current faves = best first watches of 2021
Life... is nothing much to lose; But young men think it is, and we were young.
There's something about restriction – British reserve; the tightly controlled, considering way by which Losey's camera moves; the strict enforcement of military discipline; the restraint in the soundtrack; the claustrophic trenches the men can't leave. (Can leave, can just go for a walk until they reach home. Can't leave, trauma holding them there even in their sleep. Can and can't leave in death, their…
To start with the universe, then give you just two people. To make you love them, make them love each other, and make one of them leave life and love behind, in just ten minutes, just one scene.
I love looking at the village from here, it looks so different... You see it all clearly and at once, as in a poet's eye.
A production line of wings. The bleached black and white of heaven. The tinkling piano, beautiful and…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I loved the stylistics but found the 'abortion as root of evil' stuff very distastefully done – a murderer parodying a backalley procedure by stabbing a long knife into victims' vaginas until they die in slow agony.
I might give more credit for feminist nuance if it wasn't for all the lecherous scenes of teenagers showering.
RIP Monica Vitti – I had to fire up Modesty Blaise for a tribute.
Some tidbits below that I enjoyed from the commentary featurette based on interviews with the cast and crew:
- Vitti and Bogarde were very close before they started shooting, having 'wonderful lunches' together. But as things started to sour onset, he would do impressions of her to Tony Forwood ("Monica Vee-tee is kind of petty, petty, pet-tee") news of which got back to her and he…
Such a treat to get to see this on 35mm – the crackling and flickering of the print merging so well with the textured materiality of the film, esp:
Its showy and arhythmic editing; how the frame dissolves in and out of the camera Anita Pallenberg is using as a playful extension of her own body; the shock of the cuts and the colour; the dissonant, disorienting sound design, overloud and surreal; the blending and merging of faces double exposed on the film, too many images held together in uneasy pairings, contrasting and cacophonous.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted.