Thoughts While Watching: "Musica Surfica"

I've been looking forward to seeing this film for ages!

Opens with Richard Tognetti: Artistic director and lead violin of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.... and lifelong surfer.

Mmmmmm... nice wine! (Nothing to do with the movie.)

Really nice listening to orchestral music on a surf DVD for a change. The vocal isn't winning me over though.

Made in May 2007.

Hynd - yay! Hero! And he's surfing a board with the fins missing and the end chopped off! Stripping back. Deconstruction in an over-constructed world.

"Aiieeeeeeeelaieeeeeeeaaaaahhhh...." I'm still not really into the vocal!

Tom Wegener - yay! Hero!

They're all sliding all over the place, hilarious. Derek's got the hang of it though. All this certainly stresses the sliding aspect of surfing with pure notes - bows sliding across the violin strings in tandem. In harmony. Beautiful notes stretching across the water...

HAhahaa... Tom Carroll lookin' all kooky on an alaia then waving his arms around on a board with fins removed. Like kids learning to ride again.

Wegener's now explaining how the curved bottom shape on his wooden alaia works and how he's discovered the right curve is essential for control... Sag Joske's there.. hey this film is a proper project. People up to stuff. Trying to be significant.

Woa - playing that Pagannini stuff looks hard - lucky little audience in the old cheese factory.

It's interesting/nice just hearing someone talk over surfing footage. (It might be a thought to have surf films with books or poetry read over the top? Is that ridiculous?)

I'm starting to get frustrated with the editing and no proper long surfing sections with music. Surely that's going to happen? It suddenly feels like watching a documentary about a project that we're not being allowed to see!?

Guy with amputated leg paddling then standing on his canoe/board/sup and surfing - fantastic. Warren the Mat rider. I want to surf a mat.

Wonderful boards, shapes, music, people but in the end I felt really frustrated. Where was the immersive long surfing-with-classica-music section? Not there! Just back and forth clips and bits which didn't let you wallow in the experience for any length of time which is what both surfing and classical music require/desire surely?

In the extras the camera wanders around watching Hynd, Wegener, Dane Peterson fiddling with boards - but we don't hear them - just the directors voice over. (Hey, maybe the film should have been called "Fiddling with Surfboards" ha ha!) I would have liked a lot more involvement with the people there hearing them discuss shapes and their thoughts on finless surfing and surfing in general. Seems a waste to have all those surfers around and not get much significant chat with them all, listening in on the banter, fly on the wall stuff.

This movie was so annoying because it's such a good project that promised so much but then doesn't really deliver what it could have. I was expecting it to be a whole movie of non stop slippy-slidy surfing with beautiful classical soundtrack - though I don't want to criticise based on presumption, but I think there should have been more of that. (Even though I thought I knew it was a CD, I actually put the second disc into my machine just in case it was the 'actual movie' and I'd just watched a documentary about it instead - that's how much I felt the film was missing a/its core.) I think it should have had less about Richard Tognetti (that could've been 'extras' content) and more about just seeing surfing and hearing music. Like the dreamy quality that Andrew Kidman manages to get in his films with his music (his music isn't completely to my taste but): there's something about the aesthetic that Kidman achieves that is pretty sublime at times. "Musica Surfica" was too much documentary about itself, self-referential that I think it kind of got lost in its own woods. Albeit beatiful Paulownia woods...

I feel mean criticising the film because it's different, involves people I admire and it aspires to have, and does have, real beauty and interest.  It has to be applauded. But I can't help that my overwhelming feeling after watching it was frustration. Like when you go to an art gallery there's a room locked that you wanted to go into.

So, wonderful bits, a wonderful idea and project, but on the whole - for me - a disappointing film. I'd been looking forward to this movie so much. I'll watch it again and see if my feelings change.


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