I’ve put in my ticket requests for the Toronto Film Festival. By choosing to fly in on the 11th and out on the 18th, I’ll be missing two of my most highly anticipated films, Robert Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, which will be introduced by Chantal Akerman and which I’ve always wanted to see on the big screen, and Godard’s latest, Notre Musique.
“If cinema is merely an imposition of ideology, then, as a field of study, it is both a bore and a chore. There was a brief moment in my life when I viewed cinema solely through the lens of post-structuralism, but I realized that it was jeopardizing my love for the art. Call me naive, but I believe cinema, like other artforms, can still offer aesthetic experiences worthy of the search.” — EJ Park
I’ve participated in the DVDBeaver listserv since its inception. Gary Tooze created the list when several of us who posted frequently in the Movies section of the Home Heater Forum decided that we needed a place to talk privately about foreign and art films. Here is a compiled list of our favorite films.
Like, one of Rohmer’s late comedies, the charm of Late August is found almost entirely in its characters (all of whom are likeable enough and three-dimensional enough) and in the smart things they say to one another. They twist themselves in existential knots, struggling to balance their idealized visions of integrity with the muddy necessity: compromise.
After reading about it for the past few months, I found a copy of The Hidden God: Film and Faith on the new releases shelf of the university library during my lunch break today. Given the sensational coverage of film and faith in recent weeks, this collection of short essays is a breath of fresh air.
Living in Knoxville, Tennessee, with its two or three screens devoted to interesting fare, leaves me grossly ill-equipped to make sweeping generalizations about the year in film. The following, instead, is an odd mix of movies (or, more often, groups of movies) that I will probably forever associate with 2003.
I’m thrilled so far with Angels. Mary-Louise Parker is stealing the show as Harper, and Justin Kirk is fantastic as Prior. The homage to Cocteau and the casting of the prior Priors were both brilliant. But why, in their trimming and reshaping, did Kushner and Nichols have to cut my two favorite lines from Millennium Approaches?
Journals is at its best, I think, when Rappaport intertwines the lives and loves of Seberg, Jane Fonda, and Vanessa Redgrave. All are of the same age, all made films directed by their husbands (another of the film’s more interesting concerns), and all participated actively in radical political movements.
Kholin’s and Masha’s encounter is a desperate act of human contact, but it’s also vaguely degrading; it’s a moment of near transcendent delight, but it’s one that feels debased and compromised. I can’t make sense of it, really, though I feel compelled to, which is probably why Ivan’s Childhood is one of the few war films that I return to with any frequency.
While the film lacks the explicit political critique of something like Panahi’s The Circle (banned by Iranian officials) or Kiarostami’s Close-Up, it offers a wonderfully told story, and it also performs a service that is terribly important right now: Our hearts should be warmed to the people of the Middle East, the people who are (or who soon will be) hiding out under the devastation of our bombing campaigns.
Whereas post-colonial critics have, in turn, criticized/praised Melville for his appropriation of racist stereotypes (or his subversion of those stereotypes, depending on which side of the debate each critic stands), Denis situates Melville’s moral dilemma in an explicitly post-colonial situation, complicating further the relationships between European and African, Christian and Muslim, and calling into question the political value and motivations underlying those relationships.