HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Filmworker
Sixty Glorious Years
Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe
Victoria the Great
Dave Made a Maze
Desire and Hell at Sunset Motel
Prayer Before Dawn, A
Ragewar
Lowlife
Fashionista
Elizabeth Harvest
Moulin Rouge!
Free Solo
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Stan and Ollie
Girl in the Spider's Web, The
Up from the Depths
Guardians of the Tomb
November Man, The
Overlord
Sebastiane
Lifechanger
Circle of Two
Hell Fest
Oklahoma!
Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The
Vigilante Force
Haunting of Sharon Tate, The
Paradox
Peppermint
   
 
Newest Articles
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
   
 
  Bodysong All Of Human Life Is HereBuy this film here.
Year: 2003
Director: Simon Pummell
Stars: None
Genre: Documentary
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: We see an egg being fertilised and cells begin to multiply. Babies grow in their mothers' wombs until, all across the world, they are born. As they mature to adulthood, the individuals each have similar experiences, things which offer pleasure and pain, such as food, sex and violence. Although their lives will take different paths, they are are all related by those experiences.

You know that old puzzle about space aliens? No, not "Do they exist?", the one about what could you show an alien from another planet, a piece of film say, that would sum up life for we humans and make them understand us? Bodysong, written and directed by Simon Pummell, would be a good place to start. Consisting of footage ranging from home movies to newsreels, the images are edited together to form a commentary on life starting from the first recorded films in the late nineteenth century.

There may be no such thing as a typical life, but Pummell focuses on the constants we all share. To begin at the beginning, he shows us babies, who grow to children, who become adults, who finally die, either of old age or by more premature means. The bit in the middle sees people playing, enjoying sex, and eating, but then takes a more sinister turn as fighting becomes rioting, which changes into all out war. This is not the whole story, however.

By offering all this documentary footage, you'd think that the film would soon lapse into cliché: Adolf Hitler and Marilyn Monroe, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon or President Kennedy being assassinated, the destruction of the World Trade Centre or Live Aid. That's not so, for the most part, overfamiliar images are avoided; there are recognisable ones such as the first recorded kiss, the Viet Cong suspect being executed in the street and the brave soul holding up the tanks of the Chinese army, yet most of it is not well known.

Some of the film is surprising: a man casually throws a laughing baby from hand to hand while standing on the edge of a high rooftop, another starts a fire apparently spontaneously, and various shots from pornographic movies are presented. On the other hand, there are the disturbing effects of war, disease and famine - mass graves, murder, starving children, and that old favourite, the atomic bomb. By slowing most of this footage down, Pummell ensures you can watch from a distance while still taking in the meaning, and Jonny Greenwood's (Radiohead) music drifts over the action, leading you onwards.

Religion is depicted, African holy men intercut with Catholic priests, and then art makes an appearance - but only in an abstract or symbolic way, such as Jackson Pollock's work or simply a circle being drawn on paper. The cycles of life, be they daily hunger or death itself, are underlined, but you can get the impression that Pummell is trying to be too all-encompassing; you may start to wonder, could you be more specific? He's strong on examples but vague on theory. When someone finally speaks, it's surprising, bringing personalities alive for a short time. After eighty minutes you may not feel as if you've lived hundreds of lifetimes, but the effect will have been mesmerising.

This film is also a website which tells the stories behind the images: http://www.bodysong.com. You can also see an interview with the director here.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6395 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Simon Pummell  (1959 - )

Before directing films, Pummell line produced over 40 commercials combining live action and animation. He went on to create award winning animations and films for Channel 4, with many international retrospectives of his work.

Pummell created two short films for the feature film that accompanied Freddie Mercury's final album - Queen's 'Made in Heaven', however it wasn't until Bodysong that he directed his first major feature film.

His second feature film, some time later, was science fiction romance Brand New-U, which opened at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: