The title comes from a phrase created by Noam Chomsky, meaning words that are grammatically correct yet semantically nonsensical. Giddeon Koppel’s film is no scathing polemic however, but rather a quietly compelling and melancholic portrait of life in a Welsh rural community, which calls to mind the humane chronicles of ‘la France profonde' by Nicolas Efre ef avoir Philibert and Raymond Modern Life Depardon.

Trefeurig is a hill farming village in western Wales, to which Koppel's Jewish parents fled from Nazi Germany. The filmmaker spent nearly nine months back in his homestead observing the rituals and traditions of the inhabitants with his Super 16mm camera, although this is far from being a conventional documentary study: there’s no voice-over, there are very few ‘characters’, and the connections between the vignettes of everyday existence are rarely spelt out. Footage is speeded up, coloured panels suddenly fill the screen, and unusual camera angles give the viewer fresh perspectives.

The two most significant human figures turn out to

52 THE LIST :8 Mavtt Jur‘ 2009

be Koppel’s widowed mother Pip, and the kindly mobile librarian John Jones. A tiny, physically resilient individual, the animal loving Pip seems completely unaffected by the presence of the camera, whilst the monthly visit of John’s yellow van is a reminder of how important books can be in establishing a sense of community. Koppel frequently drops in on unnamed people who are absorbed by their work, whether it’s teaching, baking, sheep shearing, milking, repairing vehicles, ploughing, haymaking, or cabinet-making. And he juxtaposes these images of human toil with shots of the magnificent surrounding countryside, captured in different seasons, lights and weather conditions.

The deep sadness here lies in the recognition that ‘progress‘ will inevitably take its toll on the very essence of Trefeurig. Small-scale agriculture is in decline, the village school is set to close, and the closing epigraph reads, ‘It is only when I sense the end of things that I find the courage to speak, the courage but not the words.’ l-lere Koppel has spoken, affectionately and lyrically, through his images, allowing us to see a disappearing world anew.

(Tom Dawson) I Selected re/ 3ase from Frr 29 Mar:


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The feature tlehtrt or former tashron anrl advertrsrnd photographer Fret Caxaw rs as flashy and badl\ plotted as one rnrgrht expe‘t but more unrorhyrnolv rt beds the krn.l ot rncredulrt‘y that rs rarely seen outsrde the US rrrarnstrearn Front the heady thr'rllers of HenrrtGeorges (Ilouxot and Jean Prerre Melvrlle and beyond. the French thrrller has; a very venerable hrstory but there seems to bean eprderrrrc of vulgarrty and errant sluprdrty at play rn the genre at the moment. Let's look at the tally ~ aside from Jacques Marllot's wretched Rrva/s released earlrer this year la weak. pr'ovrncral Casrrro style gangbanger drama) there's been [’rrc Barbrer's turgrd and srmple mrnded The Serpent and Guillaume Canet's ridiculously overrated Te/l No One All these frlms seem lobotomrsed by popularrsm and rn search of an Arnerrcan remake. Anvthrng For Her has escaped from the same rotten rail. Mars our, mars non: but yes. but no. (Paul Dale) I GFT. Glasgow and Fr/mhouse, Ed/nburgh from Frr 5 May.

The beatrfrc trtle comes from a poem by Robert Frost. lr‘ thrs frlm. rt rs also the

name of a confeSSronal rrranuscrrpt by novelrst Mrchael Waechter (Ryan ReynoldS). An autobrographrcal acc0unt of hrs chrldhood. Mrchael's book rs deSrgned to put the boot rnto hrs mum rJuIra RobertSr. hrs frustrated academrc dad (erlern Dafoe) and hrs srster rEmrly Watsonr. Mrchael rs particularly aggrreved by hrs father's drsapproxal of hrs childhood attempt to pass off a Robert Frost poem as hrs own at a poetry readrng. embarrassrng dad rn front of hrs colleagues. But then a freak car acerdent forces hrm to reevaluate hrs Judgements.

Throv. rn Mrchael's sexy ex-wrfe (Carrre Ann M083). and the drscovery of hrs mother's secret lover rloan Gruftuddr. and yOu've got an all-star soap opera. but one drrector Dennrs Lee never brrngs to tne b0rl. Wrth flashbacks to 20 years ago lookrng no drffereht to events rn the present day. the blame falls squarely on Lee and hrs drrector of photography Danny Moder (Roberts husband). Whrle Frref/r’es r‘/‘ the Garden looks good. Moder's approach rs too conservatrve to lend any emotronal depth to the materra‘r. A hrgh calrbre dud. (Eddre Harrrson)

I Selected re/ease from Frr 29 May.