Kafka's short story is not so much the animating spirit of O'Sullivan's meditative essay as a suggestive guide. The film is superlatively edited and shot and, as in the director's previous work, sound is a vital component of the ensemble. For all its formal elegance and wit, however, this is a quietly angry piece of work, and a reminder that Europe has little reason to feel smug when regarding Trump's America.
Thoughtful and compelling; strong concept. Many of the reviewers miss the point that the voiceover is a cleverly (and very faithfully) edited reading of Kafka’s prescient short story The Great Wall of China. The chosen locations, criss-crossing Europe, are arresting, and though some of the footage comes across a bit as random, some of it is stunning (Greek riot police particularly).
Very clear concept. Voice-over reading a text from Kafka, menacing drone sounds, on the image level: Europa and its centres of financial power and security business in the north, and the south and it's migrant camps and border structures... Though have I seen something new? What is the message here? In my opinion; borders aren't the problem. It's our need for security because we still feel uneasy with existence
Good intentions; elitist approach. O'Sullivan's style is cold and too calculated and & images too sterile and academic. Considering how many lives are destroyed and ended everyday by the walls of the film, the director remains curiously unengaged, bordering on class tourism. No level of research & filmmaking skills can help you understand and portray this topic if you are living firmly on the wrong side of the wall.
Innovative idea that deserves praise. Kafka's story is well illustrated by shots of modern day walls. Unfortunately, the dialogue is mainly one way; the narration doesn't add anything substantial to what we see. And as the images themselves are presented devoid of context, history and explanation, the film ultimately fails to come to terms with the more pressing challenge of understanding the world in which we live.
Interesting and fresh take on borders, walls, immigration, architecture and psychology. It ventures surprisingly deep into our very nature - where the idea and need for walls and exclusion really comes from... The cinematography conveys the oppressive feel of architecture, you can almost feel how it crushes you into the ground, just like "authority" does. Using Kafka as a source is thoughtful and works rather well.
(2.5 stars) Not much to enjoy here, but it's not bad. It tries to make a correlation between China's Great Wall and immigration, aka current walls. There's an interesting poem read in a very uninteresting way. So I can see the artistic attempt here... but it's just not delivered very well overall. So, even though there is great potential here, I'm kind of "meh" on the film as is.
An exceptionally mature, in cinematographic terms, elevation of the idea of border and boundary to semantic and political heights in a Europe caught amidst its own contradictions. The extremely elegant pans travel from London and Athens to the architectural sites of a disenchanted continent, where surveillance and borders 'integrate' by 'excluding'. A Europe in limbo like the African refugee on a barbed wire fence...
Rather than an analysis of borders, walls and social policy, this film draws on Kafka to make broader critiques of the human psyche. The cinematography is mesmerizing and I started to feel concrete-and-steel sick with the weight of countless edifices pressing down on me. The drone music added to the impact without overwhelming it. Will take a while to process I think.
Speaking of, on or about a subject is assuming some sort of responsibility for swaying your audience emotionally/intellectually. This feels devoid of any responsibility or message. Just appears to jump on the bandwagon of the very real injustice of national (and EU) borders without adding anything new to the conversation. As if that fact that Kafka provides insight into modern society and politics was a surprise.
Film overall is powerful with great coverage,however there are too many slow scenes for me.Voice over tells a great overall message. A beautiful opening scene into our story. Interesting how a wall can signify power. Choice of music went really well by drawing dynamics with a church/chant like sound. I would recommend it to anyone who is into history,architect. There was some good quotes such as "Believe,Obey,Fight".
At the core of this original documentary about Europe's uncomfortable relationship with immigration is Kafka's The Great Wall of China- which obviously is Kafka's. O'Sullivan plays a catch up game with Kafka in order to remain relevant but barely succeding. Because, aside from an inspired obssesive soundtrack and sporadic sequences, the visuals seriously lack the punch of Kafka's borrowed and meditative narrative.