Posts Tagged ‘Neglected Sundays’

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!

It’s Friday

Posted: November 11, 2011 by Two Dope Boyz in 2 Dope Botz, Angry Man, Neglected Sundays, Photos, Videos
Tags: , , ,

TGIF!

We added a new page, of Neglected Sundays, where we’ll centralize all of them.

More updates of videos and photos are to come. Lately I have been busy making videos for contests. More about that in the near future. We are also working on some new updates for the blog. We have some cool ideas (Neglected Sundays was one of them and it’s on the air now) and we are working hard to bring them to you.

Please let us know if there’s anything else you would like to see, comment and share!

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!

Antonio’s videos have been updated on the Videos page. You can check out the work of a true artist!

There’s more to come. In the near future we plan to updated the pages more often with videos we made/will make, some photos and specially – the Neglected Sundays column, which we had a great taste of, thanks to the post Antonio made on Sunday.

Please make sure to leave a comment or a request.

Cheers!