Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Random Notes #3
The 400 Blows (1959 - Francois Truffault) - Why yes, this is as good as all the critics say it is...We all have our classics not yet seen, but at least I've finally rectified catching up with this early Truffault. I guess I put it off for so long because I already knew about that final image (which actually comes at the tail end of an over minute long take) and I expected a certain arc for the main character. And if the arc wasn't that different than I expected, the time spent with him was far warmer, funnier and sadder than I could've foreseen.
And the film also contains these great shots:
These are not taken from the recent Criterion release by the way, so the images can only look better...
One Day In September (1999 - Kevin MacDonald) - If you're like me and know only the basics about the 1972 Munich Olympics tragedy (when 11 members of the Israeli team were killed by terrorists), this documentary will likely astonish you. The incompetence and negligence, the sloppiness of the firefight at the airport, the treatment of the Israelis during the siege, etc. Some of the music choices are odd ("Child Of Time" by Deep Purple?), but otherwise it's pretty jaw-dropping and heartbreaking.
Manda Bala (2007 - Jason Kohn) - I suppose I shouldn't have watched this right after "One Day In September". I kinda lost a little faith in humanity...Kohn deftly juggles stories about frog farms, plastic surgery, kidnappings in Sao Paolo, government corruption and police SWAT teams and somehow manages to relate them all. It's highly stylized, but it never detracts from its harsh look at modern day Brazil.
Guatemalan Handshake (2006 - Todd Rohal) - If "Indie quirks" drive you up the wall, you may want to avoid this film. That's not to say that's all it is since Rohal has a real interesting talent for shot composition and there are some characters in the film that rise above the simple patchwork of random characteristics given them. But I was disappointed overall. I'm willing to admit that I just missed the point and didn't get the overlapping stories and what they had to do with each other, but I just got tired of it all by the end. I also have to admit that the precious duet shot in black in white halfway through the film took whatever remaining wind I had right out of my sails...