On Saturday, Uberto Pasolini won the Orizzonti Award for Best Director for Still Life, and while there haven’t been a whole lot reviews in English, I nevertheless wanted to post these clips, five in all, from Cineuropa. Because who hasn’t got a few minutes for Eddie Marsan (not to mention Joanne Froggatt)?
The synopsis: “Meticulous and organized to the point of obsession, John May is a council worker charged with finding the next of kin of those who have died alone. When his department is downsized, John must up his efforts on his final case, taking him on a liberating journey that allows him to start living life at last.”
For Pierre Hombrebueno, writing for Twitch, “Still Life has it all: a refined and crystal clear script, a skillful direction and an ending that is both so cruel and tender. Totally heartbreaking.” But not everyone agrees.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney finds that “the fragile film’s bid for poignancy is so aggressive and its sensitivity so studied that it eventually drowns in syrupy banality…. [W]hile a filmmaker like Terence Davies or Mike Leigh might have mined complex layers in the character and his peculiar interactions with people both living and dead, Still Life has no depth. It’s also one of those faux-social realist British movies that smacks of condescension in its ennoblement of the drab and miserable.”
Screen‘s Mark Adams: “Directed in a rather static manner—which helps the astute production design, costumes and location, but means it lacks a certain energy—Still Life is littered with engaging and entertainingly oddball moments, though in the end its lacks the poignancy it is aiming for, and rather shoots itself in the foot with a misjudged final scene.”
“Uberto Pasolini, an Italian who ended up in the UK, is the man who is behind the enormous 1997 success Full Monty, as a producer,” notes Camillo de Marco at Cineuropa. “He is in his second venture as director after award-winning Machan, with this intense, touching film… Inspired by Japanese filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu, Uberto Pasolini captured static images giving the film its name with shots reflecting the order in the main character’s life. Fundamental support was provided by director of photography Stefano Falivene, who worked with Amos Gitai, Abel Ferrara, Wes Anderson.”
Update, 9/17: “Uberto Pasolini has several new projects on the boil as a producer through his company Redwave,” reports Geoffrey Macnab for Screen Daily. “One is a UK/French comedy that is being co-scripted by Simon Nye and that he will make with Rita Dagher’s Senorita Films. Another is a British comedy written by comedian Deborah Frances-White. Meanwhile, he is still working with director Alan Taylor (Palookaville, Thor) on The Horseman, a western adapted from David Anthony Durham’s civil war set novel, Gabriel’s Story. He is also hatching a version of The Odyssey from a script by Edward Bond.”