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Visions of Europe

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Visions of Europe was an opportunity for 25 respected directors to document and present their visions of the 25 countries of of the European Union throughout the medium of film – short film.  “Each director will give a personal vision of current or future life in this coming cultural melting pot.” (www.visionsofeurope.dk)  Through the website, you can click on a European country and the name of the director and his or her work will show up.  The first film we watched was a good start to understand the purpose of these particular films

European Showerbath (2004) was directed by Peter Greenaway.  This film is the United Kingdom’s installment in the Visions of Europe project.

This film reeked of sarcasm from the start.  Obviously, it had a different outlook considering it used a giant shower bath for people with painted flags on their bodies to wash in.  The flags made it a lot more clear to that sarcasm because there were more French, German and United Kingdom flags before any other European flag should up.  The idea of unity was presented as a joke, especially once there wasn’t any room for anyone else who seemed incompetent compared to who had the chance to get under the water.  This film was extremely critical and really pointed the idea of an “elitist” group and how certain countries definitely have more power, and resources to survive and “clean” themselves than others.  And the main three countries clearly have the most.  As a viewer, I liked the idea that all of these people seemed extremely different, which obviously makes sense considering the whole melting pot idea, and each country in Europe is so diverse in their cultures and citizens.  And the only thing they had in common was the shower and the fact that they were all nude with the exception of their painted country’s flags on their bodies and they all had to squeeze – no matter how “different they were – to fit, much like the Union, or what I’ve learned from the Union just by these movies.  This was my favourite out of the ones we watched in this collection.  It was a lot more understanding and kind of started off the next few films pretty well because it established the whole vision of the project itself.

Europa (2004) is unfortunately not anymore to be found while I was researching.  I have in my notes that it is directed by a Croatian director and I apologize if I possibly copied that wrong but this is a film that is apart of the Visions of Europe project.

This is just a great example of the grass is always greener on the other side, or at least it seems that way.  Two sides interacting with one another and while still keeping their differences in mind, they still communicate.  I like that there is a Soccer Championship reference and that it weighs heavy against the Union because both of those things are pretty significant in unifying parts of Europe, even if it involves disagreements and unsatisfactory results.  This film as a particular vision was well done and really shined through as a real truth in parts of Europe.  It’s interesting to see it in this type of perspective when the border is that small and even if it’s just an invisible line, it’s still there and separates a lot between people and environments.  There wasn’t a lot to find about this film, unfortunately.  I think it was a very simple way of looking at the European Union and this director must’ve felt like it didn’t need a lot of complexities to explain the Union, which is most likely really complex already.

Prologue (2004) was directed by Bela Tarr.  This film is the Hungarian installment of the Visions of Europe project.

This film was a lot more familiar in terms of a “Union” environment.  I really liked the shot value, though.  I liked the black and white, the detail of each person waiting in the line, the diversity was still maintained and even enhanced without a color film shooting it.  I think it was extremely powerful without dialogue and had such a huge message that portrays the fact that these workers go through extremely long days (much like the line). It was really hard to think of how long it would take the very last person just to get something to eat, probably not too much long before his break finished.  These films are difficult to track down on the internet but it’s evident that this film probably took a really long time to have that dramatically long line and the number of people that had to get together to produce this 6 minute film that showed at least 150+ people in that amount of time.  It was extremely impressive in terms of something that seems pretty simple to shoot and put together, but there is a lot of complications that had to of gone into this, much like the Union itself has a lot of complications it has to go through daily.  This film was much like the European Shower bath, except for the evidence of the different countries, Prologue still made it more recognizable that the Union has a lot of diversity, in their people and their situations and after watching this particular film in this project, it seems like it just can’t get worse.

Invisible State (2004) was directed by Aisling Walsh and is the Irish installment of the project.

This was by far the most powerful film that we watched in this collection.  It was hard-hitting and very straightforward which I think was fully the intention of the director of this one.  It’s hard to not feel the compassion the speaker has as he is speaking about the Union and the people involved and how affected everyone is.  It’s clearly a visual statement against the European Union and it’s presented very clear and thoroughly.  The camerawork and images  that accompanied the speech were also extremely powerful and helped the film’s message immensely.  Since we talk a lot about director’s styles, I think this collection of films really has a lot to do with the director’s styles and their personal take on the European Union.  The director’s had the freedom to present a visual component to their personal opinions, or their country’s perspectives and it was all in their hands to present it well.  I think out of the films we watched, they all had many differences about the same topic but each had a different style behind them that defined the director.

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Written by madieshortfilm

May 6, 2011 at 12:23 am