Friday, February 19, 2016

Notes on Fantastic by Offer Egozy, USA: 2016-Berlin Filmfestival 2016 VIIII.-Forum

The only comment I read on this film which I can remember is; collegiate (in the sense of amateurish) up to the costume design”, a short note from a critic whose opinions I do not appreciate at all but who is very reliable in not appreciating the films I like or which find at least worth to see.
Fantastic evokes an important question in me: How to move freely through this high complex phenomenon called cinema with its huge variation of forms, genres and sub genres? There is no quick answer I can offer but I think this question is a good study for a study of this film which goes more into depth than my modest notes.
Whenever I use the term “playfulness”, I do it only as an expression of appreciation. Egozy calls his film “a pastel noir”. The plot offers elements of film noir and mystic thriller and there  are probably a lot of citations from the history of cinema. 

The film takes place in rooms especially designed for this film and open real locations. The costume design is interesting. It is very colourful and the kind of design has mostly a tendency to traditional East and Southeast Asian clothes. If I am not mistaken there was also a moment with Indian music but I am not sure anymore
A wise young Indian friend of mine once wrote in a note, I think it was on Edward Yang´s A Brighter Summer Day that” there is the film we just see and the film that is kept in our memory”  Fantastic was one of the films I saw very early in a close press screening and all I have is the memory of a film I saw more than a week ago. I might have forgotten details but I still remember this strange dreamlike mood. It evokes in me the two different kind of “extending” an experience with a film. The first kind goes back to my childhood when I had seen a film which left a strong impression on me. As a child I used to play what we call today “spin-offs” with my brothers, sisters or with friends. The second kind is to have a very long chat with friends after such a film experience. As we are seldom or never dressed like the characters in a film, the striking costume design and it´s seeming  discrepancy with the plot offers a special inspiration. When we the talking with friends about a certain experience with a film - which can include citations or imitations of certain gestures and dialogues from a film - that  has is s own magic. A film with the inevitable limit of it´s length becomes suddenly a nearly infinite field of imagination.
Just alone the title Fantastic evokes in me this special feeling. The film is not just a collection of citations from a genre but rather a fantasy about a certain kind of cinema and herewith very close to what I told before about this two variations of extending the experience we made with a film.
I remember a very good statement from Martin Scorsese in Stanley Kubrick - A Life in Pictures by Jan Harlan. Scorsese is defending in an interview Kubrick´s against accusations  that the New York how it is presented in his last film Eyes Wide Shut is phony. He says: Yes, it is not the real New York but it is the New York how you can dream it.” Scorsese´s words are as well a good help for me to find a kind of orientation in my memories of this film. Offer Egozy´s Fantastic, shot in 35 millimetre and in cinema scope reminds me in the reasons why I love cinema.

Rüdiger Tomczak

Sat Feb 20 Akademie der Künste 14.00

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