Monday, March 26, 2018

Favorite (four), part fifty

Just like in my other forty-nine 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.

Miguel Gomes' Arabian Nights
At this point no one in world cinema seems to deserve the title as Godard's closest successor more than the Portuguese filmmaker.  He possesses Godard's feel for music, sound, voiceover, politics, nature, playfulness and poetry.  His cinema is constantly unpredictable, formally daring and seemingly capable of wowing us at any given second.  The visual paasage from the first time we hear Rimsy-Korsakov's lyrical score ranks as the most powerful use of music I have heard in cinema in many, many years.  

Eric Rohmer's Nadja in Paris
A little known short by Rohmer is yet another great installment in the tremendous Nouvelle Vague body of work from 1958-1965.  It is ten minutes or so of pure voiceover but Rohmer announces early his extraordinary skill for capturing women and the streets and people of Paris.  

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady
One of the more challenging works I have seen in a while and I am not positive I fully grasped all that "Joe" is doing.  The second half of the film is very unexpected and is as abstract and elusive as the first half is palpable and clear.  But it is that second half rupture that is still haunting me, pushing me for a quick revisit in the very near future.

Charles Burnett's My Brother's Wedding
In its subject matter, it could be looked at as an African-American Mean Streets, Pierce resembling Keitel's character and Soldier that of De Niro.  As different as Burnett is from Scorsese, both filmmakers have a special talent at bringing an over photographed city to life in ways we have never seen.  In fact, I would go so far as to call the combination of Burnett's first two features the most singular vision of Los Angeles the cinema has yet produced.  With rhythms as  unusual as Hal Hartley and acting as steadfastly noncommercial as Rossellini, Burnett represents a key marker in the neorealist timeline that history should do its best to remember. 

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