Recently I received a copy of Chasing Cotards – a British short film from director Edward Dark – to review. Potentially the cast and crew might even come and read the review themselves, which would be the first time anyone significant has ever read anything I have written (no offence). This led to an interesting morale conundrum – what if I hated the film? Would I lie and pretend I liked it? Would I act like I had journalistic integrity and give it a negative review? Or would I demand some sort of bribe for a positive review? What would Ebert do? Generally speaking I do like money and I don’t really have any ethics, so would this be the start of my inevitable decline into a seedy world of crime and corruption? Unfortunately I don’t have to find out as it turns out the film is actually rather good.
I don’t watch many short films I have to admit, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But I definitely didn’t expect something that was quite so visually impressive – apparently this film uses some special camera called VistaVision – most recently used by technical wizz-kid Christopher Nolan in Inception – a large format camera that is particularly suitable for IMAX but which still looked very impressive on my home projector. The film is really well shot, it looks like fashion photography from an upmarket magazine that has somehow sprung to life. It’s quite ethereal and very beautiful, especially the opening shot which is my favourite part- somehow the camera seems to pick up lots of extra detail you would not normally see, from scattered objects to motes of dust in the light – far more impressive than gimmicky 3D. I also love the house it is filmed in, an old building with some nice wallpaper. I am a fan of wallpaper in films, especially if it moves – ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ also has great wallpaper. I’d love some moving wallpaper in my house but until that is invented I’ll just have to stick with boring old regular wallpaper and drugs.
The acting is good as well from Andrew Scott and the performance, plus the setting, reminded me of Ray Winston in ’44 Inch Chest’ – another film about dealing with a lost love (though in a rather different way) set entirely in a dusty old house – almost more of a theatre production than a film.
I have to admit I would love to see a full length film shot like this – the cinematography is more impressive than in most big budget films and there is a real attention to detail and care about Chasing Cotards that seems almost anachronistic, like it is a product from a bygone age of cinema. Although obviously it could use a few explosions.
Also I just looked up what a Cotard is. That makes much more sense, I thought it was a type of duck.