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Montreal coming of age piece.
Boucher, as director Trogi at 17, narrates this autobiographical account of leaving high school, losing it and trying to avoid awful career choices like those his dad made.
Opens with him berating the suits on the human resources committee, where he is the voice of youth, about their strategy but we lose track of that.
His family (Italian immigrant, garage booze making, accordion player dad, weight loss freak mum and reclusive sister) are more stressful than the friends he starts a petty crime wave with. Events conspire to break up his relationship with his prom date, who is about to put out and get him thrown in the slammer but things end appealingly.
We've seen most of this before (American Pie, American Graffiti etc.) but this occasionally has a harder edge (Boucher expressing his contempt for his dad's life) and it's delivered with some charm and conviction. Professional finished.
The Marionette Mystery (1950)
The short films of the movies' greatest designer, William Cameron Menzies are miserably under documented. Yes, he wanted to direct and his two reelers made for Post Productions gave him a chance.
This is probably the least of them. His TERRIBLY STRANGE BED would have to be at the top of that list.
The current film is a murder mystery with a silhouette presentation as the climax and only element of interest.
A cast of half familiar players go through their paces in a slackly filmed and slow paced production.
That's enough comment.
Fûun jôshi (1928)
Outstanding Japanese Silent
Of the surviving Japanese silent films, this superior costume drama is among the most accomplished. It involves some of the personnel of PAGE OF MADNESS but is realised on a large scale and it has the star of GATE OF HELL here at his peak.
The plot resembles that of the later film - warrior unable to have the woman he wants because of her court status - and it anticipates the kung fu films of the seventies in it's choreographed fight scenes, in one of which the hero defeats the squads of proto ninjas, armed only with a flute.
The design and camera are superior. Only the men's make up suggests it's age.
Raja Harishchandra (1913)
Pioneer Indian Feature.
Like most national industries, India has a candidate for the status of first feature film - this 1913 hit, seen as the departure point of Hindi cinema and it's mythological cycle. Both time and culture separate outside viewers from it. Even so, it is disappointing as a piece of film history.
While hunting, King Harishchandra disturbs the sage who is upset, so to atone our hero gives him his kingdom. It looks like this will precipitate a tragic outcome but Shiva intervenes.
Photographer turned filmmaker Phalke took two years to get his first film made. The technique is basic - jump cut disposal of the three women deities that the sage has summoned is as adventurous as it gets.
The mime in the style of regional theater is broad and having boys play the female parts is disturbing now.
Her First Flame (1920)
Early comedy short.
Better than the other surviving Gale Henry vehicle The DETECTRESS.
In the future, men and women have changed roles. Henry runs for Fire Chief, against sturdy rival Allen, who has all the voters going through the door that admits people to her ballot box but Henry wins by stuffing her box in a variety of disguises, including black face.
There's a fire & Henry's all girl brigade is called. The members get there faster by walking than she does repairing the flat tire on the fire wagon. The her loved one is rescued and rival Allen is defeated. Happy end.
The sex inversion premise is mildly interesting. Technique is just adequate. So so Alpha DVD quality.
Dizzy Daisy (1924)
Routine silent comedy.
Formula two reel comedy with Louis Fazenda in comic outfit failing to gain acceptance at Palm Beach, where the fish in her washed out in the tide shoe attracts a seal. Her hard case dad sends her off to apply for a maid's job in a mansion, (pull out bath gag) which turns out to be the headquarters of a gang who abduct a toff to invite his society friends to the reception, where the lights go off and they are robbed. Louise recovers the jewelry starting a horse-car-launch chase with the crooks the toffs and the cops all falling in the water.
Elaborate but not very funny gags.Short on characterisation with the star having little to work with.
Yume to kyôki no ohkoku (2013)
The last days of Studio Ghibli
Detailed observational doco filmed in Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Gibli building. The studio cat gets as much screen time as Takahata working down the road on The TALE of PRINCESS KAGYUA.
The bulk of the footage covers Miyazaki finalizing AS the WIND RISES working in his computer free headquarters, recording voice tracks and music and showing the finished film to his staff.The only person in a suit is the legal rep.
Not an unblemished study, as this is likely to be the last film of both these major figures in animation, the record of their work has an extra, slightly melancholy feeling.
Tom Mix western short.
Amiable enough WW1 era two reeler, with Mix sparking Forde, daughter of rancher Ryan who takes a dim view. The couple plan to run off together but this gets mixed in with robbers getting dad's bank withdrawal.
Dad & Tom take up pursuit "Them galoots have got your money and my girl." The chase has Tom do an awkward transfer between the Buckboards, with him bringing the galoots to a halt at gun point and getting the girl.
OK western imagery. Simple technique, mainly walk in walk out coverage The lead couple emerge engagingly within the unsophisticated limitations of film making of the day.
Surviving copy just about gets by.
Vecchia guardia (1934)
Confronting Italian Thirties movie.
What can you say about a film as well made as anything of it's day and also the most outspoken movie endorsement of the reviled Mussolini (one photo at Fascist H.Q.) government.
In a little Italian town in 1922, we kick off with Church bells against the dawn sky line (cf. Blassetti's La TAVOLA DEI POVERI) and pretty soon we're into the divisions in the town.Right thinking fascists like Dr. Giachetti's family vs. the rather shadowy gangster socialist element Young Brambilla and his brothers band up with the local comic barber,and when the nasty socialists stoning the barber shop injure the kid inside, black shirts, with his big brother Mino Doro prominent, form up in front of it. One of the film's several set piece confrontations.
We get a good view of life in the old town with it's stone arches and stairs, the middle class homes, the Psychiatric hospital staffed by nuns, the chemist's shop, the local land owner treading the grapes and the lecherous school superintendent getting ink spilled on him.
Finally the locals, who fill trucks with "Duce" and "Mussolini" written on the side, join the March on Rome.
Striking camera work.Martelli's career goes from Francesca Berrtini to DOLCE VITA. He takes advantage of the processing, making the figures gathering on the fountain part of it's striking, black silhouette or the candles and lamps adding detail in the blacked out home, as they are lit. Sound editing is less skillful, with the track out lasting picture a couple of times to no effect.
Spaniard takes his video camera to India - and back
This one's an overlong and indulgent video diary feature, in the old near square format.
The generally off-screen narrator tells us about being fired from his TV job and packing off to India, trying to avoid being a Neo Hippy, while he has inner monologue (except it's on the track) about being inhibited by la Oltra, his notion of taste and suitability, and pondering his relationships with a couple of former lady friends.
The use of video is mildly inventive and the glimpses of Madrid, Delhi, Calcutta and the rest, as a back ground for his thought processes, holds attention for a while - but not nearly an hour and a half.