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Cell phone release: Sally Potter’s RAGE

Cell phone release: Sally Potter's RAGE

09-21-09: Jude Law in Rage via iPhone held by writer/director Sally Potter

“I can’t think of a worse way to watch a movie than on a cell phone,” commented a reader on a “Thompson on Hollywood” blog post announcing Rage.

But here’s the thing– this film was made to be watched on a phone. Maybe it should have been called a series of webisodes. Of course, that might have scared people from buying the DVD. If you watch the DVD, as I did, you will see that its natural home is the hand-held device, seen in daily sections over the course of a week, as the story progresses during Fashion Week. Internet viewing is another option.

Potter wrote the dramatic thriller as a conventional script ten years ago, and only after having her own blog and website did she “unlock the form for the film,” using close-ups exclusively because, she told me, “the close-up is the language of MySpace and Facebook.”

“This isn’t about shoving a movie into a cell phone,” she said. “Everything in this film could have been made by a child with a cell phone in their bedroom.”

“I needed to make it very graphic, very pure, very simple…with no cutaways, no locations, no sets, and a green screen. The dynamic had to be in the performances,” she said. She cast Jude Law, Judi Dench, Steve Buscemi, John Leguizamo, Lily Cole and others to play recurring characters in brief shots, reminiscent of screen tests.

The eye-popping background colors were copied digitally from somewhere on the actor’s face, body, or clothing.

Filmmakers and adventurous audiences should see this beautifully crafted and acted humorous film, as it presents a new direction for entertainment.

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