Abdellatif Kechiche La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue Is the Warmest Color) 2013
Manohla Dargis has eloquently written on the flaws of this film related to the “male gaze”. In addition the actresses have complained about working conditions during the long and up front scenes of coitus. I avoided this film for many years because it seemed offensive for a man to make a film of lesbian lovers going at it, but after seeing it I am a bit perplexed on how I as a spectator should feel. The film is a beautiful love story, incredibly tragic and over the top emotionally. The two actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux give some of the most gut wrenching performances imaginable, and especially Exarchopoulos total descent into melancholia is something I cannot imagine too many popular young American actresses being capable of. The film is stunning in its physical qualities, something often times rare in the Post-Bressonian world of French Cinema where directors make the decision to avoid the je ne sais quoi. This film is alive with color and light, memorable edits, sound design and overall filmic magic. I do find many of the intellectual reasons for disliking this film valid but in all honesty I loved the film and see it as something quite special in the long list of great films from the last 10 years.
Luca Guadagnino The Staggering Girl 2019
Tony Richardson Tom Jones 1963
The Criterion Blu-ray features an overview of and interview with cinematographer Walter Lassally, placing his hand held camera work concurrently with the French New Wave cinematographers Raoul Coutard and Henri Decaë. His other seminal films with Richardson were A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. His photography for this film really goes beyond what was seen or executable in the day, especially during the dog chase where he mixes aerial footage with hand held work from the back of a vehicle with hand held on the ground shooting. Being a viewer who is much more deeply in tune with the British New Wave, this honoring of Lassally was good business. Brilliant film.
Karel Zeman The Fabulous Baron Munchausen 1962
Very interesting use of color with many scenes contrasting deep reds with out of this world yellows. Enjoyed the music by Zdenek Liska.
Blue Ruin 2013
Was not a fan of Green Room, so avoided this film but after finally watching admit it is quite something. Quietly f*cked up, with most of the time subtle happenings on the screen except an underlying dread hovering around beautiful landscapes, trash bars, or dark suburban streets, with moments of extreme violence creeping in when they can not be contained any longer. Very different from what people now are calling, I understand, torture pornography.
The film is broken up in two segments, firstly focusing on the brother Tyler (played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and his descent into iniquity and the ne plus ultra of fire and anger. We then focus on the sister Emily (played by Taylor Russell) and the repercussions of Tyler’s wickedness, her relationship with Luke (played by Lucas Hedges) and hovering between ecstasy and tragedy. Connecting the two segments we have the father so excellently performed by Sterling K. Brown, and structural camera work hovering somewhere between Michael Snow’s La Région centrale, Cuarón’s Children of Men and Sergey Urusevskiy’s impossible camera work for Soy Cuba/I Am Cuba. Waves directory of photography Drew Daniels gives both sections of the film memorable sequences with a camera methodically spinning in the interior of a moving vehicle offering fragments of the characters and their moods in relationship to the Floridian environment moving quickly by. The majority of the film but especially Tyler’s section has bizarre camera work, leaving the spectator in total bliss. Many moments in the film the image transcends into total color field abstractions similar to the work of Jeremy Blake or the painters Mark Rothko or Helen Frankenthaler. The color work for the film was quite extreme with heavily saturated colors so we are confronted with an ocean of dark blues interfered with here and there by dark deep reds. A few times the color work got a little out of hand and artifacts or aberrations appeared, like in Tyler’s bedroom where the curtains looked like Brakhage hand painted them. Great film and an intense emotional ride which I would love to get on again.
Alan Holly Coda 2013
Norman McLaren, Evelyn Lambart Begone Dull Care 1949
Lindsay Anderson Britannia Hospital 1982
Herschell Gordon Lewis Two Thousand Maniacs! 1994
Good ol' fashion Southern Sadism.
Alex Pettyfer Back Roads 2018
Passion Fish 1992
One of those perfect films. Definition of humble.
William Cameron Menzies Invaders from Mars 1953
Monte Hellman The Shooting 1966
Hadn't seen since the VHS days. Loved the ending which resembles the abstraction of Two-Lane Blacktop. And padre; Warren Oates is so bloody good in this film.
Buffalo '66 1998
Hadn't seen in 10 years or so, holds up very well. Classic '90s film. Great use of King Crimson's Moonchild, Stan Getz's I Remember When, and Yes in the strip club. Recording of Vincent Gallo Sr.'s Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread) quite lovely as well with Ben Gazzara lip-syncing on the verge of tears. Has a Dennis Hopper quality. Gallo always uses music so well in his films, in addition to his own downer tunes. Photography seems inspired by William Eggleston, especially when camera focuses on Kevin Corrigan's belly. Great film!