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  • Through a Glass Darkly

    Through a Glass Darkly

    ★★★★

    This is the rare case of a film that I think is masterfully crafted, but I can't say that I really care for it. I think the issue is that I found the characters strange and alienating, not in the sense that I couldn't relate to them, but more in the sense that they felt strangely artificial. They did not seem to act in the way real people did. This could be entirely on me and a subsequent viewing could change my mind, but it's a really beautiful film that I just found off-putting and repellent.

  • Pather Panchali

    Pather Panchali

    ★★★★★

    The first film in Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy depict's Apu's family's life in a small town in rural India. They have trouble getting by because Apu's father, a priest and scholar, has a very difficult time earning a living. One of the truly miraculous things about this film is how little the narrative matters in a straightforward manner. Ray focuses more on the small, contextual details of life, painting a picture of how this family lives in their community and letting the narrative emerge from this picture. He's obviously influenced by the Italian Neorealist tradition, but he seems to create his own genre from scratch.

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  • Brother Sun, Sister Moon

    Brother Sun, Sister Moon

    ★★★★

    In one sense I really think this movie is a little indefensible. It's so earnest and guileless in it's counter-culture portrayal of St. Francis that it should fail completely ... especially with a score by Donovan for heaven's sake. It's a very superficial treatment of quite a serious subject. However, there's something about the stunning painterly cinematography and meditative pace of the film that really works for me, although I'm quietly kicking myself for being taken in the whole time I'm watching it.

  • American Graffiti

    American Graffiti

    ★★★★½

    This is George Lucas' best film. I fully believe he feels this way himself since it's also the one film he hasn't felt the need to tamper with in any way. It's the film that demonstrates that he is capable of writing well-drawn characters and relating human stories in a manner that people can care about. This is clearly his most personal film, so perhaps that's why he can relate it to the audience in human terms. Additionally, it's quite an experimental film in it's own way. The soundtrack in particular is revolutionary for its time.