Wednesday, 28 October 2015

I've Just Seen: Camera Buff (1979)

Camera Buff (Amator) (1979)

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Kieslowski's command of imagery bespeaks a deep love for the medium of film. One could imagine that this love vies with other loves in his life (as well as being a platform for him to explore them). Filip, the protagonist of Camera Buff, develops an obsession with making films. I couldn't help wonder if this was slightly auto-biographical, that Kieslowski was tapping into a part of himself that he is aware about.

Set in during Poland's Communist era, there are also ideas of censorship and self-expression in this film; about what one should and should not show, particularly making documentaries. Politics plays a huge part in the story, particularly its effect on personal relationships and personal integrity. Filip finds his attempts at telling the truth with his film curtailed, and the personal use - recording his newborn daughter - disregarded.

The cinematography paints 70s Poland as a drab place to live, with washed out colours and flat lighting. This is striking when one considers the significance of colour in Kieslowski's later films.  The performances are all good, Jerzy Stuhr particularly so as Filip. If you enjoy stories about filmmaking and the challenges faced in maintaining control over your vision, you will find Camera Buff a clever exploration of these ideas. It also offer an opportunity to see where the director of such beautiful films like The Double Life of Veronique and the Trois Coleurs trilogy started.

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