Sunday 26 January 2014

Buster Keaton's The General & One Week

I must admit I am actually a complete ignoramus when it comes to classics, say, anything that was made before the 70's. An embarrassing hole in my film culture which I have decided to fill this year. Silent cinema and Nouvelle Vague are my main targets at the moment.

So I watched The General, my first Buster Keaton feature-length film and what a shock! The one thing I have noticed with the classics of silent cinema is how timeless they are, nearly a century later, and this is no exception.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Piercing Brightness: Hypnotic Sci-Fi

Piercing Brightness follows a pair of newly arrived aliens whose mission it is to retrieve the "Glorious 100", their predecessors who were sent to Earth millennia ago to observe our planet. The film feels like a more arthouse Under the skin, which is saying something. Although I certainly will not claim that it reaches the heights of Jonathan Glazer's masterpiece, both films bear some loose similarities. Both offer an alien eye on our world, and both use some otherworldly visuals and an immersive and unusual soundscape to disorientating effect.

Monday 13 January 2014

The Eric Rohmer Project: Four Adventures of Reinette & Mirabelle (1987)

Moving on in a non-chronological order, my second film in the Eric Rohmer Project, Four Adventures Of Reinette & Mirabelle. In it, Reinette, a country girl and painter, meets Mirabelle, a Parisian student by chance on a country road, and the pair instantly strikes a friendship. The film follows them through their various adventures (four in fact, as the titles goes!), first in the country then back in Paris, their stories unwrapping like some modern day fables.

Monday 6 January 2014

The Eric Rohmer Project: L'arbre, Le Maire Et La Mediatheque (1993)

Having just recently acquired the new gorgeous Eric Rohmer boxset, published on a limited edition by Potemkine in France, I have decided to embark on an ambitious project, given my lack of free time: I shall watch (or rewatch) every single one of his films in no particular order, and review them as I go along. These reviews will be short, as such is the plight of the casual blogger, but I figured shorter reviews are better than nothing. Reviews will be published both on my blog and Letterboxd, which I implore you to join. So starting today, L'arbre, Le Maire Et La Mediatheque.

French reviewers weren't very kind with Eric Rohmer in the 90's. He was seen as dated, redundant, completely out of touch with modern French cinema of the time. Which is truly baffling, considering how timeless and topical a film like this comes across now. Even among his fans, this is seen as a minor work yet it actually tackles some rather mighty issues.

Thursday 2 January 2014

Atom Egoyan's Calendar

Atom Egoyan is an atypical director, in the sense that two widely conflicting influences are to be found in his cinema. On the one hand, there is a very Canadian feel to his films, cold, detached and contemplative, often featuring empty and soulless places, which I am very fond of. But then it is intriguingly weaved in with his warmer Armenian and Egyptian roots, found in the Arabic and bewitching scores of his films, their political subtext, and more Old World underlying passions.

The Missing Picture - Cambodian tale from Rithy Panh

Adapted from the autobiographical novel 'The Elimination', by Rithy Panh and winner Un Certain Regard Prize, at Cannes 2013, L'Image Manquante 'The Missing Picture', is a unique and inspiring film. Panh was 11 years old when Pol Pot's communist regime overtook the Cambodian capital in 1975. His family was considered bourgeois (his father was a teacher), and they were sent to a labour camp, where torture,  executions and hunger dominated.