When I learned that they will show Gus Van Sant's MILK in the Manila this April, i said I'll just pay for a ripped DVD. It turned to be the most "sulit" 40 pesos I paid to a pirate! And I'm not exaggerating.
If I'm a film maker...this is the film I want to do!!
Sean Penn's delivery, and the power of Van Sant's storytelling technique is as deadly as Manny Pacquiao's lethal combo.
I can say that the film is perfectly balanced:
- Reality and "Fiction" - balance through news interstitials and canned footage of the San Francisco gay movement
- Cause and Sensation - the message the film carries is very relevant now - gay rights. The beauty with MILK is that it was able to balance the cause Harvey Milk is fighting for, and his sensational/controversial gay life
- Narration and Documentation - Harvey Milk's life is well known, but the film was able to present it in a way that it tells the story like you never know Harvey at all
Gus Van Sant proved again that he is a master of this craft. Watching the film gave me goose bumps in the beginning and middle, then tears at the end. Gus was able to move my emotions with every pan, tilt and slide of his camera.
Gus was also able to play in the film. It is not as stiff as Good Will Hunting, or as straight Finding Forrester. In MILK I see the Gus in Cannes. The Gus of Paris Je 'Taime and Elephant. You can see some creative indie touches to it, like the scene where they were calling each other for a "gay riot" (which eventually became the first Gay Pride Parade). The approach is Hollywood...but also experimental.
The grainy, low-fi finish of its cinematography doesn't just give the 70's era effect, it makes you feel the characters and issue au naturelle. It's like watching them in a news footage, making them real to you.
The nice thing about MILK - it didn't focus on the iconic activist of the 70's, but on the thousands of people, gay or straight, he touched.
A review said: "Once in a while, a film arrives at such a perfect moment, its message and meaning so finely tuned to the current zeitgeist, that it seems less a cinematic event, and more of a once-in-a-lifetime moment needed to seized in the silverscreen"...and that film is MILK!
My name is Dennis...and I'm here to recruit you (to watch MILK!). :-)