Sunday, April 22, 2012
BLACK TULIPS (2008)
Directed by Richard Stanley
Richard Stanley - Richard
Maggie Moor - Maggie/ Katie
Nothing is ever quite what it seems at first glance.
This review is a first for me as I'm reviewing a short film that is unfinished. I try to stay away from unfinished products just to give the filmmakers a fair footing. Yet with this one being directed by Richard Stanley I'm giving it a review for two reasons. One is because this is a film Stanley shows off various film festivals for possible investors. And two, as a lead up to The Theatre Bizarre.
A little known fact about Richard Stanley is that he has acted in all of his films that he has lensed. In Black Tulips he plays a version of himself. His character's name is Richard and he is a director. Yet it's Richard's background in the short that is interesting how it plays into the story. Stanley's character is a shaman, and a butcher as well, who tries to help his flatmate and lover Maggie. Maggie, played by Maggie Moore is quite somber in the film as she seems like she lost something in her life yet the character Richard and the small child seem to know her for their whole life. There is a past there that is hinted at yet never explained. The only real hint that is giving is when a unexpected guest shows up and says that Maggie is Katie even though both Maggie and Katie say she's not.
The look of the short is for the most part clean and straight forward. It's when the before mentioned unexpected guest shows up is when the look and style of the film changes. There was a hint of muted colors when the short starts, yet when the guest arrives the color palate changes and the film get visually darker. This change is a hint at what is to come as you find out that not all is how it should be. It's also at this point in the short that quick flashes of a calf is shown which is jarring due to it creates a atmosphere of unease and trepidation. Another hint is the change in Maggie's look that something isn't quite right, as well as Richard talking about being taught shamanistic rituals that is a hint at what is to come. I'm not going to go into what happens as it will ruin the surprise that happens with Maggie, but I will say that it's not the usual look as it is somewhat more animalistic which make it more beautiful at the same time. One of the drawbacks to the short is the sound design and sound effects as the balance of it off and the spoken lines are sometimes overpowered by the background noise that is going on. Another drawback is the overall look of the short as it is grainy and every so often out of focus. Except for the two drawbacks Black Tulips is a interesting watch as it Stanley takes a different approach to a well known creature and by doing so adds a air of mysticism to it.
The lunch that is the unexpected guest.
What's with all the psycho shit man?
Richard Stanley's short film Incident In An Expanding Universe laid the groundwork for Stanley's film Hardware.
Stanley has directed music videos for Public Image Limited, Fields Of Nephilim, and Renegade Soundwave.