RIDM 2017: A Modern Man (Germany/Denmark– 2017)


for Cinetalk.net

Don’t be fooled by silly synopses about Eva Mulvad’s A Modern Man. Many insinuate a tale of a hoity-toity, body and fashion-conscious, rich hunk. In fact, the subject in front of Mulvad’s lens is much more relatable, albeit falsely aloof. Yes, he has money. Yes, he likes fancy cars and luxury items, but this simply comes with the territory for a successful classical violinist from a well-off family. Overall, this is an essay about using the spotlight to achieve one’s goals without compromising one’s ideals. As with most active musicians, Charlie Siem jetsets between countries, appears for wardrobe fittings, and spends hours practicing his instrument. This lifestyle could include friendship and romance, but Siem is too fixated on his dreams to let such petty things taint his world.

There is a fine line between being stuck up and simply sticking to one’s objectives to a fault. The life the violinist lives brings him the joy of success, achievement, and recognition. However, the two-sided coin is that recognition only symbolizes ‘making it’ if it is the craft – the music – that is recognized. What does modeling for Hugo Boss do for a classical musician? It brings him adoring female fans that are only attracted to the photographer’s interpretation of who Siem is. Even Siem cannot recognize himself in these artistic portraits. Contrary to public opinion, he is not the most attractive hunk on the face of the planet. He is an average-looking man with boyish features and ill-sitting hair. He is neither poised when he stalks around in his tailored summer wear, nor when he’s bumming around in Continue reading

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Django (Etienne Comar – France, 2017)

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DARIA GAMLIEL for Cinetalk.net

Bullets may sound, but the music keeps playing. It’s a trope we’ve heard often in modern day music.

Let the Music Play (Shannon, 1983)

The Beat Goes On (Sonny & Cher, 1967)

The Show Must Go On (Queen, 1991)

Indeed, the opening sequence of Etienne Comar’s Django brings this idea to life. If we were to say the plot had an underlying message, it might hinge on this. Life can be miserable, but the show must go on and music is one of those things…it just lives on no matter the hardships. Other films have already touched on this idea. The Red Violin (Francois Girard, 1998) for example, demonstrates the interpersonal bonds of characters affected by the instrument. The symbol of the beaten up violin standing the test of time, is that life is cyclical. It continues. It may be coerced into momentary silence, but Continue reading