Albert Nobbs is an great film. See it.
It is the story of a curious butler in 1890s Dublin who suffered a difficult childhood and to survive took a job as a waiter, and the worked his way up to being a butler in a small but swanky hotel. The thing is, he’s a woman played by Glenn Close.
His carefully controlled life is turned upside down when he has to share his room with a painter working on the hotel and his view of the world and of his own future changes dramatically.
Glenn Close introduced the film an described it as a labor of love that she has spent 15 years working on. Her acting is superb and the story is very funny when it tries to be and truly touching without being cloy or saccharine. While Glenn’s performance stands out, none of the cast come up short and Janet McTeer is also particularly strong.
Pina is Wim Wenders tribute to Pina Bausch in 3D. I’m not a big dance fan, not even ballet let alone modern dance, but this was a very beautiful film and I enjoyed it. Wim Wenders introduced the film and told the audience how he had met Pina 20 or more years before starting production and had wanted to make a film about her. For all of those 20 years every time they crossed paths she asked if he was ready to make his film and he said he didn’t know how, but was learning.
Wenders said he was quite taken by 3D, specifically U2 3D which he thought was a great name, but more so that the 3D technology used was sufficient to capture the essence of Pina’s dance, and so he began production, but just before production was to commence, Pina passed away.
The dancers in her troupe convinced him that he should make the film, that it is what she would have wanted, and so the film is both an beautifully shot document of Pina’s dance troupe and a tribute to Pina.
I’ve been involved with 3D film for a long time (going back 16 years I built a stereo rig from a pair of Arriflex cameras for Michael Naimark’s Be Here Now). This was the first time I got to see Dolby’s double-tristmus 3D . The way it works is each projector projects an approximately RGB signal, but with the exact wavelengths of RG&B shifted between them (and not shared). The passive glasses pass only the correct eye’s 3 color wavelengths and reject the rest. Looking through them, one is slightly magenta shifted and one slightly cyan shifted, but you quickly compensate for the slight color error, especially since one eye errs one direction and the other the opposite. If you look through both a left eye and a right eye filter (say by borrowing your neighbors pair and putting them over yours upside down), almost no light passes.
The 3D quality of the movie is quite good, better than shutter glasses with less peripheral annoyance. Only very bright highlights (like the glint of lights in a dancer’s eye) exhibited odd stereo artifacts. It is commonly noted that the focal accommodation and parallax accommodation of a stereoscopic projection is very wrong–your eyes focus on the same plane (the screen) no matter what the image displacement is, so your mind gets two conflicting data inputs – one saying “I see 3D” and the other saying “I’m focusing on a plane” and the result is eye strain and often headaches, and this technology is no different. It definitely caused some eye strain to watch it, but the effect was good and overall I’d say worth it.
It is a long film, entirely in black and white, with very little dialog. It is visually quite striking, but definitely not going to make it to the cineplex. The story grows perhaps allegorical or possibly apocalyptic, but maybe reverses the story of creation. Maybe not. But things definitely go from bad to worse to cosmically bad.