TEN MINUTES OLDER "The Trumpet" is a compilation of seven ten-minute films by various noted directors that all deal with the passing of time. This is one of such two 2002 projects produced by Nicholas McClintock, the other is subtitled "The Cello".
In Aki Kaurismäki's "Dogs Have No Hell", Markku Peltola is released from jail and has ten minutes to convince Kati Outinen to marry him and board a train to Siberia. There's little explanation of who these people are, why Peltola was in jail or why they must go to Siberia, but the film does compress the Finnish director's style into a short span with its deadpan humour, stony facial expressions and even a performance by a morose rock band.
As Víctor Erice's "Lifeline" begins, a baby's swaddling clothes are stained with blood because of a rupture. The film tracks the suspenseful minutes between the accident and the time that the large household discovers it and saves the child. The film is set in a Spanish village in 1940 and the silence (there's only a couple of lines of dialogue at the end) and clockwork-like buzz of rural life (reaping grain, sewing with a machine) make a real impression over the other films here.
The main character of Jim Jarmusch's "Int. Trailer Night" is an actress (Chloe Sevigny) on a ten-minute break in her trailer while shooting a film. Though these ten minutes are all the time she gets to herself the whole day, her break is constantly interrupted by costume and mic checks and ultimately her dinner is delivered too late for her to eat it. Jarmusch is apparently showing us that a star's life is not an easy one, though considering the enormous salaries that these professionals command, it's hard to really sympathize.
Wim Wender's "Ten Minutes to Trona" depicts an American businessman's desperate attempt to reach a hospital after unknowingly ingesting a plate of cookies dosed with some kind of hallucinogen. As he speeds down a desert road, various camera effects represent his warped perceptions, which range from horrible visions to moments of idyllic beauty. There's such a realism to this that one wonders if it is based on a personal experience by Wenders.
Werner Herzog and Spike Lee chose to make short documentaries. Herzog's "Ten Thousand Years Older" visits a Amazonian tribe that had been contacted by the outside world in 1981 (thus being pulled millennia into the future in the blink of an eye). The first portion of the film consists of footage from the 1981 contact. In the years since, much of the tribe had been decimated by diseases to which they had no resistance, but Herzog captures an interview with two of the men two decades on.
Spike Lee's contribution "We Wuz Robbed" deals with the 2000 presidential election and Al Gore's loss to George Bush in Florida. Lee interviews Democrat strategists about the agonizing wait for the figures to come in. As outraged as I was at the outcome of this election, I find this film to have little to no redeeming value and regularly skip it on rewatchings.
Finally, Chen Kaige's "100 Flowers Hidden Deep" deals with the Chinese state's destruction of Beijing's traditional neighbourhoods in order to build skyscapers. A middle-aged Beijing man asks a removals team to help him take his things from his old home to his newly built highrise. When they arrive, they find only a vacant lot and it turns out the local man is quite mad. Through a computer-graphics overlay, Chen shows us what lovely buildings and streets were in this empty plot of land before the authorities demolished it all.
In spite of the talent enlisted for this project, the films here are generally not very deep. I would say that only the Herzog, Erice and Chen films are memorable, but it's hard to be enthusiastic even about these. I think it would appeal mainly to completists of one or more of the directors represented here, but it's hard to represent it to more casual fans.