Friday, November 9, 2018

Favorite (four), part fifty-seven

Just like in my other fifty-six 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.

Noel Black's Skaterdater
One of the most powerful shorts I have ever seen.  It captures adolescence and Socal in the mid 60s and renders them as vivid as Lamorisse in The Red Balloon.

Frederick Wiseman's In Jackson Heights
Wiseman has so many strengths and areas of mastery.  What moved me the most in this work was his desire to dig deep into what it means to be an American today living in a diverse, melting-pot community.  Wiseman shows so many different colors, the positives and the negatives, the beauty and the ugliness, the promise and the despair.  He may very well be our most important cinematic artist, narrative or documentary, that we have ever had.  

Frederick Wiseman's Boxing Gym
Perhaps my favorite of all of the Wiseman films I have seen to date.  Wiseman is pure cinema, devoid of non-diegetic music and devoid of anything that feels put on, forced, unnatural or basking in cinematic artifice.  Aside from feeling so human and so real, what impressed me the most about this work were its rhythms.  You could close your eyes and be mesmerized for almost 120 minutes by the musical sounds of its voices, words and movements.

Jean Rouch's La punition
Rouch stays in the streets of Paris and poetically captures a day in the life of a young Parisian girl during her formative years.  Most interesting are the last five minutes as the film shifts tone and becomes an expressionistic solo.

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