Recently Watched Films 2020

Not the stuff on your shower tiles.

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Abbas Kiarostami, Like Someone In Love, 2011

Tony Rayns over at BFI: "Kiarostami gives us three main characters who don’t know or understand each other very well (how well do they even know themselves?) and explores their learning curves through a series of charged and anxious situations."
Steven Boone on Ebert's site: "Many critics have noted the wondrously jam-packed and disorienting opening shot inside a nightclub, but every shot in the film, really, is its own universe. Window panes and mirrors often relieve Kiarostami from cutting to and fro by including an offscreen character in a gorgeously warped, faded reflection. His joy in discovering a shimmering new canvas, the city of Tokyo, comes through in each cut to something quietly astonishing."
A.O. Scott in the New York Times: "The gap between appearance and reality is Mr. Kiarostami’s native territory. He is fascinated by the ease with which people can pretend to be, and thus become, different versions of themselves, and sensitive to the ways that cinema can collude in such impostures."
And here's Lindsay Turner in the LA Review of Books (the whole review is worth a read) https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/thr ... e-in-love/ : "[W]hat’s most satisfying about Like Someone in Love is that the effect is created within and using the medium of cinema itself: the nature of the spectacle and the experience of spectatorship. In other words, this film’s ambiguity is as much at the level of vision as it is of thematic experience." And, later: "We’re aware that we’re watching through a glass — through a glass on a screen — and yet each glass provides a peculiar sort of intimacy and an invitation to keep watching. The space of the window is the space of 'looking like': the necessary illusion for the fiction of this relationship. Does the end of the film begin to seem inevitable?"
When the window is shattered, the character falls out of sight.
And finally, another quotation from an old master, the mighty Bresson: "When a sound can replace an image, cut the image or neutralize it. The ear goes more toward the within, the eye toward the outer."
Masterpiece. Essential viewing.
http://www.paristransatlantic.com
REISSUED! Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton METRO PRE SAINT GERVAIS
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Lao Tsu Ben
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Lao Tsu Ben »

Dan Warburton wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:21 am
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Nagisa Oshima, Max mon amour, 1986

I'd like to know what other more Oshima-friendly folks here (Ben, Henrik..) made of this, not that I'm ever going to watch it again.
I actually liked it very much. I used to think, before watching the film, that it would be some sort of sordid, sleazy affair and was surprised to find it merely quirky, playful and jaunty, a bit like Michel Portal's delightful theme. The Jean-Claude Carrière's touch is perhaps more obvious than Oshima's own, though I would have to watch the movie again to be sure of that, I think I expected something like Barbet Schroeder's Maîtresse and that I used to confuse the two films, perhaps because Schroeder did that one documentary about a gorilla, but Max mon amour is actually very bunuellian... I didn't who was Pierre Etaix at the time which makes me even more curious to see it again. But there are other films by Oshima that I'm planning to watch before hand

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Dan Warburton »

Etaix hardly appears at all - it's just a tiny speaking part as a detective, no funny stuff at all. Anyway, glad you liked it more than I did! Meanwhile, another trash/giallo double bill..

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Umbero Lenzi, Orgasmo, 1969

Also known as Paranoia (a better title), which is confusing as Lenzi later made another film with the same name, this is erroneously billed as a giallo, but - apart from some serious J&B whisky product placement throughout - it isn't. No black gloves, no blood, just a mysterious club-footed character whose appearance at the end of the film ties up the plot all too rapidly. Poor Carroll Baker gets drawn into drug-induced paranoia by Lou Castel and his sister (is she?). Not saying any more, but keep an eye on that suitcase Carroll hides in the attic. Or spoil your fun by reading this https://cultsploitation.com/orgasmo-blu ... er-boxset/
http://www.paristransatlantic.com
REISSUED! Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton METRO PRE SAINT GERVAIS
https://swarming.bandcamp.com/album/met ... nt-gervais

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Fernando Di Leo, La bestia uccide a sangue freddo) (aka Cold Blooded Beast) aka Slaughter Hotel), 1971

I can't resist spoiling your fun, so if you think you might want to waste an hour and a half of your life (sorry to use an IMDb user review trope gripe) watching this, stop reading now. Top billing goes to Klaus Kinski, but lest you immediately suspect he's the one killing off the curvaceous patients in this sanatorium (it's not a hotel), he isn't. I wouldn't worry about plot at all - the director doesn't - this is basically a gratuitous display of blood-spattered beauties. Especially the ending. Oof! But, well, you can give it a miss, honestly.
http://deadshed.blogspot.com/2017/11/co ... -1971.html
http://www.paristransatlantic.com
REISSUED! Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton METRO PRE SAINT GERVAIS
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Lao Tsu Ben
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Lao Tsu Ben »

Dan Warburton wrote:
Sat May 07, 2016 4:26 am
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Frank Perry, The Swimmer, 1968

Burt Lancaster described it as his favourite movie, which I suppose means something - but it's an odd one all right, a half-allegorical tale about the failure(s) of the American Dream, not so much a road movie as a pool movie, in which Burt shows up in each scene in his swimming trunks (that's all he wears throughout the entire film) and swims a length before moving on to the pool at the next door neighbours'. It doesn't take us long to figure out that his life hasn't worked out as he planned it, but thankfully the sordid details are left to our imagination. Makes for an interesting comparison with Kazan's The Arrangement, and, if you want a European perspective on the subject, Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. In fact, Antonioni seems to have been as much of an influence on this generation of American filmmakers as, say, Cassavetes was on the Europeans.
I honestly don't know what to do with this mess of a movie which is all too easy to dismiss as preposterous, which I'm prone to do. Though often beautifully photographed, it is in a way that must have felt already out of date at the time of its release, like a colorized version of some oddity from the fifties. Watching Burt Lancaster overdoing his studness, that is sort of consubstantial with him, adding a zest, or rather, a heavy load of zaniness makes for a rather surreal campy experience. When he is actually show jumping in slow-mo with a crazed smile over the face, one is left dumbfounded. Besides that, there is a surcharge of heavy-handed an d vague symbolism associated to that tumble down memory river that feels easy and pretentious, and that's to be expected from the likes of Perry or Sidney Pollack, come to think of it. The film was rereleased a few years ago in a few cinemas in France to rave, though scarce reviews but reminds me of affected failures from that era such as Puzzle of a Downfall Child and others that are just slipping my mind. Made me want to rewatch A Letter to Three Wives about suburbian disaffection.

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Karlheinz Stockhausen, Lectures, 1972

Hoovered these up on Karagarga a while back, but I think they're all around on YouTube somewhere, albeit in slightly dodgy video quality. It's a mixed bag of lectures, delivered in various venues in England at a time when Stockhausen was arguably at his zenith: after Mantra (of which more below), he eventually retreated into the enormous, sprawling Licht project, a crazy bid to outdo Wagner, throwing himself into opera just when opera more or less was dropping off the radar of contemporary music altogether. He also fell out with Deutsche Grammophon and Universal Edition when he had what most composers would consider the deal of a lifetime, took back control (to coin a phrase) of his entire back catalogue and ended up selling his scores and recordings himself http://www.stockhausen-verlag.net/ (you'll need a winning lottery ticket or a divorce settlement from a tech billionaire to purchase everything on offer, be warned). In later years he cut a bizarre figure, dressed like a Bavarian innkeeper, making daft statements about 9/11 ("the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos") and riding around in helicopters with the Ardittis, but for about 20 years, from Kontra-punkte through to Mantra, I'd argue he was the single most innovative and exciting composer in the world. It's such a shame good recordings of the seminal works of those years are so hard to find now, and of course works as forbiddingly complex and expensive to stage as Gruppen or Carré are barely performed at all today. Of course, the guy was not a little mad, as some of his strange rants here illustrate all too well ("you become what you eat!"), but this set is worth the price of admission for the lecture on Kontakte and his nutty professor exposition of the intricacies behind Mantra, arguably his masterpiece (though I do wish he hadn't included those bloody ring modulators: I reckon the piece could survive quite well without them, anyway, whatever..). Elsewhere, the lecture on Telemusik is a bit disappointing, being little more than a collection of Japanese anecdotes, and he has a hard job selling the intuitive music (shame Cardew wasn't around to take his old master to task in the Q&A sessions), but there's much to enjoy nevertheless.
http://www.paristransatlantic.com
REISSUED! Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton METRO PRE SAINT GERVAIS
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Antoine
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds (Werner Herzog / Clive Oppenheimer, 2020)
Meteorite hunting across the world, with Werner Herzog.
There's a nice sequence in Antarctica, reminiscent of "Encounters at the End of the World".

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Dan Warburton »

Dan Warburton wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:06 am
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Ragnar Bragason, Mr. Bjarnfreðarson, 2009

IMDb plot summary (no spoilers, don't worry): "[T]he final chapter in the lives of Georg Bjarnfredarson, an over-educated know-it-all, social outcast, closeted gay man, and his friends and co-workers. Sitting with him high in the ladder, letting life bedazzle his eyes with perplexity, is Daniel Sævarson, a shy young man who is wrangling with an uncontrollable web of lies he has concocted to deceive his family who think he is finishing medical school. Those two characters are joined by Olafur Ragnar, a 40-year-old man-child still struggling to fit in a normal society. The story begins when Georg is released on parole after a long stay in jail for murder. His mother, an obstinate feminist, refuses to take him in, practically disowning him. Daniel, an old friend, whom Georg tried to frame for the murder he had committed, reluctantly invites him to stay at his place until he gets back on his feet. Olafur, Georg's former co-worker, is also staying at Daniel's house, pretty much to the annoyance of Daniel's wife Ylfa. When these three reconnect is when hell breaks loose." I realise now I should have probably seen the three preceding chapters of the story, respectively entitled The Night Shift, The Day Shift and The Prison Shift, before tackling this one, though it does stand on its own quite well thanks to some strategic flashbacks and voiceovers. Very funny, but also touching - and very well made. A big hit in Iceland, where apparently more people went to see it in the cinemas than went to see Avatar. (Though that may have something to do with the availability of 3D at the time - that said, Bragason's characters are certainly more three-dimensional and profound than James Cameron's cartoon cardboard cutouts. Ha, whatever became of 3D cinema?)
So I followed my own advice and watched all three preceding series, which I would recommend not only because they fill in much of the backstory merely hinted at in the film, but because they're wonderfully entertaining in their own right. Ranging from the extremely funny (somewhere between The Office and Fawlty Towers) and downright disturbing, they're the most popular things ever screened on Icelandic TV and it's not hard to see why. Night Shift has 12 30' episodes, Day Shift 11 and Prison Shift 7. Then watch the film again to tie it into a neat bundle. Excellent work! https://eurodrama.wordpress.com/tag/sar ... t-nordhal/
http://www.paristransatlantic.com
REISSUED! Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Dan Warburton METRO PRE SAINT GERVAIS
https://swarming.bandcamp.com/album/met ... nt-gervais