Thursday, June 11, 2020

Favorite (four), sixty-nine

Just like in my other sixty-eight 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 a 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.

Nobuhiro Suwa's M/Other
The first film I have seen from Suwa delves deeply into a male-female relationship that starts to be challenged and threatens to unravel when the male's son from another woman comes to live with them for a month.  It all feels uncommonly true to life.  The relationship is working one day, struggling the next, and then is back on track before starting to seem vulnerable again.  Suwa's style, in a similar way, is very natural.  A couple of times it even takes on some of the characteristics of an old home movie, flickering shots on a a less robust film stock.     

Abbas Kiarostami's Two Solutions for One Problem
Kiarostami's early films for the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults are his own set of morality tales.  I have always admired Kiarostami's simplicity and his ability to reduce without losing warmth or wisdom.  Less than five minutes long, this early short is yet another testament to Kiarostami's poetry and ability to construct his own very particular cinematic style.  

Sacha Guitry's Assassins et Voleurs
It's easy to see Guitry's influence on the New Wave, particularly his lightness of touch and sense of playfulness.  But he also seemed to be one of the first ones of his generation to take to the streets and let actual locations be seen and felt.  

Howard Hawks' The Dawn Patrol
It is great to finally catch up with some of Hawks' very early work.  A couple of weeks ago I saw Tiger Shark for the first time and now this, one of Hawks' first talkies.  There are some absolutely incredible and unexpected sequences.  The entire scene of Barthelmess and Fairbanks doing combat themselves without the rest of the squadron is remarkable in the time and air that Hawks grants the moment but also in the level of detail and realism he is able to bring to it.  Hawks also does one of his bet jobs ever in creating the friendship between Courtney and Scott and all that comes with that level of connection.