Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NYFF & Nouveau Cinema

The 47th Annual New York Film Festival Opens its doors this week. It's one of the few Film Festivals that I can actually attribute a love to- in that it has no prizes and proclaims that the movies themselves are the prizes. Amen to that and Amen to the fact they will be screening Lee Daniels' Precious, Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces & Lone Scherfig's An Education- All of which will be reviewed in the next few weeks & all of which have been well received in festival circuits this year. If you want more coverage of the fest you can politely follow Glen Kenny in the following LINK.

The Local 39th Annual Fesival Du Cinema et Nouveau Media in Montreal will be screening those three movies as part of their rich selection of movies this year. The program was announced this past week and has me itching to get my pass to what is THE real film fest of the city -Take note I have politely decided not to take a stab at the other World Film Fest. just because it is too much of an easy target. Other films being screened include Lars Von Trier's decaying Antichrist & Catherine Breillat's Blue Beard.

An Image 09/23/09

One of the most beautifully photographed movies I have ever seen. Bernardo Bertolluci's masterful & political The Conformist/Il Conformista.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A visionary decade/ An Animated recap

With the release of Entertainment Weekly's 20 best animated movies- I've decided to chime in on what I think is an interesting list. First off any list with Spirited Away & Wall-E is on the right track. Then I see titles like Coraline, Ghost In The Shell & Waltz With Bashir- not impressed. Where's Richard Linklater's groundbreaking Waking Life or the underrated Pixar, Ratatouille? Then again this list-like any other- will spark debate over its merits and selection. The best animated movies like the ones I'm about to list below have a maturity that can please both adults and kiddies alike. I'm reminded of that scene in Shrek where Donkey and the Ogre make fun of the King's hmm how shall I say this, size. A risky joke that only an adult audience could get.

The past decade has been astoundingly rich in animation and has given me the urge to compile my first -of what would be plenty- 'List Of The Decade'. If I had to choose ten distinctive titles that have advanced the animation form, I'd choose -in no particular order- Richard Linklater's groundbreaking Waking Life, Nick Park & Peter Lord's Chicken Run, Andrew Stanton's Wall-E & Finding Nemo, Brad Bird's Pixar treats The Incredibles & Ratatouille, Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jensen's Shrek + two foreign films- Sylvain Chomet's sublime Les Triplettes De Belleville & The best Animated movie I've ever seen -drumroll please- Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

As if you'd really care..

About the decadent gutter that is Canadian Cinema, I refer you -more specifically French- Canadian readers to a few reviews I've written for The Concordian the past week. One is an insipidly bad Film Noir called Detour (easily one of the worst movies I've seen all year) & the other is an amicable but slight movie called Un Cargo Pour L'Afrique. Reviews can be found Here and Here. Take note, I do not like my editor for he has peer edited a chunk of the profanities I intended to use in these reviews. Another example concerning the joy's of being a blogger.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Greatest Ending? -An Image(s)-

Reading Glenn Kenny's blog a few days ago- I was struck by his review of Resnais' upcoming Wild Grass (which I will definitely catch up with at the upcoming Festival De Nouveau Cinema here in Montreal.) Most notably this sentence taken from his thoughts:

'Resnais' Wild Grass is a whacked-out masterpiece with an ending worthy of the final minutes of 2001 and/or the last chord of 'A Day In The Life'.

Which got me thinking. Is 2001: A Space Odyssey. the best ending I've ever seen? I think it is. It's such a masterful mindfuck of an ending that I do actually believe its astonishing last 20 minutes are in fact the work of a madman, genius & the unlikely fact that something as awe inspiring will never be filmed again (by the way yes I do believe that last chord of The Beatles 'A Day In The Life' is also triumphant). 2001's final images have long gone into cinematic history- It's the ultimate WHAT THE FUCK!? moment. A clash of ideas and visuals which only a man like Stanley Kubrick could pull off.

The fact that it's still a highly complicated ending that incites debate 40 years after its initial release is astounding. The images seen as an astronaut gets 'lost in space' & finds a new dimension 'out there' is remarkable and -as said before- cannot be duplicated. I must also mention how a movie 4 decades old such as this one is still regarded for its influential trippiness & visionary vision to this day.

The unexplainable should be used in describing what happens in the film's second half yet many people forget just how groundbreaking the film's first half was in terms of visual effects. This was Stanley Kubrick, a man that shocked the world with Dr. Strangelove and Lolita, taking on a slowly paced science fiction project. Not much happens in the first half, just a slow burning tempo that enrages and infuriates many viewers. We know something bad is going to happen yet we can't begin to grasp what Kubrick has in store for us.

A seminal film that even bewildered Woody Allen back in 1968, 2001 had many haters and still does - I cross them all the time. Allen described how he just did not get it at first and yet his appreciation of the film evolved with his three-time watching experience. Which is no surprise given that many of Kubrick's films, especially beginning with Dr. Strangelove or 2001: A Space Odyssey, are said to be multi-layered. You like them better with each repeated viewing of it and you succumb to Kubrick's artistic bravura. I don't think I've heard of a Kubrick film that was an easy watch. 2001 is the most uneasiest of all watches, it ravages the soul with fury and a new way of seeing the world.

It has been duplicated but never replicated. Many filmmakers have tried to master and catch the trippy magic of what Kubrick did back in 1968 yet none of them really fully got it. Kubrick tried to envision a new way of seeing the world. A new dimension that was never revealed to us before and all done in an oddly realistic way and that can never be taken away from us.

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