Friday, October 25, 2019

THE SCHOOL OF TARKOVSKY: CARLOS REYGADAS PART ONE

Just by accident one of the first films I saw was a film by Tarkovsky called Nostalghia and then I saw the rest. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I couldn’t believe cinema could be like that - Carlos Reygadas (Burnaway)
Solaris /
Japon

Cinema is the art of reality, the medium in which reality’s beauty is captured, where you can film marble or a face, or record someone’s voice, a sunset, the innate beauty of what you’re contemplating. Tarkovsky achieved this - Carlos Reygadas (Bomb Magazine)


With Tarkovsky, I was seeing something made from reality itself, reality was transformed into a form of beauty, conveying so much feeling. - Carlos Reygadas (Burnaway)


We can go on and on with quotes and citations of Carlos Reygadas name-dropping Andrei Tarkovsky as a major influence on his career over the last two decades, OR, you can use your eyes and check out the examples below.

It's no mystery that Carlos Reygadas has pulled from directors like Carl Theodor Dreyer, Luis Bunuel, Arturo Ripstein and more. But at the end of the day, Tarkovsky is his number one influence. Below are some of my favorite examples of the visual & thematic similarities between Andrei Tarkovsky & Carlos Reygadas.

Enjoy...


When I was about 15, my father gave me a Tarkovsky film on VHS and I was amazed at the simplicity, the power that comes out of a single event. I’m not very much into narrative-driven films and I never remember dialogue; what sticks in my mind are the sound, the image and the camera movement. With Tarkovsky it’s as if direct emotion comes out of each image and sound. It drives me crazy - Carlos Reygadas (Sight & Sound)


Ivan's Childhood / Post Tenebras Lux


The title [Our Time] refers to the unfolding of events in time, which is, as Tarkovsky suggested, the third dimension of cinema - Carlos Reygadas (Film Comment)
Solaris /
Our Time

Andrei Rublev /
Our Time

Solaris / Battle In Heaven

Solaris / Japon

Andrei Rublev / This Is My Kingdom

The Mirror / Silent Light

Solaris / Battle In Heaven

Ivan's Childhood / Post Tenebras Lux

Solaris / Silent Light

The Mirror /
Post Tenebras Lux

The Mirror / Post Tenebras Lux

Ivan's Childhood /
Post Tenebras Lux

Solaris /
Japon

Stalker / Post Tenebras Lux

Ivan's Childhood / Post Tenebras

Monday, October 14, 2019

THE SCHOOL OF MAYA DEREN: TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALK WITH ME

Maya Deren's DNA has been all over the cinema of David Lynch since day one (if you have any doubt, make sure to check out parts one, two & three of this series before you accuse me of "reaching"). So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Deren's influence & imagery would be all over Lynch's longest ongoing project: Twin Peaks.
In this slightly more focused entry we're going to take a look at the visual similarities between Deren's most known work (Meshes Of The Afternoon) and Lynch's underrated Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, from the obvious/non-debatable examples to the more minor examples that some might have missed.

Enjoy...

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Meshes Of The Afternoon / Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me


Monday, October 7, 2019

THE SOUVENIR



In my personal opinion, The Souvenir is what everyone wanted last year’s Beautiful Boy to be. Now…Beautiful Boy’s heart was in the right place and it didn’t paint a completely false narrative of what drug addiction can be (actually, both films show drug addiction from the perspective of privileged/upper class folks), but at the end of the day it just felt a little too flat and formulaic. I read nothing about The Souvenir before going in. I gathered that part of it was about drug addiction early on but it wasn’t spelled out from the very beginning. What started out as a story about young love quickly morphed in to something else...

It’s weird to consider Joanna Hogg’s latest work to be one of the best films of the year thus far (it certainly is one of my personal favorites of 2019). It’s not like the story is anything new or “groundbreaking” but it just works. One part deals with the young love/first love between a mysterious slightly older upper-class drug addict (Anthony) and a younger upper-class slightly sheltered/naïve aspiring artist (Julie). The second part of the movie deals with Julie and her path to finding her voice as an artist in film school. Again – on paper this is nothing new or innovative. The Souvenir is a callback to everything from An Education & Panic In Needle Park to Basketball Diaries & Goodbye My First Love (Hogg’s film being the “best looking” out of all the aforementioned works).
But to quote Seymour Cassel's "Joe" in In The Soup; I love you always sounds fresh to me. Just depends on who's sayin' it.



The Souvenir plays out like a Peter Watkins film (Edvard Munch specifically) combined with everyone/everything from early 2000’s Gus Van Sant (the use of music) to Lodge Kerrigan (Claire Dolan). There's even a moment at the very end of The Souvenir where Julie looks directly in to the camera which, to me, seemed like a direct homage to Watkin's...
Edvard Munch / The Souvenir 

Edvard Munch / The Souvenir 


Other visuals from The Souvenir look like they come out of older/classic films like Last Year In Marienbad
Last Year At Marienbad /
The Souvenir

Usually, I can’t make any strong visual connections between Joanna Hogg’s work and other visually striking films but The Souvenir is different...

Eaux d'Artifice / The Souvenir


Plenty of stories have dealt with drug addiction within the “upper crust” of society countless times, but very few have shown the painful cycle of addicts going from being addicted to getting clean to being hooked again and so on and so on. A lot of movies about drug addiction are extreme opposites. It's either the slow ascension to death, or an immediate recovery to getting clean without any relapse whatsoever. Going back to Beautiful Boy for a second (I don’t mean to put the two movies against each other but there are some striking similarities and they came out less than a year apart) – I can’t stress enough that its heart was in the right place. The movie didn’t have any kind of a “happy ending” and it certainly implied that even after the credits roll, the cycle of addiction may very well continue. But what sets The Souvenir apart from something like Beautiful Boy is that – and there’s no nice way to say this – Beautiful Boy feels like a well-crafted safe After School special. That may work for some of you, but not for me. It clearly didn’t seem to work for a lot of people because Beautiful Boy kind of came and went pretty quickly while The Souvenir is already popping up on a handful of preemptive “Best Of 2019” lists mostly due to all the excellent performances (from the "lesser known"/up & coming" lead actors to the supporting cast made up of Tilda Swinton & Richard Ayoade). Joanna Hogg builds up hope (even if you know the cycle of drug addiction), *SPOILER ALERT* and after things get dark we’re led to believe everything will slowly work out only for the exact opposite to happen *SPOILER END*

Apparently the cinematic universe of The Souvenir isn’t over. There’s a sequel that’s already been filmed and set to be released next year. Part of me feels a little hesitant to be excited for a part two of something like The Souvenir but given Joanna Hogg’s record I have faith she’ll do the story justice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

THE SCHOOL OF CHANTAL AKERMAN PART 11: RICHARD LINKLATER CONTINUED...

I was inspired by the structural films of James Benning and Chantal Akerman...people walking, people brushing their teeth, people sitting around, etc. - Richard Linklater


It amazes me that some folks have such a difficult time understanding and/or accepting that some filmmakers draw direct influence from older filmmakers that came before them. Some people just like to debate & disagree with anything because it's in their DNA to be a difficult human being in general, but others really don't have the capacity to see (obvious) influence unless its an homage in Quentin Tarantino movie (and even some Tarantino diehards will deny obvious influences on him).
This post, on the ongoing influence that Chantal Akerman had on Richard Linklater's early films, is for folks who appreciate the idea of generational influence, film history and similarities between certain movies. 
Make sure to check out Part one (CLICK HERE)

Enjoy...

Je Tu Il Elle /
It's Impossible To Plow

Je Tu Il Elle /
It's Impossible To Plow

Je Tu Il Elle /
It's Impossible To Plow

Jeanne Dielman... /
It's Impossible To Plow

Les Rendezvous D'Anna /
It's Impossible To Plow

Jeanne Dielman... /
It's Impossible To Plow

Jeanne Dielman... /
It's Impossible To Plow

Les Rendezvous D'Anna /
It's Impossible To Plow

Les Rendezvous D'Anna /
It's Impossible To Plow

Jeanne Dielman... / Slacker 

Jeanne Dielman... / Slacker

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