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Tideland [Blu-ray] [Import allemand]
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Whimsical, occasionally alarming and consistently odd, Tideland isnt a film for everyone. But director Terry Gilliam would be the first to admit that; in his introduction on the DVD, he says that while some people will love the film, others will hate it, and still others just wont know what to make of it.
Its not difficult to see why. Tideland is about a little girl whose imagination becomes her refuge when first her mother dies of a drug overdose, then her deadbeat father follows suit, leaving her alone in a house surrounded by endless fields and lurking lunatics.
Tideland has been compared with Guillermo del Toros Pans Labyrinth; but where the latter film had a brutal wartime backdrop, Tideland is set in the sunny but isolated world of the American deep South, and the nightmare creatures of the Labyrinth are exchanged for battered dolls heads. Left to his own devices, Gilliam does tend to make very strange films, and this is no exception. Tidelands real strength is in its lead actress: for an eleven-year-old to carry a film that tackles death, drugs and child abuse is a tall order, but Jodelle Ferland manages it spectacularly. --Sarah Dobbs --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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In many ways, this is the purest Gilliam film since Brazil (a film that also borrowed liberally from other sources while maintaining its own originality), and hearkens back to the days when auteurs were not only allowed to follow their wildest muse but were expected to do so. And that, too, presents what will no doubt be Tideland's greatest failing, as well as its highest achievement. Cinema has become so cynical in the last twenty years, so narrow in scope and so entertainment driven, that anything which requires viewers to experience a motion picture on its own terms is usually greeted with scorn.
These would be very tough times, indeed, for the likes of a young Fellini, Kubrick, and Lynch. That's not to say Tideland is a perfectly misunderstood creation, although it should be pointed out that those who are screaming foul about this film being pointless, self indulgent, and too weird are likely the very same people who ridiculed Grimm for being unoriginal, mainstream, and plain. Yes, there were walkouts at its screenings, gasps of shock, even angry grumbling. There were also laughs, applause, and continued debates concerning what the film was really about (how often does that occur these days after a screening?).
In the end, Tideland will likely please a select group who prefer to experience cinema rather than opposing it with their own expectations (there were those who were still talking about it two days following its premiere, even when they hated it). But for those who are anxiously wanting Time Bandits 2 or desire some degree of Pythonesque humor, Tideland will disturb, bore, and profoundly bother to the point of contempt. Nevertheless, it is a very unique and, at times, incredible film, infused with at least two amazing performances, beautiful photography, and one of the most enigmatic endings I've seen in ages.
Hate it or love it, few will be able to deny the lingering, ineffable vibrations left by this film, or that it stands as further proof that its director has stayed true to himself. Of course, prepare for the yin/yang laments to come in spades: Grimm would have been a better film had Gilliam been left to his own devices; Tideland would have been a better film had Gilliam not been left to his own devices. Poor Terry Gilliam; apparently he can do no right even when he does.
Me? I loved every minute of it and I am putting this beside Fear and Loathing in the cult section.
This film is about 11 year old Jeliza-Rose (Jodelle Ferland). When we meet her first she lives in some large city, in a miserable dump with her very poor and absolutely abject parents. Her father, Noah (Jeff Bridges), is an aging, struggling musician, who in his better moments knows how to invent cool games and tell a good story - and we could maybe feel some sympathy for him, if he wasn't a drug addict, who trained Jeliza-Rose when she was still a little girl to prepare his daily injection of heroine... We never learn the real name of her mother (Jennifer Tilly) - Jeliza-Rose and Noah just call her "Queen Gunhilda" - but it is clear from the first moments of the film that she is a totally degenerate junkie, hardly even able to function anymore... Then, a couple of minutes into the film, something happens and as a result Noah and Jeliza-Rose take a trip to rural Texas. They go to the place where Noah was born - and then the film really begins.
This being a Terry Gilliam film, from the technical point of view everything is done very well. Images are actually pretty impressive, the story (even if it is sick and perverted) flows harmoniously and also actors were selected well and encouraged to perform with skill. Especially great praise must be given to Jodelle Ferland who was only 11 years old at that time - and did an incredible job.
A precision here, concerning the character of Noah, played by Jeff Bridges. Some reviewers said that he reminded them of Dude from "Big Lebowski" - but I strongly disagree! Dude, albeit by his own decision a marginal, was actually a rather likeable and certainly harmless, well, dude... Noah on another hand is really a piece of human garbage - with hardly any redeeming traits...
The scenario however is, well, I guess the only possible word to describe the scenario is SICK! In his films Terry Gilliam always had a very personal relationship with reality and it will come as no surprise that large parts of "Tideland" happen actually in some... unusual states of mind. Usually, this actually makes the charm of his movies - and yes, here also, the imaginary world of a very unhappy and probably slightly unbalanced child, is indeed a more pleasant place than the reality. Most of the story however describes precisely this real reality - and it is simply repugnant to watch! You take the grossest parts of "Jabberwocky", the most disturbingly insane parts of "Brazil", the most cruel elements ot "12 Monkeys" and you will get the idea. Add to this the fascination with deformed bodies and minds, throw in sexual perversions and you will have a general idea of how gross this film is. There are moments we can actually almost really SMELL the decaying bodies and rotten minds...
Every time I thought that this film couldn't go deeper into gross and abject, I was wrong - with every next ten minutes, this film gets more disgusting. SPOILER ALERT HERE! I am shocked that Terry Gilliam could show on the screen an 11 year old girl kissing - by no means innocently - a grown up man (and the fact that this character is supposed to be mentally handicapped doesn't change anything). I am also shocked that an 11 year old child was asked to play scenes in which she mixes drugs and cuddles a (supposedly) dead decaying body... I am even more shocked that her parents accepted that...
Once again, I must grant to Terry Gilliam, that he knows how to make films and even that one can actually cause a kind of morbid fascination. But still, this is an abject thing. For the life of me I cannot understand why Terry Gilliam made "Tideland" and why did he have to put an 11 year old girl through the filming of this... this... thing... This is clearly the sickest and the most depraved of his films and I am sorry that I watched it. AVOID!
There's a lot for Gilliam fans here, the camera angles, the odd fantasy elements and the strange dark humour.
This film could have been terrible if it hadn't been done properly, but the film stays interesting and gripping because of the connection Gilliam gives us to Jeliza-Rose.
I'm not here to judge, and if people don't like this film they're entitled to, but all I'm saying is give it a chance, because a fair few of you, like me, are going to love it for the beautiful film it is.
6 minutes are missing.
And it should have been rated 18.
They lower the rate and reduced the running time.
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Seen through a child's eyes it's a really sweet film, however with adult glasses on it's a little unsettling.Read more