Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘cinema’ Category

The fury of the unwanted will always horrify those who would seek to turn them into heroes, they are not glamorous or valiant, they are motivated only by the surging desire to destroy, to burn away all the vestiges of a world which hates them and which they hate back. France, in particular, has historically seen these elements appear in intense moments of domestic conflict, either between peasants and kings, the working class and the machinery of work, students and the university system or, presently, the recently-immigrated residents of the “Banlieus” and a nation which doesn’t want them there and has no idea how to handle them. Romain-Gavras, son of the french cinematic legend Costa-Gavras, here executes a violent and chillingly-exhilarating take on life in the French suburbs. A vicious multi-racial youth gang, wearing matching Justice jackets, beats, burns, gropes, steals and generally harrasses a multitude of people and property with nothing but contempt for eveything around them. It’s the most frightening piece of video I’ve seen in a long while. If an American had directed this, it would have had its horrors interrupted by whimsy (think Spike Jonze) and while Gavras seems partially inspired by Rémy Belvaux’s “Man Bites Dog”, especially in the final segment in which the youths turn on even those who seek to depict and explain them, that bleak film had as its protagonist a charming and cultured pianist and these thugs here don’t play.  The fact that it is nothing more than a dance-music video shouldn’t mislead anyone: in a nation that eats its children, there will always be vomit.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

“I’m an artist. When you tell people that they usually say, ‘what’s your medium?’ I usually say, ‘extra large.” This is the center line of Edo Bertoglio’s slice of hipster-life, “Downtown 81” and its hero-star Jean-Michel Basquiat  as he lives out this medium and plays himself as the most popular guy in town.

 

 

When Kool Keith asks you to get him on your guestlist you know you’re fucking cool. This film  is mostly notable for being a great historical artifact, which was almost lost and languished for a decade in obscurity after Basquiat’s death. Also great song over the end-credits, Beat Bop by Rammellzee + K-Rob. Check it:

 

Read Full Post »

I watched the 1989 anthology film “New York Stories” yesterday and was very impressed by Martin Scorsese’s contribution “Life Lessons”. The irising effects were created with an authentic silent-era iris and are used to wonderful effect in an extended shot of Rosanna Arquette’s foot, a visual motif picked up from Dostoevsky’s “The Gambler”. “Life Lessons” might be one of Scorsese’s best films, and is refreshing in his body of work because it has absolutely nothing to do with the Mafia but still retains much of his refined trademark style: a deft use of music, strong editing and a manic leading actor (Nick Nolte in his prime). Written by Richard Price!

Pardon the awkward cutting and subtitling on these clips, they’re the best I could get on YouTube.

Read Full Post »

It’s too bad about Sydney Pollack, who died yesterday, he was a mere 73 and seemed to have a lot of creative energy left in him. His last completed project as director was a competent documentary about the architect Frank Gehry and it was exciting to see an old-school Hollywood director moving into a new cinematic genre. Most casual film-goers might only be aware of Pollack as an actor, my first introduction to the man was probably his role in Kubricks “Eyes Wide Shut”. As funny as “Tootsie” is I prefer “Three Days of the Condor”, it largely started the conspiracy film trend and still looks good after 30+ plus years, as Dave Kehr observes: “This was the man who made Robert Redford seem interesting”. A toast to one of the last.

Read Full Post »

Pyramids, ancient civilizations, aliens, psychic mumbo-jumbo, when did “Indiana Jones” become “Stargate”?

 

Read Full Post »

 

Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, and Fritz Lang(!) star in Jean-Luc’s most successful attempt at a pure commercial movie. The cinematography alone, by Godard regular Raoul Coutard is worth the price of admission. Plays at the Castro through Thursday. This kind of film-going opportunity doesn’t come often, so forget Speed Racer and get thee to the Castro!

Read Full Post »

 

“The French filmmaker Chris Marker is one of the prime movers behind the essay film — that hybrid form, blending the dispassionate observation of the cinéma-vérité documentary, the strong point of view of the propaganda film and the personal asides of the home movie — that has become one of today’s dominant forms of nonfiction filmmaking. Without Mr. Marker, whose 1983 idiosyncratic travelogue, “Sans Soleil,” was described by the critic Sam Adams as “the closest thing in cinema to a crystallization of the thought process,” the newer generation of documentarians led by Errol MorrisMichael Moore and Ross McElwee simply wouldn’t exist.”

More here and on Greencine

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »