Of Moonshine and Elephants

Since I wrote about little unimportant events (out of boredom) I should continue writing about quite small events:
I’m practising the Moonshine Sonata by Beethoven on the piano now, for my conquer of one of Chopin’s pieces gave me enough vanity to have another go at this masterpiece. First I played the whole thing (and I think I made it in under 20 min! :D) which worked out better than the last time I tried it, then I started in the ending (after the pain in my fingers was gone) so no matter what would happen before the ending would always sound good. That’s a very good old trick, the ending now sounds perfect, but I don’t like playing the last lines any more because I played it too often. 😀
Anyway. The Sonata reminds me of another movie I could talk about: Elephant. Director: Gus Van Sant. Rating: Ten million stars.
I started watching it some years ago, in my English classes, and only a few people were interested so we stopped. I myself was dazzled by the long tracking scene in the beginning (the tracking of Nathan) – to the beautiful and chilling music of Beethoven’s Moonshine Sonata. So when in NZ I saw the DVD on a shelf of the local Video Ezy Shop (one of my favourite shops ever, by the way) I was excited to rent and watch it, finally, the whole one. I watched it in the middle of the night, and I could hardly sleep. I’m not inhibited to say that I was sobbing my eyes out and I was absolutely shocked and speechless. And this is a huge compliment to the movie. I don’t wanna talk about the story too much, but rather about the way it’s told. As I mentioned, there are heaps of endlessly long tracking shots which makes it all look realistic, almost like a 24h observation documentary or something, and it adds this slow melancholic pace. You just watch these normal people (the actors are actually playing themselves which adds further realism), you spend time with everyone of them – indeed the movie goes back in time quite a few times, so you see the same day six times, just always with another person on focus. These long shots make it hard to keep continuity, but the music helps a bit with that – I think every piece of music (mainly the Moonshine Sonata and Für Elise) is there from their beginning to their ending, and they create a lot of the atmosphere, being more than just background music. Way more. Thanks to Elephant I’ve finally understood how dark a piece Für Elise actually is.
“An ordinary high school day. Except that it’s not.” I find it’s an important movie, so soft but adamant, so sweet but chilling and horrible. It’s just such an amazing movie. You may need some time until you’ve digested it. Be speechless. But in the end I’m pretty sure you will think quite the same.
This is a link to a really good (German) review of it: http://www.faz.net/s/Rub070B8E40FAFE40D1A7212BACEE9D55FD/Doc~E8526B704A0B8453E9BFE27A0D86C7600~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html


2 thoughts on “Of Moonshine and Elephants

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog. I agree with your comment about Gus Van Sant. He is a very talented director, however, I did not like what he did with his remake of “Psycho”. Anyway, that is just a sidenote.

    • I’ve just seen the original “Psycho” and I loved it, I don’t know if I should ever watch a remake of it… But yes, he is great. I love it how he’s just not afraid of putting people off, I think that’s so important if one wants to be an artist =)

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