Saturday, May 31, 2014
The summer is finally here as the summer film season is also starting. Yet, it’s often the time for me where I tend to avoid the big time summer movies and try to go for something with some substance. At the same time, I can get the chance to watch films at home where I wanted to shake things up and do something different. My Cannes marathon this year was a bit disappointing only because there wasn’t much diversity in the movies I saw. Especially comparison to the marathons I had held in the previous few years as they all had something different to offer.
One film I revisited this month that wasn’t part of the marathon was Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession was a film I hadn’t seen in a long time as revisiting it made me a bit sad over what happened to both IFC and the Sundance Channel as they don’t show as much diverse films as they used to while they put commercials between films. That is a real turn-off for me as the channels I have in HBO, Showtime, Starz, and its sister channels do show some edgy films but some of it isn’t shown in its uncut form. Plus, I’ve been scaling back the number of films I’ve watched so that I wouldn’t burn myself out.
In the month of May, I saw a total of 39 films, 25 first-timers including one special wrestling event and 14 re-watches. Slightly down from last month though the number of first-timers I saw were the same as last month as the highlight of the month was definitely my Blind Spot assignment in Duck Soup. Here are the top 10 first-timers I saw in May of 2014:
2. The Cranes are Flying
3. The Story of Adele H.
4. The Third Man
5. The Tin Drum
6. A Man and A Woman
7. Boy Meets Girl
8. The Lost Weekend
10. The Mission
30 for 30 Soccer Stories: The Myth of Garrincha
30 for 30 Soccer Stories: Ceasefire Massacre
30 for 30 Soccer Stories: Mysteries of the Ritmet Trophy
30 for 30 Soccer Stories: Barbosa: The Man Who Made All of Brazil Cry
With the World Cup coming in less than two weeks, I decided to watch more shorts in relation to the 30 for 30 series from ESPN. The Myth of Garrincha is a heartbreaking story of a man who was considered to be the greatest player in all of Brazil before Pele arrived as it is a touching one of a man who rose high and then fell. Ceasefire Massacre is a chilling one about one of the most horrific incidents that occurred in small Northern Ireland town where a violent attack happened on people who were just watching a game that had Ireland play at the 1994 World Cup.
Brett Ratner’s documentary short Mysteries of the Ritmet Trophy is one of the best segments that I had ever seen thanks to Ratner’s approach in just using archival footage and narration to talk about one of the great soccer trophies ever and its disappearance as it’s considered the Holy Grail of trophies that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Barbosa: The Man Who Made All of Brazil Cry is a sobering story about the goalie who was a national hero until he became a pariah all because of a goal he missed against Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final is a fascinating one about how a man is blamed for trying to do something.
We’re the Millers
This is a film that doesn’t have a lot of original ideas yet it is actually pretty damn funny. I think Jennifer Aniston is at her best when she’s given material that allows her to make fun of herself and be funny as she and Jason Sudeikis are fun to watch as is Emma Roberts. Yet, the people that really made the film so enjoyable are Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn as a vacationing couple as they’ve managed to steal the film from the main cast. The real star of the film is Will Poulter as the young kid who pretends to be Aniston and Sudeikis’ son as he stole the film from the two while doing a roaring rendition of TLC’s Waterfalls.
Top 10 Re-Watches:
1. Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession
2. Full Metal Jacket
4. The Way, Way Back
5. The Witches
6. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
7. Ocean's 13
8. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
9. Fahrenheit 9/11
10. Tomorrow Never Dies
Well, that is all for May of 2014. In June, I will review some theatrical releases like The Immigrant, Ida, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and 22 Jump Street along with whatever else that comes across me. Along with some Auteurs-related films including a review of Jean Vigo’s L’Atlante as he is the next subject of the Auteurs series. There will be a diverse array of films including a few relating to my next Blind Spot assignment as well as a few re-watches of films like Trois Couleurs: Rouge and The Conformist. At the same time as I’m scaling back on my film-viewing, I will do some lists while spend much of my time watching the World Cup. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off and if the U.S. gets eliminated very early in the Cup. That Kraut coach will get an old-school American ass-kicking for not picking Landon Donovan to lead the team.
© thevoid99 2014
Friday, May 30, 2014
Directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is a documentary film about the making of Metallica’s eighth studio album St. Anger that went on for two years as the band is dealing with a backlash, personal issues, departures, and all sorts of demons. The film is an exploration into the seminal thrash metal band as they tried to find their place in the world of music as vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, and guitarist Kirk Hammett also tackle many things the band had been trying to ignore. The result is a fascinating documentary from Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
Since the early 1980s, Metallica was one of the founding fathers of the thrash-metal movement that combined the energy of punk with the power of metal that was seen as an alternative to the more popular glam-metal movement that dominated much of the 1980s. A series of classic albums starting with their 1983 debut album Kill ‘Em All to 1991’s The Black Album helped Metallica become one of the most popular metal bands ever despite some setbacks that included the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton in 1986 in a bus accident during a tour in Europe. Former Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Newstead would replace Burton for a near-15 year tenure where it was part of Metallica’s most successful period.
The film begins with the news of Newstead’s sudden departure from the band in January of 2001 as it was another of string of bad news for Metallica who were also dealing with the backlash in their battle against the Internet file-sharing service Napster as well as charges that they‘ve sold out as the band‘s recent records from the mid-1990s to the 2000s showcased the band adopting a more mainstream sound with such albums in Load, Reload, the Garage Inc. covers album, and the S&M live orchestral album. From early 2001 to the release of St. Anger in June of 2003, the film explores two years in the life of Metallica where James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett struggle to make the album with longtime producer Bob Rock who would play bass during the recording of the album. Also on board during the sessions is Phil Towle who is known as a performance enhancement coach as he would often analyze many of the issues the band was going through during these two years.
Directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky would appear briefly in the film during a crucial moment when James Hetfield returned from rehab in 2002 following his abrupt departure due to alcoholism and other personal issues as they met with Hetfield about whether he would be OK if filming continued. During the course of the film, former bassist Jason Newstead is interviewed as he revealed a lot of the reasons for his own departure and his own criticism of the band turning to Phil Towle for help. Hetfield would respond to Newstead’s reasons for his departure where he admitted to being responsible for Newstead’s departure. Other issues touched upon the film were Cliff Burton’s death in 1986 as well as personal issues between Hetfield and Ulrich as they had founded the band where the two finally become angry with one another.
Original lead guitarist Dave Mustaine, who would form another successful and influential thrash metal band in Megadeth, would appear in the film during one of Ulrich’s therapy sessions with Towle as it indicated a lot of the frustrations that Mustaine had to deal with from Metallica fans over the years. It would also play to a meltdown Ulrich would have following a show he, Hammett, and Rock attended for Newstead’s new band Echobrain as it’s one of the film’s unintentionally funny moments. Hammett is definitely the most reasonable person in the band as he tries to defuse his own ego while he would finally express his disdain about not doing guitar solos for the new album. With the help of cinematographer Robert Richman, the look of the documentary remains simple with its approach to handheld cameras to showcase a band trying to make a new album.
Editors Doug Abel, M. Watanabe Milmore, and David Zieff also help out to shape the film by including some montages with footage of Metallica‘s past as well as news footage relating to the band to showcase their trials and tribulations with some additional work from sound editor Andy Kris to provide some of the sound textures of layering of news footage and such. Especially as it relates to Newstead’s activity as he would play with the metal band Voivod as well as play bass for Ozzy Osbourne which adds a hint of irony as Newstead’s replacement would eventually be another former bassist of Osbourne in Robert Trujillo.
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is a remarkable film from Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky about the band and the making of St. Anger. While the album itself wasn’t one of Metallica’s finest recordings, the film does manage to showcase in a very engaging light that allowed fans to connect with them as well as see the men outside of the world of being musicians. In the end, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is a phenomenal film from Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky Films: (Brother’s Keeper) - Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills - (Where It’s At: The Rolling Stone State of the Union) - Paradise Lost 2: Revelations - Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
© thevoid99 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Directed by Samuel Fuller and written by Fuller and Homer Croy, The Baron of Arizona is the story about the notorious forger James Reavis who would create a scheme to claim some land in Arizona in the 19th Century. A largely fictional-based film about Reavis’ exploits, the film explore a man and how he would scheme his way into being the Baron of Arizona as he is played by Vincent Price. Also starring Ellen Drew, Vladimir Sokoloff, Beulah Bondi, and Reed Hadley. The Baron of Arizona is an excellent film from Samuel Fuller.
The film is about the exploits of James Reavis and how he forged documents to make claims that a young woman was inherited the land of the Arizona territory as he would marry her and become the Baron of Arizona much to the dismay of the settlers and the American government. Yet, it’s a film that is told from the perspective of Reavis’ adversary in John Griff (Reed Hadley) who tells the story of Reavis’ exploits to other men on the day Arizona has officially become a state. The film’s screenplay has a narrative where much of its first half moves back-and-forth from Griff telling the story of Reavis’ meticulous and ambitious plans to claim the Arizona territory in the late 19th Century through forged papers and other things claiming that a young woman named Sofia (Ellen Drew) is a descendant of a family who was given the land of Arizona to King Ferdinand in 1750.
After traveling to Spain and pretending to be a monk for three years to get access to documents that he would forge, Reavis would go into great lengths to get the land. The film’s second half is about Reavis and Sofia stating their claim to the land only to deal with settlers who are afraid to lose their home while Reavis would meet his greatest opponent in Griff. Griff was the Secretary of Interior at that time as he wanted to prove that Reavis is a fraud but also has some mutual respect towards him. While the script does play around with some of the historical aspects as well as take a few liberties, Samuel Fuller and co-writer Homer Croy do manage to make Reavis a very captivating character in not just the way he is determined to get the land. Reavis is also a man who wants to do what he thinks is right until he finds himself being challenged by Griff as well as coming to terms with his actions.
Fuller’s direction is very simple in not just the way he presents close-ups, medium shots, and wide shots but also in the way he meshes drama with some suspense. Even as Fuller showcases every detail into what Reavis does such as creating writings on rocks to claim that the land is Sofia or the great detail he does into forging papers. Much of the film is shot in the American Southwest as Arizona and Spain while Fuller manages to keep things lively while going into some melodrama as it relates to Reavis being overwhelmed with his troubles and what Sofia wants. Particularly as the film’s third act would have Reavis deal with the stakes of holding the fates of an entire territory in his hands as he’s made too many enemies. Though some aspects of the climax is a little over-dramatized, it does showcase what Fuller can do to keep the story going and not lose too much of its intentions. Overall, Fuller crafts a very engaging and compelling film about a schemer who does whatever it takes to own Arizona.
Cinematographer James Wong Howe does excellent work with the black-and-white cinematography from the way some of the daytime exterior scenes look to the use of shadows and lights for the nighttime scenes. Editor Arthur Hilton does terrific work with the editing as it‘s mostly straightforward while using some stylish dissolves for some of the transitions. Production designer Jack Poplin, with art director F. Paul Sylos and set decorators Otto Siegel and Edward R. Robinson, does fantastic work with the set pieces from the home of Reavis and the office he had with the map of Arizona behind his desk.
The special effects work of Ray Mercer and Donald Steward is quite nice for some of the action that occurs in the film. The sound effects work of Harry Coswick is superb for the gunfights and fistfights that occur in the film. The film’s music by Paul Dunlap is pretty good for its orchestral-based score to play into the melodrama and some of its suspense.
The casting by Yolanda Molinari is amazing for the ensemble that is created as it features some notable small performances from Margia Dean as a gypsy Reavis meets in Spain, Robert Barrat as the judge deciding on the fate of Arizona, Karen Kester as the young Sofia, and Beulah Bondi as Sofia’s tutor Lorna who would teach Sofia to be a refined woman. Vladimir Sokoloff is excellent as Sofia’s guardian Pepito Alvarez as a man who raised Sofia as a child and would help Reavis out while he would also be the film’s conscience of sorts despite his loyalty to Reavis. Reed Hadley is superb as John Griff as this government official who challenges Reavis’ claim while being an unlikely adversary that Reavis would have respect for.
Ellen Drew is wonderful as Sofia as this woman who believes that she inherited Arizona while being very loyal to Reavis as she also comes to term with the trouble of being a baroness. Finally, there’s Vincent Price in a brilliant performance as James Reavis as this man who would go to great lengths to claim the land of Arizona as it’s a performance full of wit and charm as it’s one Price’s quintessential performances.
The Baron of Arizona is a stellar film from Samuel Fuller that features an incredible performance from Vincent Price. A mixture of western, adventure, suspense, and melodrama, it’s a film that showcases a man’s desire to scheme with great lengths. In the end, The Baron of Arizona is a superb film from Samuel Fuller.
Samuel Fuller Films: I Shot Jesse James - The Steel Helmet - Fixed Bayonets! - Park Row - Pickup on South Street - (Hell and High Water) - House of Bamboo - (China Gate) - Run of the Arrow - Forty Guns - Verboten! - The Crimson Kimono - Underworld U.S.A. - Merrill's Marauders - Shock Corridor - The Naked Kiss - (Shark!) - (Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street) - The Big Red One - White Dog - (Thieves After Dark) - (Street of No Return) - (The Madonna and the Dragon)
© thevoid99 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Written and directed by Leos Carax, Boy Meets Girl is the story of a unique relationship between an aspiring filmmaker and a suicidal woman as they’re both coping with failed relationships. The film is an exploration of two people dealing with heartbreak as they bond through that while embarking on a relationship with each other. Starring Denis Lavant and Mireille Perrier. Boy Meets Girl is an odd yet captivating film from Leos Carax.
The film is an unconventional story that explores two different people who both get dumped by their lovers and then meet at a party where they share their heartbreak. That is essentially the plot of the film as it’s one where its auteur Leos Carax refuses to delve into any kind of convention as its first half is about Alex (Denis Lavant) and Mireille (Mireille Perrier) both dealing with heartbreak as the former is an aspiring filmmaker trying to make sense of what happened. The latter is a model who has no idea what to do as she wants to get over being dumped. The two would meet at a party that Mireille is invited to as Alex would crash the party by accident where the second half is about the party and that meeting. It is a film that a very unconventional structure where not much happens yet it does play into the idea of loneliness and uncertainty for two people who are ravaged by heartbreak.
Carax’s direction is very stylish not just in the presentation he creates but also in how he starts the film where a woman is driving around with a child as she calls her former lover where she would dump his stuff at the river. It sets the tone for what is to come as Carax doesn’t play by the rules as he would create some very entrancing close-ups and images that are very stylized. Even in the medium and wide shots have something that is engaging to watch in the way Carax plays into this exploration of heartbreak as both Alex and Mirieille are both teetering on the edge. Some of the elements of the party the two attend has this element of surrealism as if they’re in a world that is disconnected from what they’re dealing with. Carax would also create scenes that play into their sense of desperation while adding some ambiguity into their fate. Overall, Carax creates a very strange yet extraordinary film about heartbreak.
Cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier does fantastic work with the film‘s black-and-white photography as it adds a unique sense of style for many of the exterior scenes in Paris along with some of its interior lighting schemes to play with the mood of the film. Editors Nelly Meunier and Francine Sandberg do amazing work with the editing as it‘s very offbeat with its approach to jump-cuts and dissolves as some of it is dream-like as well as abrupt. Production designers Jean Bauer and Serge Marzolff do brilliant work with some of the set pieces from the party Alex and Mirieille attend with its very odd look for the kitchen to the apartment that Mirieille lives in.
The sound work of Patrick Genet and Jean Umansky do superb work with the sound from the way some of the things sound on location to the voiceover work that often appears in the film. The film’s music soundtrack consists of songs and music by Serge Gainsbourg, Jo Lemaire, and Jacques Pinalut along with music by the Dead Kennedys and David Bowie as it is wonderful for its mixture of melancholia and angst.
The film’s cast includes some small yet excellent performances from Christian Cloarec as Alex’s best friend Thomas, Elie Pocard as Mirieille’s ex-boyfriend Bernard, Anna Baldaccini as Alex’s ex-girlfriend Florence, and Carroll Brooks in a terrific performance as the offbeat host of the party. Mirieille Perrier is great as the somber Mirieille as this young model who likes to tap dance and listen to punk rock as she tries to deal with her ex-boyfriend and to see is she can really get over him. Denis Lavant is marvelous as Alex as this young aspiring filmmaker who tries to deal with his own heartbreak as well as trying to figure out how to contact his ex and figure out his future. Lavant and Perrier have superb chemistry together in the film’s second half as it showcases their own despair and the hope they might have.
Boy Meets Girl is a remarkable film from Leos Carax that features incredible performances from Denis Lavant and Mirieille Perrier. It’s a film that doesn’t just explore the world of heartbreak but told in a very unconventional manner that makes it very unique as it would display many ideas Carax would use in the years to come. In the end, Boy Meets Girl is a phenomenal film from Leos Carax.
Leos Carax Films: Mauvais Sang - Lovers on the Bridge - Pola X - Tokyo!-Merde - Holy Motors - Annette - The Auteurs #36: Leos Carax
© thevoid99 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Directed by Xan Cassavetes, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is the story about the seminal cable channel that showed eclectic movies ranging from art films, mainstreams films, silent films, and B-movies as it was programmed by the obsessive film buff Jerry Harvey. The documentary is an exploration into the cable channel that founded in 1974 that was present solely in Los Angeles and nearby towns as it would end in 1989 just one year after Harvey killed himself and his second wife Deri Rudolph in a murder-suicide. It was a channel that broke a lot of ground and exposed people who loved films the chance to see films uncut, uncensored, and letterboxed whenever possible. The result is a very fascinating and engrossing documentary from Xan Cassavetes.
Before HBO, Showtime, Starz, Turner Classic Movies, and other cable channels that showed films without commercial interruption, there was a groundbreaking channel based solely in areas around Los Angeles which showcased films uncut, uncensored, and without commercials. In the late 1970s, a man named Jerry Harvey became its programmer as he would showcase a plethora of films ranging form B-movies, westerns, silent films, European art-house cinema, Italian softcore porn films, commercial fare, and all sorts of things. With the help of a few other programmers in Andrea Grossman and Tim Ryerson as well as a local critic in F.X. Feeney who would write reviews for the channel magazine, Harvey would create a programming that was beyond the idea of what can be shown.
What director Xan Cassavetes does is showcase not just the channel’s impact and contribution to the world of cinema but also how it can give films that were either lost or re-cut by studio politics the chance to be seen in a new light. Especially as it relates to films like Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900, and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America which were shown in their director’s cut version to great acclaim after being re-cut and botched by studios. All of which through the desire of Jerry Harvey who wanted to show these films to an audience and give them a fairer judgment. Harvey would also expose obscure directors like Stuart Cooper through Z Channel as it became a platform to showcase films that most channels would never show.
The narrative would move back-and-forth not just in Z Channel’s impact but also Harvey’s personal life that was often turbulent from the suicides of his sisters as well as his relationships with women including his first wife Vera Anderson which ended in divorce in 1984 as he would marry his landlord Deri Rudolph some time later. Feeney and friends of Harvey would talk about his eccentric behavior as well as his obsession towards cinema and showing all sorts of films as he was a workaholic. While emerging channels like HBO and Showtime would do very well nationally, they would have a hard time competing with Z Channel in Los Angeles as subscribers would stick to the channel instead of what HBO and Showtime were offering at the time. Yet, HBO and Showtime would eventually do whatever to buy whatever rights to what they can show as it would lead to the channel’s demise in the late 80s as well as all sorts of business things and some setbacks that would eventually contribute to Harvey’s death and the death of the channel.
Among the filmmakers such as Cooper who are interviewed for the documentary are Henry Jaglom, Alan Rudolph, Robert Altman, Paul Verhoeven, Penelope Spheeris, Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino, and Alexander Payne who would wear his old Z Channel shirt for the doc. Altman, Verhoeven, Rudolph, Spheeris, and Jaglom talk about Harvey’s contributions into raising their profile while Jarmusch, Payne, and Tarantino were among the filmmakers who were avid watchers of the channel as they talked about the films they saw. Actors like James Woods, Jacqueline Bisset, and Theresa Russell also take part in the interview as they reveal what the channel did for them while cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond praises Harvey for showing the reconstructed version of Heaven’s Gate following the critical scorn the film had received.
With the help of cinematographer John Pirozzi, editor Iain Kennedy, and sound editor Frank Gaeta, Cassavetes would show various film clips of the kind of films that were shown by the channel as well as use super-8 footage of Los Angeles to display a moment in time when the channel was in its prime with an audio recording of the words of Jerry Harvey. The film’s music by Steven Hufsteter is only presented minimally in the opening and closing credits as it is this soft, electronic-based score to play into the impact of the channel.
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is a phenomenal film from Xan Cassavetes. It’s a documentary that explored not just the channel’s influence as well as the impact that Jerry Harvey did for cinema. It’s also a film that showcased what a channel can be under the control of a film-loving programmer that would exposes all kinds of films that will probably make an impact on someone. In the end, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession is an incredible film from Xan Cassavetes.
© thevoid99 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Another Cannes marathon has come to an end and so has the 67th Cannes Film Festival which was great to read about. This year’s festival was fun not just for the films that was played but also for some of the things that happened such as some guy trying to look up America Ferrera’s dress during the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Yet, it’s all about the films as this year’s festival had some surprises as well as some great films that came out. Though it started off with a whimper with Grace of Monaco that got a poor reception, it was a good thing that good movies started to pick things up.
I was glad that Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, the Dardenne Brothers’ Two Days, One Night, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, and Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall got some excellent notices while I wasn’t surprised by the mixed reaction towards David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars. Yet, I was surprised by the negative reaction towards Atom Egoyan’s Captives, Michael Hazanavicius’ The Search, and Ryan Gosling’s new film Lost River where the last of which I’m intrigued to see. One thing about the festival that I always enjoy reading about are the surprises as I’m not interested in seeing the new films by Xavier Dolan, Alice Rohrwacher, and Andrey Zvyagintsev which got a lot of buzz as did Ned Benson’s The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and It Follows by David Robert Mitchell.
As for the winners of the main competition, I’m ecstatic that Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep won the Palme d’Or despite the mixed reaction it got while I’m also happy that Timothy Spall and Bennett Miller respectively won awards for Best Actor for Mr. Turner and Best Director for Foxcatcher. I’m really happy that Xavier Dolan gets to share the third place Jury Prize with Jean-Luc Godard for his new film which I want to see. I’m glad that Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders got the Grand Jury Prize and Andrey Zvyagintsev won the Best Screenplay prize for Leviathan. Yet, I was surprised that Julianne Moore won Best Actress for Maps to the Stars as I was hoping that Marion Cotillard would win for Two Days, One Night as the Dardenne Brothers got shut out for the very first time.
Overall, it was an excellent film festival as I want to credit Indiewire, the Dissolve, HitFix, and the AV Club for their coverage as well as Bonjour Tristesse and The Film Experience for their coverage as they made the festival fun to read.
As for the marathon, I will admit that it was a step down from last year because the films that I chose to see weren’t as diverse as the ones I had seen last year or the year before. Now that I’ve seen a total of 50 Palme d’Or films, I have to say that the ones I saw for this year had a lot of substance as there’s not a bad one in the bunch. I was just a bit disappointed by its lack of diversity as I would make a last-minute addition in Marty to the marathon just to shake things up but it wasn’t enough as I opened the festival with Fahrenheit 9/11 and ended it with Blow-Up. Here are my picks for this fictional version of the Cannes awards for this marathon.
The Palme d’Or Goes to… if...
This was a fucking knockout of a film. I was blown away by the film from start to finish not just for its sense of anarchy but also the style that is created where it plays this conflict between old ideas and the ideas of a new world order. It’s a film that is surprising for how confrontational it is while showcasing this very repressive world of British boarding schools as Lindsay Anderson’s direction and Malcolm McDowell’s performance are just absolute highlights of the film as I want to see more of Anderson’s work.
The 2nd Place Grand Jury Prize Goes to… The Cranes are Flying
This is one of the best anti-war films I had ever seen as it is told with such amazing visual style and has a story that is just captivating. All of which is told from the perspective of a young woman waiting for her lover to come home. There’s a lot of internal conflicts as well as creating questions about fighting for a country as well as what people go through waiting for those serving the war as it’s a grim but exhilarating film from Mikhail Kalatozov.
The 3rd Place Jury Prize Goes to… The Third Man
Carol Reed’s noir film is truly one of the standard-bearers of what film noir is and what it should be. It’s a film that is very gripping but also has this sense of style that is just entrancing to watch. The performances of Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles just adds a lot to the film as it isn’t afraid to keep people guessing while exploring this shady world of the black market in postwar Vienna.
The Best Director Prize Goes to…. Volker Schlondorff for The Tin Drum
Schlondorff created something that was off-the-wall but also very exciting but with a sense of style as it is this very unconventional yet engaging film about a boy growing up into a man though still having the body of a boy. It’s a film with a lot of style as well as some satire as it is really unlike anything out there as Schlondorff does brilliant work.
The Best Actor Prize Goes to…. Jean-Louis Tritignant for A Man and A Woman
The Best Actress Prize Goes to…. Anouk Aimee for A Man and A Woman
The performances of Jean-Louis Tritignant and Anouk Aimee in Claude Lelouch’s A Man and A Woman is really the highlight of the film as they give very mesmerizing performances as two people who are widowed with children as they come together dealing with loss as well as loneliness. With Tritignant being the more light-hearted of the two and Aimee exuding radiance in her role, the two together are just fun to watch.
Best Screenplay Goes to… Billy Wilder & Charles Brackett for The Lost Weekend
The screenplay for Billy Wilder’s film about a man battling alcoholism is truly gripping as well as a unique study of a man coming to terms with his demons and struggles as a writer. All of which is told on a weekend where Wilder and co-writer Charles Brackett take Charles R. Jackson’s novel and go very deep into a man and his demons while showcasing his desperation and willingness to get drunk as it’s a fantastic script.
Technical Jury Prize Goes to… Mariya Timofeyeva for The Cranes are Flying and Robert Krasker for The Third Man (tie)
This was tough as there were a lot of films with some great technical work as I eventually chose two that stood out. The first is Mariya Timofeyeva’s editing which was a highlight of The Cranes are Flying for the way it seamlessly creates these superimposed dissolves with such amazing style and play to the offbeat rhythms of war. Robert Krasker’s cinematography in The Third Man is a mastery in the art of black-and-white photography for the way it sets a mood and adds a style that is just entrancing to watch as these two achievements in editing and photography are just examples into the strengths of filmmaking.
The Special Jury Prize Goes to… David Bennent for The Tin Drum
David Bennent’s performance in The Tin Drum is truly one of the key factors into why the film is so important. Especially as he was 11 during the film’s production as he had to play the ages of three to twenty-one as it’s a very wild and uncompromising performance. Notably for those piercing screams that just adds a lot of style and power to the film as Bennent’s performance is a key factor to it success.
And now the for the ranking of the six remaining films of the marathon:
4. The Tin Drum
Volker Schlondorff’s 1979 film is an extraordinary piece of cinema that explores the life of a boy who encounters World War II and Nazism while rebelling against the world of adulthood.
5. A Man and A Woman
Claude Lelouch’s film is a major highlight of the marathon as it is this very touching and low-key film that explores two people dealing with the loss of their respective spouses while coming together to deal with their own loneliness as it’s a remarkable film that is highlighted by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimee.
6. The Lost Weekend
Billy Wilder’s Oscar-award winning film is not just rare Best Picture winner that actually lives up to its prestige but it’s also a very daring film that explores the world of alcoholism that features a magnificent performance from Ray Milland as a troubled writer who tries to drink himself to death.
7. The Mission
Roland Joffe’s film is really a must-see for those wanting a strong film about faith as it explores this unique relationship between a Jesuit priest and a former slave trader played respectively by Jeremy Irons and Robert de Niro as they build a mission at the Iguazu Falls that is eventually threatened by men who want the land for profit.
8. The Son's Room
Nanni Moretti’s film is a haunting yet touching film about a family dealing with the death of a son as it is a very sensitive yet realistic film that has Moretti play a father dealing with guilt over the decision he made on the day of his son’s death.
Delbert Mann’s tale on the life of a lonely butcher in the span of 48 hours features a great script from Paddy Chayefsky as well as a marvelous performance from Ernest Borgnine in the titular role as it’s a very simple yet upbeat film that explores loneliness and the anxieties of adulthood.
Well, that is all for the marathon as well the list of films that had won the Palme d’Or. For anyone interested in the Palme d’Or winners that I’ve seen so far, go to this list, with links to the reviews of films I've seen so far, as I hope next year’s festival will be just as good while I hope the marathon for next year will be more diverse and wild. Until then, au revoir.
© thevoid99 2014