Tall tales and true
established that Jun is searching for an uncle, who has promised him work. Matters are further clarified when Roberto finds a delivery boy who can act as an interpreter.
I found Chinese Take-Away endlessly fascinating — not in anticipation of questions being answered or mysteries resolved but as an illumination of the characters’ common humanity. The performances are pleasingly understated and the camerawork (by Rolo Palpeirio) invests this elusive and fanciful tale with a powerful sense of immediacy. Cows may fall from the sky, but we have no doubt that Roberto’s world is real. LOVE is a science fiction thriller written and directed by William Eubank, a 27-year-old US filmmaker, about an astronaut stranded above the Earth in a space station. Eubank shot the film himself and constructed the principal set from bits and pieces in the back yard of his parents’ house. The soundtrack is provided by supergroup Angels & Airwaves, whose lead guitarist, Tom DeLonge (formerly of the group Blink-182), is one of the producers. The result is a technical tour de force, much of it dazzlingly beautiful. I have seen Love twice and cannot remember a film in recent times that has made a deeper initial impression on me, both for its visuals and what I took to be the scale and profundity of its ideas.
So is there a problem? It’s just that I have no clear idea of what the film is about. Too much of it is baffling. I had a similar problem with Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, in which the fortunes of a typical suburban family were linked to the birth of the cosmos. We watched stars forming, the origins of life itself. Like Malick, Eubank looks at the ultimate question of existence, our place in the universe, and concludes — I hope I am not oversimplifying — that everything depends on our connectedness with other people. This may be so, though the script’s attempts at philosophising often seem trite and are never clearly related to the story on the screen.
This is in two parts. We begin with scenes of carnage during the American Civil War (again skilfully re-created). An officer is dispatched to investigate a mysterious man-made object discovered ‘‘ somewhere east of the Colorado basin’’. Two hundred years on and we pick up the story of Lee Miller (Gunner Wright), a US astronaut chosen to revisit an abandoned space station. Not long into his mission Lee loses contact with Earth (‘‘Houston, did you pick up that radio interference?’’) and resigns himself to the prospect of a lonely death.
There are reminders of Moon, Apollo 13 and, especially, 2001: A Space Odyssey — those vertiginous, rotating interiors, the reflections in the astronaut’s helmet, the onboard exercise routines, the relayed messages from family, the ornate period mansion where Lee finds himself in the closing scenes, and the recorded message, ‘‘ Some things will forever remain a mystery’’, recalling the final words of Kubrick’s film. Love offers much to think about and even more to puzzle over. Whatever we make of it now, it is probably destined for cult status and, who knows, in years to come may be hailed as a masterpiece.