Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
As it is basically required here's my 1000 favorite films - [URL]http://www.imdb.com/list/PkAV7BgvMJg[/URL]
As a bonus here's my top 110 directors - [URL]http://www.imdb.com/list/uTxeTivyxLE/[/URL]
Sorry for the overuse of decimals. These ratings are copied from my personal archives where I like to have an indicator as of how strong my individual ratings are, but I guess that could be of some use to you as well.
Film Portrait (1972)
Cinema Magic, Contemplation and a Human Life
This sensation could hardly have come more unexpectedly, but from the minute we see our narrator, director, writer, composer and, if you will, lead of this essayesque autobiography stand before a mirror, all in negative, shaving his blue face - I was captivated beyond belief. Already from the first second he contemplates about life and the function of time, all while turning colors on their head and in his sink, via a magical combination of shaving cream, water and distortion of reality - creates patterns representing not only the movement of time - but also also looks pretty damn dope.
Jerome Hill is the perfect narrator, bringing a massive amount of wit - and going to so many different lengths of dissecting the power of time. He hypothesizes his future - all in comic sketches - but then we move away from potential and impossible futures and all the way back to his childhood. It's incredible what emotions he manages to convey, as instills both nostalgia and the true spirit of childhood wonders, recreating his childhood through multiple animation techniques, from cut-outs, to drawing on film, to more traditional animation - to shooting at the presumed locations, recreating some of his pastimes in real life. Pictures and very early home video also plays an extreme part - and together these all form one of the most unique cinematic experiences I have had.
Each effect and image, coupled with Hill's own thoughts, wits and insights invokes an ever-lasting sense of magic and wonder - one line that particularly stands out is: "My father didn't have the skill of a professional cameraman. Result? Avant-garde cinema" - and it was quite true. The off, over-exposed images he shows us are effective in their own right. It's remarkable how much of the flaws in the material he presents us becomes strengths and qualities in the context he presents it. Soon he himself begins to be in charge of the projects he presents - and he shows how youthful experiments with film directly affected his later cinema.
He even shows two full shorts, one his largest experiment as a youth, and the second his first true short, the 12 minute La cartomancienne from 1932 - which blends perfectly in, and really shows the magic he had in his heart. Some of the magic withered as the film started to focus on his career and the level of experiments decreased, but he quickly won it back as his contemplations returned to those of the beginning. A unique experience. A wonderful masterpiece. And what a beautiful note it managed to end on. 10/10.
A deliciously dark game
In this morally black play for money everyone are wearing fake faces, and I must say, though it is based on a book, it's rare plot is so original that you can never guess where it is going. A wealthy businessman is dying of cancer, and his much younger wife in a loveless union is expecting to get everything, but the man reveals that he in fact has 3 illegitimate children - as investigators attempts to find them and plots are being hatched out from all angles tension grows.
Described as a drama this feels much more like a thriller. Some might have a problem with the lack of essentially any "likeable" and "good" characters (in that case this probably isn't for you), but if you seeing the darkest corners of humanity put on display this might even put a smile on your face. Yes, there is a certain level of dark glee in seeing these treacherous characters put on acts, switch on their game faces and play everyone else for a fool - and the game only becomes more and more exciting as each pawn is placed. Made in the middle of Kobayashi's golden stretch it's a shock that such a strong entry is not more acknowledged. 8.5/10.
Perhaps the most effective horror film I've seen
Anguish truly is a unique experience. At one point I had to pause because my heart was beating too fast. It was the very effective visual of people struggling with the same thing on screen, had never thought a film could affect me like this. Almost wanted to throw up in parts, and just because of the sound and bizarre visuals, rather than gore. It's not just a horror movie, it's an experiment into film-within-film with audience members watching a movie at a theater about an insane killer and his mother collecting eyes - with the way it's made disturbing and upsetting many of them - and then the events in the main movie switches to the theater as well - and the claustrophobia and mental states of "the real audience" starts going wild. I can only imagine how insane it would have been watching this in a movie theater as intended. It lost some of it's power when it got more plot driven towards the very end - but it stayed incredible throughout.
Opfer des Hasses (1923)
This Jewish propaganda film from Austria is quite the historic curiosity. Aside from having relatively good intentions this films comes off as as bit of a joke, particularly because the The Jewish Relief Foundation, who sponsored the film got the main character to say the organization saved his grandson's life in the first seen of the film, they also refer to themselves in third person as "the noble benefactors". How full of yourself can you get? And of course at the end they use little children to beg you for money - which might have been my favorite part because at least the kids were cute. The film is reasonably well made, but the plot is just too contrived. One thing I found amusing was that the Jewish wasn't victims of hate because they were Jews but because they were rich factory owners who lost their funds in the Russian revolution. The backstory has the films most emotional moments, but it's primarily done to such a silly and ludicrous manner that it's hard to get particularly worked up. It just fights so hard to be sappy, sentimental and forceful. From an historical perspective it can be seen as a tragic attempt at scoring points with the right wing by denouncing and demonizing communism as much as possible. In the end all it's flaws just kills it.
Natsu jikan no otonatachi (1997)
Nakashima's debut proves that he's far more than utter absurdity and flashy style
Nakashima's debut feature is a simple, charming and welcoming coming of age story. Aside from the always spot-on photography, a certain artistic flair and a slightly comically off atmosphere nothing here suggested that Nakashima would become a master of style, that it's a thoroughly impressive debut obviously marking the beginning of a great artist is on the other hand quite clear.
I particularly loved the Ozu-esque focus and depiction of children and seemingly unimportant school tasks. The children having to redo a certain gymnastic work-out after school until they got it right, focusing on repetition after repetition added both emotion, soul and humor. And yes, this is a charmingly funny film, done in a semi-minimalistic way about a young boy growing up, experiencing his family and school situation, while being a tad too focused on tits. In fact, the first line is "I love big tits".
And though that might rub you the wrong way, it's actually quite cute in it's way. He narrates through his child eyes, and a lot is actually very heart warming, sometimes even poignant. I felt that the flashbacks to his mother as a child and her dealing with her mother's illness was, however well done, a bit of a digression which too a very small degree fit into the rest of the film, but aside from this is was a great experience. I hope more people take the time to check this little film out. It's just 73 minutes. 8/10.
Beautiful Sunday (1998)
Brilliantly stylized surrealistic minimalism at it's best
It's always fascinating to go back through a director's oeuvre and see how much their style has changed. While Nakashima is known for extremely flashy and fast paces stylistic trips, here in his second feature we are met by a contemplative mood and slow progression showing one heck on an absurd Sunday. He truly is a master of stylization, and this is certainly as present as ever, as is the absurd humor, but instead of throwing bright colors in our face this shows a remarkable amount of restraint.
This is almost the kind of film you could have expected from Weerasethakul or Tsai - and for those of you scared off by that I can calm you don't by saying that quite a lot of "action" do occur, including a car chase. We follow the alienated, cold and isolated lives of people living in an apartment complex in Tokyo. The camera is detached, never moving, just observing them. I'd say it's humorous rather than funny. The mood is equally detached, and this, as well as the characters odd personalities and antics is the base of the humor. It's slow pace and eye for details allow for build-ups and amusing observations.
I'm fully aware that this might be too slow for some, so I cannot recommend it to everyone, but if this sounds like your kind of cinema I pretty much know you are in for a treat! Surrealistic minimalism at it's best. It's about time to brush the dust off this tragically overlooked Nakashima and bring it back out into the light, because for the right type of person this will be one wonderful and utterly captivating experience.
Musuko no seishun (1952)
Cute and innocent family comedy that really managed to charm me
Kobayashi's debut is not only the anti-thesis of the films he's most known for - It's warm, bubbling and charmingly innocent - but also an thoroughly impressive first film. Though constantly threading close to the silly this romanticized drama comedy about an average Japanese family and their son who is becoming a man, was just too irresistible. I can easily see why many wouldn't consider it a great work however, and some contrivances were pushing it. It's saving grace here is the consistent style that allows this. Can't see any veteran doing this better, and my, in hindsight, the contrast to his latter work is as if planned. Having yet to discover most of his early films I can't wait to see the rest of his evolution and how he went from this to Black River, that until now was the earliest film I had seen from him. The change could not be greater, the only thing they have in common is his craftsmanship.
Possibly Denis' best film.
*Only slight spoilers*
A sensual and atmospheric coming of age tale set in a small town close to an American army base in 1960s France. It all takes place within 24 hours. Opening early in the morning as two teenage girl hitch-hike their way to school rather than taking the bus. Our lead, Martine, and her friend are adventurous, taking pleasure in tempting the male driver while remaining silent, and simply heads off to school. Later that night they want to go to a party, but they find it too childish, they then head for a more "adult" party where Martine's brother is supposed to be.
Cinematically strong, with great camera work, particularly some wonderful pans accompanied by great music from the time. The way this was used, often going gradually through a landscape or room before finding it's characters were simply beautifully done. It's a simple story, with a slight feel of danger, and it certainly managed to catch the discomfort of being a teenager, particularly in such situations. Denis' restrained style works wonderfully.
The minimalistic touches are used in order to make you feel closer to the leads, to sense aspects of their emotions rather than spelling it out. It's also down to earth and realistic, while remaining that certain poetic sensibility you can find in essentially every Denis film. The performances are strong, particularly Vincent Gallo who plays an American soldier. Loved the uneasy tension in the scenes he was in despite him acting so nice and showing no intentions of wanting to do anything more than what he's doing. I must applaud Denis for all the emotions she managed to pack into this film. You never know exactly what to feel, you never know exactly what the characters want, but you can feel the complexity and their world like you can in few other films.
Öszi almanach (1984)
Tarr on his most intimate
Essentially a series of close, intimate conversations between people living together in a flat. Wonderfully human. The occupants are an elderly woman, her son, the mother's nurse, her boyfriend and a tenant. We see them argue, fight and love. Many fabulous performances. Can't recall the last time I was this drawn into a film.
Very unlike anything I've seen from Tarr. A reminder that the most cinematic of all landscapes is a face. Never leaving the apartment, it's the faces, the dwelling shots of their emotions and the emotional complexity of their relationships that drives this truly marvelous hidden gem. It has a welcoming tone, at least at first, though the atmosphere is cold, and kept getting colder as the situation got less and less pretty. No extensively long takes either, though it remained hypnotic all the same, hell, in my case even more so. I could not take my eyes away. 9.5/10.
Passe ton bac d'abord... (1978)
Quite the surprise
Being one of the more overlooked and forgotten Pialats this took me quite off guard. This seems to be the point where Pialat really changed his style. This is actually quite warm, even though we're still, at least in parts, the objective observer. We follow the lives of a group of young friends in their final year of high school, who drift about, make out, have sex, get married, get low paying jobs, etc.
The first half really felt like a more low down contemporary French version of American Graffity only without the cars. It has quite a bit of charm, and the characters are quite the personalities. Slightly lost it's drive towards the middle, when they went on vacation, and the tension with parents, etc. was rather left behind, but it went strong till the end - though I must admit I was slightly disappointed by the final reveal. Anyhow, pretty spectacular stuff. And very unexpected coming from Pialat. 8.5/10.