Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bleak Moments (1971)

A British drama directed by Mike Leigh, starring Donald Sumpter and Liz Smith.
Sylvia works in an office with Pat and takes care of her mute sister, Hilda. She tries to hook Peter up with Hilda, but to no avail. Norman moves into Sylvia's garage to print magazines and play hippy songs on his guitar. Both Sylvia and Hilda love Norman and invite him over to jam, but Peter and Pat show up to wreck their party. Sylvia tries to date Peter and they have trouble ordering Chinese food. Back at Sylvia's place, Sylvia tries to seduce Peter, but he ejaculates in his pants when they kiss and he leaves. Then Norman moves out and Sylvia begins learning to play piano to please Hilda, who liked Norman's guitar playing.
I interpreted this plot from what I saw, with very little audio information. Most of the duration was spent in locked tripod shots with the actors nervously fidgeting, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes. So, the plot was minimal and slow-moving. The only character that developed at all was Sylvia (trying to seduce the party-pooper and learn to play piano). The video was very static and the audio was literally the worst ever. I've heard better audio on old kung fu flicks. To put this in perspective, I would have to put lots of hard work into making audio this bad, even with recording devices of the 1960s or '50s. "Dialogue? Fuck that! We need noise!" The static of dead air was the loudest, followed shortly by quiet noises like the clinking of silverware or striking a match. They boomed and resounded to shake the firmament. I was only able to discern a few lines of spoken dialogue, but Norman's hippy songs were heard loud and clear. When the actors were not whispering or mumbling, they were shouting into the microphones to cause distortion. Hilda's reaction to Norman's music made me quite jealous. I wish someone would like my stuff that much! Well, that sucked, but certainly gave me something to write about. Apparently, other movie critics love it (fools! morons!). I rate it bad. It would have been shit, but I actually watched the whole thing and had fun writing, so I'll raise it one grade. ONLY WATCH TO MOCK!!!

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