Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two Weeks in Review - 12/4/09

It was three months ago today that I had my accident. My physio told me that when a footballer presents with a torn posterior cruciate ligament (the knee injury I received), her response is to expect to be off the field for three months. I'm pretty keen to get back on my bicycle, and hope to ride to work tomorrow.

I didn't post a Week in Review last week, even though I didn't see much. This week has focused on La Mirada, and I'm posting these separately. Here's what I've seen over the last two weeks.

  • The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1940)
  • Erotikon (Mauritz Stiller, Sweden, 1920)
  • Furtivos (The Poachers, José Luis Borau, Spain, 1975)
  • Uncle/Cousin/Brother/Harvey Krumpet (Adam Elliot, Australia, 1996/1998/1999/2003)
  • Mary and Max (Adam Elliot, Australia, 2009)
  • Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy, Kazakhstan/Germany/Poland/Russia/Switzerland, 2008)
  • Bilbao (Bigas Luna, Spain, 1978)
  • La lengua de las mariposas (Butterfly's Tongue, José Luis Cuerda, Spain, 1999)
  • La buena vida (The Good Life, Andrés Wood, Chile/Spain/Argentina/France, 2008)
  • Arrebato (Rapture, Iván Zulueta, Spain, 1980)
  • Surcos (Furrows, José Antonio Nieves Conde, Spain, 1951)
  • La casa de mi padre (Blacklisted, Gorka Merchán, Spain, 2008)
  • La mujer sin cabeza (The Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2008)
  • Mi querida senorita (My Dearest Senorita, Jaime de Armiñán, Spain, 1971)
The Shop Around the Corner
Terrific little gem, a Hollywood classic. The structure of the narrative seems well-suited for the era, but nothing done in recent decades seems to come close. Romantic comedies today seem forced, derivative an manipulative. This one is smart and works so well because of the excellent characters and snappy dialogue. The support cast really embellishes the story.

Quite a number of people walked out during this film, the late film at Melbourne Cinémathèque. I put that down to the time, the medium (silent film) and that it's not one of the really classic examples of the medium. Still, as someone interested in the history of cinema and where we've come from, it was worth staying for. I found some of the takes and dissolves quite well developed for its time. The story was OK, but nothing special.

Uncle/Cousin/Brother/Harvey Krumpet
See my earlier post.

Mary and Max
I think that with Mary and Max, Adam Elliot doesn't quite maintain the momentum of his short films, but that's not to say that the results are anything less than excellent. With each successive endeavour, his work seems to get more and more sophisticated. Yet there's a consistency and continuity. You could almost piece together each of his works and make one mega-film. The visuals, the structure (voice-over narrator), the semi-autobiographical nature (or at least the appearance of it), the quirkiness, the pathos and the humour are all constants in his work. As I've said several times lately, I think this is the most engaging and entertaining Australian film made in recent years.

A 'nice' film, the type that I'm kinda over. You know, the National Geographic ethnographic-type piece that we've seen done (better) in The Story of the Weeping Camel or (not as good) in The Cave of the Yellow Dog. It's an enjoyable enough film, but if you've seen the above-mentioned films, there's really no point seeing this one. Basically, it depicts a way of life that is slowly disappearing, using the story of a sailor returning to his remote country to woo a local girl as a pretext to depict the way of life of these nomadic goat and camel herders.


John said...

Hi Paul... a free double pass here to Tulpan for the Apr 18/19 previews at the Kino and Palace Como... all 1.15pm/1.30pm sessions. Have not seen the other films you compare this to. The previews of Tulpan looked appealing. Sort of a cross between Slumdog Millionaire filmed somewhere like the scenes shot in Babal in Morroco? We'll see.

Paul Martin said...

John, Tulpan is nothing like Slumdog Millionaire. It's a very quiet, naturalistic film. The region where it was filmed is very desolate mountain plains where it seems the wind is always blowing.

John said...

Paul..all I can say I amazed how long some of us will sit through a movie. Tulpan was not remotely like Slumdog Millionaire.. the country and the lifestyle were Babel like. The film was drab, dusty and for me both location and narrative wise went around in circles. How it will make any money in commercial release I'm not sure. My only comfort is the tickets were free. My only regret? Not doing a bunk from the cinema or to one of the other screens!