Well I guess I’m not the first ‘new’ blogger to say “I really meant to post something during the last month, but…”
Nevertheless, I think I’ve learned something from this absence: my original intention of watching (and reviewing) two films per week was overly ambitious. I imagined myself dashing off reviews of every film I happened to see; whereas in reality critical impressions may take their time in forming or else fade altogether. Jean-Charles Tachella’s 1975 award winner Cousin Cousine seems a case in point. A perfectly decent film with an original script, fine acting and some very gallic humour; but having watched this film little more than a month ago I cannot recall much beyond the faces of the principle players. In short, when time becomes limited I will focus upon material that leaves some deeper imprint. Having said that, here’s a sort of catch-up (my belated impressions, perhaps?) of the films I’ve seen over the last month or so…
Le Parfum d’Yvonne [Patrice Leconte, 1994]
Gorgeous location cinematography as air-brushed people move elegantly through a colour supplement version of Lake Geneva circa 1955, but precious little by way of edification. Then again it is ‘Un Film de Patrice Leconte’.
Irma Vep [Olivier Assayas, 1996]
Maggie Cheung prowling hotel corridors in a latex cat-suit with Jean-Pierre Leaud as her film director in the throes of a nervous breakdown seemed a tantalising prospect. A near impossible billing? Yes, but still an enjoyable low budget original with eye-catching ‘treated’ celluloid sequences and fascinating monochrome outtakes on the dvd.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid [Thor Freudenthal, 2010] & Rodrick Rules [David Bowers, 2011]
I’m not usually a fan of purely adolescent fare, but both these films are consistently inventive in their aesthetic design (incorporating the Jeff Kinney-style cartoons from the books on which they’re based) and chock-full with winning characters and performances as well as laugh-out-loud lines and situations. They also manage to be alternately joyous and touching, yet incisively brilliant in their dissection of the claustrophobic obsessions of the middle school peer group. (And refreshing to see a mainstream movie peopled largely by unknowns.)
Book: The Good, The Bad, And The Multiplex: What’s Wrong With Modern Movies
Mark Kermode’s brilliantly entitled, frequently hilarious and eye-opening account of contemporary cinemagoing and its brain-freezing ills: the demise of the projectionist; the ascendancy of fast food; the corporate confidence trick that is 3D. All this alongside the author’s seemingly extraordinary (and depressing) hypothesis that “blockbusters can no longer fail” makes for a compelling read.
And “Coming Soon” to Cellophane Tears…
Le Cinema Verité: Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait; Two in the Wave; Varda Shorts.
A mini Val Lewton season screened on BBC2 over Christmas and I will at the very least review the magnificent Cat People and Curse of the Cat People.
Watching François Truffaut’s La Nuit Américaine for the first time was an undoubted highlight of the festive period. It also proved to be the last straw for Jean Luc Godard in terms of his deteriorating view of Truffaut…