Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Week in Review

Well, it's been a busy week for cinema for yours truly. I had a number of invites to previews, plus I committed to seeing a number of films screening at ACMI for La Mirada - Jewels of Spanish Cinema. So I decided to take a couple of days off work, and I've seen more films in one week than I have for at least several years, if ever. The stand-out highlights of the week were The Lives of Others and Au Hasard Balthazar and Aunt Tula.

La Mirada is a compilation of Spanish films: 5 new releases, 5 classics curated by Pedro
Almodóvar, 5 documentaries and 2 sessions of shorts. I'm seeing 4 of the classics and 2 or more of the new releases. For me, film festivals are primarily an opportunity to see films that won't get a commercial release, so though there's lots of new releases at the cinemas that I haven't seen, I'm putting them on the back-burner for now.

I hit pay-dirt at La Mirada today. Miguel Picazo's 1963 debut, Aunt Tula, reportedly Alejandro Amenabar's favourite classic Spanish film, is powerful and significant
. Of particular interest to me was that many of the thematic, narrative and visual devices used in virtually every Almodóvar film can be clearly seen to have been influenced by this vastly superior film (in black and white).

I might be stating the obvious, but I don't have time to review every film I see, so feel free to leave comments in reference to any of the films here.

  • Becoming Jane (Julian Jarrold, 2007)
  • Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
  • Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966)
  • Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964)
  • Scoop (Woody Allen, 2006)
  • Azul Oscuro Casi Negro (Dark Blue Almost Black, Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, 2005)
  • La faute à Fidel (Blame It On Fidel, Julie Gavras, 2006)
  • Je vous trouve tres beau (You Are So Beautiful, Isabelle Mergault, 2005)
  • El Espiritu de la Colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive, Victor Erice, 1972)
  • Salvador (Puig Antich) (Manuel Huerga, 2006)
  • Razzle Dazzle (Darren Ashton, 2007)
  • La Tia Tula (Aunt Tula, Miguel Picazo, 1963)
  • A Spanish Labyrinth: The Films of Pedro Almodovóvar (Mark Allinson, 2001)

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