From J. Hoberman's halftime report from Cannes comes this description of Abbas Kiarostami's latest film: "[the] remarkably austere Five (after the number of shots) is a DV landscape study that might have been produced by a talented epigone of American minimalist Ernie Gehr."
In Five, the director says, "an entire world is revealed to us. It's a work that approaches poetry, painting. It let me escape from the obligation of narration and of the slavery of mise en scËne." [Kiarostami harshes on editing and praises the real creative action of shooting in an interview with Le Monde. Heady stuff, in French.]
Meanwhile, screening in Un Certain Regard is another Kiarostami film, 10 on Ten, his reflections on various elements of filmmaking like camera, screenplay, and locations [let me guess, slavery and obligation?]
It's as if he's trying to find out just how little is required to shoot a viable film. Ten was shot almost entirely with two DV cameras mounted on a taxi cab dash. And the film before that, ABC Africa, was a DV doc shot on a location scouting visit to an AIDS clinic.
Also a hit at Cannes this year is Tarnation, the most famously cheap movie since El Mariachi. Jonathan Caouette reveals his secret (note: that he used iMovie is no secret; it's the hook, yo) in the Guardian: "Making a movie is not as difficult as it is made out to be. Hopefully this will be a catalyst for people who didn't have a voice before to go out and make a movie." Check out the Tarnation weblog at Indiewire, which has launched more excellent weblogs in a month than some would-be empires do in a whole year.
Once you've made your DV film all by yourself, you can distribute it, too. The Times reports on the emerging trend of self-produced and distributed DVDs. The economics are increasingly attractive, especially for a wide array of specialized markets like fans of poetry or mountainboarding. One company not mentioned that should be: the mighty fine-looking small-run packaging system at Jewelboxing, brought to you by the design-savvy Coudal Partners.