Saturday, May 8, 2010

The World Upside Down

The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988) - Ward
Too bad I can't find better screenshots from this film. Part b & w and part color, Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart, What Dreams May Come)'s time-traveling journey of citizens of Cumberland in time of the Black Death is nothing short of stunning. Griffin, a boy who keeps having a vision of the future tells band of fellow miners the fantastic story of a city with a church on the far side of the earth. With his vision as guidance, they must dig the earth until they come out on the other side(which happens to be modern day New Zealand), find the church with a towering spire and put a Cumberland copper forged cross on top to stop the plague. The catch is, they have to do it all in one night before the next dawn. It's a childish story, borrowing elements from La Jetée and Vertigo. And it's beautiful to look at.

The Navigator, the second feature by Ward, already demonstrates the visionary filmmaker's penchant for grand, poetic visuals (his grand visions didn't bode well in Hollywood- fired from ill-fated Alien 3 project and after badly received Robin Williams schmaltz-fest What Dreams May Come, we never heard from him again). It would be nice if Criterion picks up this, Vigil and perhaps Map of the Human Heart. That would make me very happy.

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