Filmed in the shadow of the 2008 global financial crisis, Content (Chris Petit, 2010) is a coda to Radio On (Chris Petit, 1979), today considered a cult road classic. Content is set in the 21st century, inspired by drift and impelled by music (AGF) and the trancelike state the act of driving can bring. Petit’s meditation on the road is variously about mortality and the landscape, other trips (Poland, Texas), the eroticism of e-mail and the importance of Pokémon cards in this strange new world.
Grand Paris Texas (Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, 2010) takes a second look at the small town that gained notoriety after the premiere of Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984), although it did not participate in the production or appear in that film. The main protagonist of this experimental documentary is an abandoned cinema theatre where narratives and metanarratives intricately mesh, such as the discovery of a VHS tape of Wenders’ film in the only video store in Paris. Years earlier, someone taped over the last part of the film, forever erasing the end of Paris, Texas.
A Man With No Name (Wang Bing, 2009) takes places in the ruins of a village surrounded by an old town wall, where the only inhabitant is an unnamed man. During the day, he works like an animal and at night he sleeps in a cave like primitive men. He eats what he gathers or finds. He never says a single word. His bowl, the water keg and other daily objects are industrial waste. His life continues the same, day after day, until his death in the cave, in the ruins or the fields.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) shows the relationship between man and animal, eliminating the line that separates them. There may be some mysterious forces waiting to be revealed, just as things that were once called black magic have been shown to be scientific facts. The Thai filmmaker writes: “filmmaking remains a source whose energy we have not fully used, just as we haven’t fully explained the inner workings of the mind.”