After almost six month that I've watched "The journey" of Peter Watkins I decide to write a blog post. You will find the good news at the end of the "article".
After the screening of "The Journey" in Tate Gallery I bought a collection of DVD and I tried to talk about him to as many as possible.
But the results have not been very positive. I realized that Peter Watkins in United Kingdom is not so popular as I was expecting. Well during the screening of the fabulous "The Journey" we were around 15 people and that was big signal.
But here I would like to say what are the reasons that today it is very important to talk about him. Peter Watkins is one of the most talented, critical, interesting, original filmmaker that I know. He worked with BBC for year after he went to Lituania and now he lives in Paris. In all his movies (documentaries, fiction and docu-fiction) he gives an interpretation of the politics and real world that is very deep. His works speak about the relation between politics and communication.
I would suggest to watch all of them of course. You wouldn't regret and you will find one the most original and critical thinker and filmmaker.
Recently the big news is that his wonderful "The Journey" is DVD. So I hope He can become a little bit more popular.
I would like to try to report here some notes that I wrote on 19 May when I came back home after the screening of "the Journey".
After I've watched this movie I could start to think many things. First of all it is a new way to consider the cinema and documentary and consequently an analysis about the root of the dysfunctions of our society. We live in a world dens of ignorance and unaware people. Information is often distorted, biased, prone to the dominant power and to the social models prevailing.
In the world there are many resources that are used in bad way and that could be used to build more equity and improve the conditions of who live in disadvantaged conditions.
The "choral communication" is the only way to find a solution to the big problem, also the most difficult and urgent, apparently irresolvable like the nuclear emergency.
I wonder if this "choral method" (that Watkins uses in his film) can be applied to other big social issues, like for example "the Israeli issue", "the increase of military expenses in the world", "the militarization of Sicily and Mediterranean sea"…
But I come back to the film… There are some poetic aspects as the track of the railroad. Where does the railroad bring us? it is a railroad that crosses 14 hours and 30 minutes. Probably it is the representation of the trip that who watches the documentary can do.
The characters are absolutely surprising. What are the criteria that they have been chosen?
When at end of the screening I ask this question the wife of the author answers that the characters are "peace keeping" and are absolutely common persons. They look to me that they have extra-ordinary humanity, wisdom, beauty.
The movie is song for the life and the film after that has shown, explained the disasters and understood the responsibility of the media becomes a religious celebration of the fundamental values of the existence. The final phrase that here I don't write says that.
Another interesting issue of the movie is the perception of the time. A clear contraposition between the time of the understanding and the time of the Television. The time of the Television is studied to create a message that is result of mystification, distortion and manipulation of the reality.
The act of shooting images and carrying to the opposite side of the planet, to have feedback, is an act of "metacommunication" very strong. The communication is talking about herself.
The reality is crop, revised by same people that enrich it and reinforce it.
The decontextualization of the images creates relations between the characters that live far away.
Here I would like to give some links:
Presentation of The Journey on 17, 18, 19 May 2013 (when I've discovered him)
Other screening of him in Tate
Website of Watkins
Watkins in Wikipedia