Cabin fever on film has always been fertile ground for filmmakers keen on demonstrating mans unique ability for self-destruction when left to his own devices. A unique subset of this gruelling world is the sole man in space scenario that has almost become a genre into itself, a shipwrecked survivor for the 21st century. Usually of course they’ve bumped off the rest of the crew to get in that position. Or at the very least the computer has.
Space works so well in films like Moon, Solaris (yes even Soderbergh’s), and Sunshine due to the contrast between the limitless expanse of space that is so inaccessible yet full of possibilities, and the limited expanse of the pod/ spaceship/ space station that is vulnerable man’s only means of experiencing this final frontier. Love (Shock) poses a simple question. What happens if the only human connection that man has (via radio feed with those back in mission control on earth) is severed?
The answer of course is not good things. For one the cabin fever becomes more apparent. The distractions don’t work anymore and all thoughts turn inwards. That’s rarely a good thing. Particularly in cinema, a form obsessed with stupendously radical character arcs in the space of two and a half hours.
You can tell that the solo man in space genre hasn’t gone unnoticed by cinematographer turned director William Eubank in his debut feature Love (Shock). It’s a strange and beautiful, somewhat elusive tale. In fact it’s the perfect low budget first film. A limited set and one actor, it couldn’t be better, aside from the fact that Eubank successfully manages to merge in a similarly obtuse civil war tale amidst the solitude. The links are tenuous, but this isn’t a film about narrative development. They made it on the smell of an oily rag, funded entirely from the band Angels & Airwaves, an offshoot of Blink 182 who provide the rich electro rock sheen of the score. Aside from a wilfully obtuse ending that exists self consciously between 2001 A Space Odyssey and Solaris, without the rigour and resonance of either, Love is a well crafted tone poem, an overwhelming audio and visual feast for the senses that ponders whether a life lived alone is truly a life at all.
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Directors Suite) is a slow hypnotic immensely beautiful film from Cannes darling Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Three Monkeys). Set over the course of one night, the golden hues of stark headlights against the bleak blackness of the night are startlingly beautiful, making it clear we’re in the presence of a real master. The film follows a murder suspect, police, prosecutor and doctor as they attempt to locate a body in hills of the Anatolian desert. The problem is the suspect was drunk when the murder took place and can’t remember where he left the body. As the night wears on and tempers fray, motivations cloud, and strange interconnections begin to appear. It’s the most beguiling existential police procedural film you’ll ever see.