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Bodysong 2003
Description: Documentary footage from different sources, set to music. Showing the entire of human life, from birth to death and beyond.
Released: 05 Dec 2003 Director: Simon Pummell Writers: Simon Pummell Actors: N/A Genres: Documentary
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Bodysong Reviews:

With all due respect to the person who wrote the first review telling the footage was 'second rate', I think he misses the point. The reason why a lot of the clips aren't well shot or popular is because they are shot by amateurs about amateurs - this is a movie about true life, and about a common humanity. Incidentally, there are shots of astronauts and atom bombs, and also some very popular clips, such as the clip from the old movie 'the kiss' and the infamous shooting of a Vietnamese man.The giving birth part of the movie was for me rather painful to watch, which surprised me because, having seen Irreversible the week before, I didn't think anything should shock me. Many of the clips were funny, and others moving, but the movie was flawed for a number of reasons. Primarily, I was confused by the order in which he tackled the different themes, which instead of going chronologically from birth to death exploring themes in-between, went from birth to death to rebirth, religion, marriage etc.. Also, having spent about 20mins on childhood and the teenage years, he spent no time on the elderly, unless you count the 'death' part.I also felt that the plinky-plonky melody didn't really support much, particularly during the 'sex' sequence. Why is there freaky jazz melody going on over the sex part? Why is sex portrayed as some strange, subversive, aggressive part of life? I'll never understand why in 'serious' movies hardcore sex attracts aggressive jazz music, when if you watch a hardcore porn film it everytime has soft jazz music.Although there were many parts of the movie I enjoyed, it didn't have the coherence or forward thinking approach of related movies such as Koyaanisqatsi.P.S I don't know why folks would walk out of a movie like this - it was marked '18' in the UK, so some of the scenes were expected, and all the reviews I read for it clearly stated that it was a series of clips place to music. Besides, it's not that long.


BODYSONG is a must-see emotional roller-coaster build up out ofclips of found footage from all periods of film-making from all overthe world. A cinematic experience in the real sense of the word, usingimages and melody (a wonderful diverse movie score from Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood) to speak to the audience on a gutand heart level. In a time where the individual is paramount thisintelligent movie dares to push you to think about what it means to behuman.At first the movie follows the cycle of life, starting with conception, acascade of births, growing up, mating rituals and sex, followed byviolence, destruction, old age, disease and death. Because there isno voice-over used, the photos are incredibly strong. There is noway to escape the visual, you cannot box it with knowledge andtherefore the less pleasant sides of humanity are straight in yourface. We are all animals driven by procreation and lust for power,moving in herds and I watching this, am one of them. I think I amspecial, but I am not.Fortunately director Simon Pummell then shows us the redemptive side of humanity: the find for meaning. Through religion and ritual, art, dreams, beliefs and solidarity.Particularly interesting is the introduction of speech very late in thefilm, adding cinematic ally as a positive, the discerning factorsbetween animal and human: voice and reason.The movie ends upbeat, pulling out into space, leaving the humanspecies on their planet, with all their smallness and bignessticking over, generation after generation.The Bodysong site delivers finally something very several filmwebsites do: a meaningful experience in itself and not just apromotional tool. The site has all the clips used in the movie andit is on the site you can search out what, when and by whom. Thechoice for mostly amateur non-fiction footage makes absolutesense to me as this movie speaks about true people. That thechoice is also highly private (and anyone else making this filmwould select various clips) echo's and underlines the theme ofthe film: we are all the same, but different.


As I started to watch this extraordinary film, I found the 30 or 40 graphic birth sequences, a several slash with MTV precision, to be somewhat repetitive, even though the cumulative result is one of wonder and the "That's-how-we-ALL-started" realization. As the movie wandered on, photographically documenting our communal adventure through life, the immense variation of sequence (locale, year, style, situation, etc.) gave it rhythm and pace.The first climax of the movie is arresting, as are the rest.An interesting, if sometimes obvious, musical score of different genres, projects warmly in 5.1.The snaps of true sex are sandwiched by snips of painful and joyous reality and while the movie has a humanist political bent, it is a truly nice work of art with remarkable archival footage edited like movements of a sonata.



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