Friday, June 24, 2016

Favorite (four), part thirty-four

Just like in my other thirty-three posts in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  Most of the films I have been glad to see but only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those and my hope is one or two will be good to you as well.

Richard Linklater's Before Midnight
I have never been a huge fan of Linklater's Before films nor really of Linklater's work in general.  But this time I was impressed by his formal rigor, the emotionality of the performances and Linklater's ability to tread on Rossellini's turf without seeming painfully out of place.

Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret
Genre.  Novelistic.  Ambition.  Massive.  Pressure.  Huge, after the breakout success of You Can Count On Me.  I have long been a fan of Paquin and here Lonergan gives her the space to show off deep layers of her talent.  The sprawling film is difficult and flawed but also infinitely more rewarding than most of the work currently coming out of the States.  It feels most akin to a French art film, something Desplechin or Assayas would attempt, is full of extraordinary moments and bubbling with feelings and ideas.    

Eric Rohmer's A Tale of Winter
Rohmer again proves himself a master of his specific approach and style.  Like Bresson or Ozu, Rohmer is a director of transcendence.  Since his primary tools are reduction and refinement, when he decides in those rare moments to unleash it hits the viewer with a real force.  Like someone who whispers 95% of the time, when words are spoken at regular or louder volumes, the ear perks up and becomes unusually attentive.  Perhaps not Rohmer's finest but certainly another testament of his mastery and greatness.

David Lynch's Twin Peaks (TV show)
As a long time fan of Lynch I figured it was about time I sit down and watch the entirety of the two seasons of Twin Peaks.  I also wanted to make sure I was caught up when the new batch premieres in 2017.  Although not every moment is fully captivating, the show rises above any other I have seen in its casting, its fearlessness and the primal power of its greatest scenes.  Nothing topped the final episode for me but other unforgettable moments include Leland Palmer and Madeleine's final scene, Coop's Tibetan Method, and any scene that bears the threat of Leo coming home.