Friday, August 04, 2006
“A nasty old bitch” is how one review describes the title character of Étienne Chatiliez's dark comedy Tatie Danielle. That description effectively sums up the eponymous auntie. She isn’t some misunderstood old spirit, secretly harboring a soft, sentimental side. She’s a mean misanthrope who manages to have a negative impact on everyone and anything that crosses her path — friends, family, acquaintances, small pets, flowers, etc.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
WILD AT HEART
Sunday, July 16, 2006
THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS
Based on the semiautobiography by Giorgio Bassani, Vittorio De Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis tells the story of a wealthy Italian Jewish family trying to stave off the mounting threats of Fascism and anti-Semitism in World War II-era Italy. Of course their cloistered existence can only go on for so long. Bassani has said he wrote the book partially as a way of resolving his own feeling about having done nothing—just like many other people—when anti-Semitism reared its ugly head right in front of his face.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
SID & NANCY
Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy tells a story of the short, self-imploding romance between two tragic souls: Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his caustic, unfortunate girlfriend Nancy Spungen. This film shows what can happen when two lost individuals find each other. Their romance ended on terms so horrible that the situation has made the two of them inextricably linked in history. If a movie can only touch on the periphery of someone’s reality, then these two lived an incredibly bleak existence. On an positive note, the circa. 80’s punk/pop/rock soundtrack is pretty good.
THE THIN BLUE LINE
The Thin Blue Line is a fascinating documentary that reads like a classic film noir. Director Errol Morris argues that a man convicted of killing a Dallas police officer was wrongly imprisoned by a corrupt justice system pressured to find someone to pin the murder on. The case involves multiple stories from multiple witnesses. Anyone trying to find the actual facts must determine among a group with varying levels of credibility, who’s telling the truth, who’s lying, and who’s just sadly mistaken.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I’m hesitant to say what I believe David Lynch’s Eraserhead is about—being a David Lynch film, it could be about practically anything. Like almost all of his work, it is an obtuse film. But the narrative holds your interest. The creepy black and white photography and surreal sets paired with the oddness of the characters, creates a viewing experience that feels like you’re watching someone’s nightmare. Eraserhead demonstrates that Lynch was a filmmaker with a point of view right from the start.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Movies about people trying to establish missed connections, or repair broken ones, can be very interesting. Paris, Texas is a good one. Harry Dean Stanton plays a constant wanderer seeking to reconnect with his young son and long-lost wife who he walked out on. The almost somnambulant Stanton is like a man awakened from years of sleep, and now desperate to find his place in the world. The cinematography is excellent—kind of reminiscent of the photographic work of Stephen Shore.