Stand van de Maan (Shape of the Moon) (2005) (Netherlands)

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Stand van de Maan (Shape of the Moon) (2005) (Netherlands)

Postby hengcs » Thu Apr 28, 2005 4:40 pm

This film has garnered
-- the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema (Documentary) in the Sundance Film Festival 2005
-- the Joris Ivens Award at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

Oh yes, it is a film from Netherlands, but filmed in Indonesia ...

-- It revolves around the life of a family of 3 generations, but primarily the old lady, the uncle and the grand daughter.
-- In terms of "plot", there are basically 2 main events (the marriage of the uncle and the old lady's moving back to the rural area ...) with a few subplots.
-- Noteworthy, audience who expect it to be a commentary on religious or political issues will be quite disappointed ... esp. when several synopsis try to "sell it" as a film about "Christians in a Muslim Land" ... I would rather say it is about the life of 3 people in a family who happen to be Christians ...

What is most interesting:
-- There is a great effort by the director to choreograph his frames (esp. the way he transits to different scenes). For most (not all) of the jumps, he will try to make sure there is some "continuity" in terms of visuals/images/theme ... (e.g., the gecko scene, the c*ck fight scene, the crest scene, the well scene, the soil scene, etc ...)
-- In essence, attentions are paid to cinematography and art direction ... (e.g., the walk on the high bridge scene, the moving house scene, etc) ... Most audience will likely remember the walk across the high bridge (with such ease and confidence) ...


What may be "puzzling":
(I guess the audience would have lots of questions to ask ...)
-- How did the director get to know the family?
-- How many months did they take to film it? ... given that the director had the chance to film a marriage and the move from urban to rural area ...
-- How many cameras did they have? Because there are occasionally different angles of some scenes ...
-- Most important of all: How much is really documentary and how much is "scripted" (if at all)?

What may be problematic (to some people):
-- Although there are hints at religion, politics, and modernization, there is not too much "probing" or in depth discussion of the issues involved ...
-- More importantly, will the audience feel that it is a fair portrayal of both religions (i.e., Christianity and Muslim)? I would rather let the audience who have watched the film decide for themselves ...

* Disclaimer: If you decide to share your views about the religious perspective, please do not get too antagonistic in the discussion ... *


Why is it titled Shape of the Moon?
-- There are 3 (or 4) allusions to the moon, if I recall correctly ...
(i) When the horde of people were chanting prayers ... the subtitles read something like "You are my moon, You are my sun ..."
(ii) The girl asked the uncle why the moon is sickled, and he provided some odd answer (because he was not educated) ... and they marvelled at the fact that the moon will always grow full again despite being "sickled" ...
(iii) The symbol of a moon and star on the mosques ...
(iv) (Given the choreography that I describe above), I am not very sure whether the beginning scene is simply the light at the end of the train tunnel or a moon that "morphed" into the end of a tunnel ... only the director and editor will know ...

I suspect it is titled as such because the moon always changes its shape but it will always be full again ...

So, if you happen to attend know the director, or meet the director (e.g., in a film festival), please ask him and enlighten us ... hee hee


In sum: watch it ONLY if you like some nice camera works ... do not be too demanding of the plot or commentary on religious and political issues ...
hengcs
 


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