Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Films That I Saw: January 2018

Well, 2018 started off interestingly but not in a surprising way as it was business as usual in politics while it acknowledged something I’m sure every sensible person in America already knows. Yes, the President of the United States of America is racist as he refers to countries such as Haiti and El Salvador as well as countries in Africa as “shitholes”. This is just the series of a lot of continuous things that I’m sure is making everyone out there feel dumb as I’m also sure that there’s a sense of fatigue in dealing with Dumb Man who continues to cater to the lowest common denominator. There’s also things relating to this wave of sexual assault revelations in sports, politics, and entertainment as I’m glad that Larry Nassar is going to prison for what he did to those gymnasts. Yet, I’m wary about all of these movements where it might go wrong where a man could be accused of something extremely serious only to be proven innocent. Plus, I’m not sure what to believe although there were people such as Scott Baio that have been outted as he is someone I’m not surprised about as he is real self-righteous piece of shit.

In the month of January, I saw a total of 38 films in 20 first-timers and 18 re-watches as it’s a good way to start the New Year. Six of these films that are first-timers is part of a pledge I’m taking in part of in the 52 Films by Women series where the objective is to watch one film by a woman once a week. Yet, I decided to go into my own pace as there’s so much that I’m doing as there’s a list of what I have seen so far from women directors that include one of my Blind Spots in Lina Wertmuller’s Swept Away as it’s one of the month’s big highlights. Here are the top 10 first-timers that I saw on January 2018:

1. Stories We Tell

2. Phantom Thread

3. Gallipoli

4. Certain Women

5. I, Tonya

6. Sugar

7. Marriage Italian Style

8. Much Ado About Nothing

9. The Edge of Seventeen

10. Lion

Monthly Mini-Reviews

It’s a Boy Girl Thing

While the actors were obviously too old to play high school students, the film was decent enough to be funny and entertaining. It’s about these two high school students who are neighbors as the guy is a jock with a slob family that includes Sharon Osbourne as his mother while the girl is a brain with so many perfect things as she is eager to go to an Ivy League school. When they attend a museum, things go wrong where they switch bodies and a lot of hijinks ensue as it’s just a harmless film with a lot of clichés but still fun.

Good Cop, Baby Cop

I have never seen this short that Adam McKay did for Funny or Die that starred his then two-year old daughter Pearl where she plays a cop who makes Will Ferrell grovel into confessing his crimes. It’s a very funny short film that is just a joy to watch though I’m saddened that Pearl chose to retire with only two performances but those are two acting performances that no one could match in terms of greatness.

The Priest’s Wife

From Dino Risi comes a wonderful romantic comedy starring Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren where the latter is a singer who is angry about her lover being married as she wants to commit suicide. In calling a help hotline, she converses with a priest whom she meets and falls for as the priest finds himself falling for her. It’s a film that is fun to watch as I had intended to write a full review until I learned the version I saw on TCM was a dubbed version Risi filmed for American audiences as there’s another version which is Italian as I think it is the intended version that Risi wanted. I’d rather see that version though the English-language version is still good.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. Once Upon a Time in America

2. Saving Private Ryan

3. Coming to America

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

6. David Bowie: The Last Five Years

7. The Landlord

8. The Lego Batman Movie

9. George Michael: Freedom

10. Nature Boy

Well, that is it for January. In February, I hope to see The Shape of Water as well as start 2018 properly with Black Panther. Along with various films from the last year as well as films that had been nominated for Oscars in the past, I hope to do films that are diverse based on my never-ending DVR list as well as more films by women and African-American filmmakers. My upcoming Auteurs piece on Adam McKay is 2/3s finished as I’m doing work on it and then get ready for the piece on Taika Waiti for March. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Edge of Seventeen (2016 film)

Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen is the story of a high schooler who confides to one of her teachers about wanting to kill herself as it relates to the complication of her life that includes her older brother dating her best friend. The film follows the life of a young woman dealing with growing pains as well as the many complications relating to loss and the uncertainty of being a teenage girl. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Kyra Sedgwick, Hayden Szeto, and Woody Harrelson. The Edge of Seventeen is a riveting and witty film from Kelly Fremon Craig.

The film follows a seventeen-year old high school student whose life has become troubling as she turns to one of her teachers where she has thoughts about killing herself. During this conversation with her teacher, she thinks about the events in her life that has shaped her including her tumultuous relationship with her older brother, the death of her father a few years before, and the fact her brother is now dating her best friend. Kelly Fremon Craig’s screenplay opens with the film’s protagonist Nadine Franklin (Hailee Steinfeld) driving to her school and then walk to the classroom of one of her teachers in Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) as much of the film’s first two acts is about Nadine telling Mr. Bruner what’s been happening with her life. Much of it involves having to be in the shadow of her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) who often gets his way since they were kids as the only friend she had is Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) who had always been there for Nadine.

During a sleepover one night when Nadine and Darian’s mother Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) is out of town, something happens that changes everything where Krista and Darian become a couple much to Nadine’s disgust. It play into Nadine’s own insecurities as she often feels like her brother always get what he wants and is often considered the favorite since their mother always calls on Darian. Nadine also copes with her own desires as she has a crush on an older classmate in Nick Mossman (Alexander Calvert) but has befriended another classmate in Erwin Kim (Hayden Szeto) who has feelings for her. Still, it raises a lot of confusion for Nadine who is dealing with so much including her relationship with her mother that is reaching its breaking point.

Craig’s direction is quite simple where it doesn’t rely a lot in style in favor of something more straightforward. Shot largely in Anaheim, California as Portland, Oregon with some scenes shot near Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia in Canada, the film is set in a suburban world where everyone kind of knows each other but it’s a world where Nadine feels like she doesn’t really belong to. Even in moments where Craig would use wide shots to establish her own isolation when she breaks off her friendship with Krista as Craig would also use some medium shots to play into the growing confusion and anguish that Nadine is enduring. There are some close-ups in some scenes such as a moment where Nadine is thirteen dealing with the awkwardness of growing up as she sports a bad haircut. It’s among the few moments in the film where Craig displays some humor while much of the drama is low-key and restrained to play into Nadine’s own growing pains as she tells her story to Mr. Bruner. When the film returns to that opening scene where it would lead to the third act, some revelations occur about not just Nadine but also Mr. Bruner and Darian as the latter copes with being the man of the house. All of which play into Nadine’s search in finding herself as well as deal with the fact that there’s people who do care about her. Overall, Craig creates a compelling and heartfelt film about a seventeen year-old girl dealing with loneliness and herself.

Cinematographer Doug Emmet does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as it is largely straightforward in its autumn setting while using some lighting schemes for some of the scenes at night. Editor Tracey Wadmore-Smith does nice work with the editing as it is also straightforward with some stylish montage cuts to play into Nadine’s own troubles including the film’s opening sequence. Production designer William Arnold, with set decorator Ide Foyle and art director John Alvarez, does fantastic work with the look of Nadine’s home as well as the home she, Darian, and their mother live in as well as the home of Erwin.

Costume designer Carla Hetland does terrific work with the costumes as it is largely casual as well as the usage of color to play into the personality of the characters. Sound designer Kami Asgar and sound editor Erin Oakley do superb work with the sound as it is straightforward including the way things sound at a party or at the school cafeteria. The film’s music by Atli Orvarsson does wonderful work with the music with its mixture of folk and keyboard-based music to play into some of the film’s dramatic moments while music supervisor Jason Markey creates a fun mixture of music ranging from old-school music from Billy Joel, the Alan Parsons Project, Aimee Mann, Pixies, Beck, and Spandau Ballet to current music from Cut Copy, Miles Betterman, Santigold, Craig Austin, Cloves, Miike Snow, Valentino, Birdy, ASAP Ferg, Caribou, Two Door Cinema Club, Anderson Paak with Schoolboy Q, Phantogram, and the 1975.

The casting by Melissa Kostenbauder is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles from Lina Renna as the young Nadine, Ava Grace Cooper as the young Krista, Christian Michael Cooper as the young Darian, Eric Keenleyside as Darian and Nadine’s father Tom in the film’s flashbacks, Alexander Calvert as an older student named Nick that Nadine has a crush on, and Hayden Szeto in a terrific performance as Erwin Kim as a classmate that Nadine befriends as he tries to woo her awkwardly while listening to her problems. Kyra Sedgwick is fantastic as Nadine and Darian’s mother Mona as a woman that is very image-conscious as she is trying to be young and vibrant but copes with Nadine and her issues where she really doesn’t understand her. Blake Jenner is excellent as Darian as Nadine’s older brother who is the epitome of perfection as someone that is just trying to be a good person yet hides his own secret about the way things are going for the family.

Haley Lu Richardson is brilliant as Krista as Nadine’s best friend who finds herself falling for Darian as she finds herself torn in wanting to be there for Nadine but also finding someone in Darian that she likes being with. Woody Harrelson is incredible as Mr. Bruner as a teacher who listens to everything Nadine is going through as he is a man that knows that Nadine is a lot smarter than the students he’s taught while also being a very calm and observant man that knows a lot as well as provide some sensitivity in trying to help this young girl. Finally, there’s Hailee Steinfeld in a remarkable performance as Nadine as this seventeen-year old girl that is dealing with a lot in her life as she tries to cope with her loneliness as well as her own wants and needs where Steinfeld provide that air of energy and angst into the role of a teenager dealing with growing pains and her role in the world.

The Edge of Seventeen is a sensational film from Kelly Fremon Craig that features great performances from Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson. Along with its supporting cast, fun soundtrack, and an engaging story on growing pains and teenage identity, it’s a film that has elements of realism but enough entertaining moments to create something that audiences can connect with. In the end, The Edge of Seventeen is a phenomenal film from Kelly Fremon Craig.

© thevoid99 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Marriage Italian Style

Based on the play Filumena Marturano by Eduardo De Filippo, Matrimonio all’italiana (Marriage Italian Style) is the story of a man who meets a country woman in Naples during World War II as his frequent visits to this woman lead to some major revelations about his relationship and the fact that she gave birth to three sons as he might be the father of one of them. Directed by Vittorio de Sica and screenplay by Renato Castellani, Tonino Guerra, Leo Benvenuti, and Piero De Bernardi, the film is a romantic comedy of sorts that play into a man’s relationship with this woman who would become a prostitute as he deals with the situation he’s in. Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Aldo Puglisi, Tecla Scarano, and Marilu’ Tolo. Matrimonio all’italiana is a lively and evocative film from Vittorio de Sica.

The film follows a man who learns that his former flame is dying just as he’s about to get married to a younger woman as he reflects on how he met her and his relationship with her. The film explores this relationship that lasted for more than 20 years during from the final years of Fascist Italy in World War II to the 1960s where they run a bakery though the relationship has had its ups and downs. The film’s screenplay opens with Filumena Marturano passed out as she is being carried to her apartment where the possibility of her dying is looming forcing her maid Lucia (Enza Maggi) and the loyal servant Alfredo (Aldo Puglisi) to call on the apartment’s landlord and Filumena’s on-again, off-again lover Don Domenico Soriano (Marcello Mastroianni) to help out. Much of the first act is about how Don Soriano met Filumena at a brothel when she was just a seventeen-year old prostitute during a bombing raid in Naples and then meet her again two years later where they start a relationship.

It’s a relationship where Don Soriano would give Filumena a place to live as well as work and run his bakery while he’s often out of the country doing business and later having affairs with young cashiers. The second act is about Filumena and her life when Don Soriano is out of town as it’s told from her perspective as well as a major revelation in her life as she had given birth to three different sons in different periods of time. Don Soriano wouldn’t know about her three sons until the third act where Don Soriano is dealing with a scheme Filumena and her servants supposedly had concocted but it would also come with complications about her three sons.

Vittorio de Sica’s direction has elements of style but it maintains a tone that mixes light-hearted humor with elements of melodrama. Shot on location in Naples, the film does play into this world that mixes the idea of the working class and rural locations that Filumena is a part of to the more upper class world that Don Soriano is from as he wears expensive shoes and stylish suits. While de Sica would use some wide shots to capture some of the locations as well as some shots in the apartment for the big crowd scenes. Much of what de Sica would do is maintain a sense of intimacy in his approach to close-ups and medium shots in the way he would develop the relationship between Don Soriano and Filumena such as a scene during their relationship early in the film where Filumena thinks about a bright future but Don Soriano is too concerned with being successful. The approach to humor is offbeat as it help play into this supposed scheme that Filumena might be playing at in what she wants to do to Don Soriano but it also serves a purpose for the film’s melodrama.

The film’s melodrama is key into the second act as it relates to the introduction of Filumena’s three sons as children including a scene where two boys who don’t know each other come into the bakery where they eat pastries unaware that their mother is watching them with such fondness. It also play into moments where she really has no idea about the way the law works in what she is trying to do due to her rural background as it lead to Don Soriano trying to use his background and power to get what he wants. The film’s third act isn’t just about these revelations over what Don Soriano would discover but also forces him to deal with his actions where de Sica restrains the melodrama to mix both comedy and drama including these moments with Filumena’s sons where it has these subtle moments of humor. Overall, de Sica crafts a rapturous yet witty film about a turbulent relationship between a businessman and a prostitute in Naples.

Cinematographer Roberto Gerardi does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its natural and colorful approach to some of the daytime exteriors in some of the film’s gorgeous locations as well as the usage of stylish lighting for the scenes at night as well as some of the film’s interior scenes. Editor Adriana Novelli does excellent work with the editing as it has elements of rhythmic cuts to play into the drama as well as much of the film’s humor. Production designer Carlo Egidi and set decorator Dario Micheli do amazing work with the look of the apartment that Filumena lives in as well as the bakery that she works at which is run by Don Soriano.

Costume designer Piero Tosi does fantastic work with the costumes from the look of the suits that Don Soriano wear to the stylish dresses and lingerie that Filumena wears. The sound work of Ennio Sensi is superb for capturing some of the chaotic sounds in some of the location as it relate to large crowds as well as some of the film’s quieter moments. The film’s music by Armando Trovajoli is wonderful for its lush and somber orchestral score that play into the melodrama as well as parts of the film’s humor.

The film’s marvelous cast feature some notable small roles from Enza Maggi as Filumena’s loyal maid Lucia, Tecla Scarano as a prostitute/friend of Filumena in Rosalia, and Aldo Puglisi as the loyal servant Alfredo. In the roles of Filumena’s three sons, Vito Moricone as Riccardo, Generoso Cortini as Michele, and Gianni Ridolfi as Umberto are superb in their roles as three young men who each have something to offer as they all display traits that would confuse Don Soriano. Marilu’ Tolo is wonderful as Diana as Don Soriano’s fiancée who has no clue on what is going on as she also suspects about Don Soriano’s sudden odd behavior late in the film.

Finally, there’s the duo of Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren in phenomenal performances in their respective roles as Don Domenico Soriano and Filumena Marturano. Mastroianni has this air of charm that he exudes throughout the film while his comedic timing is a joy to watch in the way he reacts to things where all of the cool factor that he’s known for is thrown out of the window. Loren has this air of grace that is prevalent throughout the film while also being playful in the way she displays her sex appeal as someone that wants to have a simple life but also what is best for her sons. Mastroianni and Loren do provide this great sense of rapport and comedic timing with each other as they are a major highlight of the film.

Matrimonio all’italiana is a sensational film from Vittorio De Sica that features incredible performances from Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. Along with its gorgeous visuals, sumptuous score, and the mixture of comedy and melodrama, it’s a film that is an offbeat film that offers so much but also has a lot of heart and characters that are a joy to watch. In the end, Matrimonio all’italiana is a spectacular film from Vittorio De Sica.

Vittorio De Sica Films: (Rose scarlatte) - (Maddalena, zero in condotta) - (Teresa Venerdi) - (Un garibaldino al convento) - (The Children Are Watching Us) - (La porta del cielo) - (Shoeshine) - (Heart and Soul (1948 film)) - Bicycle Thieves - Miracle in MilanUmberto D. - (It Happened in the Park) - (Terminal Station) - (The Gold of Naples) - (The Roof) - (Anna of Brooklyn) - Two Women (1960 film) - (The Last Judgment) - (Boccaccio ‘70) - (The Condemned of Altona) - (Il Boom) - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow - (Un monde nouveau) - (After the Fox) - (Woman Times Seven) - The Witches (1967 film)- An Evening Like the Others - (A Place for Lovers) - (Sunflowers (1970 film)) - The Garden of the Finzi-Continis - (Lo chiameremo Andrea) - (A Brief Vacation) - (The Voyage)

© thevoid99 2018

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Certain Women

Based on the short stories by Maile Meloy, Certain Women is a collection of three different stories involving women dealing with trials and tribulations in their lives. Written for the screen, directed, and edited by Kelly Reichardt, the film follows the lives of different women set in Montana as they deal with their place in the world as well as what they want. Starring Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Lily Gladstone, James LeGros, Jared Harris, John Getz, Sara Rodier, and Rene Auberjonois. Certain Women is an engrossing yet evocative film from Kelly Reichardt.

Set in small parts of Montana, the film follows the lives of women in three different stories where they deal with something out of ordinary in their day-to-day lives. It all play into this location that is quaint yet it also has something that does feel extraordinary where it revolves around the lives of these three women. Rather than employ a cross-cutting narrative that can be confusing, Kelly Reichardt chose to go for something that is straightforward though its main characters are connected in some way despite rarely interacting with one another. The first story involves a lawyer named Laura Wells (Laura Dern) who is dealing with a client who has become disabled due to what happened at work. It would lead to a moment where he would hold a security guard hostage forcing her to deal with the situation and help him find some justice.

The second story revolves around a couple who want to build their dream home as they’ve set up camp at the site of the house as they want to buy stones from an old man. Yet, Gina Lewis (Michelle Williams) is also dealing with tension with her teenage daughter over the home she wants to build. The third story involves a lonely ranch hand named Jamie (Lily Gladstone) living outside of the small town where the characters live at as she unknowingly attends night school for a class on law where she falls for its young teacher in Beth Travis (Kristen Stewart). For Jamie, this sudden attraction has her wanting to break away from the monotonous life where she tries to find ways to woo Beth as they would go to a diner though Beth has to travel four hours from her town to go and teach in the smaller town and then drive four hours back. It all play into these events that the women had to endure as well as deal with something that can impact their lives.

Reichardt’s direction is actually very simple where doesn’t go into any kind of visual style nor does the film contain a lot of close-ups to emphasize more on the characters and their surroundings. Shot on location in the state of Montana with the town of Livingston being where much of the film is shot as well as other locations in the state. Reichardt would shoot the film during the winter period where it feels true for the location while she would use a lot of wide shots to play into this world that is sort of isolated from much of America in terms of its big cities and high-octane culture for something simpler. Reichardt’s approach to medium shots has more to do with the way characters interact with each other in situations or in how they deal with the typical aspects of their day-to-day life. Also serving as the film’s editor, Reichardt would emphasize a lot on long shots though knows when not to cut as she would infuse some jump-cuts for parts of the film as well as bits of suspense for the story involving Laura and her client. Reichardt would also maintain a sense of low-key melodrama for Gina’s story in her interaction with the old man while the story about Jamie and Beth is more light-hearted but also with a sense of restraint as the film would end with realistic conclusions for these characters who are all dealing with a sense of loneliness in their stark surrounding. Overall, Reichardt creates a riveting yet intoxicating about the extraordinary lives of women in Montana.

Cinematographer Christopher Blauvet does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography as it is largely natural and low-key to play into the realistic yet gorgeous look of the daytime exteriors set in the winter to some low-key lighting for some of the scenes at night. Production designer Anthony Gasparro, with set decorator Pamela Day and art director Kat Ulmansiek, does fantastic work with the look of the tent Gina lives in as well as the classroom where Beth teaches. Costume designer April Napier does nice work with the costumes as it is largely casual since it is set in the winter with its big coats, sweaters, and winter boots. Sound designer Kent Sparling does superb work with the sound as it is largely low-key to play into the locations that the characters are in as well as the scenes that play into the drama and suspense. The film’s music by Jeff Grace is wonderful as it’s largely low-key as it only appears sparingly in its mixture of folk and ambient music setting.

The casting by Mark Bennett and Gayle Keller is great as it feature some notable small roles from John Getz as the local sheriff in Livingston, Sara Rodier as Gina and Ryan’s teenage daughter Guthrie who doesn’t like her mother, James LeGros as Gina’s husband Ryan who is trying to keep the peace between mother and daughter, and Rene Auberjonois as the old man Albert whom Gina wants to buy some stones from in the hopes to build her dream house. Jared Harris is superb as Fuller as Laura’s client who is dealing with an injury that has kept him from working as he tries to get some money for the injury that happened to him where he becomes very desperate. Lily Gladstone is excellent as Jamie as a ranch hand who deals with her lonely and monotonous existence where she stumbles into a night school class where she befriends and falls for a lawyer teaching the class about the ideas of the law.

Kristen Stewart is fantastic as Beth as a lawyer who takes the teaching job four hours from where she lives as she copes with her own lonely existence and lack of stability where she finds a friend in Jamie whom she’s intrigued by. Michelle Williams is amazing as Gina as a woman that is eager to build her dream home as she also deals with the sense of disconnect with her daughter as well as some of the immorality she takes part in getting what she wants for her home unaware of Albert’s emotional attachment to the stones. Finally, there’s Laura Dern in a brilliant performance as Laura Wells as a lawyer who is trying to help her disabled client Fuller as well as deal with her own life that doesn’t have much excitement where a crisis would give her that bit of excitement.

Certain Women is a phenomenal film from Kelly Reichardt. Featuring a great cast, compelling stories on loneliness and the need to connect in a rural existence, gorgeous visuals, and a minimalist approach to its storytelling. It’s a film that explores a world that simple yet with characters that want more as they contend with their surroundings and need to either get out or make something of it. In the end, Certain Women is a sensational film from Kelly Reichardt.

Kelly Reichardt Films: River of GrassOld Joy - Wendy and Lucy - Meek's Cutoff - Night Moves (2013 film)First Cow - Showing Up - The Auteurs #72: Kelly Reichardt

© thevoid99 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 Blind Spot Series: Swept Away... by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August

Written and directed by Lina Wertmuller, Travolti da un destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto (Swept Away… by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August) is the story of a wealthy woman who vacations on a yacht with friends where she finds herself stranded on an island with one of the boat’s crew members as they deal with each other and their own social classes. The film is a study of two people from different ideas and environment who are stranded on a deserted island where they both are forced to deal with each other. Starring Mariangela Melato, Giancarlo Giannini, Riccardo Salvino, Isa Danieli, and Aldo Puglisi. Travolti da un destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto is a ravishing yet provocative film from Lina Wertmuller.

The film follows two different people from two different social and political backgrounds who meet on a yacht as they’re later stranded on a deserted island where they switch ideals in some ways as it leads to tension and later romance. While it’s a film with a simple premise, it is filled with a lot of complexities in its relation to gender and social politics where a man and a woman are the center of this battle of sorts as writer/director Lina Wertmuller explores two people in a situation with a lot of uncertainty and how they would react to their situation. The film’s first act is set partially on this yacht where the wealthy capitalist Raffaella Pavone Lanzetti (Mariangela Melato) is arguing with her husband Signor (Riccardo Salvino) about the virtues of their class with the yacht crew member Gennarino Carunchio (Giancarlo Giannini) listening as he is a communist that despises the rich and is only working because he needs the money. Yet, he has to cope with Raffaella who wants to go to an island despite Gennarino’s warning about the weather where they’re stranded on a lifeboat with a motor that isn’t working.

The second act is set on this deserted island where Gennarino has all of the power as he can get fish, make a fire, and do all sorts of things while Raffaella struggles to deal with the new environment she’s in. She has a hard time getting food and such where the tables are turned with Gennarino living comfortably where he has Raffaella doing things just to teach her a lesson about the way she treats him back at the yacht. Eventually, Raffaella starts to act out leading to all of this tension where they fight but also deal with the idea that they’re attracted to each other. This attraction is unique where it play into these desires that had been holding them back but there is also this possibility that they could be rescued and returned to their life before.

Wertmuller’s direction is definitely intoxicating for its setting as it is shot largely in the Mediterranean Sea near Italy with the deserted island shot near the town of Tortoli in the Sardinia section of the country. While Wertmuller would use a lot of wide shots to capture the scope of the locations as well as the sea, she would also use it to play into the distance of ideologies between Gennarino and Raffaella. Even in shots where Raffaella would look at Gennarino at the island getting food and such while she looks on with despair and desperation. It adds to Wertmuller’s approach in her humorous take where she would favor Gennarino for much of the film’s first half but it would then shift in favor of Raffaella who laments over the drawbacks of her own lifestyle as she and Gennarino would argue over their ideals. Wertmuller would use medium shots and close-ups to capture the conversations as well as the intimacy for the scenes on the yacht including its interiors to play into Raffaella’s dominance in the conversations as well as finding ways to complain about the cooking or how warm the wine is. Wertmuller would use those same ideas of compositions for the scenes in the island but with more camera movements.

The film would also have some questionable moments as it relates to the growing attraction between Gennarino and Raffaella towards the film’s third act where the former would try to rape the latter after having to endure too many insults from her. Yet, it would become more baffling when Raffaella seems to enjoy playing the submissive in this relationship that starts off as one-sided but it would create this balance where the two find some middle ground in their ideals as well as their fondness for one another. Still, Wertmuller is concerned about the effect of the idea of a man and woman stuck on an island as its aftermath would create an interesting dynamic. Especially by that idea of having to return to their old life but also the conflict of going back to the island to continue the new life they had which was filled with little complications and the ideas of modern society. Overall, Wertmuller creates an engaging and evocative film about a man and woman from different social classes and political ideals stuck on a deserted island.

Cinematographer Ennio Guarieri does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography in the way it captures the beauty of the locations while emphasizing on realistic and natural lighting for the scenes in the small port towns as well as the scenes on the island. Editor Franco Fraticelli does excellent work in the editing with its approach to jump-cuts and other rhythmic cuts to play into the film’s humor and some of its dramatic moments. Art director/costume designer Enrico Job does fantastic work with the clothes that Gennarino and Raffaella wear to play into their social background as well as the look of the boat and the shack that Gennarino finds on the island. Sound mixer Mario Bramonti does terrific work with the sound as it play into the locations as well as the conversations that are heard on the boat as well as where Gennarino and Raffaella are in parts of the island when they’re far apart. The film’s music by Piero Piccioni is incredible for its mixture of jazz pieces with elements of somber classical music and operatic-like pieces as well as some pop ballads to play into the drama and romance.

The film’s marvelous cast feature some notable small roles from Aldo Puglisi as a friend of Gennarino on the ship, Eros Pagni as a yacht crewmember in Pippe, Isa Danieli as Gennarino’s wife Anna, and Riccardo Salvino as Raffaella’s cuckold husband Signor who constantly argues with her and often loses those arguments. Finally, there’s the phenomenal duo of Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato in great performances in their respective roles as Gennarino Carunchio and Raffaella Pavone Lanzetti. Giannini brings a fiery energy as a man that is intent on defending his views as well as trying to instill his own power on the island as well as display some vulnerability when he falls for Raffaella. Melato has this air of charm to display the bitchiness of her character as she is arrogant and insulting where it is a joy to watch. Giannini and Melato have this amazing rapport between each other where they want to kill each other at times but also want to fuck each other as they are a big highlight of the film.

Travolti da un destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto is a tremendous film from Lina Wertmuller that features spectacular performances from Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato. Along with its gorgeous visuals, an intoxicating score, and powerful themes on social, sexual, and gender politics set in a deserted island. It’s a film that is quite confrontational in the way it deals with a lot of ideas but it’s also this unconventional romantic comedy of sorts that is willing to ask big questions about the roles of men and women and their social environments. In the end, Travolti da un destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto is a sensational film from Lina Wertmuller.

Lina Wertmuller Films: (The Lizards) - (Let’s Talk About Men) - (Rita the Mosquito) - (Don’t Sting the Mosquito) - (The Belle Starr Story) - The Seduction of Mimi - Love and Anarchy - (All Screwed Up) – Seven Beauties - (A Night Full of Rain) - (Blood Feud) - (A Joke of Destiny) - (Softly, Softly) - (Camorra (A Story of Streets, Women and Crime) - (Summer Night) - (As Long as It’s Love) - (The Tenth One in Hiding) - (Ciao, Professore!) - (The Nymph) - (The Blue Collar Worker and the Hairdresser in a Whirl of Sex and Politics) - (Ferdinando and Carolina) - (Too Much Romance…It’s Time for Stuffed Peppers)

© thevoid99 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

I, Tonya

Directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers, I, Tonya is the story of the figure skater Tonya Harding and the notoriety she gained when she had supposedly planned the attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994 before its Winter Olympics. The film is an unconventional bio-pic of sorts that explores Harding’s troubled life as well as her tumultuous relationship with her mother and husband as Margot Robbie plays Harding. Also starring Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Bobby Cannavale, and Allison Janney. I, Tonya is a witty and entertaining film from Craig Gillespie.

In 1994, the world of figure skating went upside down when figure skater Nancy Kerrigan had been attacked just a month before the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, Norway was to happen. News then emerged that a rival skater in Tonya Harding was involved in the attack because of her ex-husband who conspired with a friend to hire two men to put a hit on her yet Harding would deny her involvement that unfortunately lead to the end of her figure skating career. The film is about Harding as it’s told in a documentary-style of sorts set nearly 20 years after the incident where Harding, her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), former coach Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson) and her mother LaVona Golden (Allison Janney) give their take on what happened and about Harding from her desire to be a figure skating champion to later becoming a woman of great notoriety.

Steven Rogers’ screenplay takes a back-and-forth narrative of various characters reflecting on the events in Harding’s life including Harding herself as well as moments that played into the many different versions of the truth. Notably in a moment where Harding and Gillooly have their marital problems where Harding tries to shoot Gillooly with a shotgun but Harding said “that didn’t happen” to the camera yet Gillooly disputes that. Yet, the story is all about Tonya as she was someone who had to endure the physical and verbal abuse of her mother as a child and later as a teen and an adult while having to create her costumes herself with the little money she makes as an adult. For all of her skills and being the first American skater to complete the triple axel that would give her a victory at Nationals in 1991. Many in the world of figure skating feel that she doesn’t have the look nor the typical background that she needs to be the poster girl for figure skating which is something she would battle during the course of the film. Even as she would have to endure the scrutiny she would receive in her supposed involvement over the Kerrigan attack.

Craig Gillespie’s direction does bear elements of style yet much of the compositions are straightforward in its mixture of documentary and dramatic recreation. Shot on various locations in and around Atlanta, GA as well as parts of Macon, GA as Portland and bits of Detroit, Gillespie captures a period in time before the era of 24-hours news and rampant media coverage that was to become prevalent during the 1990s. While there are some wide shots of the location including some of the skating scenes that are shown to get a scope of how big figure skating was in the early 1990s. Much of Gillespie’s direction rely on close-ups and medium shots to play into the dramatic events in Harding’s life with elements of dark humor as it relate to these moments where the fourth wall is broken. While much of the film is shot in a 2:39:1 aspect ratio, the documentary interviews are shot in the 1:33:1 full-frame aspect ratio as it play into the characters that include a TV producer in Martin Maddox (Bobby Cannavale) talking about the Kerrigan attack.

It all play into the events and versions of what had happened with Harding knowing that her story and her denials over what happened won’t be heard by anyone. There is some truth to what she would say as it adds to the notoriety that she’s unfortunately gained as it relates to what the public wants and what figure skating wants. At the end of the day, all Harding wanted to do was skate as there is an element of heartbreak as it relates to Harding’s fate but there is that comfort to the fact that amidst all of the abuse from her mother and her ex-husband and all of the bullshit that she had to endured. All she wanted was to be loved as there was that brief moment where America did love her. Overall, Gillespie creates a compelling yet exhilarating film about a figure skater and the notoriety she gained over the assault of rival competitor.

Cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis does excellent work with the film’s cinematography from the usage of low-key lighting for some of the scenes at night including the fantasy of Harding killing Kerrigan as well the usage of grainy film stock and video for some of the documentary footage. Editor Tatiana S. Riegel does brilliant work with the editing as it play into some of the film’s humor with its rhythmic cuts as well as some montage-style editing for some of the training sequences. Production designer Jade Healy, with set decorator Adam Willis and art director Andi Crumbley, does fantastic work with the look of the interiors of the homes Harding had lived in as well as the look of the skating rink where Harding learned her craft. Costume designer Jennifer Johnson does nice work with the costumes as it play into the period of the late 80s/early 90s as well as the dresses that figure skaters had to wear for competition.

Hair designer Adruitha Lee and prosthetic designer Vincent Van Dyke do terrific work with the look of the characters from the hairstyles Harding had as a teenager and as an adult as well as the look of LaVona. Special effects supervisors John S. Baker and Jeffrey D. Woodrel, with visual effects supervisor Jean-Marc Demmer, do amazing work with some of the visual effects in not just elements of set-dressing but also in the skating scenes for some of the big jumps that Harding makes. Sound editor Dave Paterson does superb work with the sound as it play into the atmosphere of the skating performances as well as some of the domestic chaos that Harding endures. The film’s music by Peter Nashel is wonderful for orchestral bombast as well as some somber pieces to play into the drama while music supervisors Susan Jacobs and Jen Moss create a killer soundtrack that features a lot of the music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s from acts/artists like Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top, Supertramp, En Vogue, Heart, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Dire Straits, Cliff Richard, Christopher Stills, Violent Femmes, Chicago, Bad Company, Laura Branigan, Mark Batson, and Doris Day with the Paul Weston Orchestra.

The casting by Lindsay Graham and Mary Vernieu is great as it feature some notable small roles from Dan Triandiflou as Diane’s lawyer husband Bob Rawlinson, Bojana Novakovic as one of Harding’s coaches during her early 90s time, Ricky Russert as the dim-witted hitman Shane Stant who would hit Kerrigan, Anthony Reynolds as the driver for Stant in Derrick Smith, Caitlin Carver as Nancy Kerrigan, and McKenna Grace as the young Tonya who loves to skate but still deals with the abuse of her mother. Paul Walter Hauser is superb as Gillooly’s idiot friend Shawn Eckhardt who does speak in interviews dated in the late 90s as someone who claims to do all of this shit involving espionage and such yet is a total moron as he thinks he does all of these things but ends up making things much worse.

Julianne Nicholson is fantastic as Diane Rawlinson as Harding’s coach from childhood till the late 80s early in her professional career who is aware of Harding’s gift and passion for skating as she would return for the 1994 Olympics to make sure things go right for her. Bobby Cannavale is excellent as Martin Maddox as former TV producer for the 90s tabloid show Hard Copy who talks about the whole Kerrigan incident as well as display that sleaziness that was emerging in the media that he admits to being a part of. Sebastian Stan is brilliant as Jeff Gillooly as Harding’s husband whom she falls for while in her teens as someone that is fascinated by Harding but is also frustrated by her leading to him beating her up at times where Stan brings a complexity to someone who is a screw-up but also a well-meaning person who loves Tonya but also despises her.

Allison Janney is phenomenal as Tonya’s mother LaVona as a woman that is also quite complex despite the fact that she’s a very awful person and a terrible mother. Yet, Janney’s performance is filled with a lot of dark humor as she is seen in interviews wearing an IV while smoking a cigarette, drinking alcohol, and having a parrot on her shoulder as there’s something about her that is just filled with cynicism as a way to drive her daughter to greatness but it comes with a fault as it’s really Janney in one of her best roles to date. Finally, there’s Margot Robbie in a spectacular performance as Tonya Harding in the way she brings in this sense of childlike desire to be loved but also someone with a real chip on her shoulder. Robbie has this sense of energy in the way she deals with her life but also a humility into someone that knows she doesn’t have much to offer as her only real escape from reality is on the skating rink. With the help of choreographer Sarah Kawahara and skating doubles Heidi Munger and Anna Malkova for the wide shots in the skating scenes. Robbie would showcase that energy and determination of a woman just wanting to be the best only to be blindsided by what her husband did as there is a sadness that Robbie displays as someone who just wanted to skate but also this sense of contentment into a woman that at least knew she was the best for a while as it is a crowning achievement for Robbie.

I, Tonya is a sensational film from Craig Gillespie that features top-notch performances from Margot Robbie and Allison Janney. It’s a film that doesn’t play by the rules of the ideas of the bio-pic while displaying some ideas of what could be true and what could be false in this story that was part of something strange and surreal during that period of sensationalized media of the 1990s. It’s also a film that explores the life of a young woman who was part of that culture for all of the wrong reasons as it’s that part of notoriety that will be around her for all of her life. In the end, I, Tonya is a phenomenal film from Craig Gillespie.

Craig Gillespie Films: (Mr. Woodcock) – Lars and the Real Girl - (Fright Night (2011 film)) – (Million Dollar Arm) – (The Finest Hours) - I, Tonya

© thevoid99 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Phantom Thread

Written, directed, and shot by Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread is the story of a fashion designer who finds his muse in his need to design clothes for women during period of couture in 1950s London. The film is an exploration into the world of fashion and a man’s desire to create the perfect clothing for women as well as dealing with the women in his life who want what is best for him. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, and Lesley Manville. Phantom Thread is a ravishing and evocative film from Paul Thomas Anderson.

The film follows a fashion designer who creates clothes for some of richest and most powerful women in London during the 1950s as he finds a muse in a waitress from the British countryside as he has her modeling clothes for her as well as have help create these dresses. Along the way, the character of Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) deals with his need to create the perfect dresses with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) looking over the business and ensuring everything goes well. Even as they deal with the new presence in their house in Alma (Vicky Krieps) who would work sewing these dresses as well as be a model. Yet, Alma wants to do more not knowing about Woodcock’s routines as it’s something he needs in his time to create. Paul Thomas Anderson’s screenplay doesn’t just explore the obsession and need to create perfection in these dresses but also the need to feel appreciated for his work as he often works for some of the most important women in Europe.

While much of the film’s narrative is told from Alma’s perspective as she tells the story of how she met Woodcock one day when he goes to the country. It also establishes the world that Woodcock lives in as he spends much of his time during breakfast sketching ideas for dresses with Cyril sitting by silently knowing not to make any noise during that time. It’s something Alma would eventually understand as she would also realize she isn’t the first person to become a muse for Woodcock as they come and go. Her simple beauty and naiveté is what would attract Woodcock to her as he takes her to his country home after dinner to have her try on a dress with Cyril making notes of her measurements. She wouldn’t just be a muse/seamstress for Woodcock while working with other seamstresses but also someone who appreciates what he does when a dress he makes for one of his rich clients is treated with disrespect that angers Woodcock.

While much of the film’s narrative is straightforward, it’s Anderson’s study of the characters that are unique where he establishes them as who they are and the role they play into this very demanding world of high fashion. Woodcock is the artist who takes his time trying to create these gorgeous dresses as he would spend days to weeks trying to figure out the right material and measurements. Cyril’s role is in the business as well as making sure everything is in place where her brother isn’t distracted though she has to remind him of the people he’s working for as they pay for the house they live in. Though Cyril is a bit wary of Alma’s presence, she is welcoming to it to ensure that her brother can get ideas but warns Alma of disrupting routines and to not create any kind of chaos that could be surprising. Alma is someone who does follow the beat of her own drum as she wants to be more than just a collaborator to Woodcock. Yet, she would become frustrated as it would occur late in the second act through a simple act as it would play with Woodcock’s own state of mind and later his own emotions that would come to play in the film’s third act.

Anderson’s direction does bear elements of style in terms of the compositions he creates but also display an air of simplicity in the way he presents this very posh world of couture fashion. Shot largely on location in London and various parts of Great Britain along with bits of Switzerland, Anderson would display this world with a meticulous approach to his close-ups in how dresses are sewn as well as the great attention to detail in the measurements as well as the type of fabric that is needed. While there are also some wide shots for some of the film’s locations and a few of the dramatic scenes in the film. Much of Anderson’s direction emphasizes on close-ups and medium shots to play into the interaction with the characters as well as these elements of precise movements of how people come into the Woodcock house. Even as Anderson establishes the importance of Woodcock’s routine from the moment he gets out of bed, the clothes he decides to wear for the day, doing his sketches during breakfast, and working with his seamstresses on the dresses as he treats them quite fairly.

Also serving as the film’s cinematography, Anderson would try to capture every bit of detail into the look of the film including the way dresses are presented under natural lighting as the photography kind of harkens back to the days of Technicolor of the late 1940s/early 1950s. For the scenes in the countryside, it is presented in a much more different light where Anderson goes for something that is more natural as it would emphasize the growing tension between Woodcock and Alma. Notably in the third act where despite their fondness for each other, their differences in age and social backgrounds would come into play such as a New Year’s Eve party sequence is where Alma fits totally right in with Woodcock feeling out of sorts. Anderson’s usage of wide shots and tracking camera shots play into Woodcock’s own confusion that would eventually force him to contend with changing times that would emerge in fashion during the 1950s. Still, Anderson focuses on the relationship between the creator and his muse and the role they play for each other with Alma playing a role that is bigger than she realized. Overall, Anderson crafts an intoxicating and rapturous film about the mind of a fashion designer and the muse who inspires him.

Editor Dylan Tichenor does brilliant work with the editing as it display elements of style in its approach to jump-cuts and dissolves while knowing when not to cut during some of the film’s dramatic moments that includes some tense scenes in the third act. Production designer Mark Tildesley, with set decorator Veronique Melery and supervising art director Denis Schnegg, does amazing work with the look of the Woodcock home in London as well as the house in the country and some of the places he, Alma, and Cyril go to. Costume designer Mark Bridges does incredible work with the costumes from the look of Woodcock’s suits and clothes that he wears to the gorgeous dresses that he creates as it looks and breathes color where they act as characters of their own as it’s a major highlight of the film. Makeup designer Paul Engelen does fantastic work with much of the film’s minimal makeup that play into the style that women wore during the 1950s.

Special effects supervisor Chris Reynolds and visual effects supervisor Marc Massicotte do terrific work with a few of the film’s visual effects as it mainly consists of set-dressing for a few of the film’s locations. Sound designer Christopher Scarabosio and sound editor Matthew Wood do excellent work with the sound from the sparse approach to how objects sound during breakfast which would annoy Woodcock to some of the quieter moments in the film. The film’s music by Jonny Greenwood is phenomenal for its rich orchestral score with elements of lush string and piano pieces in the film that add to the elegance of the times while the music would include some classical pieces as well as some of the pop standards of the time before the arrival of rock n’ roll.

The casting by Cassandra Kulukundis is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles from Camilla Rutherford as Woodcock’s muse early in the film, Lujza Richter as the Belgium royal Princess Mona Braganza, Gina McKee as one of the Woodcock’s rich clients in Countess Henrietta Harding, Silas Carson as a rich man in Rubio Guerrero, Harriet Sansom Harris as a rich woman that is marrying Guerrero only to take poor care of the dress that Woodcock created, Emma Clandon as the picture of Woodcock’s mother, and Brian Gleeson as Dr. Robert Hardy as a young doctor who comes in to look over Woodcock as he befriends Alma. Lesley Manville is remarkable as Cyril as Woodcock’s sister and business manager who runs everything as well as ensuring that her brother’s routine keeps on going while being sympathetic to Alma’s needs in wanting to loosen things in his life.

Vicky Krieps is radiant as Alma as a young waitress who becomes Woodcock’s new muse/collaborator as she helps run bits of the household and does what she needs to be done as it’s a performance that has this mixture of naiveté and curiosity of a simple woman in a world that she’s new to but understands her role but wants to do more. Finally, there’s Daniel Day-Lewis in a tremendous performance as Reynolds Woodcock as this fashion designer that is intent on creating the best dresses for some of the most important women in the world. It’s a performance that has Day-Lewis provide bits of humor into his performance but also this air of obsession to achieve perfection with great care as well as displaying something has him be aloof in small moments. Day-Lewis would display amazing chemistry with Krieps and Manville in the way he deals with them while also showing vulnerability in the scene where Woodcock talks to Alma about his mother and her wedding dress which is something he cares so much about. If this performance is to be the last performance that he ever does. At least he is going on top.

Phantom Thread is a spectacular film from Paul Thomas Anderson that features great performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, and Lesley Manville. Along with its gorgeous visuals, breathtaking costumes, intricate sound design, and Jonny Greenwood’s sumptuous score. It’s a film that explores a world that is unique in its time and a man’s willingness to create something special with the help of a young woman from another world. In the end, Phantom Thread is a magnificent film from Paul Thomas Anderson.

P.T. Anderson Films: Hard Eight/Sydney - Boogie Nights - Magnolia - Punch-Drunk Love - There Will Be Blood - The Master - Inherent Vice - Junun - Licorice Pizza

Related: The Short Films & Videos of P.T. Anderson - The Auteurs #15: Paul Thomas Anderson

© thevoid99 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018

More (1969 film)

Directed by Barbet Schroeder and screenplay by Schroeder and Paul Gegauff from a story by Schroeder, More is the story of a German boy and American girl who meet in Paris as they go on a trip to Ibiza to explore the world of the drug culture of the 1960s. The film is a look into youth culture of the late 1960s at a time where drugs and the idea of free love where the rage with two people caught up in this world. Starring Mimsy Farmer and Klaus Grunberg. More is a mesmerizing though flawed film from Barbet Schroeder.

The film follows a German student who hitchhikes to Paris where he meets an American girl and falls for her where he later follows her to the Spanish island of Ibiza where they engage in sex and drugs. That is pretty much the premise of the film provided by Barbet Schroeder and Paul Gegauff with dialogue co-written by Mimsy Farmer, Eugene Archer, and Paul Gardner as it doesn’t really do much to flesh out the premise even more. Especially as it explore the highs and lows of the 1960s counterculture with much of the latter is prevalent for the film’s second half. The character of Stefan (Klaus Grunberg) is a student that is interested in adventure and smoking dope but not wanting to do hard drugs. When he meets Estelle (Mimsy Farmer) as she is a woman that is the party as she goes to Ibiza to live in a villa with Stefan though she is connected to a former Nazi named Dr. Wolf (Heinz Engelmann) whom she has a relationship with.

Schroeder’s direction is definitely stylish as it is shot on location in Paris and Ibiza as owes a lot to many of the visual aesthetics of the French New Wave with its usage of hand-held cameras. The usage of close-ups and medium shots would play into the interaction of the characters while there are also some wide shots to showcase the scope of the locations including many of the rocky beaches of Ibiza. Notably as those scenes on the beaches showcase Stefan and Estelle engage in nude sunbathing near their villa where they spend time having sex, cooking, or doing drugs as it would later devolve into hard drugs such as heroin. The third act is where things become grimy with Stefan getting a taste of the drug as he becomes addicted where the film definitely changes it tone into something darker as it relates to what was happening in the 1960s. Much of the film is told from Stefan’s perspective until the third act as it is told from the perspective of his friend Charlie (Michel Chanderli) who warned Stefan about Estelle and her dependency on drugs. Overall, Schroeder crafts a visually-entrancing but underwhelming film about two lovers embarking on the many ideas of the late 1960s.

Cinematographer Nestor Almendros does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography from the usage of natural lighting for many of the film’s daytime exterior scenes in Ibiza as well as its more low-key look for the scenes in Paris as well as the usage of available and natural lighting for some of the scenes at night. Editors Denise de Casabianca and Rita Roland do nice work with the editing as it has elements of jump-cuts to play into some of the drug trips as well as some of the livelier moments in the film. Art directors Nestor Almendros and Fran Lewis do fantastic work with the look of the villa as well as a bar that Stefan works at including some of the places he goes to in Paris. The sound work of Jack Jullian and Robert Pouret is terrific for its natural approach to the sound in the way the cafes and some of the bars that the characters go to including how music sounds at a party. The film’s music by Pink Floyd as it is one of the film’s highlights for its mixture of psychedelic rock, space-rock, blues, tribal music, and other kinds of experimental music as it include a few instrumentals in the mix as it is one of the band’s more overlooked recordings during their early years in the late 1960s.

The film’s superb cast include some notable small roles from Georges Montant as a drug dealer, Louise Wink as a friend of Estelle in Cathy, famed photography Henry Wolf as himself in a cameo in Paris, Michel Chanderli as Stefan’s Parisian friend Charlie who is a thief as he knows Estelle and isn’t fond of her, and Heinz Engelmann as Dr. Ernesto Wolf as a former Nazi living in Ibiza who has a relationship with Estelle as he is also a part-time dealer. Finally, there’s the duo of Mimsy Farmer and Klaus Grunberg in stellar performances in their respective roles as Estelle and Stefan with Farmer being this vivacious woman who is also very destructive in her drug use while Grunberg is more restrained as he becomes concerned only to be consumed by the world of drugs.

More is a solid though flawed film from Barbet Schroeder. Despite its gorgeous visuals by Nestor Almendros, a riveting soundtrack by Pink Floyd, and some whimsical moments in the film. It’s a film that lacks a strong story to really support its visuals and ideas while it often acts as a product of its time. In the end, More is a terrific film from Barbet Schroeder.

Barbet Schroeder Films: (La Vallee) – (General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait) – (Maitresse) – (Koko: A Talking Gorilla) – (Tricheurs) – (The Charles Bukowski Tapes) – (Barfly) – (Reversal of Fortune) – (Single White Female) – (Kiss of Death) – (Before and After) – (Desperate Measures) – (Our Lady of the Assassins) – (Murder by Numbers) – (Terror’s Advocate) – (Inju: The Beast in the Shadow) – (Amnesia)

© thevoid99 2018