Friday, November 5, 2010

Celluloid #100!

In Home

Afterschool (2010) Campos - In a prep high school, everyone talks about sex much more than they are actually having it. Lots of porn is watched in the dorms and talk of blow jobs around the lunch table. The sexual "transgressions" are soon overshadowed by the fatal cocaine overdose of the popular twin girls on campus. Robert was filming them as part of a project for the Audio/Visual Club, but fails to get them any immediate help. This film is dark and instantly brings to mind many Haneke films, but Benny's Video in particular, especially in its examination of voyeurism. 4/5

Ajami (2010) Copti & Rihan - A neighbor boy gets mistakenly shot in a retaliation. In order to get a ceasefire, one Israeli family has to pay off a mob-like family. The sum is way beyond their means, which forces the son, Omar, to seek more illegal ways to pay their debt. His poor decisions regarding stealing cars, selling drugs, and falling in love with a Christian girl all have negative consequence for those around him. 3.5/5

Glen or Glenda (1953) Wood - A transvestite commits suicide, and what follows is a documentary-style segment that makes a case for dressing like a woman (more beautiful! more comfortable!). Surprising how much the film tries to encourage understanding and tolerance, for what I assume to be fairly deviant behavior in the '50s. The conflict lies in how Glen should let his fiancĂ©, Barbara, know about his secret life as Glenda. 4/5

Prodigal Sons (2010) Reed - Paul grew up to become Kim, and returns to her hometown for a high school reunion. Kim has not been back to this small town in Montana since the transition. In addition, her brother Marc had a brain injury and desperately clings to a past that he is also incredibly bitter about...especially the popularity Paul received in high school. On top of all of that, it comes to light that Marc is actually the biological grandson of Orson Welles. Kim is the filmmaker and I appreciate that she doesn't come off looking like a saint as she is often incredibly selfish and impatient with Marc and his mental condition. Despite all of that randomness and drama, at its heart, this is a documentary about a broken family trying to find a way to reconcile, all though it sometimes feels like too much is trying to fit into the storyline. 3.5/5 

the Secret in Their Eyes (2009) Campanella - A retired lawyer decides to write a book about a case that has plagued him for 20 years. Liliana was raped and beaten to death, but it took detectives and the police a year to catch him. Unfortunately, he was quickly released by a crooked politician. All the main characters are haunted by their pasts and full of regret one way or another. 4/5 

Vincere (2010) Bellocchio - Mussolini was a player! He had a wife and a young daughter, but also impregnated his lover, who didn't know about his wife. Ida (the lover) gets insanely jealous, especially because she fronted the money to start his newspaper. They end up getting married, but later she is made out to be crazy and both her and her son are placed in institutions where nobody believes their connections to the dictator. A very stylish epic by a director who made an Italian film that I loved in the 1960s: Fists in the Pocket. Both deal with (perceived?) madness, but I prefer the manic style of the earlier film, and yet still appreciate that Bellocchio is still working. 3.5/5

The "Celluloid" portion of this blog has been going strong since May 2008. I try to blog weekly, but will usually skip it if I'm too busy or have seen less than three films in the previous week. Curiously, you can probably tell how depressed or hermitty I have been based on frequency of posting + quantity of films. For a little self-indulgence to celebrate 100, here's a list of probably my 20 favorite films of all time (in alphabetical order because I cannot choose to more certainty than this)


Band of Outsiders

Breaking the Waves


Closely Watched Trains

Devils on the Doorstep

Down by Law


Fight Club

Ivan's Childhood

Killer of Sheep

Killer's Kiss


the Proposition

Punch-Drunk Love

Royal Tenenbaums

le Samourai


Werckmeister Harmonies

Woman in the Dunes

Hopefully I can keep it together for another 100 more...


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Roman said...

just added a bunch of these to the ol' queue. gonna have a rarr party.

Jonathan Pierce said...

I noticed that the proposition was on this list but the proposal was not. What gives?

raridan said...

I guess I'm just not into Ryan Reynolds as much as you...