spacetime coordinates: Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, Poland 6 – 7 October 1944Son of Saul (Hungarian: Saul fia) is a 2015 Hungarian drama film directed by László Nemes and co-written by Nemes and Clara Royer. It is set in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, and follows a day-and-a-half in the life of Saul Ausländer (played by Géza Röhrig), a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando. The film’s many historical sources included the personal accounts of Schlomo Venezia and Filip Müller, the records of Miklos Nyiszli, a Romanian-Jewish doctor who was forced to work in the crematoria, and Claude Lanzmann‘s Shoah (1985).
During the preparation, director László Nemes, cinematographer Mátyás Erdély and production designer László Rajk made a pledge to stick to certain rules, or a “dogma”, which included: The film cannot look beautiful. // The film cannot look appealing. // We cannot make a horror film. // Staying with Saul means not going beyond his own field of vision, hearing, or presence. // The camera is his companion, it stays with him throughout this hell.
The film took five months of sound design, where human voices in eight languages were recorded and attached to the original recording of the production. Sound designer Tamás Zányi described the sound in the film “as a sort of acoustic counterpoint to the intentionally narrowed imagery”. The music score by László Melis is intentionally kept so subtle that viewers won’t even notice it. (read more: imdb, wiki)The film follows the same stylistic approach as László Nemes’ first and most successful short film Türelem (2007). In the short, the camera follows a woman proceed with her daily work routine with a very narrow focus and vision, until she walks up to a window and sees a group of Jewish prisoners stripped down by Sonderkommando prisoners and SS officers. The short is available online HERE.
spacetime coordinates: 2012 Barcelona Spain
The Body (Spanish: El cuerpo) is a 2012 Spanish crime thriller mystery film directed by Oriol Paulo. The plot follows a detective searching for the body of a femme fatale which has gone missing from a morgue.
Human Flow is a 2017 German documentary film co-produced and directed by Ai Weiwei about the current global refugee crisis. Ai Weiwei also comes from a past of displacement; his entire family was exiled to an isolate village of Xinjiang in the Gobi desert due to his parents being writers in the midst of the Cultural Revolution in China.
Like Human Flow, Ai has created similar art installations such as the “Law of the Journey” that features a 200 foot inflatable boat carrying 258 refugee figures, “Laundromat” where he filled a New York City gallery with discarded clothing and personal notes left by refugees in a camp in Idomeni Greece, and the recreation of the captured image of Aylan Kurdi, the young Syrian who drowned off the coast of Turkey.
spacetime coordinates: the Orient Express, winter of 1934Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 American mystery drama film directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley in supporting roles.
The film is the fourth adaptation of Christie’s novel, following the 1974 film, a 2001 TV film version, and a 2010 episode of the television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The plot follows Poirot, a world-renowned detective, as he seeks to solve a murder on the famous trans-European train in the 1930s.
spacetime coordinates: 2010’s Stockholm
“The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.”The Square is a 2017 Swedish satirical drama film written and directed by Ruben Östlund, and starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West and Terry Notary. The film is about publicity surrounding an art installation, and was partly inspired by an installation Östlund and producer Kalle Boman had made.
(development) Originally with the performance artist who entertains the affluent patrons, Östlund was considering modelling the character after G.G. Allin, but deciding that that would be too “extreme”, he fell back on his interest in animal imitations. In crafting the scene, his concept was: “this internationally recognized artist is pretending to be a wild beast. What happens when he enters a room full of people in tuxedos?” The scene was inspired by a real incident with the artist Oleg Kulik, who performs as a dog and had attacked people at a notorious event in Stockholm. Other artists parodied in the film include Julian Schnabel, Robert Smithson and Carl Hammoud.
Oleg Kulik “Reservoir Dog” Zurich 1995
spacetime coordinates: 17th-century. the kingdoms of Longtrellis / Highhills / Strongcliff Tale of Tales (Italian: Il racconto dei racconti) is a 2015 European dark fantasy film, directed by Matteo Garrone, starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, and John C. Reilly. It is a screen adaptation based on collections of tales by Italian poet and courtier Giambattista Basile: Pentamerone ( a 17th-century collection of fairytales) or Lo cunto de li cunti (Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones), which contains the earliest versions of famous fables like Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.
The Baroque stories manage to mix real and surreal with many metaphorical usages. The three tales are La Cerva Fatata (The Enchanted Doe), La Pulce (The Flea), La Vecchia Scorticata (The Flayed Old Lady), that have been freely adapted with elements of other tales by Giambattista Basile, as well as a touch of artistic license. All three stories are told in a mixed way, pieced in fragments through the whole film, with all three briefly joining for a royal funeral near the start and a royal coronation at the end.
spacetime coordinates: unnamed war-torn European city in “The Age of Reason” (late 18th century, Wednesday)The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a 1988 adventure fantasy film co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, and Uma Thurman.
The film is based on the tall tales about the 18th-century German nobleman Baron Munchausen and his wartime exploits against the Ottoman Empire.