josh (joshc) wrote,

entertainment report: earthling

So. Instead of seeing Phil Elverum's event at Hugo House, Carolyn and I went to see Earthling [siff] after hanging out on the deck in the sun at Solstice. Which, I realize, sounds like a kind of crazy decision. Although I don't know how great the “Let’s Finish Off the Dying Idea of Utopia" soundcheck thing was, I do know that Earthling was more than pretty terrific.

The good news is that if you happen to be in Seattle on Saturday morning, you still have a chance to see it. I mean, I hope that it will be picked up by a distributor, but why gamble? The movie is a sort of documentary (performance literature?) about a Wolfgang Bayer, a nature filmmaker, and his son and assistant Tristan. As a labor of love (they sell their Jackson Hole home to finance the film), they take the rest of the family -- Tristan's mother and younger sister -- on "one last" globe-spanning film shoot. Along with stunning visuals, the story is also constructed around the son's emerging independence as an artist and the family bonding that occurs on a two year adventure.

Although the "dialogue" and narration are the occasional weak points -- part of this is not really being able to know the degree to which the film was scripted, the other is in the over-written voiceovers -- these minor faults are more than balanced by the incredible story and truly breathtaking images. While I was most fond of the the underwater scenes, the family's journey takes them from the Arctic Circle to tropical rainforests to remote islands to butterfly-covered mountaintops. In these remote locations, they find & photograph polar bears, sperm whales, jellyfish, giant manta rays, orang utans and tons of other astonishingly beautiful scenery. The quality of the visuals alone makes it worth the price of admission.
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