Thursday, March 11, 2010

Celluloid #80

In Home

Jeanne Dielman (1975) Akerman - This is the type of film that requires a fair amount of patience, but if you can calm down, it is ultimately worth watching. Featuring very little dialogue and clocking in over three hours, we basically follow around a housewife as she completes her multitude of chores and tasks over the course of approximately three days. Jeanne lives an extremely regimented life, occasionally interspersed with some light home-based prostitution for extra cash. While her routine might put you asleep, it's the breakdown of this routine that leads to much bigger consequences. 4/5

Melies the Magician (1896-1912) Melies - I recommend you skip the documentary and just watch the shorts on this DVD. Melies' films are funny and really cool to look at, but the format they are presented here (as a screening with an audience and narration by his granddaughter) gets pretty annoying. Besides the iconic "A Trip to the Moon," I loved the dancing in "The Infernal Cakewalk." 3/5

Mysterious Skin (2004) Araki - Odd but ultimately worthwhile film about sexual abuse. Our dual protagonists are two boys from small town Kansas. On the surface, they seem almost polar opposites. Brian is quiet, nerdy, and obsessed with alien abductions. Neil is gay and confident and wields his good looks around town as the local male hustler. Definitely makes me want to seek out more Araki. 4/5

Pickup on South Street (1953) Fuller - A man steals some film from a lady's purse. Somehow this film is linked with Communist plots. The woman is a former hooker and the man an active pickpocket, but despite their shady tendencies both characters are portrayed in a far more favorable light than the Communists. Fun noir showcasing the attitudes of the Red Scare. 4/5

Polyester (1981) Waters - Fairly mild Waters featuring the drag queen Divine. Her daughter is a slut who wants an abortion. Her son has a foot fetish that causes him so much anxiety that he stomps on ladies' toes. At some point the children become reformed and Francine (Divine) meets a "nice" guy, but you know that this happiness can only be short-lived. 3.5/5

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