Friday, July 18, 2014


"Perfectly realized....." "An intimate epic....."?

The next step after Kentucker Audley's two Open Five films, Tim Sutton's Memphis (title both matter-of-fact and monumental) doubles down on geographical candor and conveys itself, barely episodic, with a rhythm in loping engagement with Memphis heat.

The images seem "made," "aesthetic," "pictorial," crafted by a definite author, but they are strong and not simply "pretty" or "arty" because they bind tensely the urban/exurban world (it's right to say that Memphis is a "city" but we need a broader conception of that word) with nature in discrete frames over and over.

What does the film "bring to mind"?

Eyes looking in the dark, anticipating, in Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady. It's the gaze of the musician Willis Earl Beal, and of a one-legged man in an old Dodge Buick Chrysler Plymouth, and of a heroic child on a freestyle bike, and of his mother and sister on foot, and they all provide the point-of-view. Theirs is the modern mythic, like Vanda's, Zita's, and Ventura's, the tense binding of the images still looser here than in Pedro Costa's In Vanda's Room and Colossal Youth, because more Memphian.

Willis Earl Beal?

A prolongation of glory.

Associate producer?

Morgan Jon Fox.


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