Monday, October 24, 2005

october log

In the Bathtub of the World (Caveh Zahedi, 2001) ***
I Was Possessed By God (Caveh Zahedi, 2000) *
The House is Black (Forough Farrokhzad, 1963) ***½
Last Days (Gus Van Sant, 2005) **½
Perceval le Gallois (Eric Rohmer, 1978) ***
Thanatopsis (Ed Emshwiller, 1962) **½
Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963) ***½

Sherman's March (Ross McElwee, 1986) ***
The film is perhaps even better than this rating would have one believe. What starts off as a relatively innocuous documentary chronicling the destructive 19th-century march of General Sherman down the South during the Civil War, becomes, well, that and so much more along the lines of a witty and hilarious investigation of the love life (or lack, thereof) of the filmmaker, as he turns his camera - a turned-on, virile tool if there ever was one - onto several Southern belles, many of whom have been previous McElwee flames. Which makes for an engaging, at times even an enlightening 157 minutes of missed opportunities and chronic self-effacement.

Unfaithfully Yours (Preston Sturges, 1948) ***
The Weeping Meadow (Theo Angelopoulos, 2004) **
Two Rode Together (John Ford, 1961) **½
Procès de Jeanne d'Arc (Robert Bresson, 1962) ***½
Lost in America (Albert Brooks, 1985) **
Thanksgiving Prayer (Gus Van Sant, 1991)

Three Crowns of the Sailor (Raúl Ruiz, 1983) ****
Another one of Ruiz's early, exquisitely "unsynopsizable" mindfucks - a world-weary sailor and a student on the run from the law meet in a bar, and the sailor begins to tell the tales he's heard, the experiences he's had while embarking on a seemingly endless journey around the world - Ruiz uses multiple temporal disturbances and dreamlike propulsion of narrative (which frequently reminded me of Claire Denis' L'Intrus), characters (/ghosts) enter and exit at the will of the storyteller, some of them dominating perspective, some of them seem to morph into each other to form some kind of collective experience/memory. Search for identity/pursuit of truth, money, violence, ghost-ships, "letters make up a word, and words make up a song", Sacha Vierny's delicate camerawork, Lisa Lyon's Mathilde - the film's "single-orificed femme fatale", unrequited lust, tales within bizarre tales, references to Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai... This is film as a living, breathing, moving creature.

The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003)
La Commune (Paris, 1871) (Peter Watkins, 2000) ***½
The Circle (Jafar Panahi, 2000) **½
A Tale of Cinema (Hong Sang-soo, 2005) ***

3 Comments:

Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Mubarak, how did you see Three Crowns of the Sailor? Your description just makes its unavailability more tantalizing.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

I saw a copy that seems to be taped off Australian television some years back, which somehow a friend recently acquired. It's such a shame about the unavailability of early Ruiz films (even his amazing Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting seems to be no longer available on VHS), and there don't seem to be any immediate plans on releasing his works on DVD. I'd love to see City of Pirates and Life is a Dream someday. Also haven't read his Poetics of Cinema, which sounds as wonderful as his films.

3:30 AM  
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5:37 AM  

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