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  • Yi Yi: A One and a Two 2000

    Watched 24 Aug, 2006

    Yi Yi (A One and A Two) is a film from Taiwan by Edward Yang that is bold on every level, but never seems to show off. In the film we follow a family through a year with glimpses of moments from their lives. While it seemed a bit slow at first, I realized about a third of the way through that everything was being set up and it all just clicked and I was completely entranced. There isn’t a…

  • The Journals of Knud Rasmussen 2006

    Watched 13 Oct, 2006

    The Journals of Knud Rasmussen tells the story of an Inuit shaman and is drawn from the writings of a member of a Danish scientific team. While the source material is Danish, the film is told from the point of view of Avva, the shaman and his daughter Apak. Set in 1922, it shows the transition from shamanism to Christianity from a perspective that I’ve never seen before. Beautifully shot in HD with a documentary feeling, it’s a film with unfamiliar rhythms. After about 15 minutes it all started to click together and I was completely engrossed. It’s a great way to kick off a festival.

  • Everything's Gone Green 2006

    Watched 15 Sep, 2006

    In Everything’s Gone Green Paul Fox directs a script by Douglas Coupland where a man realizes that he’s stuck in a dead end in his life. Funny and beautifully shot, it had a good balance between the humorous and the serious as what it’s really about at the core is personal ethics and how we live our lives. I like the performances, the quirky characters and situations and seeing a film that was unashamedly set in Vancouver, British Columbia.

  • How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) 2005

    Watched 17 Oct, 2006

    My knowledge of Melvin Van Peebles consisted mainly of thinking of him as the father of the “blaxploitation” film genre and the maker of Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song (which I haven’t seen yet). With a provocative title such as How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It), I wanted to check out the film at the Atlantic Film Festival and to find out more about Van Peebles. I was very glad that I did since Joe Angio,…

  • The Science of Sleep 2006

    Watched 14 Oct, 2006

    I went in to The Science of Sleep with a bit of nervousness based on the trailer and all of the other work that I’d seen from Michel Gondry. There seemed to be a lot of imagery and situations repeated from his music videos and it seemed a bit light. Once the film started I was pleasantly surprised that it was a very different film from the one that I had constructed from the trailer and I was completely drawn…

  • Un Chien Andalou 1929

    ★★★★ Watched 15 Oct, 2006

    When I watched the short surrealist film Un Chien Andalou I was constantly surprised at how much I recognized. Pretty much every image in the film is recognizable in many other films. It’s the definitive surrealist film and it’s a haunting vision that has helped to expand the possibilities of cinema. The most fascinating connection for me is how much of the film is referenced in Jonathan Glazer’s Birth as Jim Emerson explains in Birth of a Brunuelian Notion . Un Chien Andalou is important, entertaining and endlessly fascinating.

  • Contempt 1963

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Oct, 2006

    Contempt is a film by Godard that didn’t even register on my radar before someone mentioned it to me. It was a pleasant surprise and a glimpse at Godard working with what seemed to be his largest crew and a more linear and narrative structure.
    The cast is wonderful with surprises from Fritz Lang (as himself) and Jack Palance as a Hollywood producer, but the film is built around Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot. The breakdown of their relationship is…

  • The Prestige 2006

    Watched 27 Oct, 2006

    "Are you watching closely?"

    Christopher Nolan is a talented filmmaker, so I was looking forward to “The Prestige”. I was expecting a film that was showy, but it surprised me with subtlety. It was like a good magic trick that is confident and subtle and classy. With solid performances from Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman and the always watchable Michael Caine, it’s a study of magic and illusion and obsession. While it seemed slow to me at the start (maybe…

  • The Bad and the Beautiful 1952

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Oct, 2006

    I found out about The Bad and the Beautiful from Martin Scorsese’s documentary about American Movies. Director Vincente Minnelli has a gift for staging elaborate shots to complement the story which is a sometimes funny, sometimes dark look behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood film industry. With an energetic performance by Kirk Douglas at the core, it has some honest insight into the filmmaking business along with some melodrama. It was interesting to see a film about film that focussed on…

  • The American Astronaut 2001

    Watched 29 Oct, 2006

    I like to talk about films and while at my favourite cafe, Amanda mentioned the film The American Astronaut, which I hadn’t heard of. So I saw it without knowing very much about it. Completely unique with a great late night film festival screening feeling, it is a lot of fun. It’s a science fiction film with music and in a strange way it reminded me of Godard’s Alphaville in that it is science fiction without elaborate special effects. Gorgeously shot in black & white with a killer rock & roll soundtrack it’s a unique achievement.

  • Le Confessionnal 1995

    Watched 03 Nov, 2006

    Sprawling, theatrical and entertaining, Robert Lepage’s Le Confessionnal weaves tidbits of the making of Hitchcock’s I Confess with the history of a family in Quebec city. Seamlessly weaving past and present and beautifully staged and shot, it’s a clever film that is quite enjoyable to watch. It’s one of those films that I’ve been wanting to see for a long time and I’m glad that I finally was able to see it.

  • Volver 2006

    Watched 18 Oct, 2006

    During the recent Atlantic Film Festival I was able to see Pedro Almodovar’s Volver and I was very glad that I did. The theatre was packed to capacity and it was a lot of fun. With solid performances all around and confident, playful direction, it’s about women, family and struggle. It’s more about the characters than a tightly constructed plot and when I realized that it was very fun as I watch Penelope Cruz struggle to survive with the women…