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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

entry arrow12:51 PM | Lost in Nowhereland

I like the choices Sofia Coppola makes in her new film Somewhere [2010]: her preference for stillness, for observation. Films that observe people as they do, or not do things, have always fascinated me -- and when they are composed in a mise-en-scene that pulsates, they transcend to a kind of cinematic poetry. Observe, for example, the films of Tsai Ming-Liang or Yasujiro Ozu, where dialogue is minimal, and action, background, and foreground become the story. They are not always easy to admire, and in fact those without a sliver of patience in their bodies would probably brand these films "boring" -- except that they forget that what boredom really is is a reflection of their own lack of density and depth. Coppola's Somewhere observes, allows the viewer access to the minutes and small events that make up a life. This one is the story of an actor [Stephen Dorff], in the drift of time between projects, who goes about a life of such banal but ennui-filled subterfuge in Los Angeles' Chateau Marmont, a hotel famous for housing some legendary film stars, and here stands for the existential displacement his character is undergoing but has scarcely examined. He knows he lacks something, some sort of pull that should be his private gravity -- but knows only to temporarily fill it with little appointments, parties, dancing pole girls, and meaningless sex -- and the compulsion to drive around in furious circles in the desert in his sportscar. Then one day, a young daughter [Elle Fanning] comes to stay with him, perhaps indefinitely, perhaps not -- and something happens to him, in him. What? We don't really know, but it is a decisive act that we get in the end, veiled away from unnecessary explanations the way we don't exactly know what Bill Murray whispered to Scarlett Johanson's ear at the end of Lost in Translation [2007], which this film seems to reflect as a narrative cousin. I like this film. It is not a great one, but it's truthful.

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