My Week in Film (2/1 - 2/7)

The Sun in a Net (1962)
(Directed by Stefan Uher)

Two teenagers living in the city deal with STUFF. They sunbathe in secret on top of a building where no one can see them. She takes care of her blind mother. He takes pictures of people's hands (the most beautiful part). They pass the time together. He is sullen. She is something. In order to get away, he goes to a summer work camp to farm and be a man and all that stuff, and because they left off on a bad note, the boy and the girl look for different partners. Things happen. Blah, story. Too many great compositions and individual shots and stuff (took so many screenshots) too count, and while there's some clunky inserts and editing, it's not enough to be distracting. I wish I got a handle on how the soundtrack was working or what it was doing/adding but I was mostly paid attention to the other stuff. HEHEHEHEHEHHEHEHEHEHEHEHEH


Adieu Philippine (1962)
(Directed by Jacques Rozier)

Some young cad with an annoying moustache picks up two girls. He hangs out with them a lot. He tells them he'll introduce them to his other friend, but he never does. He wants them all for himself. He's due to get called up for Algeria in a couple of months so he figures he might as well have some fun. This is all very loose, very jazzy, often hand-held, shot on location, NEW WAVE. It's a tale of youth and romance and all that stuff, but it never gets all serious and shit and whatever implications there are just get left as suggestions and stuff. I really liked all the music in it, too, and how the music would make the whole thing reach deeper into another LEVEL of stuff. Crap, there's that one shot where the girls are walking down the street side by side and this really awesome song plays in the soundtrack and all of a sudden there would be a jump cut and the girls would be walking along another street and the entire thing was perfect and things and ideas were flying around the place just waiting to be grabbed and put to use. Yes, movies are good.


3 Idiots (2009)
(Directed by Rajkumar Hirani)

Three hours of cliche. Sigh. Seriously, every single thing you expect to happen does happen. Every single plot strand gets tied up in just about the most predictable way. Every single time. Blergh.


The Brothers Bloom (2008)
(Directed by Rian Johnson)

I don't have much to say about this other than I found a whole lot of it pretty uninteresting. Johnson is definitely enthusiastic and he's always doing things that are inventive, and the actors are charming and stuff, but when the story is basically 2 hours of people saying "this is not an adventure story" or "it's all a con" or "the lie that tells the truth," I get pretty bored. I just don't see anything more here than the whole cinema is a con game or a magic trick (hi, orson) stuff. Color me unimpressed.


La danse - Le ballet de l'Opéra de Paris (2009)
(Directed by Frederick Wiseman)

First Wiseman I've seen. The approach is faultless: no talking heads, no narration, no on-screen text to let us know what's what. Okay, cool. But... this is the part where I just lay out my personal situation thingie: I walked into this 10 minutes late and when I got there I immediately realize how fucking tired I was. So, yes, I did close my eyes a little too much in the last hour.

Okay, that's done. The film is built on process. The dancers rehearse and rehearse surrounded by mirrors, often being critiqued/praised by others in the room. One person points out something off in the dancer's movement, shows him/her the exact movement they should go for, and the dancer tries it again. There are a lot of rehearsal scenes. Early on, I was pretty in to the film. I dug how Wiseman and crew always found an interesting way to frame the dancers. They frame them so all of their bodies can be seen (ala Astaire) and we're witness to the full range of their movement. I found it very impressive. Wiseman doesn't just stay with the dancers though. We see the people who make the costumes, the lunch room, dark hallways, underground, some bee keeper on the roof and, perhaps most prominently, the head art honcho, who is seen in a bunch of administrative meetings regarding sponsors and the choreographers. That stuff is fascinating. But the film is 2 and a half hours long. That's something I didn't realize when I was walking into it. It seems a lot of Wiseman's films are incredibly long (his later stuff, apparently). I'm not entirely sure it benefits from it. I liked that a lot of the dances go on uninterrupted and we see the movement and the staging of these things, but I guess I'm just a dilettante or something (that's probably the wrong word) cuz I got tired of it all pretty quickly. I've never attended a ballet recital in my life or anything, but I don't think I ever want to (unless they're like The Red Shoes or something). All that said, I'm actually pretty excited to watch more Wiseman films now. I can see myself liking some of his films. I could've also seen myself liking this more if I hadn't been so tired. People looking for a "narrative documentary" should avoid, avoid, avoid.


Drama/Mex (2006)
(Directed by Gerardo Naranjo)

Surprisingly good. Or, rather, it doesn't start out that great and then it grows and grows and grows as all the participants get increasingly more and more fucked up drunk. It starts out with two old lovers reuniting. The dude basically breaks into the house, kind of fucks his way into it somehow, and soon enough the old lovers are planning some stuff. Problem is she has a boyfriend. Then on a totally unrelated plot strand, this old businessman goes down to a beach hotel to kill himself. A young girl goes down to the beach to turn her first trick. How are these things related? I don't particularly care. Naranjo scrambles the chronology a bit, too, except it takes a while for you to register that these events are supposed to be happening at the same time. Actually, Naranjo, I'm pretty sure, screws up the chronology in a pretty major manner at some point later on. Doesn't matter. Why? Because the character of Gonzalo is introduced. We first see him playing goalie in a soccer game when his friends show up and inform him that his girlfriend is cheating on him. What does he do? He starts chugging right there by the goal. Needless to say, the film had me by that moment. All his friends get totally shitfaced and go and sing "Motivos" and the whole thing is just a mess of "machismo, sand, futbol, and alcohol" as people are prone to put it. I didn't know that was something I liked. Too much of the film is perhaps in close up and Naranjo just kind of follows his characters around instead of actually constructing a scene (and that kind of got on my nerves at the beginning) but it grew on me (like fungus). The sun is out and I want some.


My Night at Maud's (1969)
(Directed by Eric Rohmer)

Film #3 of the Six Moral Tales. I don't really know what to say about this other than I loved it and it illustrates a lot of what I like about movies, and it kinda deals mostly in the ways that we navigate the world or try to negotiate it and make sense of it, and there are moments of complete beauty, but they're mostly based on behavior and other things. I don't know. It's just great.


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... My Night at Maud's

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