The year’s best online movies, by 16 international correspondents.
Sight & Sound
Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes
An interactive web doc from the National Film Board of Canada, exploring the modern impositions on a grizzly bear in Banff National Park across a terrain map populated by remote-trail camera footage, satellite-tracked wildlife pathways and a narrative of the bear’s life and death, projected in first-person voiceover. The rudimentary graphic overlay might look unlikeable, but that’s the point: the wireframe interface quickly conjures the sense of an animal hemmed in, surveilled and alienated from its own instincts by the man-made dangers all around (not least the train track through the park). “The first rule of survival? Don’t do what comes naturally.” It reminded me of Takahata Isao’s equally sad Pom Poko.
Sorkinisms – A Supercut
Digital video and the internet have ushered in a whole new level of granular, line-by-line movie criticism. This one is almost crazy – if not merciless – in its perseverance.
Cat Listening to Music
We know it’s what the internet is for. Here’s how to do it. In memoriam.
Digital projection is very much with us; almost 90 percent of UK cinemas now have digital projection equipment and some European countries have reportedly gone entirely digital. In this moment of colossal exhibition changes the planetary projection project gathered the thoughts and testimonies of 35mm projectionists from across the globe. Here they pay fascinating tribute to their dying craft.
Breaking Bad, The Wire style
Editor James Montalbano applies the style of The Wire’s opening credit sequences to Breaking Bad. It’s a perceptive homage to the celebrated shows which also makes explicit the underlying themes both share.
A sports-related entry for an Olympic year, Sullivan’s Walk Tall combines animation with documentary to celebrate nonagenarian Olympian George Weedon, who competed as a gymnast in 1948 and was a torchbearer in 2012. Weedon’s infectious Olympic spirit offers a glimpse of the Summer Games madness that swept through London last August.
Rear Window Timelapse
In this wonderful three minute distillation of Rear Window, Desom uses After Effects to stitch together the film’s backyard as seen by James Stewart’s L.B. Jeffries. The near-seamless panorama of Hitch’s famous set showcases the master’s precise understanding of angle and perspective.
Ain’t That Peculiar – Oddisee Remix
Oddisee & Rob Mac
To promote his latest album, Washington DC based producer Oddisee remixed Marvin Gaye’s 1965 Motown hit ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’. Oddisee’s tight production values are well acknowledged in music circles, but editor Rob Mac’s visual remix of Gaye’s TV performance is equally slick.
Ai Weiwei manages again to be playful and subversive with his reworking of PSY’s phenomenally viral Gangam Style video. He understands the power and simplicity of the medium and the message, as apparently do the Chinese authorities who blocked it.
The Push Me Collection was a series of commissions by the Unlimited programme as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. They’re striking portraits of disabled artists creating new unique shared artistic experiences. Along with the para-orchestra they also demonstrate that disability is not necessarily a barrier to creativity.
Late last year I discovered this online archive of over 120 short documentary films made in the 1940s by the British Council to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. They are a brilliant portrait of a moment and a society in time.