Monday, October 03, 2005

September screening log

Latest viewing goes on top:

La Captive (Chantal Akerman, 2000) ***
Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors (Hong Sang-soo, 2000) ***½
Moloch (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1999) **½

L'Amour à mort (Alain Resnais, 1984) **½
Resnais attempts a Bergman-like chamber piece, to frequently fascinating-but-maddening effect. The concept of a man who dies, then miraculously comes back to life, only to form an obsession with his own death, is the most morbid of all Resnais films I've seen, and the film's structure (a series of episodes separated by a black screen, with occasional snow-flakes falling in the foreground) echoes an obsession with death and darkness - the black screen functioning in the same way that the songs (and the jellyfish) did in his Same Old Song, halting the narrative, 'killing' it, completely separating the characters from their 'history' and forcing them to exist as models of their impossible desires. More intellectually distanced than is typical for a Resnais film, but it's strengths surprisingly lie with how Resnais uses music (that accompanies the black screens, by avant-garde composer Hans Werner Henze) to punctuate, or even define, his narrative.

Red Eye (Wes Craven, 2005) **

Soon: The short films of Artavazd Peleshian! Frankly, I'm a little nervous considering how he's been called the "greatest filmmaker you've never heard of" etc. by some, but we'll see.

Kardiogramma (Darezhan Omirbaev, 1995) **½
Kairat (Darezhan Omirbaev, 1992) ***
La Première nuit (Georges Franju, 1958) ****
Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (Patrice Chéreau, 1998) **
Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch, 1943) ***
Dodsworth (William Wyler, 1936) ***
Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger, 1958) ***½
The Living End (Gregg Araki, 1992) **½
Nowhere (Gregg Araki, 1997) *½
Outer and Inner Space (Andy Warhol, 1966) ***½

A bunch of short films by Bruce Conner, George Kuchar, and Guy Maddin. Highlights: Breakaway (Conner, 1966), Marilyn Times Five (Conner, 1973), Crossroads (Conner, 1976), Wild Night in Reno (Kuchar, 1977), and of course The Heart of the World (Maddin, 2000), which I had only seen once before. Oh, and The Man We Want to Hang (Anger, 2002), which is creeepy.

The Merry Widow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1934) ***
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Jim Jarmusch, 1999) ***

Whity (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1971) **
Unfortunately saturated with benign jabs at wounded race relations (personified by the psycho-sexual torture that Whity, a black slave, undergoes at the hands of his perverted white masters and mistress). But then there's Peer Raben's masterful score which more than keeps up with the over-the-top material, and Hanna Schygulla herself, who infuses every scene she's in with a certain playful eroticism. Still, a Fassbinder Western has no right to be this dull.

Nanami: Inferno of First Love (Susumu Hani, 1968) ***
Funeral Procession of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) ***½
Seeing these two sexually-charged Japanese New Wave films back-to-back was thrilling in many ways. Both films are high on the possibilities of filmmaking, the Matsumoto film (said to have inspired the visual palette of A Clockwork Orange) especially experimenting with the medium with delirious abandonment - subliminal insertions of shreds of memories, catfights among drag queens unfolding in stop-motion animation, surreal flashbacks, interviews with the actors about the making of Funeral Procession of Roses, until it all flows into mondo territory with a genuinely shocking ending which spins off an interesting twist on the Oedipus myth, all set to a minimalist Toru Takemitsu-esque mastery of score.

Viruddh (Mahesh Manjrekar, 2005) ½*
Dogura Magura (Toshio Matsumoto, 1988) *** ?
I guess. Could go either way on another viewing.

High Hopes (Mike Leigh, 1988) ***
Adam's Rib (George Cukor, 1949) ***
The Addiction (Abel Ferrara, 1995) **½
The War Game (Peter Watkins, 1965) ***½
Kasba (Kumar Shahani, 1991) ***
The Power of Kangwon Province (Hong Sang-soo, 1998) ***
Another Woman (Woody Allen, 1988) **
Tarang (Kumar Shahani, 1984) **½
Khandhar (Mrinal Sen, 1984) ***½


Blogger Steve R. said...

I dunno if I'd call him THE BEST unheralded filmmaker, but he's certainly worthy of attention. My faves are "We" from 1969 and "Four Seasons" from 1975. Pretty incredible stuff.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Steve R. said...

Regarding Peleshyan, that is. :)

6:13 AM  
Blogger Martin Degrell said...

Good to see some comments on those short films! Keep 'em coming. :)

11:49 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

:) Thanks again for the films - dunno how I lasted this long without having seen The Heart of the World multiple times, on repeat.

Ideally, I'd want to include comments with everything I see, but for some reason that hasn't been happening. I guess this blog is still struggling for some kind of form. I'll let it mutate.

7:07 AM  
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