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Speaking For Trees: A Film By Mark Borthwick
Speaking For Trees A Film By Mark Borthwick
Actor: Cat Power
Director: Mark Borthwick
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2004

Cat Power sings amongst the trees she speaks for in this high-concept film featuring the music of Chan Marshall. Includes a bonus CD of the track "Willie Deadwilder" and a black and white picture booklet. Matador Records


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Movie Details

Actor: Cat Power
Director: Mark Borthwick
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll
Studio: Matador Records
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/26/2004
Release Year: 2004
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Not All Experiments Work....
kinojay33 | 11/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"...and this is one of them. I'm a Cat Power fan & an experimental filmmaker, so I like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for avant-garde antics. This film was an interesting concept, but certainly not an original one by any means--the sticker on the disk itself mentions correlations to Warhol (Michael Snow also comes to mind).

I can appreciate the "anti-music video/anti-rock doc" approach (bad video, long enough angle that you can't see Chan's face, crickets chirping, etc), but the novelty wears off after ten minutes. Michael Snow could pull off the long take because there was eventually a climactic pay-off; Warhol pulled it off because he was the first (and, well, he was Warhol).

Bortwick is an excellent still photographer; it's a shame he can't translate that to motion pictures."
Private concert, bad film-making
Brian Garcia | 12/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The sheer joy of basically having Chan play a 2 hour concert to an audience of you is profound to any fan of hers (the other 99% of the world will think it is boring and go watch TV). So stated, the film making is bad. It could at the very least be more "dynamic" - following her around instead of remaining static. I realize this may be hard to accomplish, but it would breath some life into it. As is, I watch a half hour of it while trying to fall asleep. A few closer shots of Chan would also be nice.

Some of the "experimental" cinematic effects are just plain bad, like the playing with the brightness and contrast. It just adds nothing, and it isn't in synch with the music/singing.

The sound mixing is also bad. Guitar needs to come down some, vocals up some. While it is usually hard to understand what Chan is singing under perfect studio conditions, all I could pick out was something vaguely resembling her songs.

Her voice is her power, let it speak.

Still, the 2 hour content and the CD make it a very worthwhile investment for a serious Cat Power fan, and reasonably priced."
Not so good
dredfish | My basement in Seattle, WA | 11/26/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I love Cat Power, but this CD/DVD is a real disappointment. The music is okay, but the video is awful. The whole "Chan in nature" thing falls flat. It looks like they filmed it in the parking lot of a city park. Probably the worst are the three "music videos." If Mark Borthwick is an artist I'm sure he'll be a starving one. His filmmaking style is sadly lacking. Anybody, and I mean anybody, with a video camera could come up with something more compelling than this drivel.

Two stars because the music is marginally enjoyable. 0 stars for the video. Blech."
Speaking for trees or speaking for the most boring film ever
Lizardo | Winter Park, Fl. USA | 08/16/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I am a huge Cat Power fan but I have to say that I was extremely disappointed with this film!! First of all, the camera never moves!!! No pans, no zooming in or out--the entire film is way too stationary!! Chan is too far off in the distance to see any emotion. As the film continued to play I kept thinking, "okay, any minute there will be a scene change, something different will happen"--needless to say, I waited...and waited...and waited...............
then I realized the entire 2 hr film was that way. I finally gave up on waiting for something to happen and decided to clean my house and just listen to the music(which I love). I could've just popped in one of her cd's to get the same effect and save myself $25! I'm not a stickler with money but this was definately a waste!! I decided to open up the book that came with package and look at all of the pictures that I knew were in it. I thought "well, at least some cool pictures will make up for the lack of entertainment I recieved from the film"--well, to my surprise, the pictures were just stills from the film! I felt ripped off--I think from now on I will just stick with her cd's. I would not suggest anyone to BUY this film--if you're a fan then rent it first and make your decision after viewing it. All you would need to do is watch the first minute or two of the film and you've already seen the whole 2 hrs. If you feel like you're going to miss anything musically then just put in the cd that came with it. It's a good cd(it's just an audio recording of the film) but it's not worth $25."