Friday, April 6, 2012

Favorite (four), part sixteen

Just like my other fifteen posts in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  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 will be good to someone else, too).

Manoel de Oliveira's The Strange Case of Angelica
My first experience with a de Oliveira film so I can't frame it alongside the rest of his work.  But what I can say is that I found it masterful - one of these late films by a great filmmaker that is deceptively simple (think Gertrud) where the formal simplicity belies a specificity and depth that are the true signs of greatness.  Most shocking to me was the vitality of the editing, always cutting away seconds earlier than expected, to produce a level of restraint so vital to the heavyweight feeling the film ends up producing for the viewer.  I could go on and on about the brilliance of metaphor here, de Oliveira's wonderful visual tics, and a cinema that is as mannered as Hartley's but as weighty as Dreyer's, but I'll wait to elaborate on those things until I have the pleasure of seeing a few more from this great Portuguese filmmaker.

Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home
This should go down as one of the greatest of all Scorsese films and the single best doc on Dylan.  It's moving, incredibly cinematic, and really captures the great one at his absolute, creative peak.  

Fred Niblo's The Mysterious Lady
I can keep it simple here.  Garbo is sexy personified in this very inventive and entertaining early work.  Want to understand the mystique around Garbo - this is a great place to start.

Andre de Toth's Day of the Outlaw
Raw, dark, and artful, there's something absolutely uncompromising about De Toth's work here.  The tone almost makes you think you're watching a horror film, but the pacing and cinematography feel straight out of a European art film.  One of the most unique westerns I have ever seen and simply a key work of any genre.