My Week In Film (9/22 - 9/28)

It's all a matter of a little copypasta.

Battleship Potemkin (1925)
(Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein)

A film that's still pretty exciting after all these years. At first, I was sure that the film would be boring and that its only reward would be checking it off the TSPDT list. However, it quickly started proving its awesomeness. The film's montage builds up such rhythm and excitement but it really does culminate during the Odessa steps sequence (which with its striking imagery is still as powerful as it was back then, I'm guessing) cuz after that I could care less. The revolt on the Potemkin is the best part with the Russian dude crying out to his brothers. It just goes to show... these classics... they hold some great rewards sometimes.


Detour (1945)
(Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer)

The story follows some fucking bum that thinks its a good idea to hitchhike across the country. Of course, it isn't and he proceeds to get pwnt at pretty much turn of the story. The film runs a quick 70 minutes so it's not like it was a huge waste of time but the awful narration plus THE MOST ANNOYING PERSON EVER (otherwise known as Ann Savage) just make this film feel much longer and boring than it actually is. The plot is stupid, the acting is blah, and I stopped paying attention at some point. The ending scores some points for me for being freaking ridiculous so I guess that's cool... but still I wish I would've watched something else. Shit made me late for class Undecided


The Mirror (1975)
(Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky)

It's hard to know what to say about this. I almost feel like I have to watch it again to even begin to talk about it. Like Hiroshima mon amour, it's a film I have very strong emotions about and yet I don't have any idea what I think about it. It's actually in the running for one of the most personal of all films I've seen. It's made up of images, newsreel footage, dreams and half-forgotten fragments of god knows what else. Individual moments shine through so clearly but I'm afraid I get lost on the whole. I really, really need to watch this again.


Blood for Dracula (1974)
(Directed by Paul Morrissey)

It's some kind of masterpiece. It's campy and sexy and gory and really, really funny. Udo Kier plays Count Dracula in an extremely mannered and hilarious performance. Any time he's on screen, I start laughing. He goes to Italy to find a virgin that he can marry. However, he keeps running into girls who fake it which leads to one of the film's funniest lines. Joe Dallesandro (who's awesome, seriously) also has a big role in the film but it mainly consists of having being in various states of undress and having sex. Sure, it's pretty silly but why the hell not?


Ordet (1955)
(Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer)

It's hard to find the words to describe a film such as this one. It's slow and deliberate (both in its construction and in the ways the characters move through its space) because it wants you to understand the world that these people inhabit and the way that they inhabit it. It takes place mostly inside in a couple of rooms and consists of people talking about Faith and Religion. Should be boring, right? Why then is this film so engaging? So powerful? So majestic? I'm not sure I understand, really, but in Ordet, I've found a film that has moved me like almost no other. It's an experience I'll not be forgetting soon.

Anyway, this is pretty incredible. One of the greatest films I've ever seen.


The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)
(Directed by Rebecca Miller)

Quite an interesting film. It's mostly concerned with the ideals of the 60s generation (hippies living in communes, environmental issues, and denying capitalistic society... or something) and how about those ideals can play out after their time has passed. The story takes place in 86 and describes the relationship between Jack (played by Daniel Day-Lewis - much better than in TWBB) and Rose (Camilla Belle Shocked ) who are father and daughter. They've pretty much closed themselves off from the world and live in a remote part of an island off the coast of god knows where, USA. There's lots of really awkward things about the directing here. Lots of tricks are employed that I don't feel really mesh with the story that's being told (the cinematography is kinda Undecided at parts as well) but the characters are ones we understand and their decisions make sense. Miller doesn't really know how to finish the film but by that point we're so with the characters, we'll accept whatever they choose to do.


Sans Soleil (1983)
(Directed by Chris Marker)

This film essay isn't just a travelogue of places that Chris Marker has visited. It's also a travelogue of the ideas and cultures and the thoughts that spring up because of them. To me, it operates at a level of a sociology or anthropology text, interesting to read and think about but not truly engaging. Yes, the images contained within are sometimes striking and Marker's musings are thought-provoking (the man is much smarter than I am) but the film never really goes too far from just being "interesting." However, whenever Marker's philosophical narration does hit a nerve with me, there's usually something interesting happening visually (to make it much more awesomer) and when those moments do occur, it's great. It doesn't happen enough for me though. So, yeah, Marker is an original, for sure, and deserves the acclaim he gets (La Jetee is awesome) but this one just didn't reach those heights for me.

Anyway, I love these cats!


Casa de Lava (1994)
(Directed by Pedro Costa)

A ridiculously oblique work. Costa's landscape cinematography is excellent (many shots are just amazing). This isn't just because he's shooting in Cape Verde, a place that just suggests violence and death as it does beauty (it's overwhelming), but because of his almost innate sense of composition. It's that good. Apparently, the film's a remake of a Jacques Tourneur's I Walked With A Zombie (which I haven't seen). Maybe I should see it because right now I'm thinking that this film takes almost perverse delight in being oblique and omitting story elements. Seriously, I was wondering what the hell was going on for the majority of this movie. Regardless, the overwhelming beauty found here is enough to make me say that I enjoyed it. I just wish I understood it more.


Jhon's Film of the Week... Ordet