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Aren Bergstrom

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Everything posted by Aren Bergstrom

  1. I've never been a part of one of these processes before, but I'd be interested. As for time, I'll be stuck in lockdown probably until spring, so might as well use it productively. Movie musicals is a great suggestions.
  2. I was pretty blown away by the whole anthology. I agree that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but they're all pretty exceptional films in their own right. I understand why people like Lovers Rock the most as its freedom from narrative and amazing music and choreography and framing is stunning. But I think Mangrove is the best of the bunch. It just offers such a complete vision of community and a perceptive vision of how prejudice operates in society and how societal gains are made. I also loved Education more than probably anyone else. It's so short, but such an acute look at ch
  3. I get a similar response in most films as most films approach it in a lazy way, but the historical context is so specific in Wolfwalkers that I didn't see it as leaning on stereotypes or lazy tropes in any way. Oliver Cromwell really did invade Ireland and put it to the sword, and so much of his motivation was religious, so not sure how his outright villainy in the film is working into this trope.
  4. I liked this one. It's very much a repetition of what he's doing in Experimenter and not as interesting the second time around, but still intriguing. My biggest takeaway, however, is that I think the film is more illuminating about Thomas Edison than Nikola Tesla. Kyle MacLachlan is great as Edison. I could've watched an entire film about him. I also reviewed it at 3 Brothers Film if anyone is interested in longer thoughts.
  5. Aren Bergstrom


    Just watched this last night. Count me as one of those with a mixed impression of it. My thoughts from Letterboxd: I didn't passionately dislike it or anything, but if you're going to stray so clearly from the biographical fact, I expect you to do so in order to make the historical individual more interesting, not less. This is a case where I think it flattens Shirley as a character instead of digging into what made her so conflicted and interesting.
  6. I found this movie very entertaining. The chicken-egg thing you mention, Ken, is definitely one of the interesting elements the film plays with. The whole tacit admission by Robert that he is pro-choice, but would never admit that politically, is fascinating. I know the film is so nakedly trying to be a microcosm of politics in the states (even the fact that it's all boys reinforces this aspect, since America remains a hugely male political system), but I've got to give the filmmakers credit where credit is due: the experiment does work as a nice proxy for the real thing. In general,
  7. This might be an example where our perspectives are too dissimilar to find common ground, because this just sounds like pandering to me, which I don't find compelling at all in art. See, I think this sums it up. He is broadcasting his politics and while I find his politics generally inoffensive, I don't find them refreshing or revolutionary or stirring. And so I don't appreciate his music getting bogged down by what I see as fairly amorphous political commentary that parallels everything I've heard since Trump took office. Trump being bad doesn't make everything that gestures against h
  8. Put me on the very short list of people who were underwhelmed by this. I liked the music (obviously) and some of the staging is inventive, but I didn't connect with any of the vitality that other people are describing. Furthermore, I do think the political messaging is distracting. Here's the thing: no one in that audience and no one watching this movie are going to walk away from it with any new convictions. It will either confirm their liberal worldview or come across as a bit awkward and cringeworthy. I don't see anything radical or celebratory or new or connected about talking about h
  9. Yeah, definitely. I didn't mean it as criticism either, just pointing it out. I'm still amazed they were able to accomplish what they did with such a limited budget. Here's my review of Wolfwalkers if it's of interest to anyone: https://3brothersfilm.com/blog/2020/9/17/tiff20-wolfwalkers
  10. Yes, the way that the themes of the film are expressed in the animation is wonderful. The way that the animation in the forest shows traces of pencil lines is such a nice touch. I think such an expressive contrast is only absent in The Secret of Kells because that film was famously low budget for such a complex animated work. Formally, Cartoon Saloon keeps getting better and better.
  11. As a part of TIFF, I watched Wolfwalkers, the new film from Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) and Ross Stewart. I know that many people here are great fans of Moore and I'm happy to say that Wolfwalkers is another wonderful film from the Irish animator. Interestingly, Wolfwalkers seems to take a lot of structural cues from The Secret of Kells. It's set during the 17th century and deals with the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland, with the main character being the daughter of a wolf hunter brought over from England. As is expected now, the animation is stunning. The way that he fla
  12. Thanks, Jeremy! Really appreciate you watching and your comments about it resonating with you. Yeah, that is definitely something that has kept in my mind, because although it's such a small niche, I think that if it actually does find the audience, it's hopefully extra resonant for those people. We'll see what the future brings!
  13. I'll probably take in a film or two if the in-person festival ends up happening, but it'll be absolutely bizarre, to say the least. I have no interest in the online stuff. TIFF's website infrastructure is so bad that I have no trust in them handling a streaming service. CBC Gem and Crave (two Canadian-only streaming services) are bad enough when it comes to quality and buffering. I don't trust a cash-strapped organization like TIFF actually handling the online portion.
  14. I rewatched The Last Wave last night after watching it for the first time back in June when I was knocking off some Peter Weir blindspots. What a beguiling film, one that percolated around my head for the past month, which is what prompted me to put it on again. Not surprising that I liked it even more the second time. In many ways, the film hits some familiar notes in its general conceit about a white man trying to do right by a colonized people. Richard Chamberlain's David Burton has a bit of a white saviour complex (a colleague even calls him out for his bourgeois attitudes towards the
  15. That's a nice little blurb. I think Weir is perpetually under-appreciated. I'm always down for more discussion of his work. Hopefully I can knock off the rest of my blindspots of his work in the next few weeks.
  16. I didn't have the energy to watch The Last Wave last night, so instead put on The Cars That Ate Paris, which left me baffled. It's a strange mix between a kind of kitchen-sink drama and Ozspoiltation. There are some interesting ideas bubbling beneath the surface of this film, but I'm not sure any of it comes together in a satisfying manner. Aside from the one (accidentally?) striking image of the police officer brandishing the door of his car with the word "pig" spray painted across it and wielding a bloody makeshift spear, I didn't find the film particularly invigorating. Anyone feel pas
  17. Just caught up with this film last night as I've had Peter Weir's early Australian films on my Criterion Channel list for a while. What a mysterious film. It seems to channel some of those quintessential 1970s movies techniques—superimposition of images, inserts shots of nature, elliptical editing patterns—but it doesn't use them simply to create horror, as say, The Wicker Man does, or to play into any kind of New Age textual elements (although I did get a sense that Ari Aster's Midsommar may have been inspired by this film in some respects). The girls that disappear certainly inhabit the idea
  18. I took advantage of the recent long weekend in Canada to finally watch A Brighter Summer Day after having recently caught up with Taipei Story, The Terrorizers, and his segment in In Our Time. Add my voice to the chorus of praise. I was pretty wowed by it, not only by how dense it is, but by the amount of care that went into every composition and character interaction. What struck me most about it is that it never achieves an epic scale, despite being three minutes shy of four hours, which means that the length of the film is there to help us understand these characters and this world in great
  19. Aren Bergstrom

    The Matrix

    Was going to comment here and link back to my review from 2019 about how to perceive the significance of the film, but I see that Anders has already done so. So... carry on, gentlemen.
  20. I am not on the voting committee so have no say in the Top 100, but your breakdown of the power of Blue Velvet, Darren, is amazing. Blue Velvet is my favourite "dramatic film" (the only movies I like more are Return of the Jedi, Spirited Away, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, which are all fantasies of various sorts) and so if I was voting on this Top 100, it'd sit at or near the top. You beautifully capture two things that are absolutely critical to understanding Blue Velvet: 1. We are meant to be implicated in the sadism on display. We are Jeffrey in the closet. 2. The robins are not satire or a
  21. I did the predictable and binged Tiger King not long after the pandemic started. The absurdity is appalling and undeniably entertaining, but it's also little more than a freak show. More recently, I finished up season two of Narcos: Mexico and season five of Better Call Saul, both of which were excellent, especially the latter. Now, I find myself with no active show to watch aside from the weekly episodes of The Last Dance to give me my sports fix. I'm tempted to delve back into Star Trek: The Next Generation as I find the Star Trek series among the most comforting (and best) series ever
  22. Aren Bergstrom


    The images of stillsuits hew pretty closely to what I imagined. Of course, I'm most excited for when they finally reveal what the sandworms look like.
  23. You say it much better than I could. Yes, this is what the film captures.
  24. I really loved Beau travail when I saw it on the big screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto at a rep screening. I've been pretty mixed on Denis' other films that I've seen. That being said, I don't know if "spiritual" is the first word that would come to mind when describing the film. I feel like there is definitely something elemental to the film's allegorical storytelling, and Lavant's performance is especially primal. That final scene is transporting, but I feel like it's more of an emotional eruption than a some spiritual transcendence, but I'm open to the film operating on a hig
  25. Eh, it works for me emotionally. I totally get it not working for others. It's clear that it's not obvious whether it's sunrise or sunset on first (or second, or third) viewing, so I'm not going to defend the framing. But it's not actually the same horizon. The ridge where Luke watches sunset is to the right of the Lars Homestead entrance. In the final scene in The Rise of Skywalker, Rey is standing in front of that entrance when talking with the woman, and then proceeds to continue forward and to the right, so she's actually looking the opposite direction. The homestead is in the left of
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