Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Favorite (four), part eight

Just like in my other seven posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  I'm trying right now to take in almost a film a day.  Most have been first-time viewings.  And most I have been glad to finally see, but only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two of these will be good to someone else, too).

Hirokazu Koreeda's Still Walking

The third of the director's films I've seen, and he continues to be among my favorite of all the contemporary Asian directors.  He's definitely a humanist, and there are moments that carry a tremendous power.  Not perfect, I particularly found a little fault with the saccharine nature of some of the score.  But all in all a memorable effort from one of the few directors still carrying Ozu's torch.  

Aaron Katz's Quiet City
Light and sweet, Katz has heart, and it shows.  I don't find his writing as interesting as Bujalski's, nor his ability to capture nuance and awkwardness as skilled as Bujalski's talents.  But Katz has some of David Gordon Green's feeling for sound/image and creates a couple of tremendous moments here. The scene of the four young adults dancing at the house party might be my favorite scene all year.  I look forward to seeing more of Katz.  It's works like this one that continue to keep me interested in mumblecore and somewhat optimistic about micro-budget filmmaking.   

Emmanuel Laurent's Two in the Wave
Not the most marvelous film ever.  But it is a documentary about my favorite period in the history of cinema, The French New Wave, and it covers aspects of this wonderful movement that I've rarely seen on film, including Leaud's screen test for The 400 Blows.  I consider the film's two main subjects, Godard and Truffaut, to be among the most passionate of anyone that has ever worked in the medium, and to this day for me they're both still huge influences and inspirations.  

Yasujiro Ozu's There Was a Father

Ozu is without a doubt my favorite directorial discovery of the last year. His movies tell us so much about ourselves, and when it comes to showing us aging and family, I'm not sure Ozu has a rival.  I particularly like his bold, editing style in this one.  He jumps ahead between scenes, always knowing that we'll eventually catch up.  I'm not a huge fan of the actor playing the older son in this one, but all in all, another wonderful experience in the world of Ozu.   

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