2010-11-30

La carrière de Suzanne (1963)

La carrière de Suzanne (Eric Rohmer, 1963)


Second part of the Six Moral Tales by Eric Rohmer, shot in the same year than La boulangère de Monceau, La carrière de Suzanne is in my opinion the lesser effort of the series. I kind of like how the tale is narrated but the "moral" isn't as interesting as in the other films. In Le genou de Claire, you have the elder man of 35 years old trying to seduce younger women, in La collectionneuse you have the man refusing advances from a "man eater" woman but falling in love while constantly refusing, and in L'amour l'après-midi you have the married man falling in love with another woman and escaping his life with a parallel life.

La carrière de Suzanne, is about a man who's in love with the girlfriend (Suzanne) of his best friend. The best friend is a selfish idiot who uses and disrespects Suzanne. The narrator will refuse to live his love with Suzanne because his friendship is dear to him and also because he seems to avoid it. This is the story of a subtle love triangle that will never evolve from apart of being unsaid.

Even if I think Eric Rohmer can hit, he can also miss and I think that La carrière de Suzanne is the lowest element of the Six Moral Tales. Meanwhile, I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars, compared to many films it's a very good offering, but in the great ensemble of the Six Moral Tales it's the lesser one.

2010-11-29

Le voyage dans la Lune (1902)

TSPDT Greatest Films #449 Le voyage dans la Lune (Georges Méliès, 1902)

The grand-father of cinematic storytelling, Georges Méliès with his best film Le voyage dans la Lune is the first film discussed in the revival of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Club. A ten minutes short that influenced many filmmakers to come. Probably one of the first Science-fiction films ever filmed. It even inspired a videoclip of the unfamous band of the 1990's Smashing Pumpkins.

Méliès's film is a mix of theatrical sets and funny pursuits. His heritage of filmmaking is vast but it is probably the one of the first artist to have understand the infinite possibilities this visual medium had to offer. The Art of the 20th Century sure has evolve since then, but it's still moving images and storytelling. The technique will be more and more elaborate with the few years to come. Eisenstein will bring is editing theories and Griffith will bring the epic scale moviemaking diserved.

Méliès made his films in a time where Theater and pictures shared many storytelling techniques; the sets and the acting especially. Méliès understood how moviemaking could be a grand spectacle and that the possibilities could bring human beings way as far as far its imagination.

2010-11-28

They Were Expendable (1945)

TSPDT Greatest Films #451 They Were Expendable (John Ford, 1945)



During the Pacific War, John Ford wanted to support the troops with the one thing he mastered the best; filmmaking. He got in the Pacific Islands with color films to shot the battles of the US Navy. The ended up being the documentary Battle of Midway on those battles that earned him a permanent title of Captain for the US Navy. The filmmaking and the storyteller he was wanted todo even more, he directed They Were Expendable. A film about the self involvement of the US Navy into this war.

As many of his Westerns, Cavalry trilogy or any genre he would approach, with success I may say, Ford shows the collective effort and family-like involvement human beings must accomplish to realize their mission. This spirit of group is even stronger here in a film about the Navy. Every character has his strenght and should use it the best he can. This is not a film made for propaganda but to commemorate and honor those men who give their lives and soul for these battles. My favorite scene in the film involves Rusty Ryan (John Wayne) and Sally Harris (Donna Reed), the moment when they go dancing and they sit on the hamac. This is a very sentimental but also very well filmed with dark lighting and beautiful shots of the couple. It shows how Ford can film battle sequences with reality but he also can create a scene that recreates a real romance.

I did knew what to expect from The Were Expendable but it goes right into one of my favorite Ford films so far. Still, there are so many I haven't watched yet that it will be too soon to make a Top list of his films. Maybe in 2011 you'll have the chance to discover this list...

2010-11-26

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949)

TSPDT Greatest Films #437 She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (John Ford, 1949)
I think I should dedicate this Blog to Westerns, lately this is the genre I've been reviewing the most... Well, I have so many Westerns to watch yet that you should be aware that this won't be the last Western reviewed here! It ain't the first either.

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is the second part of John Ford's cavalery trilogy along with Fort Apache and Rio Grande. Many Ford regulars play it this collective Fordian classic: John Wayne, Harry Carey Jr., Ben Johnson, John Agar. The collective cast of Ford would have been complete with Ward Bond and Maureen O'Hara, just kidding 'though.

Captain Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) takes one last patrol before his retirement. This last assignment is perilous first because Indians are abonding on their way, and second because they have women aboard. His dearest wish is to make peace with the Indians and accomplish to safer the territory. This is a very Fordian film, with the collective effort of the cavalry, the Monument Valley as the background, the regular actors, and the drunk characters. It also has the typical comedic elements many Ford films present and the strong interactions between male characters, as picking each other in a very manish and friendly way. John Wayne, plays a character 20 years older than he actually is and he succeeds to make us believe in him and he is even crying a little (only time I 've seen this big log cry in a film). This is another film that extend Ford's dialogue with Cinema with his recurring auteuristic themes: the collectivity working together in an effort to create a better world for tomorrow. In She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, the world of tomorrow is today's America that the couple created in the film will build with their children and grand children. Capt. Brittles is the father figure that manages and overview with his wisdom like the old man in the Indian tribe.

Despite its annoying trumpets and saturated techinicolor, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon is one of John Ford most characteristic film. It reflects the ensemble of his rich and long oeuvre.

2010-11-24

L'amour, l'après-midi (1972)

TSPDT Greatest Films #972 L'amour, l'après-midi (Eric Rohmer, 1972)


The final chapter of Eric Rohmer's Six Moral tales, L'amour l'après-midi, depicts a happily married man with children that gradually lower his guard in front of the many advances of an old friend. Chloe, the reappearing friend begins by simply filling Frederic's "ennui" in the afternoon. Besides, completely refusing the presence of Chloe he takes really care of her but their relationship take some predictable turns. Until the last moment Frederic feels the attraction for Chloe (a passion that will not last) but his love for his wife is so much stronger (love that can stay for his lifetime). Like the other moral tales, L'amour, l'après-midi works more on the suggestive side of things and only evokes the "cliché" always until the last moment. The dream sequence includes the three actress from the preceding moral tale, Le genou de Claire. It's a little redap of and a funny link between both films.
 
The images, from Nestor Almendros, are sublime and the many outside shots in the streets of Paris are simply beautiful. The Moral tales were made at the end of the 1960's and the beginning of the 1970's but the images don't reflect their time, they seem timeless. I wonder if Woody Allen watched those films before making Annie Hall and Manhattan, and all his other films, because we really feel that Rohmer's wrinting may probably have influenced Allen's dialogues in some way.

The Six Moral tales are a landmark not only for the French Cinema but for the History of filmmaking. In screenwriting class, every student must have seen at least one of the Six Moral tales.

2010-11-23

Top films of Quentin Tarantino by LMdC


Love him or hate him, QT is one of the most recognizable director face nowadays. His films always make noise and his knowledge of B-movies is impressive. His second feature film, Pulp Fiction, is the film that opened the gates of Cinema to me. I thought, wow, they can do that in a film, say that etc. Pulp Fiction is still one of my favorite film of all-time. Making a top list of his films may seem a little prematurated but what the heck? I've seen all his films, I'll update it when he'll direct another one...

1. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
2. Pulp Fiction (1994)
3. Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003)
4. Kill Bill Vol.2 (2004)

5. Django Unchained (2012)
6. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
7. Death Proof (2007)
8. Jackie Brown (1997)
9. Four Rooms (1994) (last segment)
10. My Best Friend's Birthday (unfinished) (1987)

2010-11-22

Le genou de claire (1970)

TSPDT Greatest Films #385 Le genou de Claire (Eric Rohmer, 1970)


One of the most sensual offering of Eric Rohmer's Moral tales. Le genou de Claire tells the story of Jérôme, a diplomat living for a month in the villa of his family in Switzerland near the Leman Lake. He mets one of his closest friend, Aurora a writer that convinces Jérôme to flirt with Laura and then he choose by himself to extend the play or simply by his own curiosity to seduce Claire, Laura's older sister.

This film would have had never seen the light of day if it was made today. The weirdness of the relationship between Jérôme, 35 years and Laura, 16 years old gives us a little uneasiness to care for the succes of the relationship. On some level, we actually are relieve to learn that there was no attraction, but the images are still weird. The first half of the film is all about Jérôme and Laura. But when Claire appears, the sexual desire is more palpable and the shots of Claire's knee and the rest of her body too, are very sensual and attractive. The strenght of the situations is fully exploited with the fact that the viewer knows that Jérôme is strongly appealed by Claire's knee. Rohmer undresses her knees and it appears in every frame of the scenes she is in.

Like the other Rohmer films I had the opportunity to see, there are lots and lots of dialogue. French films probably earn their stereotype of being laborious on the talks because of Rohmer only. Don't read me wrong, I love this kind of blabbering that reminds me of a Woody Allen or the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset duet by Richard Linklater. On the visual level, this is by far his most beautiful film, filled with images of nature and colorful outdoors. It's fact, Rohmer loved to shot in exteriors and I think that he simply mastered those scenes.

I am ashamed to say that I am discovering Rohmer's oeuvre and I think that this is way too late after his death earlier this year. In respect I will check everyone of them and report back my thoughts on every of them.

2010-11-20

Louisiana Story (1948)

Louisiana Story (Robert J. Flaherty, 1948)

The documentary genre is probably the least favorite of the cinephile circles. Maybe it's just my subjectivity that is talking, but I tend to think that one would prefer a good story to forget about the current day to day issues and have a good time at the movies instead of being told about environmental issues and/or the closing of ten industries. However, each time I watch a documentary I always have a good time and I always love to learn something new or to be informed on issues other than my little self. On some level, the film that will be discussed here, Louisiana Story, is a non-documentary for me. It has a story written by the Flahertys, editing and many narrative elements. Anyhow, the plot is actually so thin that I think that the images talk for themselves.

Filmed in the bayous of Louisiana and following a little boy that fishes, plays with his raccon, hunts crocodiles and make friends with the workers of the derick put in front of his home could easily described the 80 minutes film called Louisiana Story. Far from being boring, the naturalist images displayed reminded me of the National Geographic documentaries my mom made us watch on Saturday afternoons. I always loved watching the fauna and the flora like if I was in the forest watching the animals do their things and live without the presence of humans. The first part of the film shows us how the boy lives his life and how he survived before the derick came in front of his home. When the derick arrives we pratically learn how it digs at the same the boy did. He befriends with a worker called Tom. Even if he had lived all his life in nature the boy is attracted to the machines that men build. Those machines are actually destroying the elements of his bayou. The conclusion of the story would have been very different today; it would have had a stronger environmental issue about it and how it lacks in respects towards the Earth.

The cajun culture depicted in the movie is very interesting, because those people talked English but mostly French. Their accent is pretty unique and the way they lived too. It makes this document even more unique and precious. I know that the lifestyle of the cajun people has disappeared and like some languages that aren't spoken anymore they have to be documented for the generations to come.

The narrative aspects of Louisiana Story reminded me of the neorealist films of Roberto Rossellini, Stromboli especially with the sequence of the fishermans. It is also a lot like a Cinema-Vérité documentary style and the comparison with neorealism is the best I can find. Because, Louisiana Story uses some narratives and tells a simple and beautiful story. But the narrative tools are the reality of the situations and the purge of useless plot elements.

2010-11-18

La boulangère de Monceau (1963)

La boulangère de Monceau (Eric Rohmer, 1963)


This nice little short also known as the first part of Rohmer's Six Moral Tales is told like a short story. The plot, a young man of Paris is captivated by a beautiful stranger he often met on the street. One day he decides to approach her and ask her to go out. But, their path won't cross again for a while. His life, is dedicated to the moment they will meet again, but time passes and he got bored of waiting so everyday he grabs a shortbread cookie in a little bakery. He agreeds to flirt with the little baker girl and slowly develops a relationship with her. The same day that the baker accepts a date, the stranger reappears...

Rohmer's moral tales are all narrated by the main character of each film and they have this literary feel to them. Their characters are often students or artists and the storyline is often about love and the beginning of relationships. La boulangère de Monceau is an excellent setting for the rest of the serie, it may have been your host's favorite one yet.

Obviously, this a film of the French New Wave and it feels a lot like one. The jump-cuts, the amateurish actors and the many wandering characters in many exterior scenes, well the film is set entirely in exteriors. The use of a beautiful black and white with many long and unedited shots and few multiple angles in the scenes. A trademark, or if you prefer, a trend very French New Wave. La boulangère de Monceau, has this something about it that gives you a good time and makes you ask for the following tales of Eric Rohmer.

2010-11-17

Top films of Stanley Kubrick by LMdC





This unpretentious list of the Top films by me, Michaël Parent, a Historian of Cinema and wannabe film critic, is a personnal appreciation of the films of one of the first filmmakers I had the chance and/or availability to watch all his films. This "quest" is going on for many other directors around and you will see the fruits of these personnal quests through the reviews and tops to be posted here on Le Mot du Cinephiliaque.

Feel free to click on the links of the films from the top, they lead you to the so-called review of the film.

1. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
2. The Shining (1980)
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
5. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
6. Paths of Glory (1957)
7. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
8. Barry Lyndon (1975)
9. Killer's Kiss (1955)

10. The Killing (1956)
11. Spartacus (1960)
12. Lolita (1962)
13. Day of the Fight (1951)
14. Fear and Desire (1953)
15. Flying Padre (1953)
16. The Seafarers (1953)

2010-11-16

El Dorado (1966)

TSPDT Greatest Films #841 El Dorado (Howard Hawks, 1966)


"Hired gunman Cole Thornton (John Wayne) turns down a job with Bart Jason as it would mean having to fight an old sheriff friend. Some months later he finds out the lawman is on the bottle and a top gunfighter is heading his way to help Jason. Along with young Mississippi (James Caan), handy with a knife and now armed with a diabolical shotgun, Cole returns to help."

Another review of another Western. The Western genre has been one of the most popular since the early days of American films. Losing some of its glare in the 1980's and the 1990's with the financial failure of Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate in 1980 it never reached out as strong as it was in the first half of the 20th century. This failure not only scared producers to do big budget Westerns but also closed the door that auteurism American Cinema had wide open in the 1970's. Some of the greatest films of contemporary Cinema were made in the 1970's, just look at this critics' favorite picture of all time Taxi Driver.

A great cast of actors: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan and a great director Howard Hawks makes this oftenly underapreciated film an intrying film to look forward to. I had low expectations when I sat to watch El Dorado: I never heard much praised about it and I was afraid to constantly compare it to Hawks' masterpiece, Rio Bravo. Well, both films have many similarities but which Hawks' picture hasn't some to the other? Look at the relationships between the male characters, strong friendships. The woman's names are often masculinized: Josephine is called Joey. It has John Wayne in it... Well, one can go on easily for a long time.

In a way, Hawks repeats himself and mostly retells a classic Western story with Hawksian characters in a Hawksian world. But in another way, he is one of Cinema's greatest storyteller, and this world is very interesting. Moreover, the ride may seem the same as another one but this is still a great ride. El Dorado, takes you on the path of real men, loyal men and sensible men too (talking in a very John Wayne way of things).

To understand its lack of popularity we have to look back at the context when the film came out in 1967, an Italian cult classic Western came out The Good, the Bad and the Ugly refreshing and revisionning the genre. The conservatism of El Dorado may have been a succes to older audiences but the visual extravaganza of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was very appealing and brought something new and a new star to the genre. The liberalism of the Sergio Leone picture was of its time and the right-wing El Dorado/Hawks/Wayne didn't help on a political ground. The end of the 1960's was a decade of changes, politically, socially and Cinema (the reflection of reality) changed too. The old guard was giving its last films and the new guard just wanted to take all the place on the screens all over the world. New Waves were emerging everywhere and new names like Arthur Penn, Sergio Leone, Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Nichols, Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and many more were coming to remplace the old "farts"(read this with respect to all these pioneers and masters) that were losing touch gradually John Ford, Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Nicholas Ray, Robert Wise, etc.

With a step back El Dorado is an interesting film in Howard Hawks' filmography and fits perfectly in this oeuvre watched as a whole. I still have Hatari! as one of my personal favorites but I still need to see many of his films before really stepping my foot down defenitely.

2010-11-14

Sherlock Jr.

Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924)



I discovered Buster Keaton's comedies a while after I've seen all the Chaplin feature films. So I had a little to very huge preference for the little Tramp. Well, after seing The General I was sold to say that the competition between the two comedians was just good for the public. Even if I think that each did something the other wasn't doing, Buster Keaton with his almost permanent sad unexpressive face doing daredevil stunts on trains, cars, motorcycles etc. And Chaplin playing a lot with his skills as a face actor and handy jugglers of any kind. Moreover, Chaplin's films are more feminine than Keaton's bravados of danger and white clown. Well, that's this critics' view on both men.

Sherlock Jr. is the story of a poor projectionnist in love with the daughter a rich man of his little town. He dreams of being the next Sherlock Holmes by solving crimes. But he is challenged by another man for the heart of the young lady. The antagonist stragely looks like a "dandier" version of Chaplin's little Tramp: the hat, little mustache and an older man in love with a much younger woman. Another interesting issue is the fact that the antagonist must steal to get what he has, a lot like the Tramp that will never let an opportunity to steal a bagel or a fancy pastry...

On the level of Keaton's stunts, they are simply amazing, especially the motorcycle ride that is completely unbelievable! Even if the effect of fast forwarding the film gives more time to Keaton to control the situation he is still on the bike and doing the other stunts! For its time, Sherlock Jr. has some very ionteresting effects, like when Keaton enters in the film that is projected on the movie screen and interacting with the elements displayed.

The only failure of the film is how thin the plot is. We understand already that this won't be a tragedy whe we sit in front of this kind of comedy, but I thought that the story could have had more meat to it. At some point I thought that the story was there to link the stunts together only... But the degree of entertainment is so high that we forgive this flaw, if it's one and just enjoy the great film!

To all silent films lovers Sherlock Jr. is a must see and its lenght just give you the envy to watch more movies from this great performer that was Buster Keaton.

2010-11-12

MEDIAFILM's Materpiece List

Since 50 years, MEDIAFILM.ca is a public agency that proposes the ratings of everything cinema/television related for the entire Prvince of Quebec. Its ratings are from (1)Masterpiece to (7)Duds. Those ratings are used in the newspapers, tv guides and many websites.

Being a cinephile in the province of Quebec, these ratings were the first references I had when I began to discover auteur films/ foreign and classic films.

Every five years they upgrade a list of masterpieces, This list has been the first cinephile achievement I ever wanted to complete. But on the way I encountered many many other films. An obstacle was also the availability of certain films, Victor Sjöstrom's The Wind or Abel Gance's Napoleon for example. And the many Criterion expensive releases retarded this quest. Now, with more moeny in my pockets and the discovery of certain films available online I am in position to conclude my first ever cinephile objective. Being near the end I feel like a marathonian that feels nostalgic of the first miles and I take a certain step-back at the work/fun achieved.

Enough with the words here. Here you have the list that I will try to put in the best order possible (by year). With the time you will see some links appear on the titles, it will be my review and/or thought on the film and the context I've discovered the so-called movie!

U = Unseen

The Birth of A Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915) USA
Intolerance (D.W. Griffith, 1916) USA
The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari (Robert, Wiene, 1919) Germany
Broken Blossoms (D.W. Griffith, 1919) USA
Nanook of the North (Robert J. Flaherty, 1922) USA
The Kid (Charles Chaplin, 1921) USA
Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922) Germany
Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924) USA
Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924) USA
The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, 1924) Germany
The Navigator (Donald Crisp & Buster Keaton, 1924) USA
Battleship Potemkin (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925) USSR
The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin, 1925) USA
The General (Clyde Bruckman & Buster Keaton, 1926) USA
Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927) Germany
Berlin: Symphony of A Great City (Walther Ruttmann, 1927) Germany
Napoleon (Abel Gance, 1927) France
Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927) USA
Pandora's Box (G.W. Pabst, 1928) Germany
Steamboat Bill Jr. (Buster Keaton & Charles F. Reisner, 1928) USA
October (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1928) USSR
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1928) France
U The Wind (Victor Sjöström, 1928) USA
Man With The Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929) USSR
Earth (Alexander Dovjenko, 1930) USSR
L'Âge d'or (Luis Bunuel, 1930) France
U The Blue Angel (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) Germany
City Lights (Charles Chaplin, 1931) USA
M (Fritz Lang, 1931) Germany
L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934) France
The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg, 1934) USA
Modern Times (Charles Chaplin, 1935) USA
La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937) France
Alexander Nevsky (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1938) USSR
La règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) France
Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939) USA
The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford , 1940) USA
The Great Dictator (Charles Chaplin, 1940) USA
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) USA
The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1941) USA
Day of Wrath (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1942) Danemark
Ivan The Terrible: Part I (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1944) USSR
Ivan The Terrible: Part II (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1945) USSR
Children of Paradise (Marcel Carné, 1945) France
La belle et la bête (Jean Cocteau, 1946) France
Roma Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1946) Italy
My Darling Clementine (John Ford, 1946) USA
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1948) USA
Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Italy
Louisiana Story (Robert J. Flaherty, 1949) USA
The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949) UK
Journal d'un curé de campagne (Robert Bresson, 1950) France
Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950) USA
The African Queen (John Huston, 1951) USA
Othello (Orson Welles, 1951) USA
Umberto D. (Vittorio De Sica, 1951) Italy
Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1952) Japan
Singin' in the Rain (Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen, 1952) USA
High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) USA
Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) Japan
Les vacances de M. Hulot (Jacques Tati, 1953) France
Madame de... (Max Ophüls, 1953) France
Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) Japan
Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) USA
Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) Japan
La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954) Italy
On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954) USA
The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955) USA
Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955) India
The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) USA
Ordet (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1955) Danemark
Lola Montès (Max Ophüls, 1955)
East of Eden (Elia Kazan, 1955) USA
U Un condamné à mort s'est échappé (Robert Bresson, 1955) France
Aparajito (Satyajit Ray, 1956) India
Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) Sweden
Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1957) France
Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957) Italy
The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) Sweden
Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958) USA
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) USA
Les 400 coups (François Truffaut, 1958) France
Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1958) France
Pickpocket (Robert Bresson, 1959) France
North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959) USA
Apur Sansar (Satyajit Ray, 1959) India
The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, 1960) Sweden
L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) Italy
À bout de souffle (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) France
La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini, 1960) Italy
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) USA
L'année dernière à Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1960) France
La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961) Italy
Jules et Jim (François Truffaut, 1961) France
West Side Story (Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise, 1961) USA
U L'Eclisse (Michaelangelo Antonioni, 1962) Italy
Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) UK
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963) USA
8 1/2 (Federico Fellini, 1963) Italy
Les parapluies de Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1963) France
Dr.Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1963) USA
U Pour la suite du monde (Pierre Perreault & Michel Brault, 1963) Canada
U Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) Italy
Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966) Sweden
Blow Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966) UK
Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966) USSR
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967) France
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1967) Italy
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) USA
Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968) Italy
Once Upon A Time In The West (Sergio Leone, 1968) Italy 
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1969) Italy
Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971) Italy
A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) UK
Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman, 1972) Sweden
Le charme discrèt de la bourgeoisie (Luis Bunuel, 1972) France
The Godfathter (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) USA
Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973) Italy
The Mirror (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974) USSR
The Godfather: Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974) USA
Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) USA
Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975) USA
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) USA
Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977) USA
Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978) USA
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) USA
Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979) USA
Mon oncle d'Amérique (Alain Resnais, 1980) France
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) USA
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) USA
Once Upon A Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984) USA
Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985) UK
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987) Germany
Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990) USA

2010-11-10

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (J.J. Abrams, 2009)


First of all, I must say that I am not a fan or an enthousiast of the Franchise. I may have seen one of the films when I was 12 or so and I don't remember which one it was. It was the one where they go through the center of the universe to find God... Well, the whole Trek fanatism never really got me. But when I see a good movie I don't care if it Star Trek or There Will be Blood; I will cry it out loud!

The re-boot of the franchise is clearly adressing itself to the new generation that never watched Star Trek and that couldn't understand the previous films. We have the whole genesis, the origin of Jim Kirk, Spock and the whole crew of the Enterprise. It's fresh funny and packed with amazing action sequences. If you don't get involve in the movie it's because you really don't want to see the film at all. The leads are protrayed by non-stars actors and it's a good thing 'cause you completely imerge yourself in the story. A good catharsis one can say... but here I write it without a negative comment, because, for some people the Science-fiction themes are harder to follow. Especially in a legendary and uncompromised franchise like Star Trek.

J.J. Abrams is a director who knows what he's doing and the years on Lost haven't been lost at all (sorry for that one). He has all the talent a director needs; to take a complex story that could have been another action flick full of sappy stereotypes and bring it to a level the series never probably achieved since its debuts. The visuals are simply candy for the eye, while never denaturating their origin. For example, the shape of the Enterprise is the same as it ever was, but it never felt outdated or lavish vintage 1970's. The same thing occurs when you look at the costumes, they don't feel retro-futurists at all, they have lines that reminds the original ones with simple and subtle modifs "au goût du jour".

Star Trek has been reborn and/or revived with passion and success. The re-boot of a franchise is always a hard thing and could be disastrous (Superman). It's always a challenge to measure how much of new stuff and original stuff and how you handle the so-called stuff. Moreover, the most important issue is who will handle it, J.J. Abrams handled it like a master, now we'll have to see for the future how he will handle the sequels.

2010-11-09

Important Announcement!


This wonderful banner announces want we all have been waiting for: the return of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Club. It will now be hosted by the nice folk at FilmSquish and will get back on his feet with the first entry ever of the book: Le voyage dans la Lune by Georges Méliès.

The so-called tongue in cheek Blog-A-Thon will start on November 24th and end on December the 5th.
Here you'll find Squish's original message to all the members (this could include you):

The response back from Club members has been amazing!

On the week of November 29th to December 5th, 2010, I will be hosting an good old fashioned Blog-A-Thon to re-inaugurate the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club.

After months of waiting for it to start again, I decided to just host the Club myself, and I'd love to have you as a member once again. I am writing you today to invite you to contribute a post (or posters!), on the first film on the epic
1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die List, George Méliès' "A Trip To The Moon" (1902) aka "Le voyage dans la lune." Since you're an old club member, it would be great to see your contribution!

One of the many great things about "
A Trip To The Moon" is that this short film is available everywhere for viewing. I've put a couple links for you of the complete film at the bottom of the page.

If you're interested, drop me a link or a line through my site (www.filmsquish.com), and feel free to spread the word!
Un voyage dans la lune:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JDaOOw0MEE&feature=related
Alternate link:
http://www.archive.org/details/le_voyage_dans_la_luneE&feature=related
http://www.archive.org/details/le_voyage_dans_la_lune

So now let's Blog!!!

Top films of Wes Anderson by LMdC


One of the most original filmmakers of today. His films feel fresh as the French New Wave and his stories are touching and always entertaining. He follows a line with many recurring themes and regular actors and he totally created his own world. His The Royal Tenenbaums was a revelation to me. One of the so few films that can make me cry...
With newer entries this list will be updated. Feel free to click on the titles with the links, they lead you to my reviews of the films.

1. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
3.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
4. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
5. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
6. Rushmore (1998)
7.
Bottle Rocket (1996)
8. Hotel Chevalier (2007)
9. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


2010-11-08

Bend of the River (1952)

TSPDT Greatest Films #912 Bend of the River (Anthony Mann, 1952)
Another amazing collaboration between James Stewart and Anthony Mann. A Western that made me think a lot about the themes exploited in The Far Country by the same Director/actor duo. The two films feel like if they were made at the same time which was approximately the case, only two years separate them. The lead character has once again to fight against the power in place that is corrupted.
However, both Bend of the River and The Far Country are about the West and how the better men must have given all they had in order to keep moral and humanity. The similarities between the two films will make this review pretty short but I promess to watch again both films and get back with more meat that diserves those classic Westerns.

2010-11-06

In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)


After a job that tragically ended, two hitmen, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brandan Gleeson) must stay quiet in a little Belgian town called Bruges. Starting slowly and sometimes off-balance, the plot just get richer and richer as long as the story and the characters evolves. It was probably the first time I've seen Ralph Fiennes play a character I actually believed in. The many sub stories doesn't all bring something central to the film but they fill some wholes that the simple main story could have let. Peter Dinklage as something like himself, the love interest, the little ex-boyfriend prick and even the landlady make a very good supporting cast to the whole of the film.

The film mixes many genres and it is for good. The grey gangster flick that announces the first thirty minutes gets better with the mix of some comedy, romance, and even thriller. The mix doesn't seem forced or too saturate for the lenght of the film. It's a very enjoyable ride all along. The friendship between the two leads is near an odd couple relationship that has its great moments. On the other side, the climax slowly climbs and many situations have very good turns of events.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants a good evening. It's the first film from director Martin McDonagh, I'd like to see more from him because In Bruges shows good directing potential.

2010-11-04

Poll! Poll! Poll!


Welcome to the first Poll of LMdC (Le Mot du Cinephiliaque), the voting machine up left is asking you a simple question: What period of film reviews would you like to read more about on LMdC? Lately I've been reviewing random films that I am watching, like a film diary.

I've decided to include the members and the readers more into the process and make this blog a more interactive one! I'd like to know which films you want to read about and what would make you want to come back again and again at LMdC.

So, with your votes here it will help me very much to seize your interests. If someone wants a specific film to be reviewed I encourage him/her to leave it in the comments of this post!

I also would like to know if you would be many to participate in a F.W.Murnau Blog-a-Thon?

Go on and vote!

La collectionneuse (1967)

TSPDT Greatest Films #836 La collectionneuse (Eric Rohmer. 1967)

 The fourth part of Rohmer's Six Moral Tales is one of the most sublime film ever made. The story is very simple. Adrien is about to realize his most profound dream: open an Art gallery. But before actually do it he takes vacations in a country house imposing so basic rules to his living. This is somewhat like volountary simplicity. Living of nothing and getting up and sunrise and having a priest-like way of life. He shares the villa with friend called Daniel that agreed to live by the same rules. There is another person living with them in the house: Haydée an easy girl that lives the opposite of Adrien, she is out all night and meeting many men every night. At first, Adrien and Daniel despite Haydée's way of life and they will confront her by first refusing to sleep with her and contempting her. Obviously as Adrien continues to refuse to have sex with Haydée he will slowly fall in love with her.

The simplicity of the story sets you off and like Rohmer's other films it takes some time to understand where he wants to lead us. The storytelling of the story with Adrien as the narrator helps the viewer to understand and apreciate the somtimes confusing acts of seduction and love depicted on the screen. One of the many interesting facets of it is the way how everything is consciensly narrated by the protagonist of the story and how he finally accepts his sentiments towards the girl that in first place he contempted.

La collectionneuse is a film that can rightfully describe the camera-pen the French New Wave talked about. The film goes like a classic novel and the images are the support to the text. This is like an inversion of the classic way films were shot.

Having only seen two (Ma nuit chez Maud & La collectionneuse) of the Six Moral Tales by Rohmer I am looking forward to discover the rest of the tales. I actually enjoyed both very much and couldn't decide now which I prefred. Which one Moral Tale is your favorite?

2010-11-02

House (1977)

House aka Hausu (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977)


A little late for Halloween but who cares... House is still a must see film a day you are seing it doesn't really care... It ain't no Christmas movie and that's for sure. College is over for the summer and the girls are happy to go on vacation. But Gorgeous's dad is going in vacation with his new mistress abandonning Gorgeous for the summer. She decides to ask her aunt to stay at her house with her girlfriends. At the aunt's mansion the girls will meet the aunt and many extravagant experiences.

The first part of the film is unsettling, because it's shot with satured colors and innocent girlish scenes that do not prevent from the madness that will follow. The tone of the film is so candy eye-popping that it kinda felt like you are watching a fairytale. Moreover, many elements of the plot tend to let you think that you are actually watching a fairytale. The stepmother that "steals" Gorgeous's place with her father that felt like an Oedipus Rex complex.
Another element of the plot, the coming of age of the girl as a woman, first represented with the outfits of college girls and later the woman clothes and then the many parts of naked women representing the passage to adulthood. And finally the loads of blood representing the menstruations of the young women depicted. The aunt represents how the older woman that can no longer have children and must destroy her younger opponents to conquer men. The white cat probably reprensents evil itself.
The visual treatment of the film is probably the one thing that betrays it. The effects are outdated and the flamboyant-saturated images reflects the late 1970's. Althought, it gives dynamic images of constant movement. After a while instead of preventing the viewer to get bored, it annoys him because he doen't has the time to fully appreciate the "mise-en-scène".
An issue that annoyed me was the fact that some girls disappear and they are forgotten in the story, as if we were jumping over those details of the movie.

In the whole, this is exhuberant film deserves to be watched by every Horror film lover out there. It is fresh, unique and tells a lot about horror story telling even if it has some flaws...
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