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  • Notes on the Circus 1966

    ★★★½ Watched 29 Sep, 2014

    Perhaps the ultimate "bodies in space" movie, or bodies examined as the spectacle via their motion, sped up to avoid confusing the spectacle of the circus with the spectacle of the body itself, and occasionally juxtaposed on top of each other to view how bodies can be seen as both individual and alike (whether man or animal). The pop music provides a new rhythm that separates us from the original spectacle as well—we match the motions to music, but see…

  • The Country Girl 1954

    ★★★ Watched 14 Sep, 2014

    A Clifford Oddets movie through and through, with respectable direction from George Seaton that I wouldn't call economic as much as perfunctory. But two performances make this worth watching, by two actors taking things outside their usual comfort zone: Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. The Country Girl gets largely remembered now for Kelly's Oscar win over Garland for A Star Is Born, and certainly I understand, but Kelly does bring more than a tough-nail accent and a little less make-up…

  • Class Relations 1984

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Sep, 2014

    Class Relations is often considered a recommended starting point for Straub-Huillet, and it's easy to see why: a straightforward presentation of a well known text (Kafka's Amerika), mostly presented economically as opposed to a 10 minute shot of the street, for example. It would be possible to simply watch this as a line-reading of Kafka's novel, almost like some hyper-neo-realist version of Gatz. The filmmaking here is then both decidedly simple—shot-reverse shots between characters—but hugely complex. For one thing, Kafka's…

  • Baby Doll 1956

    ★★½ Watched 25 Aug, 2014 2

    Really gets to my problem of watching all these 50s playwrights on cinema (Williams, Oddets, Inge), which is that overblown emotions combined with hard-hitting realism always seems out of place for me (the counter being Douglas Sirk's outlandish cinema for outlandish emotions). There's always something BIG about Kazan and Williams, even as his stories settle on small cases, they always take a bit of outlandish preposterous drama to set up their explorations, here the weird agreement between Malden (Who does…

  • Chinese Series 2003

    Watched 22 Sep, 2014

    The last scratches toward the light, white calling into the bleak darkness. Feels like the last beats of a heart, pumping what little life it can into a world indifferent to its mission.

  • Mothlight 1963

    Rewatched 22 Sep, 2014 2

    Celluloid as microscope, examining the inner skeletal materials of the natural objects on screen, while also examining its own skeleton.

  • Kentucky Pride 1925

    ★★★½ Watched 31 Aug, 2014

    Reviewed as part of my CineCon wrap up in the latest podcast. Overreaching by calling this Ford's Au Hasard Balthazar, but it's lovely and wonderful and odd in its own special wonderful way, and the way it thematically relies on gestures is great to see as it becomes such an essential part of Ford's career. Sadly, the only existing print is the one in MoMA archives.

  • Wanda 1970

    ★★★★ Rewatched 09 Sep, 2014

    Discussed with Karina Longworth in the latest episode of The Cinephiliacs. Brutal viewing, but like Balthazar, not for what pain/degradation Wanda goes through, but the fact she never has a voice to fight back against the men (and there is literally not one man who shows treats her anything but an object) in her life. Of course, that is what makes it so affecting.

  • Whirlpool 1949

    ★★★★½ Watched 13 Sep, 2014

    The opening shot looks mundanely common but the space and flow into the department store include two moments where what our eyes are trained to see suddenly shift and we follow something else. Perspective becomes misdirection, which moves from the mise-en-scene to the narrative level, a story about the literal control of sight and thus the mind. Routinely dismissed compared to the other Premingers of this era, perhaps because of absurdity of the plot (which is not that different from…

  • Foreign Correspondent 1940

    ★★★½ Watched 02 Sep, 2014 2

    Peaks in the middle with the visual joke of Joel McCrea on top of the hotel, busting the lights and creating "HOT EUROPE." It's that kind of winking amusement one requires from Hitchcock, the sense that even though the situation may be serious, there's still time for jokes and romance (what else are we fighting for?). The film is essentially a negotiation of producer Walter Wagner's attempt to enlighten the American people to the war across the Atlantic and Breen's…

  • Vertigo 1958

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 11 Sep, 2014

    A film surrounded by ghostly presence, taking on a form of the supernatural - an unconscious in most of Hitchcock's films but text here. It extends through the environment of San Francisco, a city filled with fog, haunted houses of sad histories, and most essentially a European flavor, carried over brick by brick. Stewart tracks a haunted being, a performance in which he recognizes both the artifice and the reality, but can't tell that only the emotional core remains authentic.…

  • Songs From the North 2014

    ★★★ Watched 04 Sep, 2014 1

    Filed this review for the TIFF premiere. This should be more interesting than it actually comes off as—Yoo has a lot of fascinating aesthetic and narrative ideas here. But I think it's only half explored, and the moments she films of "real life" seem a little to surface oriented. I think it's key that the one moment where she really explores this banality well is dependent on her titles cards forcing/asking psychological questions of the citizens we see, instead of organically emerging from their own existence. Not every documentary has to be Disorder, but I hope Yoo goes further with her next one.