Saturday, June 11, 2022

Favorite (four), eighty-three

Just like in my other eighty-two 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.

Arnaud Desplechin's La vie des morts
It's a film I have been wanting to see for more than 25 years that did not disappoint when I finally was able to track it down.  Before even making his first feature, Desplechin demonstrates his very special ability working with an ensemble of some of France's greatest actors.  And already so much of Desplechin's style is there - the edginess of the editing, the natural and almost laconic warmth and intimacy of the moments and his comfort in depicting the youth, particularly the females of his generation.

Frederick Wiseman's City Hall
In his most recent outing, Wiseman focuses on Boston and Mayor Marty Walsh who seems determined to make his city better for all the people.  It is a fascinating look at the countless sides of city government.  Wiseman uses Walsh and the work his team is doing to suggest that our country would be far better off if the US government looked to Boston as a model to work towards.

Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell
In the way she straddles the line between fact and fiction, Polley's "documentary" reminds me of Scorsese's Rolling Thunder Revue.  Polley should be commended for the film's originality, its bold approach to piecing together the past and the sheer result of the recreated footage her team put together.  It should serve as a lesson to all documentaries and the abundance of tawdry recreated footage used to fill in their story gaps.  

Gregory La Cava's Unfinished Business
A film that on the surface impresses by never going where you expect it.  In the way it feels like a romantic comedy dressed up like a drama, it reminded me of Cukor's Holiday.  La Cava puts it all together with great restraint and confidence and I can't ever recall liking Montgomery more than his performance here.