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Film Review: Le Jour se léve (Daybreak)

jour-de-F
PG (92 min)
Director: Marcel Carné
Cast: Jean Gabin, Jacqueline Laurent, Arletty
French | 1939 | Subtitles

If Michael Bay films are 90 minutes of action sequences strung together by dialogue spewed out of a random word generator, then Marcel Carné’s Le Jour Se Léve (Daybreak) is the antithesis of these movies.

Le Jour Se Léve is a painting, its brush strokes: the words of writer Prevert. His mastery of the written medium creates a tapestry, woven in the poetic discourse between lovers and rivals.

The subject matter is held in great stead by the talented hand of Carné, and it is easy to see why Le Jour Se Léve is considered by some to be his masterpiece. Although the film is a work of realism, the direction preempts the form of the American noir that would boom in the following decade. Staple tropes of noir filmmaking come into play to create some beautiful uses of light – back when films treated shadow with as much respect as they did its counterpart – as well as bringing an air of suspense and sexuality to the piece.

The film is about a man, Francois (Jean Gabin), who has recently committed a murder and is looking back on the events that lead to him to taking such actions. To say the film is about a murder (as I was told before watching it) is like being told Pulp Fiction is about two guys sent to collect a briefcase. It is about two guys sent to collect a briefcase, but that synopsis hardly does justice to the content of the film.

Jules Berry plays the murdered Mr Valentin, and does a fantastic job in creating a reprehensible villain in a film full of grounded, realistic characters. An almost Jack Nicholson level of manic creepyness helps bring to life this original role.

The main issue I have with Le Jour Se Léve however, is that I’m not sure what it wants me to feel. Do I feel sympathy for Francois as he sits on his bed, alone and confined, surrounded by bullet holes? Francois, the jealous, womanizing thug? The murderer? Do I feel for the women he has hurt along the way but who are ultimately the catalysts for his actions? Do I feel sorry for the murdered Valentin who beats and mistreats animals for a living?

Throughout it’s 93 minute run time, as strong as the dialogue is, it’s power starts to wain when you realize it’s the only thing holding the film together. The intimacy between characters is captured with a genius subtlety, and techniques such as long establishing shots and extended flashbacks shown via dissolve transitions show a maturity beyond the films years. But when there is little else waiting for you at the end of your journey than the murder scene from the beginning? Well, ones attention can’t help but wonder…

Ultimately, Le Jour Se Léve will probably be a love/hate film for many people. If you aren’t invested in the characters, you’ll be bored to death by it. But if you’re a sucker for meticulous camera movement, gorgeous dialogue, fantastic acting and exposed nipples (approximately two whole seconds to be precise), then this film is most certainly for you.


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What’s The Agenda in pictures

What’s The Agenda went off with a big festival BOOM, bringing in creative people from all over the city to create, instigate, and talk about art for social change.
Collective
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“Occupying mac’s Foyle Studio for the duration of the festival, an array of installations and performances awaited those who entered. Haiku poetry, immersive theatre, sculpture, film and visual arts exhibition Side View were just some of the vessels employed here to investigate when art becomes a political act and how creativity can incite positive social change; a mixing pot which lay testament to both the collectives’ broad range of skills and the breadth of mac’s support for the regions diverse creative future.

Drawing in a variety of changemakers throughout the weekend, the final flourish was spoken word event Bare Bones and post-show discussion debate.4.social.change (DB84SC) with Birmingham gems Vanley Burke, Zia Ahmed, Jodi Ann Bickley and Immy Kaur making up the panel. An achievement in itself, the evening not only gave brand spanking new performers a stage and an audience, but created a meaningful discussion with the public about themes raised throughout What’s The Agenda? – loneliness, heritage and gender issues – acting as the exclamation and question mark at the end of a collective statement.”

– Taken from online review by Illustrated Brum.


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#NextGenBrum Cannon Hill Café

New collaborative commissions for young people and emerging artists aged 16-24yrs at mac birmingham
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Deadline for submissions: 1st March 2014

Cannon Hill Café is a new programme aiming to develop emerging artists by offering young people aged between 16-24yrs the chance to engage and connect with mac birmingham: by initiating, producing and delivering their own events.

The aim of these commissions is to encourage new and meaningful creative collaborations as part of theNext Gen programme at mac birmingham and to create roles for young people as producers, curators, programmers, artists and leaders. Offering young people resources including, space, production support and funds to make creative work, collaborate and test out ideas.

What’s on offer?

• 5 x young people’s commissions for an alternative events programme – the Cannon Hill Café

• £500 on offer per event

• Use of space, technical support and production support from mac staff and associate producer Amy Martin

• Free skills workshops in; events management, marketing, production and audience engagement

This commission is open to:

• Existing youth groups, youth companies and youth charities or newly formed collaborative groups of young people

• Groups based in the West Midlands

• Aged 16-24yrs – led by young people

Location: Arena Café, mac birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH

Fee: Successful applicants will receive £500/per event to be spent as a programme budget

How to apply:

Application is by proposal via email to nextgen@macarts.co.uk

Your proposal should be on no more than 2 sides of A4.

Your proposal should include:

• The skills and experience of you and your group

• An outline of what you’d like to do – your ideas and how you would create a new one off event at mac for young people

• An indication of who you would like to collaborate with or programme, and how you intend to engage your audience

Please note your event must suit a public space café with limited tech resources. You will have access to a sound and light PA, projector, screen and technician. Your event must be on either 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th May or 3rd June between 5pm-8pm. Your event must be a minimum of 1 hour to a maximum of 3 hours in duration.
Successful shortlisted applicants will be asked to pitch their idea on Saturday 15th March 2014.
We understand that proposals will be subject to change and development.
We are happy to receive proposals as video, audio files, or web-based applications.

To help you to develop your application you can sign up to the following free Cannon Hill Lectures in events management and/or take part in an information surgery. Further information below.

#CannonHillLectures

From Set Up to Clean Up, a crash course in Events Management Pt 1 with Amy Martin

Thu 30 Jan, 6pm-8pm | Free | Hexagon Theatre

Planning an event, exhibition, party or workshop? Need help getting started? Then this crash course in Events Management is for you. You will explore the planning process, going step by step through the different elements, along the way creating a useful timeline. You will look at how to get people to attend your event and how to manage the process from set up to clean up.

From Set Up to Clean Up, a crash course in Events Management Pt 2 with Amy Martin

Thu 6 Feb, 6pm-8pm | Free | Hexagon Theatre

Building on from Pt 1 this lecture offers a practical guide to Events Management. You’ll leave with a toolkit that will help you organise future events, the confidence to get started and the skills to manage the process from set up to clean up.

Information surgeries

Tue 28 Jan, 4pm-5pm | mac birmingham café drop in

Thu 30 Jan, 4pm-5pm |  mac birmingham café drop in

Thu 6 Feb, 4pm-5pm | mac birmingham café drop in


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Mark Thomas – A lesson in multi-dimensional storytelling

A couple of weeks ago a few of us CannonHill-ites were invited along to watch Mark’s show; Bravo Figaro, a moving depiction of his relationship with his father and opera. Mark had kindly spent some time earlier in the evening talking to us and answering some questions about his career, his political views and anything else we wanted to know. This was an interesting insight into comedy and performance as a form of political activism. Mark is a really charming guy with a lot of important things to say and just listening to the thought process surrounding his work was great inspiration to look at art in a new light. For me personally it has always been important to work on projects that hold more than just one meaning. As appose to just being about aesthetics or reviews, exposure or money it could also be about social change, progress and the the experience of something new. Mark, with his tales of success, re-affirmed my desire to work with these goals in mind. We were also told about the way projects can develop further the more you look into them. Following leads that you think are interesting can often provide us with something that is completely different to the point that we started at and can deliver more depth, experience and value to our work. The show that followed was entertaining from start to finish but, because of what was mentioned previously, I felt as if I could spot where certain realisations and changes to the projects had come. I could see beyond the jokes and stories and understand the thinking behind them. This gave the show a feeling of ‘wholeness’. We were seeing the culmination of what Mark had told us about before. The story had countless messages about social class, politics and the structures that surround family life, all of which were communicated through heartfelt humour, passion and story telling. It made me want to see more of Mark’s work, but perhaps more importantly, to find a way for my own work to follow a similar vein of intrigue and to provide more dimensions than may be apparent at first glance.


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The Internet Has No Edges.

Internet believer and all-round modern maverick Andy Field visited the mac today. He spoke to us about how to make the most of representing ourselves idiosyncratically online and the www’s potential for dynamic collaborations. Here are the notes I made, including his wise words that the internet is limitless and ‘not finished yet’, an interesting thought that lead me to see the internet in a new way – a vast, albeit unregulated, universe of information that we can find our place within.


Inspiring stuff.

Plus a drawing for good measure.


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Vanley Burke 48 hour film challenge

On the 22nd and 23rd of October I was able to partake in a 48 hour film challenge that was inspired by the Vanley Burke exhibition held at the Midlands Art Center (Mac) thanks to the Cannonhill Collection. The short film was scripted, planned, filmed and edited all under 48 hours. It is about 4 people who visit the exhibition and relive their memories that are brought upon whilst looking at the photographs.


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Applications have now closed.

If you applied to be part of Cannon Hill Collective with mac, Birmingham, please keep an eye on your email, we will be inviting shortlisted applicants to a recruitment workshop on Friday 28 September from 4 to 6pm.

For mac’s full programme and further opportunities check the IdeasTap partner’s page – mac, Birmingham.