The Boatman

02022-03-06 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Last night I watched the Japanese film They Say Nothing Stays the Same (link to IMDB because there is no entry in Wikipedia) and am so thankful to Steve for suggesting it in the comments. It is one of the most beautiful movies I have seen. The angles, the framing, the light, the colors… I would argue that this movie is one of cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s best works – and he has shot many gorgeous movies.

My first film, I made when I was 32 years old. I left home, my family, when I was 15, and then I left Australia when I was 19. Then I traveled and traveled and traveled and traveled and went through all sorts of things, including what you just asked about. I worked in a kibbutz as a cowboy; in India, we dug wells for irrigation; in Thailand, I was selling quack medicine. [Laughs] Etc., etc. This is the thing, this is why we’re at Camerimage, this is why we’re talking now: I think life experiences inform your view of the world. Perhaps informs or suggests the stories that you can share.

from this interview with Christopher Doyle – the whole interview is worth reading! I first encountered Doyle when I discovered the amazing films of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wei: “Chungking Express”, “2046”, “In the Mood For Love”, and so many more. Doyle also worked as director of photography for Jim Jarmusch’s “The Limits of Control”. The list of movies he filmed is long and impressive. He is a legend. Oh, and you might have seen him in the Hong Kong episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show.

This next quote is from a review of the film. It is a paragraph about the creator of the film’s music. The music of “They Say Nothing Stays the Same” is perfect! The piano is augmented with voice and whistling! While piano can, to my ears at least, sound a little too pristine and removed – hands strike key, mechanism strikes string – because there is no mouth on a wind instrument, no fingers shaping the tone, as on a violin. But here the piano adds a certain serenity to the imagery and the whistling and singing adds a layer of humanity that makes it work. This morning I listened to the soundtrack album while taking my morning walk and it was a wonderful experience.

To make sure the score matched the splendor of the images, Odagiri called in the help of Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan. It certainly wasn’t the most obvious choice, Hamasyan’s experience with scoring movies is virtually nonexistent. The gamble turned out spectacularly well though. The music doesn’t just enhance the visuals, it comfortably claims some attention for itself and blends together with the cinematography to create a truly entrancing atmosphere. It is imaginative pairings like these that show Odagiri is a director with a clear, personal vision, not just some actor who wants to experience how it feels to be on the other side of the camera.

from this review of the film.

The director is Joe Odagiri, who, as an actor, has been in tons of movies. I remember seeing him in “Adrift in Tokyo” and in “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories”. When I watched “They Say Nothing Stays the Same” yesterday, it reminded me of Korean films. Lots of serenity with a flash of intense violence. Even if you aren’t familiar with Korean films you might have seen “Parasite”. Looking up Joe Odagiri I discovered that he acted in several Korean movies, and worked with Kim Ki-Duk (director of these movies: “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” and “The 3 Iron”)

I hope you can tell how much I enjoyed this movie, Steve!

I am still working on this post… more will be added. I am currently watching the movie for the second and, if anything, I like it even more.

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    > I hope you can tell how much I enjoyed this movie, Steve!

    Glad to help out.

    (I actually came into this movie “through the back door” … by that I mean that I am a big, big fan of the chap that did the music for this movie: Tigran Hamasyan, and I got the soundtrack a while back for that reason … only recently did the movie become available through the services I have a subscription to)


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