Understated yet tragic. The brief flashes of violence - emotional and physical - were very unexpected and revealed an underlying tension throughout the movie that I had not picked up on. More than anything I see this movie as a statement on the great distance and emotional neglect there exists in some (or all) families.
Friday evening, at home. My second foray into the Berlin School. There's a whiff of something contrite in the existential undertones of the plot, I tell myself. But then, the human microcosm is so rigorously observed, and the paralysis so oblique, that any wistful melancholia becomes impossible (or futile). The visual rhythm of is superb too, alternating tight and loose framing without missing one beat.
Found this much more interesting character-wise and plot-wise than "Marseilles" and "Passing Summer." A very bleak and bitter exploration of "The Seagull." Great encapsulation of what "happy, relaxing family holidays" inevitably become: brutal dissection of each person's failures and mean-spirited exposures of long-suppressed feelings.
Angela Schanelec often misses the mark for me, due to the way in which her movies tend to throw you in with characters that never seem fully grown beyond their individual scenes. Afternoon is another one that doesn't work, for that very reason. It's hard to be interested in people who seem so uninterested in themselves or those around them.
A prismatic, gossamer approach to Chekhov. The details and history of relationships are felt, but not explained. Characters engage in long, wordy exchanges that have echoes of the theater, but the film's undeniable mastery of story ellipsis, image composition, and sound design root this firmly in the realm of cinema. Drifts along at its own pace, requiring the viewer to submit to its laconic, sphinx-like presence.
AFTERNOON essentially takes Chekhov's THE SEAGULL and subjects it to a vivisection of interactions so coolly observed, so particular, that we may well forget (to our credit) that there was ever such a thing as the theatre. Schanelec here finds herself modelling a kind of cinema resembling that of her contemporary Joanna Hogg. Schanelec is even more austere and precise. Something of the laboratory about it.
Schanelec’s films contain numerous characters, but one has a feeling that each character acts in a different film, their own film, isolated from all the others. Characters speak and occasionally interact, but never really touch one another. One becomes acutely conscious of the irreconcilable distances between each of us, when we can only ever really see the surfaces and every narrative is exclusively our own.