Air 8: Mike Mills

It was director Mike Mills' distinctive music videos for ‘Sexy Boy' and 'Kelly Watch The Stars’ that helped to break the French retro-electronic band Air. For ’All I Need', the third single from their album Moon Safari, Mills made a short documentary about two skater kids in love. So, when the band wanted a documentary made of their first international tour, he was the logical choice, and the result was Eating, Sleeping, Waiting & Playing. Mills and Air discuss their collaborations at the Film Festival’s Reel Life live event

Mills’ characteristic shot is the slow pan which casually leaves the point of focus out of frame. This technique proves to be distracting and that’s the whole point concentration is difficult to sustain and other random objects or conversations catch your attention. ‘To me, in a way, that’s what touring is like,’ explains Mills. ’We wanted to show not just the band or their playing on stage but

Sexy boys: Air

the whole event, including some of the more boring and weird aspects of it. The film’s really about the banal, everyday stuff that happens around the playing. We called them “meandering pans”. With a documentary you don‘t want to just show interesting events in a row, you want to show the real feeling of it and those uninterrupted pans did that, or at least I like to see it that way.‘

Mills used this technique on his next piece, the short film Architecture 0f Reassurance, a gentle quasi-fantasy about a teenage girl’s wander through some LA suburbs. ’We did stuff right off the Air documentary,’ admits the director. ’We would go right off what I would perceive to be the subject and then back onto it.

In Godard's Sympathy For The Devil, they have that: you would go right off Mick Jagger to someone lighting a cigarette in the background. It's a great way of decentralising the subject.’

Mills’s relationship with Air seems to be a happy one: 'They're not like rock stars at all,’ he says. ’T hey were super-supportive of me and very respectful. It's been an ideal relationship.’ (Simone Baird)

I Air and Mike Mills Reel Life (including Eating, Sleeping, Waiting & Playing), ABC 7, 27 Aug, 7.30pm, £70 (£4).

IV Suburbia (including All / Need, The Architecture of Reassurance and Eating, Sleeping, Waiting & Playing), Filmhouse 7, 20 Aug, 70. 30pm; Glasgow Film Theatre, 22 Aug, 70.30pm, £7 (£4.50).

Deep forest: Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Charisma


Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) makes very strange films. Strange like David Lynch strange. Take the most recent of the Film Festival's four-film mini-retrospective, Charisma. It's about a police detective on permanent vacation in the mountains after a bungled hostage rescue. There, he is involved in a conflict among the local community concerning a scrawney tree named Charisma. The other films License To Live, about a man who wakes from a ten-year coma to find his family disbanded; and Serpent Path and Eyes Of The Spider, two films about kidnapping and revenge, shot back- to-back - are similarly skewered takes on traditional film genres.

'Why are humans so mysterious?’ asks Kurosawa, who visits Edinburgh this month. 'Why is the world so bizarre and complex? The first thing that comes to mind when making a film is neither a story nor an image,

but a structure. For Charisma I started from a triangle situation: people trying to cut down the tree, those protecting it, and one standing on neutral ground. Making a film is about a fight between simplicity and complexity. Setting it in a certain genre simplifies things, but telling real world stories, I can’t help complication. My films are always torn between simplicity and complication. They may be atypical in Japan, but there are only a few directors who make typical Japanese films.’

Kurosawa is a prolific filmmaker. For Grand Illusion, his third film this year, he worked with students from the Tokyo Film School, where he teaches. 'They are much better than professional filmmakers,’ he concludes. (Miles Fielder)

. Charisma. Cameo 7, 26 Aug. 5.30pm; Filmhouse 2, 27 Aug, 8pm; License To Live, Cameo 7, 25'Aug, 5.30pm; Filmhouse 2, 26 Aug, 70.30pm; Serpent Path & Eyes Of The Spider, Filmhouse 2, 27 Aug, 7pm, 28 Aug, 3.30pm; £7 (£4.50).

I I h Itl l ‘3! \

The world was created in seven days; here's a Film Festival event for each of them. Air Reel Life See preview, left. Air Reel Life (including Eating, Sleeping, Waiting 8. Playing), ABC 7, 27 Aug, 7.30pm, £70 (£4). The Blair Witch Project The most anticipated Festival film the scariest film ever made? See review on following pages. The Blair Witch Project, Cameo 7, 27 Aug, 72.30am, £7 (£4.50).

East Is East Hilarious multi- racial family drama set in 19705 Salford. See Famespotting. East Is East, Cameo 7, 22 Aug, 70pm; UCl, 24 Aug, 8pm; Filmhouse 7, 27 Aug, 4.30pm, £7 (£4.50).

Interview With David Mamet The playwright/filmmaker talks about his adaptation of Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy. Interview With David Mamet, Filmhouse 7, 27 Aug, 2pm, E 7 (£4.50).

Kiyoshi Kurosawa See preview, left. Charisma, Cameo 7, 26 Aug, 5.30pm; License To Live. Cameo 7, 25 Aug, 5.30pm; Filmhouse 2, 26 Aug, 70. 30pm,- Serpent Path & Eyes Of The Spider, Filmhouse 2, 27 Aug, 7pm, £7 (£4.50).

Hitchcock's The Lodger Jack the Ripper-esque silent thriller with a new score composed by The Divine Comedy’s Joby Talbot, played live by The Matrix Ensemble. See Frontlines. Hitchcock ’s The Lodger, Lumiere, 26 Aug, 7.30pm, 70.30pm, £7 7.50. The Surprise Movie With the identity of the film kept secret until the night, this List- sponsored event is a consistent sell-out. The Surprise Movie, ABC 7, 25 Aug. 77pm, £7 (£4.50). See Freeloaders, page 77.

19-26 Aug 1999 THE LIST 83