Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Celluloid #119

In Theaters

Blank City (2011) Danhier - Documentary about the No Wave scene in New York during the early 1980s. Somewhat about the music, but primarily focusing on the film scene consisting of Jim Jarmusch, Nick Zedd, Richard Kern, and Amos Poe among others. This film paints a picture of a gritty New York with a strong community of poor kids squatting in abandoned buildings and making art with each other. Interviews with Lydia Lunch and James Chance are particularly entertaining. 4/5 [good]

the Tree of Life (2011) Malick - Scenes of outer space, dinosaurs, and evolution are mixed with slightly less abstract dramatic episodes from 1950s Texas. The Texas scenes are still atypical because they consist of mainly nonlinear moments full of lots of whispering and inner monologues. Several of these scenes affected me in an incredibly emotional way, but could be just as simple as a son hugging his father. Overall, as a viewer, you are witnessing some pretty universal turmoil, mainly dealing with the complexities of relationships and the loss of innocence that accompanies the transition out of childhood. I don't know exactly what to make of the inclusion of the dinosaur scenes except to set a certain type of tone, much like I'm not sure what to do with the surreal religious ending. I really wish that the naturey screen saver parts were much shorter, but I loved the Texas parts and how beauty in this film. It really isn't like anything else I have seen, and want more people to watch it, if only to have someone else to talk to about it. 4/5 [good]

In Home

Before the Rain (1994) Manchevski - A young priest tries to save an Albanian girl. In another scenario, a woman finds out that she is pregnant, but is having an affair and wants a divorce. A man returns to his home in Macedonia after 16 years abroad as a photographer. Each of these narratives are connected by a cycle of violence of particular interest for this part of the world during the mid-90s. 4/5 [good]

les Enfants Terribles (1950) Melville - A brother and sister are a little too close. They don't exactly do anything inappropriate but take every opportunity to undermine each other and destroy the other's chances at love. 3/5 [medium]

Zelig (1983) Allen - Fake documentary about Leo Zelig, a man who can transform into different identities and dubbed the "Human Chameleon." Leo wanted to be liked so much that he would distort his image to fit in. He stops transforming once he falls in love with one the therapists who studies him. Then scandals become unearthed as it seems that his various personalities had previously married other women, committed vandalism, etc. He goes from being a beloved icon to a loathed man - not all that different from the cycle of celebrity today. 3.5/5 [decent]

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