Thursday, October 28, 2021

Favorite (four), seventy-four

Just like in my other seventy-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 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.

Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold
The first film by Panahi that fully grabbed me.  I have also seen Offside.  Aside from Panahi's remarkable restraint with respect to sound, or in other words the film's almost complete absence of music and use of only minimal sound, what impressed me the most was the depth and presence of Hossain.  The narrative structure of the film is also quite unique as it flashes back from the opening scene, with it unclear how the beginning relates in a linear manner to the rest of the film's proceedings.    

Douglas Sirk's There's Always Tomorrow
It's incredible to see Sirk working in black-and-white the same year he'd make one of the most color-forward films in history (Written on the Wind).  Sirk takes the leads from Double Indemnity and substitutes extramarital romance for murder.   In doing so, he is able to create the same level of suspense found in the best noirs and achieve something even more emotionally damaging since it all feels more rooted in reality.  Kids, family, profession.

William Klein's The French
A fascinating look at The French Open and tennis in the early eighties.  I have certainly never gotten this kind of look into professional tennis, particularly from inside the locker room.  Klein takes a patient, unobtrusive, Wiseman-like approach, producing a gem of a "sports movie".

H0ng Sang-soo's Hill of Freedom
Hong again reminds that he is as good as Hartley and Jarmusch when it comes to instilling his films with syncopated rhythms using only the slightest of tools, this time it's the repetition of a quick shot of a woman reading a letter.  Hong is true to his style of reducing and distilling, always willing to risk removing so much that the film may not hold together.