Roll on, reels of celluloid, as the great earth rolls on!
"I'm telling you my life story—how awful."
I apologize in advance not only for the lengthiness but also for the scattershot nature of this review. My best excuse is that Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre sa vie is as elliptical as anything by Pound or Eliot and thus makes for a slippery target. Nevertheless I'm given to ramble, and this is my favorite of the twenty Godard films I've seen so far. Many thanks are due for vital contextual assistance from Richard…
"It's not just that we don't know each other well; I'm not even sure we really like each other."
Now I'd like to think that anti-disco sentiment is essentially a thing of the past in American society, and for all I know such is the case—as my monocultural radar no longer extends beyond Trump(ism) outrage, the NBA and the Premier League (to the extent that Association football has any foothold in America's collective brainwaves). But many moons ago when I…
CRITERION CHALLENGE 2021: 33. Western
"You gotta be big to forgive."
I've been choosing the order of these Criterion Challenge films essentially at random thus far, but when my cherished New York Knicks clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the Playoffs by fending off a hapless Boston Celtics G-League roster this afternoon, I knew we were heading straight down memory lane to the first film I saw in the Big Apple, Forty Guns (courtesy of Anthology…
"A geisha house may seem glamorous from the outside, but it's not always fun."
Finding the burden of choice burdensome indeed and having recently admired a Mikio Naruse film whose English title took the form of a gerund (Yearning), I arbitrarily decided to watch his 1956 effort Flowing (流れる). Despite this admittedly idiotic motivation, I was rewarded with a solidly unpretentious slice of Japanese postwar cultural malaise. Co-written by Toshiro Ide and Sumie Tanaka from a novel by Aya Kōda,…
"The house was never so lively as it is now—for a funeral."
In writer/director Marco Bellocchio's award-winning feature debut Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca), epileptic psychopath Alessandro (Lou Castel) resolves to kill himself, his similarly afflicted siblings and his sightless mother in order to alleviate the breadwinning burden on his beloved—and vigorous—brother Augusto (Marino Mase), notwithstanding the fact that Augusto is an egocentric heel. With its incendiary overtones of Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, Bellocchio's stridently communist…
"Things could have worked out between Ferchaux and me, but fate had other plans, which only I could see in the rearview mirror."
After proving a washout as an amateur pugilist, aimless ex-paratrooper Michel Maudet (Jean-Paul Belmondo) skips town—and continent, for that matter—on his sweetheart to try his hand as a traveling secretary for wealthy executive Dieudonné Ferchaux (Charles Vanel), who faces mounting scrutiny for his murderous past. The unlikely pair make tracks immediately, planning to hit the U.S. long…