Live 2022-06-22 -- Michel-ange MERINO Commuters Short Film
This is actually the first time that I write a review about a live stream that I was only able to attend its initial premiere. The reason I put down these words has to do with the topic and how it presents something rarely found on Bandcamp. Here music is a score to a movie, which was created a couple of years ago.
The basic setting:
Directed by Marc Gouby
Produced by TAKAKROIR Productions
Music composed by Michel-ange MERINO
What we see or experience are images of commuters. Commuters not anywhere in the world, but in Japan and as some may know, it can be a rather intense experience to travel in this country via tube or train as these can be rather crowded and loaded up to the maximum with people. Strangely enough this extreme aspect, the somewhat forcefully shoving of persons into trains, is missing in this video, but the images are nevertheless striking and are able to good impression of how commuting take place can be there.
The images are distorted, increased in speed and return to normal -- interestingly enough there is never a slow down --, switches in the flow appear between moving forward and backwards. As such it is not like in the opening scene of Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times", but rather a confusing, yet appropriately so, flood of images and impressions. The chaos that is underpinning the nature of this societal to and fro is brought to a confusing bravado, which makes it even more incomprehensible and attempts to aggravate the schism between the normal live of a human being and the existence in a modern society. People yawn, fall asleep, appear worn out, etc. While glimpses of harmonious conversation can be found, the overarching impression is one of exhaustion.
What is of interest in terms of the stream is how the music or the sounds support the visual expressions. Of course some extreme noise harmonics can be imagined, something to express the weirdness of the images and the confusing set of to and fro. All this different in this case though. Somehow the music appears to be a supplement to the dynamics. Moments of trains are supported by appropriate noises, while the ebbs and flows of people have either field recordings -- steps, the sound in a station -- and minimalist and repetitive short musical motifs. The staccato of steps that one might imagine to appear where the movie was recorded are absent. It is rather a tuned down and minimalist approach, whose intention is rather to mimic and present than to represent. Somehow the music adds context to the images, which is good and bad. It reminds on a ballet, as classical music of some sort was used for the movie, but played too fast. This of course underlines the general dynamic present there.
It is an interesting experience and also the visuals are something worth pondering about.