Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Cinematically revolutionary at the time of its making and release (2002), City of God is the story of the youth of Brazil and the challenges of growing up in what are considered to be some of the worst ghettos in the world. Gang warfare, drug running and a general disregard for human life (both others and their own) bathe the film with an ugly, vile light. This harshness is made even harsher by the ultra-realism embedded into the filmmaking style of the dual directing of Fernando Meirelles & Katia Lund.
With quick edits and revolting close-ups, sudden, disorienting shift changes and a hi-def hyper-reality, City of God is both a breathtaking remarkable film and a disturbing socio-economic repugnance. A tale where the strong don't even survive. City of God is a film that takes the daring experimentations of Glauber Rocha, Brasilia's very own enfant terrible (as well as the aesthetic found in much of third world cinema today, especially the work of Kiarostami and his ilk) and mashes it up with the in-your-face, post millennial cinema of the no consequence Zero Generation of the likes of modern day French provocateurs such as Gasper Noe and Bruno Dumont. A movie of hatred and self-loathing that is simultaneously luscious in its execution, City of God is a motion picture of vile pulchritude indeed.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I must admit to committing a rather peculiar act the other day. You see, besides being a (world famous!?) film critic and a (still relatively novice) film historian, I also run, along with my lovely wife, a small arthouse cinema in my hometown of Harrisburg PA. In connection with our local film festival, we play a few midnight movies each and every Memorial Day weekend. This year, one of the films was David Lynch's brilliantly subversive Blue Velvet. I have never seen BV on the big screen (my first viewing was on VHS way back in 1987) and here it was right in front of me - and on 35mm to boot!
You see, at some point, don't ask me when, I came to the conclusion that caressing was just not enough. I wanted more. I needed more! I had to have more!! So, of course, I took the next logical step. I licked that 35mm print of Blue Velvet. You read that right - I licked it. It was just a tiny lick mind you, but a lick nonetheless. My wife once contemplated licking a Picasso at the Guggenheim in NY, but the beefy, burly guards had scared her off. Alas, there were no beefy, burly guards back in that projection room, so I gave it a lick. A gentle, loving lick. The lick of a born and bred cinephile. The revolutionaries of the sixties may have chained themselves to the cinematheque doors, but how many of them actually licked those films they adored so much? None I bet - none! Okay, this may seem quite strange - and indeed it may very well be - but there you have it. I licked Blue Velvet.
A brilliant film - licked or unlicked - and it was beyond a thrill to see it on 35mm and projected on the big screen for a crowd filled with mostly first-time viewers. Most seemed to enjoy it (though some of the younger crowd seemed to laugh at the more melodramatic parts) and the screening was a great success - even if no one had any idea that I had gotten to second base with the movie earlier that evening.