For my sins. Reviews are just immediate reactions and thoughts to things I watch - sometimes have a lot to say, often don't.
I’ve decided I’ll be logging mainly British films this year.
This is a very early British silent comedy short that focuses on female pranksters, forerunner of later comedies like St. Trinians. The short, perhaps unknowingly, skirts around some issues of gender performance very relevant to current discussions in 21st century Britain.
Quite charming Soviet-era animation where Santa, ahem, "Grandpa Frost", and his pet rabbits enters into a competition with a wood spirit and his pet bear to see who can produce the most marvels.
Grandpa Frost extols the wonders of industrialisation, urbanism and modernism against the wood spirits archaic, pastoral mysticism. The new year, with all all its symbolic ideas of looking ahead and progressing, is the perfect opportunity for the happy marriage of the two. The short concludes with Grandpa Frost skydiving out of an airplane over Moscow.
They are very different films, but the character of Pharaon reminded me a lot of this year's Happy as Lazarro. He, like Lazarro, reacts to loss, trauma and immense cruelty with compassion. Both of them are highly attuned with nature, staring into the void as if behind their supposedly vacant expression they perceive what others cannot.
I really enjoyed this. Truffaut's supposed tribute to film noir falls back on a few well-worn clichés - tortured artist on the run from his past, criminal double act on the hunt for the money - yet subverts these and moves between comic and tragic modes with ease. This is encapsulated in the opening scenes, as a gangster on the run is diverted to have a friendly conversation about the ups and downs of marriage with a passer-by.