churning beneath the surface. Even an exchange about a child's toothbrush boils with the subtext of a Chekhov drama.  

Modern Life screens again Tuesday, June 2, 7pm at Harvard Exit.

Still Walking shows Friday, May 29, 11am at Pacific place.

My bet is neither film gets US distribution, so catch them while you can.
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