The Wall

Die Wand

Our world is so connected now that moments of solitude, peace and quiet can often be hard to come by without interruptions and distractions. From the real people in our lives to the virtual ones we interact with on Facebook and Twitter, there’s almost always someone else intruding on our private, little bubble. You’d think we could simply turn off the phone, iPad and laptop and go sit outside with a good book, but for many people that appears to be physically impossible. But what if you had no choice? An unnamed woman (Martina Gedeck) who we’ll call Frau (if only because IMDB lists her that way) arrives at a remote Austrian hunting cabin with two friends and their dog. They’ve only barely settled in when the couple decide to walk into town with the promise of returning by nightfall, but still absent the following morning Frau goes looking for them. She doesn’t get far as she collides with an invisible barrier blocking the road. She discovers that the “wall” surrounds an area several square miles in size with the cabin in the center. And she’s all alone.

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trailer the wall

A woman awakens one day to discover her mountain cabin has been separated from the rest of the world by an invisible wall. She can see through it, but she’s unable to pass. As the days turn to weeks and the seasons begin to change her solitude becomes more and more of a threat to her survival. What caused it? Why is it happening? When will it end? Damned if I know, but my ignorance doesn’t stop me from loving the first trailer for Julian Pölsler‘s new film, The Wall. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and creates a real sense of isolation, and if nothing else it makes for an interesting companion piece to the upcoming limited TV series of Stephen King’s Under the Dome. Check out the trailer for The Wall below.

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Culture Warrior

The music video is in terminal condition, if not certainly dead. MTV hasn’t been associated with music for a long time, and nobody invests real money in the format that formerly revolutionized the relationship between audiences and musicians. The music video had a great run, introducing us to visionary directors and creating profound visual iconography whose power was unmatched by album covers and promotional materials, but beyond the occasional breakout video that circulates on YouTube, it’s time to say goodbye to the format that brought us everything from “Billy Jean” to “Frontier Psychiatrist.” In the past few years a new music/video hybrid has become increasingly prevalent. The “visual album” (as coined by Animal Collective) continues to emerge as a means of creative visual expression and (often) as a form of cross-promotion for an album. Unlike music videos, visual albums stage, sometimes with interruptions, the majority of a musician or band’s LP. Even though this format seems designed to exist exclusively through web distribution (visual albums can occasionally be too long, interconnected, and narratively or stylistically cohesive to be parsed out as standalone shorts or individuated music videos, but aren’t long enough to be feature films), the visual album is also a risky declaration in the age of iTunes, proclaiming albums to be cohesive works of musical artistry rather than conveniently divisible bits of audio information.

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