A JOURNAL OF EXTREMITY

Michael Mann, "The Keep"

Despite its dubious comprehensibility and some truly baffling production decisions, Michael Mann's 1983 flick "The Keep" is an enjoyable watch and has a lot going for it. The photography is very good, and the locations (Wales, doubling as the Carpathians) certainly lend themselves to being photographed. The compositions are very painterly-- horizontal spreads with offset "pressure points" (I have no formal training in art stuff, so I have to make up my own terms for these things), and soft-focus chiaroscuro lighting that plays well on dusty 80's film stock. Mann loves to show slow-developing change within a single shot-- day turning to dusk, night turning to morning, and the film contains a remarkable trick pull-away shot that first reveals scale, then substance, then action. As a bonus, a predictably cool score by Tangerine Dream, whose personnel included at that time Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke, and Johannes Schmoeling. Required viewing for any scholar of C-grade pop culture treatments of Nazi occultism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwCK_EeA7P0

ANIMAL KINGDOM #2 is coming!

Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

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