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27 September 2011

Bellflower, a Compulsive Secondary Review

directed by Evan Glodell
I have never done this before, but I have to dedicate a secondary review to just two major components of Evan Glodell’s opus, Bellflower: the sound (mainly the sound design) and the photography (notably the Coatwolf Model II).

The Sound:
The sound design of Bellflower is some of the most evocative I have experienced in some time, the kind of aural presence that stimulates emotions and feelings quite independent from your conscious self. A shout. The rough rumble of fire. An engine screaming. A deep, primal growl that grows a wrath in you, or a fear, or a profound discomfort that percolates inside you like an acid, surprising you. It’s like when the doctor raps on your knee and stimulates a reflex that, try as you might, you cannot suppress.

The Photography:
Evan Glodell’s colossus, dubbed the Coatwolf Model II, is as close to a magic wand as a filmmaker is going to find. When the trailer first aired, my little brother DC and I puzzled over the curiously odd way each scene looked. What was happening? How could it be? We then stumbled upon the Model II, which only sparked more questions. How could the Model II exist? What made it work? But it wasn’t until today, after I had time to digest the film and was actually recalling it after the fact that I realized the true magic of Glodell’s beast. What I perceived as unique and new in the moment had somehow shapeshifted in the night, somehow become something altogether different than it had been the day before. The images generated by the Model II are surreal, model-esque at times, and once the mind has a chance to process these images as memories, both the images themselves along with the happenings of a scene begin to seem mythic, a monstrous fairy tale that seems as mysterious and enthralling as it did when all I had to go on was a sequence of Glodell getting in the Medusa (you’ll see) and disappearing in a fog of dust. Even now, as I recall a scene, or a shot, or even a color, I am confused and drawn to this quality. I am afraid for you, Glodell, afraid that a mob is going to come for you in the night to try you for witchcraft or something.

In all seriousness, Bellflower is a film that pulls you in, throttles you at times, but will not let you go. In fact, its grip seems only to tighten with time.

5 comments:

  1. Nice job B.C. I like your style.
    Why shouldn't you post a second review of Bellflower? It sounds incredible.
    Thamks for sharing your passion.

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  2. Thank you for sharing in this passion. I feel like I could devote a dozen reviews to this film and it still wouldn't be enough. Evan Glodell works a kind of voodoo in Bellflower that I can't exactly compare to anything, but I know that someone who appreciates film the way you do will feel a strong connection with it. Perhaps it is due to the Model II, but I find that I am still struggling to cope with the particulars of Glodell's feat. And here I am rambling again...
    If you get a chance, Paul, see it on the big screen. And not to pressure you, but I still miss On the Road Again.

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  3. There was a Fight Club reference by a critic in the trailer I saw. How does this compare? Very much looking forward to it.

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  4. Well, that's a tough one, because Glodell's film does carry with it a restlessness, a fury that has long been associated with Fight Club. There are echoes of that same sentiment in Bellflower, but while Fight Club focused its discontent on the rampant, vacuous consumerism of modern America, Bellflower is much bigger, much more existential than that. The characters in Bellflower rail against being, battling a force they cannot even identify. Bellflower is not preoccupied with the current state of society, but rather it struggles with the notions of fatalism, of cosmic fury, of wanting to lash out at the universe itself. Specifically, the film ponders what it means to a young man, but it also contemplates the burden of youth as a whole.
    While I am certainly not asserting that Bellflower is nothing like Fight Club, I think more than a few critics, in an effort to try and help someone to understand just what the hell Bellflower is, have landed on an approximation. It's like comparing 2001: A Space Odyssey to Star Wars: A New Hope when it would be much more accurately compared to Solaris...
    I had ridiculously high hopes for this film, and it exceeded all of them. Even now, I haven't stopped listening to the Bellflower soundtrack since I bought the vinyl a few weeks ago, playing it and replaying it like a mobius strip that allows me to hang on to a part of the feeling. This is one of those rare gems that truly stays with you.
    I hope this annoyingly long reply doesn't deter you from checking out some of my past posts. I always appreciate a fellow film lover.

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  5. I still can't wait to see this, sorry I didn't get a notification about this reply! I figured it wouldn't be that similar to FC, it's just a good way to get the target audience in! But thanks for the response!

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