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The Magnificent Tati (2009)
Excellent Short Retrospective
Having owned copies of most of Jacques Tati's films on DVD, I couldn't wait to see this documentary on TV tonight.
This is a film that has treated with great sensitivity the life work of M. Tati rather than the life and times of the protagonist of the piece.
I felt compelled to create this post as I felt that some of 'reviews' on this board appeared (to me anyway) to sell this documentary short.
Comments about this brevity (60 mins), does not mean that it lacked quality and the talking-head interviews conducted were edited well and brought to life the subject's approach to film-making & his unique techniques which may never be emulated by anyone ever.
There was a comment suggesting disappointment over the omission of details about Tati's family (wife, son & daughter, Sophie). Sorry, but we are not expecting a Hollywood celebrity style of bio pic here, but a serious film about one of the most individual and important filmmakers of the 20th Century and his work. Fortunately, the publicly aired bickering by his descendents over which daughter that his un-produced script "The Illusionist" refers to was left out of this documentary. This is best left for another time if and when the issue is ever resolved.
For me, the best interviews were with Mme. Marie-France Siegler, Tati's faithful assistant who provides great insight to how Tati felt after the failure of "Play Time". The other significant interview was with Macha Makeïeff who's work through "Les films de Mon Oncle", has enabled us to view the wonderful restoration of Tati's finest films (not including 'Trafic').
For film lovers of Jacques Tati, this is an excellent and compact documentary, although not perfect and I don't think you will be disappointed.
Ciao et tu, Bruté?
Requiem for Detroit? (2010)
An Apolitical View of the Decline in Western Civilisation as we Once Knew It
A brilliant 'fly on the wall' p.o.v. (point of view) documentary from a relatively neutral and non-intrusive film-maker/narrator, Julien Temple. While set in Detroit and focused on the history of that city, it could be 'anywhere' USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Europe. Detroit is the star because it is a dissertation on the rise and ultimate decline of a city that embraced the lessons learned from the previous British industrial revolution and when on to create and exploit a revolution of their own (Henry Ford's innovative manufacturing techniques such as the 'assembly-line' which became the ultimate template for most manufacturing etc), blinded by past successes when inevitable change came (various oil-crisis since 1973, demand for smaller, cheaper vehicles, needs for better public transportation). This brilliant documentary could be likened to an onion and peeling back the layers reveals changes that may come in the future to any industrialised nation or city, including China or India with their own unique aspirations and ambitions. This is a documentary that may enlighten and open a window of opportunity to learn from lessons we should have learned from in the past. The only thing to prevent that is our own self-interests, greed, lack of respect for the community around us. On a positive side, the documentary ends on a truly apocryphal note. The ultimate irony when what was once prized high-rise and industrialised real estate reverting back to small-plot farming within the precincts of a city that once swallowed them up. A heart-felt note of praise for the positiveness of impoverished and disenfranchised urban dwellers whose attitudes and desire to survive and re-generate their lives by growing small crops on small plots within their communities. A humble lesson for us all if we allow ourselves to open our minds, our eyes and our hearts to what is now happening around us. Whether it will continue to happen will ultimately be the responsibility of us all, both individually and as a community or society that we chose to live in.
Lucky Numbers (2000)
What decent scripts did Hollywood pass over for this melange?
This script film is just plain bad and embarrassing for all concerned. The Director, Nora Ephron, notable for putting out a decent script or two (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seatle et al), surely must have recognised this scrip for the dog it is. I had to wait for the 2nd 30 minutes or so before I could see a laugh coming and when they did they were mediocre at best. However, my optimism was challenged, because by the time the last 30 minutes of the film came to fruition, it looked as though the cast were just keen to see the end of it and so was I. The writer, Adam Resnick, would have been better off developing the plot into a 5 minute skit for "Saturday Night Live", and I am being generous at best here. The end credits should have been all listed as "Alan Smithee" for the production crew. It really had me wondering one thing though.... What decent scripts did Hollywood pass over for this melange to escape the net?
If you enjoyed the film, good for you.
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Viewed movie in cinema Nov-2002
This movie helps explain why Americans keep asking "Why Don't They Like Us"... if you missed the point of the movie, then read Michael Moore's book "Stupid White Men" and then both might explain just how absurd the politics of the war in Irak really was... and the mess they left behind in Afghanistan should have been focused on first before moving on to the next target (Iraq).... I only hope these trigger-happy idiots don't figure they North Kore should be next.
I can't wait for this movie to be released in video / DVD format. It will serve to help me explain to future generations just how badly these situations were managed, despite the objections of ordinary people.
We need more movies of this ilk to point out the "Awful Truth"... (sorry to steal that title Michael)... but we REALLY NEED TO WAKE UP TO OURSELVES and THESE IDIOTS we vote to represent us...don't fall for the "Politics of Fear"... only the war-mongers and gun manufacturers " profit from it.....