Saturday, December 26, 2009

On water

Some titles I have forgotten to include:

81. Roman Polansky, Knife in the Water (1962)
82. Yves Allégret, Une si jolie petite plage (1949)

81 is so memorable for the rain falling on the lake. Then again, in 82 falls a lot of rain. 82 is all about sexual abuse of a young boy by a much older woman. The title should be read: Un si jolie petit garçon. Stunningly dark, but the beauty is undeniable.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Back then in London and its environs

78. Roman Polanski, Oliver Twist (2005)

Nobody alive today really knows 19th-century London, but this film reconstructs quite convincingly the life of an orphan in the historical setting. Especially charming is the dog; seemingly an Olde English Bulldogge, it is very handsome and looks quite powerful. I wish I could keep a dog like that. And the film probably leads me to read this Dickensian masterpiece after so many years (this time in the original).

79. Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan's Childhood (1962)

Surprizingly beautiful moments. Of them I like the best the horse eating apples on the sandy beach... simply unforgettable. The film is not really focused on one character, but follows a group of characters intermittently. Of them one remembers Marcia and the camera that incarnates her own eyes in the forest. A great film.

80. Claude Chabrol, Les cousins (1959)

One of the well-known masterpieces of the Nouvelle Vague, this cruel film is full of charm because of its freely moving camera, very retro fashion, and the firmly constructed, literary plot. In fact the film is very novelistic, if you know what I mean. Our sympathy goes to Charles, the provincial boy. And we hate the girl who fell so easily for his cousin, but this hatred was already gendered.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

México, the other side

I have been very slow in viewing new films; over the past weeks all I watched were Jean Cocteau's Orphée (1949, one of my all time favorites), Mikhail Kalatozov's The Cranes Are Flying (1957, ditto) and Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (an interesting film I can never say I love). Rewatching is good, but having to rewatch is not very much so.

77. Luis Estrada, La ley de Herodes (1999)

Eiko introduced me to this politico-satirical Mexican comedy. Nicely rendered and a bit reminiscent of The Milagro Beanfield War because of its scenery and setting of the remote village. The landscape I suspect is that of Sonora? Just like southern Arizona. Bloody and often hilarious. Animals are especially funny.