Thursday, 15 January 2009
Random Notes #7
The Visitor (2008 - Tom McCarthy) - Any film giving due credit to Fela Kuti and Tony Allen (Kuti's drummer) is OK in my books. It also happens to have tremendous performances by its four main characters and a bittersweet story that occasionally upset me - simply because I couldn't do anything about the injustice being committed within it.
As my own mini tribute to Fela, I changed my sidebar random musical selections to feature a few of his tunes as well as some of the numerous bands that incorporate his influences.
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1927 - Carl Theodore Dreyer) - Finally got around to this classic of silent cinema after years of reading about it and knowing how highly regarded it is. So you'd think I would've been prepared for it...It's truly a stunning piece of work with all its Expressionistic sets, very careful framing and powerful performance by Maria Falconetti (which I found became greater as she understood her fate). I could screencap the film to death, so I'll just focus on one section of the film - the torture chamber sequence:
When the camera tilts down into that spinning spiked wheel, it feels like it's hooked you and is pulling you in.
Klimt (2006 - Raul Ruiz) - My first experience with director Raul Ruiz was not an overly successful one...The entire film defines the word pretentious - and not in any good kind of way. Even the few interesting ideas fail miserably in their execution. As does John Malkovich's performance.
Fortunately I also saw Ruiz's "The Hypothesis Of The Stolen Painting" shortly thereafter - though it's a frustrating experience at times, it's also incredibly original, occasionally enthralling and overall a much more interesting way to use film as a tool to examine art.
Danger: Diabolik (1968 - Mario Bava) - What a marvelously stupid movie. No seriously, it's great fun and beautifully shot with tons of bright colours and wild sets (that underground lair beats the BatCave hands down) and also incredibly stupid with the plot and set of situations that Diabolik gets into. That stupidity of course is half the fun of the film and it knows it. It flaunts it actually. The only downside for me was when Diabolik killed a few guards simply in order to get by them to steal an emerald necklace. This seemed odd since 1) there must've been a more enjoyable and possibly bordering on silly way for him to get around them and 2) it seemed awfully cold-blooded of him to kill them when he is only in it for the sport of the theft.
Magnolia (1999 - P. T. Anderson) - Revisited one of my favourites. 188 minutes never seemed this short. I know that many people thought the film was an exercise in showing off, but I found that the techniques used in the film perfectly brought the characters' intense emotions to the fore. That opening 10 minutes - the three stories of coincidences and the bang-bang-bang introductions of all the characters - is still some of the most breathless cinema I've seen.