Friday, 31 August 2007

Submitted Picks For TIFF 2007

I've just completed my first ever TIFF picks and dropped off the package earlier this morning (box #45 - go 45!). I stuck with 6 of my initial picks from the first batch of films released and took a flyer on a couple of others. I had to stay away from Sunday the 9th and Saturday the 15th before dinner, so that shrunk the window somewhat, but I'm still pretty psyched at my picks.

I also submitted second choices for 7 of them and I'd be happy with any of them.

  • Jar City (Baltasar Kormakur) - Thursday September 6th @ 7:45PM (Varsity 3). Second Choice --> "Dinner With The President: A Nation's Journey / Please Vote For Me".
  • You, The Living (Roy Andersson) - Friday September 7th @ 9:15AM (Scotiabank Theatre 4). Second Choice --> None.
  • The Man From London (Bela Tarr) - Friday September 7th @ 6:00PM (Scotiabank Theatre 4). Second Choice --> "Les Chansons D'Amour".
  • The Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona) - Friday September 7th @ 10:00PM (Scotiabank Theatre 1). Second Choice --> None.
  • Chacun Son Cinema (Various directors) - Saturday September 8th @ 11:00AM (VISA Screening Room - Elgin). Second Choice --> None.
  • Chaotic Ana (Julio Medem) - Sunday September 9th @ 9:15PM (Ryerson). Second Choice --> "Night".
  • A Gentle Breeze In The Village (Nobuhiro Yamashita) - Thursday September 13th @ 9:15PM (Scotiabank Theatre 3). Second Choice --> "Operation Filmmaker".
  • Son Of Rambow (Garth Jennings) - Friday September 14th @ 6:45PM (Ryerson). Second Choice --> "The Besieged Forest".
  • The Passage (Mark Heller) - Friday September 14th @ 9:30PM (ROM). Second Choice --> "With Your Permission".
  • Glory To The Filmmaker! (Takeshi Kitano) - Saturday September 15th @ 9:00PM (Varsity 8). Second Choice --> "Just Like Home".

Like I said, I'm psyched...

Monday, 27 August 2007

It's A Black And White World - Film Should Be Too!

This post is part of the Bizarro Blog-a-thon hosted by Lazy Eye Theatre.

There's Right and Wrong. Left and Right. Chocolate and Vanilla. And when it comes to film, there should be Black and White.

I've always felt that the onslaught of colour to the world of film was an even bigger blow to quality cinema then sound was. And now I have excellent company in that viewpoint. Ronald Bergan over at The Guardian has written an article titled Did Colour Ruin The Movies?. And except for the fact that he's being too lenient (why is he asking this as a question when it's so obviously a statement of fact?), he's bang on.

He begins by noting that Truffault may have had it right when he said that colour did as much damage to cinema as television did. It's a good launching point - who better than a French New Wave director to quote when you are building the foundation for an argument? Those guys were always so specific and literal in their pronouncements and left no room for question.

Bergan continues onward to prove his case:
When looking at any reputable list of great films, it is black and white films that dominate.
Indeed --> More = Better. And then he provides further proof via anecdotal reference:
I remember, years ago, turning off the colour on my television set while watching, say, a Hammer horror, thus making it much scarier.
Absolutely. I did the same with those Roger Corman/Vincent Price/Edgar Allen Poe films. Look how much better The Masque Of The Red Death looks in Black and White:

The same goes for "modern master" Dario Argento. Here's a few examples of his garish use of colour in Suspiria and how it could've been improved:

I mean really...And did the blood in the film really need to be THAT red?

Other genres met a similar fate when colour invaded the screen:
There is a belief that two genres, the western and the musical, were enriched by colour....Au contraire. All Lubitsch's musicals were in black and white, as were the Busby Berkeley Warner Bros extravaganzas, as well as Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight.
Just imagine how much more enjoyable musicals like Singin' In The Rain, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and The Band Wagon could have been without all those dazzling colours distracting us from the songs and story.

And of course, those Foreign musicals went to town. Black Orpheus is a good example of a film that's just trying way too hard to do something useful with colour - in this case, trying to show what a carnival is like:

And Jacques Demy takes it too far with 1967's The Young Girls Of Rochefort. Yeah, yeah...Happy, happy, joy, joy. How's this for missing the point?:

Isn't that just an assault on the senses? And what of those Bollywood pictures with everyone in a different colour outfit every other second. What's the point? Put everyone in grey, throw a couple of shadows and be done with it for crying out loud...

And so many other films that spend far too much time on the representation of emotions, moods and states of mind by using colour. Don't get all artsy-fartsy on me - tell me what the characters are thinking! Or they just get too caught up in how pretty rainbows are...Offenders like Punch Drunk Love, The Conformist, Do The Right Thing and The Adventures Of Robin Hood all waste too much time with their palettes.

Perhaps Kieslowski could have reduced his Three Colours trilogy to just one film and saved us all a lot of bother...Hell, maybe even Antonioni's Blow Up, without all those bright colours, would've made some damn sense.

Bergan finishes off with a list:
Colour is seldom used with imagination. Here are 20 of the relatively few films in the history of cinema, in my opinion, in which colour has been used intrinsically and creatively.
I must admit that I think he's being overly generous here...20? That many?

Sunday, 26 August 2007

TIFF 2007 - Film List and Summaries

Greg over at has put together a terrific PDF with not only all the films announced for TIFF, but also ratings, review links AND short summaries of each one.

The full book comes out this week (which I'll pick up anyway), but this should be excellent reading in the meantime.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Blues And Yellows In The Red Circle

Jean-Pierre Melville's colour palette in films like Le Samourai, Army Of Shadows and Le Cercle Rouge is muted and somewhat restrcited. But it works great with his deliberately paced rhythms.

In Le Cercle Rouge there's a constant return to blues and yellows (which actually sometimes are so muted they become greys and beiges) and it makes for some great images:

I think Steven Soderbergh must've been a fan (though the colours he uses in the link are certainly not muted).

The Mostest Favouritest Bestest Non-English Language Films

I'll say it again...I love lists. For perusing, for gathering ideas, for challenging my own thoughts and even for validation. I love creating them too - makes me think about my preferences and helps me reassess them.

So I kinda salivated a bit earlier this week when I read Edward Copeland's blog post entitled Choosing the best non-English language films. Edward polled 51 bloggers and critics and asked for their top 25 non-English language films. The linked post has the whittled down list of 122 finalists that received at least 3 votes each (the full list of 400+ films that received at least one vote can be found in the comments section of the post). As it stands, that list of 122 is a great starting point for foreign films - it's missing a bunch of stuff that probably should be included in a canon, but you'd be hard pressed to cover all the ground perfectly with just a single poll.

A few things always occur to me during an initial scan of lists like this - how does it match my opinion and what am I missing out on?

What's Missing?

Like I said, it's a pretty damn good list...

But if I had submitted a Top 25 of my own, it likely would have contained these additional films not included:

  • After Life (1998 - Hirokazu Koreeda)
  • Battle Royale (2000 - Kinji Fukasaku)
  • Casque D'Or (1952 - Jacques Becker))
  • Cure (1997 - Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
  • Harakiri (1962 - Masaki Kobayashi)
  • Kwaidan (1965 - Masaki Kobayashi)
  • Samurai Rebellion (1967 - Masaki Kobayashi)
  • Le Trou (1960 - Jacques Becker)

It's kind of odd looking at that short list...6 Japanese films - 3 from the last 10 years and the other 3 by the same director - and 2 by Jacques Becker. I probably would have dropped one of the Kobayashis, but these are all films that I just simply love to watch. I'm not sure if they belong amongst the "Best Ever" foreign films, but I know they have a place among my personal favourites.

Le Trou is the only one that I don't think I've discussed on this blog previously...It's probably the best prison escape film I've seen. The slow, methodical approach and sheer amount of will to push forward are represented exceptionally well. Both this and Casque D'Or were films that just completely sucked me in - I can't even quite state why. I actually remember that with both these films I started them when I was tired and just thought I'd watch a few minutes to get an idea of the film (and then continue it the next day). In both cases I ended up watching the film straight through...That's gotta be a good indicator.

What Am I Missing?

The 43 films from the list of 122 that I haven't yet seen:

  • Andrei Rublev directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Ashes and Diamonds directed by Andrzej Wajda
  • The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • The Blue Angel directed by Josef von Sternberg
  • Celine and Julie Go Boating directed by Jacques Rivette
  • Come and See directed by Elem Klimov
  • Day of Wrath directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • The Decalogue directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
  • Dersu Uzala directed by Akira Kurosawa
  • The Earrings of Madame De... directed by Max Ophuls
  • Farewell My Concubine directed by Chen Kaige
  • The 400 Blows directed by Francois Truffaut
  • The Gospel According to St. Matthew directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
  • The Great Silence directed by Sergio Corbucci
  • Hiroshima Mon Amour directed by Alain Resnais
  • Jules and Jim directed by Francois Truffaut
  • La Dolce Vita directed by Federico Fellini
  • Last Year at Marienbad directed by Alain Resnais
  • Late Spring directed by Yasujiro Ozu
  • L'Avventura directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
  • L'Eclisse directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
  • The Leopard directed by Luchino Visconti
  • Lola Montes directed by Max Ophuls
  • Masculin-Feminin directed by Jean-Luc Godard
  • My Night at Maud's directed by Eric Rohmer
  • Open City directed by Roberto Rossellini
  • Ordet directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • Orpheus directed by Jean Cocteau
  • Pierrot le fou directed by Jean-Luc Godard
  • The Red Desert directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Rocco and His Brothers directed by Luchino Visconti
  • Sansho the Bailiff directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
  • Satantango directed by Béla Tarr
  • Scenes from a Marriage directed by Ingmar Bergman
  • Seven Beauties directed by Lina Wertmuller
  • Shoot the Piano Player directed by Francois Truffaut
  • Stolen Kisses directed by Francois Truffaut
  • Story of the Late Chrysanthemums directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
  • Talk to Her directed by Pedro Almodovar
  • Tampopo directed by Juzo Itami
  • The Tin Drum directed by Volker Schlöndorff
  • Wings of Desire directed by Wim Wenders
  • Woman in the Dunes directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara

Of course, I won't be able to fix these omissions before the deadline of September 16th (the final ballot), but I'm going to try to plug as many holes as possible. I actually own two of these and just haven't got around to them yet (Wings Of Desire and La Dolce Vita), but my DVDs are currently packed away due to some basement renovations.

I saw about half of these at my local video store today after a quick browse, so I should be able to pack in a few of those viewings. Things like The 400 Blows or L'Avventura have actually been in my hands a number of times, but I'd always change my mind and rent something else. I had Rocco And His Brothers in my hands today, but the 3 hour running time made me balk...I did pick up L'Eclisse though, so that'll be a start.

Point In Time

I'm going to hold off submitting until just before the deadline in order to watch as many of the ones I've missed as possible, but here's what I would submit right now if pressed (unordered for now):

  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972 - Werner Herzog)
  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974 - Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  • Amelie (2001 - Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
  • The Battle of Algiers (1965 - Gillo Pontecorvo)
  • Three Colors: Blue (1993 - Krzysztof Kieslowski)
  • Children of Paradise (1945 - Marcel Carne)
  • The Conformist (1970 - Bernardo Bertolucci)
  • 8 1/2 (1963 - Federico Fellini)
  • Le Samourai (1967 - Jean-Pierre Melville)
  • M (1931 - Fritz Lang)
  • Nights of Cabiria (1957 - Federico Fellini)
  • Persona (1966 - Ingmar Bergman)
  • Playtime (1967 - Jacques Tati)
  • Raise the Red Lantern (1991 - Zhang Yimou)
  • Ran (1985 - Akira Kurosawa)
  • Rashomon (1950 - Akira Kurosawa)
  • Three Colors: Red (1994 - Krzysztof Kieslowski)
  • Rififi (1955 - Jules Dassin)
  • Run Lola Run (1998 - Tom Tykwer)
  • Smiles of a Summer Night (1955 - Ingmar Bergman)
  • Spirited Away (2002 - Hayao Miyazaki)
  • To Live (1994 - Zhang Yimou)
  • Ugetsu Monogatari (1953 - Kenji Mizoguchi)
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964 - Jacques Demy)
  • Z (1969 - Costa-Gavras)

It'll be interesting to see if any of the ones I watch in the next month push out anything from the list. I'll likely only get a single viewing in of any title, so it may be tough for them to find a spot on the list.

The ever changing list.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Esoteric Picks #23


The Link Quartet - Beat It (2002)

There's that Hammond B-3 again...The tastiest sound in music is at the centre of some really snappy, fun tunes by this foursome. The sound is firmly a 60s lounge feel, but not of the laid back variety - kind of like a spy movie soundtrack with lots of chases. The rhythm section doesn't jump out, but stays firmly in control of the groundwork with the organ taking really the bulk of the melody. You just know this would be a fun sweaty live show. Here's their MySpace page that contains songs and even a video.

Classic English Language Film

The Band Wagon (1953)

Say what you will about Michael Jackson, but at the very least he knew where to steal some good ideas...An old video of his called "Smooth Criminal" had a bunch of gangster types with tilting hats and slick dance moves. Spiffy choreography for sure, but inspired directly by the closing dance routine of this mostly terrific musical with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. There are some slow sections, but an early rousing rendition of "That's Entertainment" and the final section where the "whole gang puts on a show" is just crammed full of colour, music and just brillant dancing. If Fred Astaire's entry into the bar in the that final Mystery Girl Hunt number doesn't put a big fat smile on your face, hopefully this beautiful sequence will:

Recent English Language Film

Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer (2006)

After a somewhat slow yet still compelling opening hour, the final half of Tom Tykwer's latest film kept me riveted. That opening portion is relevant to show how the main character's extraordinary sense of smell develops into a dark and overwhelming urge to catch and preserve beauty in a bottle. Though I felt Dustin Hoffman's role was the weak spot of the film, it really doesn't detract. The buildup over that last hour or so is quite remarkable as we move closer to his ultimate goal.

Foreign Film

Vampyr (1932)

This took me completely by surprise...I thought I was going to see a marginally decent vampire story that was critically well thought of because of it's place in history. Well, see what happens when you assume? This was terrifically spooky and conveyed so much with so little dialog. I wish more films made today had the atmosphere that Dreyer created here. Great technique, lighting and beautiful visuals mark this story of a wandering man who stops by a castle and begins to see very odd occurrences. Some of the effects here are extremely well done, in particular the use of shadows.


Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

This film by Bela Tarr (the first I've seen by him) is a remarkable work of art. In the 140 minute run time of the film there are less than 40 different camera shots. That's an average of about 3 and a half minutes per shot (with some running over 10 minutes). This technique truly pulls you into that world and gets you attuned to the rhythms. If someone needs to walk down the street to the town square, well, you walk down the street with them to the town square...Meanwhile the beautiful use of black and white film combined with some of the loveliest musical scoring I've ever heard (the music kicks in with about 5 minutes left on the clip below) make this a film to contemplate - you begin to see parallels between the opening scene of men imitating the spinning celestial bodies of our solar system and the ideas regarding musical harmony proposed by Andreas Werckmeister (which is railed against by one of the characters). The town is slowly moving towards chaos after the appearance of a travelling circus and the climatic rampage through a local clinic (all done in a single take) is an amazing sequence. I haven't figured out the whale yet, but give me time...

Friday, 17 August 2007

The Most Awesome Trailer I've Seen In A Long Time

This trailer is stunning:

It's for a documentary called Heima (it may be worth going to the trailer at the film's web site - it took awhile to load, but it's sharper). The film follows the band Sigur Ros around Iceland for a tour of different locations (playing in clubs, fields, etc.) culminating in a large show in Reykjavik. As mentioned in the Opus link below, it seems to be more about the beauty of the band's home country than the band itself...

I want to go to Iceland. Now.

From Twitch via Opus.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Initial Thoughts About TIFF Selections

After perusing the new TIFF announcements yesterday, I have an initial list of candidates for my 10 selections (yep only 10...I may try for more next year). This will obviously change as I only very briefly scanned the list and decided this in about 15 minutes...Those in blue are the frontrunners.

A Gentle Breeze In The Village (Nobuhiro Yamashita) - This could be one of those charming coming of age stories that avoids being maudlin or juvenile. "Linda Linda Linda" was a previously well received film by the director (focusing on 4 young girls in a band), so I have high hopes.

Chacun Son Cinema (Various directors) - 30 different filmmakers create short tributes to watching film in a theatre. There's a terrific list of directors involved and if you don't like one film, just wait 5 minutes...

Chaotic Ana (Julio Medem) - I really liked Medem's "Lovers Of The Arctic Circle" (whose lead character was also called Ana) and this film apparently also deals with predetermined fates and repeated occurrences (young women who have all died tragically at the age 0f 22 continue to live on in Ana).

Dans La Ville De Sylvia (Jose Luis Guerin) - A young man searches for a girl he once knew in Strasbourg armed with only a few pieces of information.

Encounters At The End Of The World (Werner Herzog) - Because it's Herzog! It promises incredible visuals of Antarctica.

The Exodus (Pang Ho-cheung) - "Beat cop Jim (Simon Yam) uncovers a secret worldwide network of women conspiring to exterminate men. His investigation is soon thwarted with the organization’s infiltration into the police force and soon Jim can no longer trust anyone, including his family." This could be great or simply terrible.

Glory To The Filmmaker! (Takeshi Kitano) - Because it's Kitano! This sounds like another of his meta movies and could be a lot of fun.

Jar City (Baltasar Kormakur) - I've only seen a few Icelandic films, but I've enjoyed them all. Well, except for this director's "101 Reykjavik" (which was populated with characters I couldn't stand). But the trailer looks great. Trailer link shamelessly stolen from Toronto Screen Shots. Thanks James!

Operation Filmmaker (Nina Davenport) - How can this not be a great documentary - "When the dreams of a young Iraqi film student are crushed following the bombing of Baghdad's film school, actor Liev Schreiber invites him to intern on the production of EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED. But in a comedic turn of events, Schreiber's good intentions quickly backfire as the eager student proves to have intentions of his own."

You, The Living (Roy Andersson) - The follow-up (6 years later) to the amazing "Songs From The Second Floor". This is my top pick.

Others that sound interesting and could certainly crack the list:

Chrysalis (Julien Leclercq)
Dai Nipponjin (Hitoshi Matsumoto)
Flashpoint (Wilson Yip)
Hollywood Chinese (Arthur Dong)
Just Like Home (Lone Scherfig)
M (Lee Myung-se)
The Mother Of Tears (Dario Argento)
Please Vote For Me (Weijun Chen)
Ploy (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang)
Reclaim Your Brian (Hans Weingartner)
Silent Resident (Christian Frosch)
Son Of Rambow (Garth Jennings)
Stuck (Stuart Gordon)
Sukiyaki Western Django (Takashi Miike)
Vexille (Fumihiko Sori)
White Lies, Black Sheep (James Spooner)

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Notes on 100 Gems

Just a straight listing of a hundred films, no matter the context, really needs some further commentary doesn't it? Some general thoughts:


It's funny how many movies that have music at their core (Black Orpheus, How To Succeed At Business Without Really Trying, Tales Of Hoffmann, Triplets Of Belleville, Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Vengo) are also rich in colour and beautiful to simply look at. I love this mix of visuals and music - it feels like the directors are trying to recreate the joy and sensuousness of music for people's eyes. Another recently viewed example (not on the list) - The Bandwagon.

Tales Of Hoffmann:

The Bandwagon:


I love docs. I thought my list was short of them, but it looks like I managed to squeeze in 10 (neglecting the faux docs F For Fake and Lessons Of Darkness). Each of these has jaw dropping moments - either because of an incredible feat (the massive wave ride by Laird Hamilton in Riding Giants or any of the NASA footage in both For All Mankind and In The Shadow Of The Moon) or by a twist of the story that the best fiction writers couldn't have created (the twinkie defense in The Times Of Harvey Milk).

Riding Giants massive wave (not a tsunami like the video description states):

Japanese cinema of the 50s and 60s

The gorgeous black and white cinematography throughout Double Suicide, Onibaba, Samurai Rebellion, Samurai Spy and Ugetsu is just one reason to treasure these films, but the stories flow remarkably well too. This is just the tip of the iceberg of Japanese film in this period. Kurosawa is brillant, but Masahiro Shinoda, Masaki Kobayashi and others also made terrific works of art.



Random scattered shadows:

- The poolside scene in Cat People
- Spencer Tracy lurking in the shadows in Fury
- The city in Sweet Smell Of Success
- The noir aesthetic of Kiss Me Deadly, Laura and Murder My Sweet
- Shadows creating suspense and atmosphere in The Changeling and Pulse

Cat People listed as #97 scariest moment (from Bravo):

Bringing the funny

Random guffaws:

- "Serpentine Sheldon! Serpentine!" from The In-Laws
- Any argument Matthau and Burns have in The Sunshine Boys
- Baby Jesus prayer in Talledega Nights
- The farce in Miracle Of Morgan's Creek and Christmas in Connecticut
- Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday (the perfect balance of ditz and intelligence)

"Dear 8 lb. 6 oz. baby Jesus..."

Long clip from Born Yesterday:

Other Great Moments

- A scene near the end of Cobra Verde which juxtaposes bare chested African women confidently and proudly singing (while Klaus Kinski prowls amongst them) against lines of chained men sitting on the ground in a state of stupor
- The blowing waves of wheat in Onibaba that suddenly reveal that frightening mask
- The moments that the sound drops out completely in Pulse which drives the creepy factor way up
- Running from the darkness down a long hallway in Session 9
- The ferry sinking in Three Colours - Red

Small snippet of Cobra Verde scene (no nudity):

And this is all from films that DIDN'T make my Top 100 favourites...

100 Gems

aka Films I Couldn't Help At Least Mention When Looking To Put Together My Own Top 100 Films Of All Time.

Back In June the American Film Institute redid their list of Top 100 American films of all time. It remained pretty similar to their previous crack at a top 100 list from 9 years ago and though it contains some great movies, it disappointed many people due to its rather unimaginative selection. Actually disappointed is rather a tame word...Incensed would be more appropriate for some people.

As an alternative, a number of bloggers submitted their own Top 100 lists to CinemaFusion and an Online Film Community Top 100 was created. This too seemed to disappoint many film fans due to its completely unsurprising nature.

I don't really have an issue with either list (except for perhaps agreeing with some previous comments in other blogs about needing a more diverse set of submitters to truly reflect the online community)...Not what I would pick, but they each contain some great films and have spurred some discussion. It shouldn't be surprising that the lists don't contain some left field choices though since those will tend to get dropped in favour of the more commonly chosen films. I fully expect that each submitter had their own little surprises in their personal lists, but as soon as you roll that up into the larger set - you lose the hidden gems.

So even though I'll probably post my own Top 100 (favourites - not any sort of "best" list), I thought I would start with a list of, well, random really good movies...Most of these I've only seen either once or maybe twice and just wouldn't yet crack my Top 100. Many of them might after another viewing or two though, so I just couldn't quite leave them out of a discussion of my favourite films. There's just too much good stuff here...My Top 100 list will be less exciting (ie. more well known movies), but is more accurate to the films that either very much influenced me or are just movies I go back to again and again.

In the mean time:

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971 - Robert Fuest)
Army Of Shadows (1969 - Jean-Pierre Melville)
Baby Face (1933 - Alfred E. Green)
Bad Day At Black Rock (1955 - John Sturges)
Black Orpheus (1959 - Marcel Camus)
Born Yesterday (1950 - George Cukor)
Cat People (1942 - Jacques Tourneur)
Le Cercle Rouge (1970 - Jean-Pierre Melville)
The Changeling (1980 - Peter Medak)
Charade (1963 - Stanley Donen)
Children Of Paradise (1945 - Marcel Carne)
Christmas In Connecticut (1945 - Peter Godfrey)
Cobra Verde (1987 - Werner Herzog)
Code Unknown (2000 - Michael Haneke)
Coup De Torchon (1981 - Bertrand Tavernier)
C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005 - Jean-Marc Vallee)
Crimes And Misdemeandors (1989 - Woody Allen)
Dancer In The Dark (2000 - Lars Von Trier)
Day For Night (1973 - Francois Truffault)
Deadline (2004 - Katy Chevigny, Kirsten Johnson)
Dogtown And Z-Boys (2002 - Stacy Peralta)
Double Suicide (1969 - Masahiro Shinoda)
The Eel (1997 - Shohei Imamura)
F For Fake (1974 - Orson Welles)
Fear And Trembling (2003 - Alain Corneau)
Fireworks (1997 - Takeshi Kitano)
Un Flic (1972 - Jean-Pierre Melville)
For All Mankind (1989 - Al Reinert)
The Fountain (2006 - Darren Aronofsky)
Frailty (2001 - Bill Paxton)
Funky Forest (2005 - Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shunichiro Miki)
Fury (1936 - Fritz Lang)
Gosford Park (2001 - Robert Altman)
Gunga Din (1939 - George Stevens)
Happiness Of The Katakuris (2001 - Takeshi Miike)
Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991 - Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper)
The Hidden Blade (2004 - Yoji Yamada)
Hopscotch (1980 - Ronald Neame)
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1967 - David Swift)
In The Shadow Of The Moon (2006 - David Sington)
Joy Luck Club (1993 - Wayne Wang)
Juliet Of The Spirits (1965 - Frederico Fellini)
Kamikaze Taxi (1994 - Masato Harada)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955 - Robert Aldrich)
Laputa: Castle In The Sky (1986 - Hayao Miyazaki)
Laura (1944 - Otto Preminger)
Lessons Of Darkness (1992 - Werner Herzog)
The Loved One (1965 - Tony Richardson)
Lover Come Back (1961 - Delbert Mann)
Le Magnifique (1973 - Philippe de Broca)
Matinee (1993 - Joe Dante)
The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek (1944 - Preston Sturges)
Murder My Sweet (1944 - Edward Dmytryk)
Near Dark (1987 - Katherine Bigelow)
Next Stop Wonderland (1998 - Brad Anderson)
Not One Less (1999 - Zhang Yimou)
Onibaba (1964 - Kaneto Shindo)
The Parallax View (1974 - Alan J. Pakula)
Paris Je T'Aime (2006 - 18 different directors)
The Pit And The Pendulum (1961 - Roger Corman)
The Prestige (2006 - Christopher Nolan)
Primer (2004 - Shane Carruth)
Pulse (2001 - Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Riding Giants (2004 - Stacy Peralta)
Rio Bravo (1959 - Howard Hawks)
The Road Home (1999 - Zhang Yimou)
Samurai Rebellion (1967 - Masaki Kobayashi)
Samurai Spy (1965 - Masahiro Shinoda)
The Sea Hawk (1940 - Michael Curtiz)
The Seagull's Laughter (2001 - Agust Gudmundsson)
Session 9 (2001 - Brad Anderson)
Shaun Of The Dead (2004 - Edgar Wright)
Smiles Of A Summer Night (1955 - Ingmar Bergman)
Sonatine (1993 - Takeshi Kitano)
Songs From The Second Floor (2000 - Roy Andersson)
Stevie (2002 - Steve James)
The Sunshine Boys (1975 - Herbert Ross)
Survive Style 5+ (2004 - Gen Sekikuchi)
Sweet Smell Of Success (1957 - Alexander Mackendrick)
Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2002 - Chan-wook Park)
Sympathy For The Underdog (1971 - Kinji Fukasaku)
The Tales Of Hoffmann (1951 - Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)
Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (2006 - Adam McKay)
The Taste Of Tea (2004 - Katsuhito Ishii)
Team America: World Police (2004 - Trey Parker)
Tears Of The Black Tiger (2000 - Wisit Sasanatieng)
Three Colours - Red (1994 - Krzysztof Kieslowski)
The Times Of Harvey Milk (1984 - Rob Epstein)
To Be Or Not To Be (1942 - Ernst Lubitsch)
To Live (1994 - Zhang Yimou)
Tokyo Drifter (1966 - Seijun Suzuki)
The Triplets Of Belleville (2003 - Sylvain Chomet)
Ugetsu (1953 - Kenji Mizoguchi)
The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (1964 - Jacques Demy)
Vengo (2000 - Tony Gatlif)
Whisper Of The Heart (1995 - Yoshifumi Kondo)
Withnail And I (1986 - Bruce Robinson)
Wordplay (2006 - Patrick Creadon)
Youth Of The Beast (1963 - Seijun Suzuki)
Z (1969 - Costa-Gavras)

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The Beauty We Might Have Seen...

The film and art world lost two brillant directors this week - Ingmar Bergman's death was reported Monday morning and then a scant few hours later, Michelangelo Antonioni passed away (which was mostly reported the following morning). So far, each of them has (at the very least) left an impact with every film I've seen of theirs - in particular Bergman. I look forward to delving further into the enormous catalog of work both have left behind - fully realized masterpieces by each of them still await my viewing. It's sad to see them depart, but they each lived long, rich and productive years.

But what of those who leave too early?

This morning when I hopped over to the Greencine Daily blog (like I do every morning), I half expected to see yet another world renowned director's name above an obit. And when I saw that omimous pair of brackets around two years (the last of which was 2007), I drew a quick breath. It wasn't a famous name though. I had never even heard of the person actually. The title of the post was simply:

Jeremy Blake (1972 - 2007)

I read a bit further and then realized that I had actually seen some of his work. And loved it. He was responsible for those beautiful washes of morphing colour that appeared in P.T. Anderson's film Punch-Drunk Love. Those gorgeous shifting colours and lines that brought a great film to greater heights and helped give that impression of, well, being punch drunk in love. Here's the trailer for the film to give you some examples:

So I perused a bit further and browsed this site for a bit of his work in digital video. He considered himself primarily a painter who simply worked without paint. His work is - simply put - stunning. I wouldn't expect everyone to be as affected by his work as I was, but I kept saying "Wow" to myself the further I looked through the site. It just meshes so well with the type of artwork I enjoy and something I appreciate in film (as addressed in some previous posts, particularly at the beginning of Kwaidan - The Beauty). You could say it captures my aesthetic sensibilities.

Here's another great example of some of his work - the video for Beck's song "Round The Bend":

He was 35. It's likely he took his own life due to other tragic circumstances that had recently occurred. I make no comparisons to the legends who recently passed away nor excuses for what he did. But I feel a deeper sadness (and more sympathy to relatives and friends) when someone much younger, who likely had plenty more beauty to share, is no longer with us.