Posts Tagged ‘antonio’

So the annual showcase at the Cineteca Nacional is over and that usually leaves me with an emotional void from the lack of that photogramme orgy that a bunch of films represent to my eyes. So it’s sad that yesterday I was watching Hannah Montana: The Movie with my dad on tv. Really REALLY sad.

I had the chance to see great films over the last weeks, films that are usually awarded in top European festivals and that may have a very slight chance to be distributed comercially.

Miss Kodak and I went to see the new Aki Kaurismäki film, Le Havre. After six years in hiatus, the most international Finn after Nokia brings us his classic Scandinavian cold humour, the almost unexpressive faces of the actors and a heart warming story without being corny. Kaurismäki’s fans (like me) will not be disappointed. In this film, shot in the harbour city of its title, an old shoe polisher helps a young illegal immigrant to reunite with his mother.

Argentinian and Brazilian cinemas are the best in Latinamerican. In general, their great quality is not only technical but also in the stories they depict and it is produced under very difficult conditions since budgets are not normally huge. This time, the Argentinian film El Hombre de al Lado (The Man Next Door) by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat is about how a small neighbours’ incident grows and grows like a snow ball with a great and surprising twist in the end that will leave viewers thinking. It is a film that will not leave anyone indifferent. It is a great balance between the macabre and a very black sense of humour. The weight of the film lies on the two neighbours in dispute played by Daniel Aráoz and Rafael Spregelburd, a light-minded redneck and an obnoxious architect, respectively. In short: a remarkable film! Mexican cinema has still a LOT to learn from its Latinamerican neighbours.

It was not disapointing but Le Gamin au Vélo is not the best film by the Dardenne brothers. As usual, in the almost documentary style that characterises the Belgian fraternal duo of filmmakers, Cyril, a kid is abandoned by his father in a youth farm where he can have the chance to get a new family. A kindhearted hairdresser welcomes Cyril to her life to stay over the weekend where they will start to develop a mother-son bond that goes beyond the blood links. For the first time in their fiction work, they include music and a famous actress (Cécile de France) but the characters feel a little dumb whereas in their other films they are naïve and almost fighting in the wild to survive, most notably in Rosetta, 1999 Palme d’Or winner. As I told before, not their best film but still a good one.

Once upon a time in Anatolia is Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s new film. Long takes inside cars with equally long conversations that reminded me of Abbas Kiarostami‘s certain film, this is like a CSI episode Turkish-style since an heterogenous group of policemen, a district attorney, militars, crime scene technicians and a mysterious doctor is lead by a couple of criminals who do not seem to remember where they buried another man after a drunk quarrel. This film reaches poetic heights with beatiful images and a stroy that needs the viewer’s commitment through his/her interpretation. Indeed an interesting film full with lyrical imagery, bucholical landscapes, nostalgic rainy weather and subtleties. Highly recommended.

Next Sunday, I’ll finish the review of the films seen last week and a reflection about the state of filmmaking in the world. Hey! iCarly is on! Oh my, how sad! Really sad!

Have a nice week and remember: in the cinema, the man who always has the final word is the guy who selles you pop-corn!


Mike Mills’ Beginners

Posted: November 21, 2011 by antoniobunt in Angry Man, Neglected Sundays
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Without a doubt, Mike Mills’ Beginners is one of the best films of this 2011 that is going straight to its end in some weeks.

Since I have only three students in one class at one of  the universities I teach at and they are not very participative and since the subject I “teach” them is Camera and Lighting II where we get to watch movies, I told them to get films for the class and later comment about their image attributes (something they’ve never done so far and I lost hope to see this in my lifetime), besides, Miss Dawn‘s clon attends that class and it’s really disturbing and uncanny.

Anyway, one of my students took a bootleg copy of the film he downloaded overnight and it was this neglected jewel. Last week, I went to see it again to the National Film Archives in Mexico City since it was the only venue that still screened it. It was released commercially in theatres but it soon was taken out as I guess audiences realised it was an intelligent (BRILLIANT!) film and it was not a Farelly Brothers idiotic film or 30 minutes or less.

To my surprise, this little film (and I say little not in a pejorative way what so ever!) has appealed to some people as the theatre was packed and I guess word-of-mouth has been crucial to keep this movie alive as Saint Georges Mélies intended.

In this film, Ewan McGregor plays Oliver, a thirtysomething illustrator who, remembers his dying aging father Hal (played magnifently by Christopher Plummer) who reveals he is gay soon after his wife dies. Oliver then meets Anna, a French actress (played by French actress Mélanie Laurent) who also has to deal with her own demons from the past as they become more committed as a couple.

This film is a great mix of great acting that gives birth to great and enduring characters even Arthur, Hal’s “orphan” dog, the houses, cars, objects (Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki states that objects speak for themselves) and Oliver’s illustrations by Mills himself are well designed characters and that comes from an intelligent script that is structured through flashbacks.

Mike Mills,  known for his illustration cover art for artists such as the Beastie Boys, Beck or Sonic Youth, is a self-taught filmmaker who made commercials and music videos (most notably Air’s Sexy Boy), was first interested in documentary work, inspired by the Maysles brothers and Errol Morris. Afterwards, he shot narrative shorts and was a founding member of The Director’s Bureau with fellow director Roman Coppola (another filmmaker with a neglected jewel: CQ)

Mills brings us a remarkable film, a combination of melodramatic comedy with a romantic one, without ever falling into the corny side of Meg Ryan’s films in the mid-1990’s, sentimental but always with a self-contained acting anchored to reality. In short, this film leaves you a great flavour, that life can be indeed painful at times and that we all carry the burden of the past in our shoulders but it shows that love can be present in different states and stages.

It is an optimistic human tale that achieves an intensity seldom seen in big-budget films, this is a great film that also speaks about the nostalgia of memories and how they define us. I really can’t praise enough this film.

Have a great week and remember: in the cinema, the guy who always has the final word, is the one you sells you the pop-corn!

(Mike Mills’ biographic lines come from the extint RES magazine issue Volume 4 Number 4 from July/August 2001)

Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor star in Beginners

My students Polly Pocket Girl and Big Jim Dude (they are dating by the way) asked me this week a question: Did you like  [Terrence Malick`s] The Tree of Life?

The first reply couldn’t be more spontaneous: HUM! Because that question doesn’t have an easy answer but here’s a try:

The virtual impossibility of Hollywood to make new icons (think for instance in the new Steven Splieberg’s Tintin film mixed with Indiana Jones’ DNA), the perpetual remakes or all the superheroe movies from recent years are just some examples, clear examples about the creativity crisis cinema is suffering.

Nowadays, it seems that there is other cinema where films are not just entertainment but the true art form that has been neglected to films mainly for economic reasons: an entertaining film makes big bucks, intelligent films don’t.

Films like Uncle Boonmee (Apichatpong Weerasethakul), last year’s Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and now The Tree of Life, seem to dictate the tendency of this “other cinema”.

This French Riviera festival has been known to legitimise trends by judging awards from the past: François Truffaut’s 400 Blows and Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour for the French New Wave; the Dardenne Brothers’s Rosetta for the New European Realism or Thomas Vinterberg’s Celebration for Dogme 95 just to name a few.

The Tree of Life feels a lot like an experimental film disguised as a mainstream film: big stars appear on it like Brad Pitt (also one of the producers of the film) and Sean Penn, two of the greatest actors in Hollywood.

This new Terrence Malick’s film has no plot therefore, the synopsis can just be a thin stroyline (a family with three kids  in the late 1950’s and its dynamics) that serves just as a pretext to talk about very important subjects: guilt, pain, growing up, love, parenthood, in short, it talks about life and its different stages.

If you expect to see a shirtless Brad Pitt from the unbearable Legends of the Fall, the greatness of this actor is that he is now choosing roles according to his age evolution. In this one, he plays an apparently cruel family man who prepares his kids for the cruelty of real life by being distant and authoritarian.

The film depicts us self-contained characters, great acting and over all transmits us states of mind and conciousness (or unconciousness for that matter) for us to think about (one of the great sins of Hollywood or Mexican mainstream  television: make us think!!!) rather than a straight storyline.

It’s what Ray Carney wrote in the foreword of Rick Schmidt’s excellent book Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices back in 2000: Make a movie that is narratively inconclusive or open to different interpretations. (Yet another sin!)

The cinematotography by Emmanuel Lubezki is simply breathtaking. The camera work is exquisite.

After the morally objectionable The Thin Red Line (the enemy is actually shown as the “bad guys” when  the film screamed for a more complex good vs. bad story) and the Valium-esque The New World (actually I prefer Disney’s Pocahontas!!! and that’s an over-statement), Malick offers us a film that is not to like or not but to contemplate with clear resonance to the metaphysical works of Ingmar Bergam (even actress Jessica Chastain has a striking ressemblance to a young Liv Ullmann), Carl Theodor Dreyer or Robert Bresson.

Famously reclusive Terrence Malick studied philosophy and it shows in this film as Jean-Luc Godard declared that cinema is the modern way to make philosophy: The Tree of Life is a clear example of it.

Have a great week and remember: in the cinema, the guy who has the final word is always the one who sells the pop-corn!

Forgive me father for I have sinned! It’s been almost five years since my last confession. I haven’t been to the cinema as often as needed and I didn’t honour the filmmaking art for almost three years. Well, if you thought this was a religious post, in a way you’re right since for me cinema and the ritual of going to the movie theatre has been like a religion. I used to write some collaborations for the Mexican daily newpaper unomásuno and my last “confession” was on late 2006.

Anyway, for several reasons, Sundays for me have been the most boring days of the week during all my life: I don’t attend church, I don’t like sports (to watch or practice for that matter) and I don’t have a big family (so, there are no gatherings). It’s a day in limbo where I must be prepared for Monday but there are no other options.

The only interesting stuff that happened on Sundays when I was a child was the fact that when my grandfather – in the unlikely event there was no soccer match on tv- left the tv for us to watch, we (there used to be more Bunts back then) gathered around the only colour tv set in the house to watch film classics like Easter Parade, On the Town, Anchors Aweigh or That’s Entertainment!  just to name a few.  Paradoxically, to this date I don’t like musicals.

Going to the actual movie theatre was not an option since under her  judgemental stare, my grandmother prevented us from going since she considered that only on Sundays “the help” was attending cinemas. So I was pretty much stuck in that week limbo.

So in this column I will talk precisely about neglected films, cult classics that the world forgot, one or two surprises that got into the theatres for a week, the ever-changing transition cinema is facing and some other stuff about what’s happening in the Mexican movie scene and I am very happy to collaborate in this blog since back in my film journalism days at unomásuno, I needed to be more “objective” but now I can loose myself into subjectivity.

So I welcome you, the reader, to come back every now and then to see our twodopeboyz blog and comment, suggest or whatever it’s in you to share. This column is for you too.

Next week I’ll start formally with the first film I’ll review: Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life. Not that neglected after all since it got the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival but you’ll see what I mean.

Have a great week and remember: in the cinema, the guy who has the final word is always the one who sells the pop-corn!

For the Spanish-speaking readers, these are almost all my collaborations in the past:

The Angry Man spoke!

Posted: October 27, 2011 by antoniobunt in Angry Man
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Indeed I will start some time soon. Welcome all, I’m Antonio Bunt (a.k.a. the Angry Man), the other half of the Dope Boyz. As a matter of fact I really hope I can post as often as possible. As I got back to work after a semi-retirement (forced of course!) I am trying to dust off the rust I have from not being active for almost a year. That helped me finish my Master’s degree thesis and take my final dissertation. So, am I gonna be called Master Angry Man? Not bloody likely! But getting my degree was really difficult in terms of time and dedication. I will try to post new photographic projects (my Master’s is in Photography) and whenever they are ready, some new film work. I was really away from cinema during my studies so I’m getting back on my feet, “filmically” speaking. Do tell us your thoughts and comments! Have a good time and remember: in the cinema, the guy who has the final word is always the one who sells the pop-corn!

In case you are wondering what I am up to, here’s a link to my personal blog so you can have a look at my work: