So, I've had an enriching couple of days with art film. Courtesy of Sam, I watched a DVD full of David Lynch's short films. They were wonderful. It was neat to see his handiwork in regard to animation(he began as a visual arts student), as well as the general execution of some of his ideas in shorter form. The Grandmother was a real treat. And The Cowboy and the French Man(or was it the French Man and the Cowboy?) was entirely ridiculous. I don't think I've ever laughed that much at deadpan, bare-faced humor and purposely(I hope) bad acting. Stereotypes can be fun to mess with. :P
I also had the surprise pleasure of finding and watching Begotten. I was completely unfamiliar with E. Mehrige, the director(though I'm also unfamiliar with plenty others), and it seemed to me that his directing profile did not really reflect the type of film this supposedly was. But I checked it out.
Eighty minutes of 8mm, black and white footage later, I was kind of stunned. Overtly raw and sexual, it was a sort of horror of metaphysical entities. I found myself entranced by the light and shadow play, as well as the jerky motions of the Son of Earth and the strange robed men who find him. Along with having no dialogue, there are very mysterious moments in which you only catch a few frames of a specific shot, and with the grainy footage you may only get an implication of what you think you may have seen. It does seem purposeful, and adds a dimension of reality where there shouldn't be as if you were really witnessing an awful event but it's happening so suddenly that you're not entirely sure that what you're seeing is actually happening, or of the actual intent of the entities involved.
The other quality that really stood out to me was the use of sound. There was a very complex sound design, despite having no dialogue. There were musical moments, but they were few and rather bare. The focus lay in ambient sounds.There would be segments where all you could hear was some sort of cricket or cicada, then perhaps a bird, or liquid trickling, or metal banging, or gravel crunching. The sounds were obviously reflective of the story, or even premonitory as to what would happen in a minute or so. Sounds would then be blended so that perhaps you heard the cricket, then prevalently gravel but still with crickets in the background, and sounds added and subtracted from that, and so on. Most of these sounds made returns, and I often found myself being somewhat disoriented by the fading in and out and refocusing of certain sounds.