Tuesday, July 08, 2008


If you think I have a lot of time in my hands, you're correct. I do have a film trove to last me a lifetime and if I should ever be charged for conspicuous consumption (which is now a crime given these times of expensive food, among other things), at least I spent on things that cultivate the mind and spirit (Bah, humbug!).

I don't know though if the same can be said of Jodorowsky's Fando y Lis (re cultivating the mind and spirit). I am all for surrealism and I lean towards the works of Max Ernst, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, but as the latter once said, "There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad" and Jodorowski is a madman (when Fando y Lis was shown in 1968 in Acapulco, a riot was said to have broken out with the director fleeing the theatre for his dear life). The story follows Fando (Sergio Klainer) and his paraplegic girlfriend Lis (Diana Mariscal). It is a modern fable about two young people searching through a destroyed world for a mythic city called Tar where all their wishes will be fulfilled. Instead, they are corrupted and driven mad. I thank the heavens for giving me the patience of a camel to have seen this film through.
I am currently watching this 2-disk DVD. El espĂ­ritu de la colmena (r. 1973) is considered a masterpiece of Spanish cinema and was shot during the dying days of Franco's dictatorship. The film is bathed throughout in beautiful soft yellow light, but this adds to its gloom rather than raise its spirit (the cinematographer was said to be going blind during the filming). So far so good.
I so enjoyed this one! Super thanks to JC for letting me watch Across the Universe, a work by Julie Taymor (Titus, Frida). Rogert Ebert, in giving it four stars, called it "an audacious marriage of cutting-edge visual techniques, heart-warming performances, 1960s history and the Beatles songbook" and calling Julie Taymor an "inventive choreographer". With 33 Beatles songs woven into this rather avante-garde but touching story of life, love and living, it is hoped to bridge the generation gap across the universe.

There is something terribly wrong about Wanted. I almost died at the sight of James McAvoy's totally bad acting (especially during the car chase). Please, God. Don't turn him into another Colin Farrell. This man has so much promise in him!

I totally enjoyed Infamous. I recall the scene where Capote made a phonecall to the DA's office and the operator said, "Sorry, the DA does not entertain calls from strange women." Capote retorts in his characteristic brussel sprout voice, "Who says i'm strange?" Hahahaha! Priceless!
Again, if you have the patience of a camel, you will survive this film. Terribly quiet (akin to a long, long, long Sunday walk), it features a young - and very beautiful - Vanessa Redgrave and several other women in full frontal act, a first in British cinema. Anyway, it tells the story of a photographer, played by David Hemmings, who loves to take random photos. He came across two lovers in a park (the woman is Redgrave) and takes photos of them. Redgrave pursues him, eventually finding his apartment and desperately trying to get the film. This leads the photographer to investigate the film, making blowups of the photos (hence the title) until he realizes that he was a witness to a murder. He went back to the park and found the body, but this time he didn't bring his camera with him. Tough luck.
When I thought Delicatessen looks a little bit like Amelie in style, it's because they share the same brilliant directors, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. "It begins in a dilapidated apartment building in rural post-apocalyptic 1950s France. Food is in short supply, with grain used as currency and animal populations dwindling, having been hunted to extinction. At the foot of the apartment building is a butcher shop, run by the landlord, Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus), who posts job opportunities in the "Hard Times" paper as means to lure victims to the building, whom he murders and butchers as a cheap source of meat that he sells to his tenants. Following the departure of the last worker, unemployed circus clown Louison (Dominique Pinon) arrives to apply for the vacant position. During his routine maintenance, he gradually befriends Julie Clapet (Marie-Laure Dougnac), which slowly blossoms into a romantic relationship. Aware of her father's motives and Louison's imminent death, Julie descends into the sewers to make contact with the feared Troglodytes, a vegetarian sub-group of French rebels, whom she convinces to help rescue Louison. Following their botched abduction of another tenant, the Troglodytes return as Clapet, with the remaining, cannibalistic tenants of the building, storm Louison's room in an attempt to murder him. Louison, now aided by Julie, resists and injures many of the bloodthirsty tenants by flooding his apartment. He is able to narrowly avoid death as Clapet inadvertently kills himself with Louison's weapon. The film ends with Louison and Julie enjoying each other's company on the roof of the now peaceful apartment building." (Source: Wicki) A must-see black comedy of porcine proportions.
"Set in August 1944 during the V-1 Doodlebug offensive on London, a murder takes place in Heron's Park Emergency Hospital, a rural British hospital somewhere in the South-east of England. Inspector Cockrill is asked to investigate when the head nurse is killed after revealing that the death of a patient under anesthesia was not an accident. Cockrill states at one point "My presence lay over the hospital like a pall - I found it all tremendously enjoyable." After another murder attempt leaves a nurse dangerously ill, he re-stages the operation in order to unmask the murderer." (Source: Wicki) Based on a popular 1944 detective novel by Christianna Brand. If you've seen COMA, the story is similar although the two sets of crimes have their own ends. Very witty lines. I imagine it took so much effort to make the repartee among the characters appear natural (because it doesn't). Writer-director Sidney Gilliat, together with his partner, also wrote the screenplay of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes.

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