Sunday, December 15, 2019

Mirror Not Window

Just Don't Think I'll Scream (2019) - Frank Beauvais
French director Frank Beauvais, after a bad break up with his partner, retreated to his childhood home in Alsace region near the border with Germany and Switzerland in 2016. There he obsessively watched hundreds of movies in seclusion, made Just Don't Think I Will Scream out of 400+ movie clips, reflecting his mood and isolation and the world around him. Part compilation film, part very personal film essay, Just Don't Think is a 'mirror rather than window'. Culling mainly from thrillers and gialli, the images, lasting not longer than few seconds, features images of gestures, objects and actions, never lingering long enough to see the faces of recognizable actors or persons. But nonetheless they are thrilling, matching up Beauvais's continual rants. It's as personal as a film gets: bonding with his estranged father after taking him in after he fell ill over a gremillon film, and witnessing him dying watching the film, procrastinating in getting rid of personal belongings he obsessive compulsively collected over the years - records, books, CDs and DVDs, furniture....

Beauvais also narrates the tumultuous world we've been witnessing in recent times- the rise of Islamic terrorism in Europe, the rise of right-wing violence, French elections and anxiety over uncertain political future.

Not since Godard's essay films, have I encountered a purely visual film that is culled from existing material that is also immensely pleasurable. Just Don't Think I'll Scream works beautifully, precisely because it's so personal. This is what an essay film of a true cinephile should look like.

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