Style trumps substance in Renaissance, a 2006 French film whose breathtaking visuals largely overcome its shortcomings in the areas of story and...... more
Style trumps substance in Renaissance, a 2006 French film whose breathtaking visuals largely overcome its shortcomings in the areas of story and character development. Detailed in a lengthy and absorbing "making of" featurette, the film's look is a combination of CG animation, motion capture, and a palette consisting solely of black & white (there are a few splashes of color late in the proceedings, but no gray whatsoever). And while it has a few obvious antecedents (the filmmakers readily acknowledge the influence of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, not to mention the much earlier, Expressionist work of Fritz Lang and Orson Welles), Renaissance, with its commingling of heavily processed live action and graphic novel sensibilities, looks very little like anything you've ever seen before. The setting is Paris in the year 2054, and it is here that director Christian Volckman and his crew do their best work. The French capital is certainly recognisable (the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre's Sacre Coeur are two familiar landmarks), but its classic architecture is glazed with all manner of futuristic touches, from vast glass penthouses to layers of transparent walkways outside Notre Dame Cathedral; and with the preponderance of the action taking place at night, frequently in the rain, the City of Light more often suggests a very literal representation of film noir. As for the story, it's nothing special. Hard-nosed police Captain Barthélémy Karas (voiced in this English version by Daniel Craig) is searching for a female scientist who works for Avalon, one of those sinister mega-corporations that seem to run everything in movies like this; seems the woman, who has been kidnapped, possesses what's referred to as "the protocol for immortality," and Avalon, which promises good health, beauty, and long life for all, desperately wants her back. The characters are a bit stiff (physically and otherwise), the dialogue is occasionally stilted, and the film is sometimes so dark that it's hard to tell what's going on. But most of Renaissance looks so amazing that such deficiencies can easily be ignored, at least the first time through. --Sam Graham
Advantages: Great location and friendly welcome Disadvantages: None
...The Renaissance Hamburg Hotel is part of the worldwide Marriott chain and offers the excellent accommodations that you would expect from Marriott but with the flair that you would normally expect from the Renaissance team. As with other properties in this brand hotels are branded by Renaissance but owned and managed locally adding real local colour to the hotel.
Advantages: Interesting to see the advance graphics Disadvantages: Storyline not that original
...Pryce - Paul Dellenbach
Directed by - Christian Volckman
Music - Nicholas Dodd
Performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra
Making of Renaissance - Going through the concept of how the idea was conceived, and how the Characterization, design and location were decided upon and put together.
Maaz - Short Film - I didn't quite...
Advantages: close to the airport Disadvantages: not cheap
...We booked a double room in the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel months in advance through an agent and got a very good rate of 89 pounds per night excluding breakfast, but including car parking for 10 days. The walk-in rate is, I think, somewhere around 220 pounds per night.
The arrival and check-in went smoothly. The bags were taken into the room, the baby cot we had requested was already...