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Everything posted by acquarello

  1. From what I've seen (skipping Silent Light, Ploy, and Edge of Heaven, which are probably already on your radar): Highly Recommended Calle Santa Fe - One of the better documentaries out there on the Chilean coup and the fall of Allende, definitely more sympathetic to the left, but in a more personal, idealistic way than a political one. I Just Didn't Do It - This is a court procedural on the Japanese justice system, and a pretty bracing one at that. It essentially looks at how the idea of "innocent until proven guilty" doesn't really mesh with the Japanese mindset of conformity, where it's e
  2. When Black Gold screened at the NY Human Rights Watch last year, Tadesse Meskele appeared with the Francis brothers for the Q&A and it turned out to be a very eye opening session. Yes, it is only about one farm collective, but it's actually one of the more organized ones out there because Meskele does actually care about the farmers he represents. Even with the abject poverty shown in the film, the reality on other farms is even worse. I thought one of the more interesting aspects of the film was how corporations like Nescaf
  3. The title sequences to Se7en and Suicide Kings are both straight out of Stan Brakhage's scratch film technique. I'd also say that the "music immersion" sequences used by filmmakers like P.T. Anderson and Patrice Chereau, specifically where they depict moments of "excess" (drug use, sex, violence) are derived from Kenneth Anger, as are some depictions of occultism and the supernatural in horror films (like the color saturation in Carrie during the prom prank).
  4. acquarello


    Ah, probably! I caught Tachigui at Film Comment Selects in February, but that's a two week catch-all program for unreleased (festival) films from the previous year (although Verhoeven's Black Book did get released after that, and Costa's Colossal Youth continues to make the rounds), so I'm sure it had already screened in Asia in 2006 at several festivals. Unlike Paprika which is straight animation, Tachigui is more of a combination of live action film that's been turned to stills and "puppet" animated. But both films give off that sense of sensorial saturation that's very infectious.
  5. acquarello


    I'm really glad to see that people are responding so well to this film. This was my #1 pick for 2006 on the Senses of Cinema end of the year poll, and now almost a year since I last saw it, I'm still very passionate about it. It has the right balance of inventiveness and homage, and I think it makes a pretty relevant statement about the nature of psychological terrorism and how we enable it by letting it feed off our own fears. Anyway, so far this year, I've been fortunate enough to see another animation film that has really excited me as much as Paprika. It's Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of t
  6. I haven't heard any rumblings about Darrat or Opera Jawa, but that doesn't surprise me because third cinema is pretty underrepresented in general, even in New York. The descriptions do sound very promising. I might actually try to catch those and the new Goutam Ghose (Yatra, although the screening I'm eyeing conflicts with Opera Jawa). Ghose's films tend to be highly allegorical and meticulously composed.
  7. Strongly Recommended: I think Alain Resnais' Private Fears in Public Places is Alain Resnais' best film since Mon Oncle d'Amerique. I really like the melding of longing and architectural memory on this one. Barbara Albert's Falling is something like a thirty-something version of Take Care of My Cat, in this case, the death of a teacher brings a group of friends together for a weekend. It's more about the life trajectories (and intersections) of these women who are, in some ways, at the crossroads of their own lives, whether it's moving on from having just a job to a real career, or getting m
  8. Indeed, Brocka's approach was more like the slaughterhouse installment of Michael Glawogger's Workingman's Death (in the Nigerian open air market) where the "slow death" method they were using (so the animal would flail and exsanguinate faster) seemed particularly inhumane. After some twenty minutes of that, a lot of us just kinda staggered out of the theater in a daze. Interesting context about the Catonsville documentary. I don't remember that particular one being mentioned, but the documentary does make a point about how the Camden episode had followed a string of other draft board "action
  9. Coincidentally, Our Daily Bread played a few days before Lino Brocka's Insiang, which opens at a slaughterhouse. Geyrhalter's film is pretty anesthetized and tame in comparison. I actually see his approach as being more along the line of Harun Farocki's "production" films, where technology represents the erasure of the human imprint rather than a kind of despiritualization of mass production. I'm not a big Lynch fan either, I actually prefer his non-Lynchian films like The Elephant Man, but I think Inland Empire really lays out Lynch's thematic "manifesto" quite well and I'd say really helps
  10. Interestingly, Filmbrain mentions in his Climates post about how the Ceylans had just had a child shortly before filming, so I seemed to make sense within the comparison to the Egoyans' Calendar being so close to the birth of their own son. I do think they're tapping into something of the same vein in terms of transforming a relationship from something more romantic and ephemeral to something more enduring and concrete...architecture as a metaphor for "legacy" if you will. Oops! To keep in line with the top ten, I guess I should post mine. Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006) D
  11. acquarello

    Inland Empire

    Laura Dern's performance(s) in Inland Empire is nothing short of amazing, she'd definitely get my vote. She's not only playing two characters ("real life" actress and her character in the film), but also the incarnations of their dreams and anxieties. There's one scene where Jeremy Irons (who plays the director) tells her that her performance was Oscar worthy, so I guess there's a life imitating art imitating life self-reflexivity going on behind Lynch's stunt.
  12. I haven't read his Mike Leigh book, but yeah, part of it is that he's gotten more than a wee bit territorial with respect to Cassavetes, even to the extent that he wanted to air out all the dirty laundry in public on the brouhaha with Gena Rowlands over the Shadows "director's cut" controversy.
  13. I really like Carney's book on Dreyer (much more so than his work on Cassavetes, actually). One thing that he argues well is the debunking of the Dreyer "religious myth", particularly since his book was written when the only Dreyer films even remotely available were The Passion of Joan of Arc, Day of Wrath, and Ordet as well as the reputation for obsessing over the unrealized "Jesus film". I like that he tries to reconcile Vampyr within this more overtly spiritual fare, and not treat it as an aberration. Of the Dreyer books I've read though - Donald Skoller's Dreyer in Double Reflection, Ra
  14. Spike Lee does a really good job in this one, sure his politics are all over it, but it's not just quick caricatures either. He also does a good job at providing international context as well as socio-political issues and historical context (specifically, as to why there is a tendency in New Orleans to mistrust the government), even some "unexpected" ones, like global warming. And yes, there does seem to be a particularly spiritual framework to the film, even in the telling of anecdotes. My only quibble was that the visual device used for introducing the interviewees in the epilogue is simi
  15. Heheh, FWIW, I saw Los Angeles Plays Itself, Gambling, Gods and LSD, and The Story of Marie and Julien on the same day, in the same theater. I'm so glad I ended up getting an aisle seat that backed into the stairwell...I was practically doing calisthenics on the handrail by the time they got to India in the Mettler film!
  16. Whoa! Is this the only time slot for Wavelengths 5? Personally, I'd suggest making Gambling, Gods, and LSD your last film for the day. It's somewhat Baraka-ish in its slowness (nevermind that it's a long film), so it's a little grueling to sit through. On the Wavelengths program, both Jim Jennings and Mika Taanila are more on the structuralist side so their films aren't "rapid fire" like Peter Tscherkassky or Mathias M
  17. Yes he is, a terrific character actor in his own right (I much prefer him to Vincent's two-note acting). Check out his work with Bu
  18. I highly recommend Black Gold; it's a really eye-opening discourse on fair trade and how the practice of government protectionism in industrialized nations and the collusion of G8 countries have not only stunted Africa's economy, but also continues to make them dependent on humanitarian aid (something they wouldn't need if they were paid fair market value for their agricultural products). I stopped patronizing Starbucks after watching this film, it's that provocative. All About Darfur is interesting because it's not the message we (as Westerners) are used to hearing. There is a strong cons
  19. What I really liked about Private is that its approach is more allegorical than literal (quite unusual especially since the story is based on a real-life episode), where the occupation of the the house becomes a broader allegory for the occupation. Along the surreal, almost absurd humor of Divine Intervention, I'd also recommend Randa Chahal-Sabbag's The Kite about this young woman who is promised to marry someone from the other side of the Israeli buffer zone, where borders are constantly re-shifted overnight as security dictates. It's pretty hilarious too, especially when loved ones across
  20. Sorry for the delayed response, but I remembered that there was something funky about the Polish DVD boxset so I wanted to check the actual discs. The box says Region 2, but when I check them on my R1-set MacBookPro using both DVD Player and VLC (these Intel-based macs aren't hackable for region setting, at least not yet), they play fine. I then popped them onto a regular R1 DVD player connected to the TV and it gives me an "invalid format" warning. So my guess is that these discs are in fact R0 (or at least R1 compatible) even though they're stated as R2, but they are also PAL, so they don
  21. In case anyone is interested, there was a recent 2 DVD Polish release of Kieslowski's documentaries, all featuring English subtitles. With the help of the handy dandy Poltran translation site, I was able to snag one of these puppies before they went on backorder. In any case, they are supposed to be back in stock and available for purchase at the end of September at Traffic Club, and at the price of ~$24 including priority shipping to the US (took 3 days), I highly recommend picking these up. (The asterisked titles are my favorites from the set). Disc 1 From the City of L
  22. Two films in this vein that I really because of the way they capture the artistic process accurately without resorting to the clich
  23. Actually, this is close to what I was trying to say, one can be a subset of the other, but they don't always exist hand in hand. I tend to equate interior designer with an interior decorator, which is not exactly what I was trying to convey. It's probably more a semantic thing, but when I mean designer vs. artist, I meant something more along the lines of a civil engineer vs. architect. Both have academic rooting in structures, but one tends to approach it from the stress/load calculation side (rather than how it looks) and the other tends to approach it more from an aesthetic side and does
  24. Sorry for the stitching, but I wanted to make sure that I talked to these points. That's very close to what I'm trying to say. I guess I'll preface by saying that I do this for films I've seen more than once, after the last fresh viewing. So basically, there's already some preconceived gut instinct at work, and the repeat viewing can serve either to hone in or validate these ideas. The process of writing is where the reconstruction occurs for me, because it provides a "discipline" for you to have to work through your own ambiguities and try to reconcile them in one way or another - to te
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