Tuesday 21 June 2016

100 Essential Films that deserve More Attention - 2. Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to escape from the monotony of everyday life, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen
Director - Gyorgy Pálfi
Country - Hungary
Year - 2012
Runtime - 84 Minutes

Imagine a film that takes memorable scenes from all of your favourite movies and pieces them together to create a single narrative, where shots of different actors are used to represent the same character, and all form part of a new, yet familiar storyline. Director György Pálfi has done just that, and although copyright issues prevent the film from ever being officially released it is (at the time of writing) available on youtube for all to enjoy, and I have included the full film at the bottom of this article should you wish to consider my recommendation - trust me, you won't regret it! Where else would you be able to see Anthony Perkins (as Norman Bates from Psycho) smiling maniacally after Sharon Stone flashes him during a romantic meal?

Pálfi has painstakingly sifted through countless hours of footage to create Final Cut, and his unbounded passion for film is clear to all who behold it. Every film fan will relish the opportunity to play 'name that movie' throughout the film's runtime - I certainly did - although the simple yet effective boy meets girl storyline adds another layer of enjoyment to this incredible labour of love.

The films used range from mainstream cinematic classics such as Pulp Fiction and Singin' in the Rain to lesser known gems, like The Hill and Closely Observed Trains, and finally on to more obscure Hungarian pictures (that English speakers like myself are unlikely to have ever encountered before). All of these have been carefully spliced together in a way to create the illusion of a seamless narrative, in a manner that is both enthralling and incredibly impressive. Although foreign films are used there are unfortunately no subtitles to accompany the different languages which feature in Final Cut (unless you can read Hungarian). Thankfully, this doesn't detract from the experience as Pálfi relies on visual cues to form the basis of his storytelling; a look or a gesture can be just as expressive as spoken words - if not more so - and there are actually very few clips where words are uttered by the actors.

By utilising a selection of evocative film scores to accompany Final Cut, Pálfi taps in to our emotional receptors as it is difficult to listen to such grandiose and stirring themes without recalling the emotions we felt during previous encounters with the music. Artists such as Vangelis (Chariots of Fire), Michael Nyman (The Piano), and Simon & Garfunkel (The Graduate) feature among a host of eclectic musicians whose only connection is that their music has previously been used as an unforgettable backdrop to a powerful cinematic canvas. Hearing these familiar sounds cut to visuals that we wouldn't normally associate with the music is a satisfying experience for any film fan, and is another reason why Final Cut is deserving of far more attention that it has garnered since its inception.

You might be mistaken in thinking that Final Cut is nothing more than a novelty but I have watched it numerous times and find that it improves on repeat viewings. My first encounter with Final Cut left me in awe at the sheer volume of clips on show, as my brain frantically scrambled to identify the films which had been used to create this unconventional masterpiece. Following on from this, I managed to look past the clips on display and immersed myself into the beautifully realised story that elevates Final Cut to its position as a monumental tribute to the world of cinema.

If you take the time to watch Final Cut then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!

For previous instalments in the series click here

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