A new crop

So, there's this guy, let's call him Klaas ('cause that's his name). He kinda rocks. I know I shouldn't be so shallow as to say people rock primarily because they buy me gifts, but these gifts warrant the epithet.

See, I went into town with him today. And well, I had to show him my favorite DVD-store, of course (the "Boudisque"). How that turned into a Hedwig-in-the-candystore-with-wide-eyes-and-a-sponsor I honestly don't know. An early birthday present, let's call it.

I kind of feel like I have to defend my first pick, "The Dreamers". Yes, it's kind of lacking a plot. Yes, it's muddled thematically. Yes, it is "minor Bertolucci" (I've been listening to Cinecast too much...)

I guess I like it because of my strange sense of nostalgia for 1968. Paris in '68 specifically. I really don't know where it comes from. I have the privilege of hindsight, after all, I can see that the whole revolutionary spirit didn't really lead to all that much good. I can't see the whole "free love" thing as innocent knowing AIDS would come along barely a decade later. Still, the idea of a revolution led by students, sparked by the firing of the director of a movie shrine, of a revolution against conventionality and the illusion of happiness appeals to me a great deal. Maybe that's also why I love "No Direction Home" so much. It tracks the period just before, smells the storm coming. Anything that will give me a taste of what it was like to be there, in that movement in that period, I haste to absorp, hoping to catch a whiff of that mood. The film doesn't show that much of the revolution that never happened, not until the end, but even with the characters firmly ensconced in their apartment for most of the film, it feels like it could not have taken place anywhere else, nor for that matter at a different moment in time.

There are other things to appreciate about "the Dreamers" besides the '68 ambiance, of course. Louis Garrel for example (although, I'll grant I understand that many will drool over Eva Green instead). I really do have a weakness for cute frenchies. This Louis (the son of French director Philippe Garrel, incidentally), he's all sharp lines and brooding eyes and well, I think I'll stop here before my schoolgirlish whimpering gets the best of me. What is it with the French and gorgeous dark brooding types anyway? In Le Temps Qui Reste, the first thing my mom said after the lights went up was a comment on how hot Melvil Poupaud was. And I'll readily admit to having a thing for Romain Duris ("De Battre mon Coeur s'est arrêté", "Arsène Lupin", "L'auberge espagnolle" and its sequel). And did I mention there's a lot of nudity, both male and female, in this film?

Aside from appreciators of physical beauty, this film should delight any film lover who knows his classics. All three main characters in this film are movie nuts, and in their games they replay a number of iconic scenes, not to mention have debates about Keater vs. Chaplin. They even mimic the scene from Bande à Part (a film which, regretably, I have not seen yet) where they run through the Louvre. The joy of filmmaking, the fanboy nature of Bertolucci, even, speaks from this movie. Doesn't that compensate for minor details like not really having a plot?

The second DVD I picked was one I almost bought two months ago already, and the last copy they had left of it. A classic set in post-war Vienna, starring a secret kinda crush of mine...Yep, "The Third Man", and well, its the star is of course not Joseph Cotten, but Orson Welles.

This was one of the first real classics, b&w classics I mean, that I saw. I might even have seen it before Casablanca. I haven't seen it since, and I'm really curious how it will hold up to my memory, but then I loved it. The music. The setting. The fabulous shots, too, the shadows in the sewer. The cynical attitude.

Most of all, I was blown away by the final scene. If I recall correctly (and I might not, but if so you can expect a neat correction soon when I watch it again) Joseph Cotten is standing, leaning on his car maybe, close to the camera at the left side of the frame. We can see the main female character in the distance, walking towards us. And walking, the music playing jauntily, for what I remember as being ten minutes, but which probably lasted only 2 or 3 minutes. And then, when she reaches the first plane, walking to the right and straight out of the frame. The end.

It was a revelation to me. So, you could do this? Just like that? And you could make it last this long? I might be distorting this in my memory, but I truly believe this was one of the films that made me appreciate all that cinema could be and do. I still have these discoveries sometimes, when I saw "Sunset Boulevard" for the first time last spring, and this was one of the first ones.

The third movie (it was a three for 25 deal) is one I haven't seen yet, so you can breathe more easily, this post won't go on much longer. It's "Habla Con Ella". My mom loved it and I usually find Almodovar films interesting at the very least, so it seemed like a good bet. Also, I don't want to watch films I've already seen and liked. Expect it to pop up on the "seen in 2006" list soon.



This looks like it could be fun

The Star Wars franchise has definitely lost its appeal to me now, the wonderful storytelling and sense of adventure of the first trilogy (or well, actually mostly of "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back") spoiled by the melodrama and stale dialogue of the new one, but it looks like this might capture the sense of wonder I never got to experience 'cause I wasn't born yet in 1977.

Truth is, I can barely remember the first time I saw Star Wars. In black and white, I know that, we had the wrong kind of VCR for the tape. Might even have been dubbed in French. What I do still remember is that we watched those tapes over and over again. It wasn't until I saw them again, quite a bit later and with many more films under my belt, that I realised how truly brilliant they were.

You know, that feeling how you sometimes wish you'd never even heard about the Matrix Reloaded and the Matrix Revolutions, because after that the first film was never as great again? It's not quite as intense with the Star Wars prequels because light-saber fights stay cool (what? You didn't know I was a geek by now?), because there's an epic, immortal quality to the primal story being told, and because Ewan McGregor gives a pretty amazing perfomance as a badly acting Alec Guiness. Still. Somehow the name "Star Wars" is not really awe-inspiring any more.

I agree with the T-shirt.


Movies seen in 2006

To be updated regularly of course. The format is: Title (Director, year of release) Date Seen [code]
Films I saw before will be preceded by a *. The codes are the same ones I used for "My Year in Movies" and can be found below. A permanent link will be in the menu on the right soon. I'll list the new films above the older ones. If the name is a link, it links to a review on this blog. I considered giving grades, but thought the better of it. Grading is hard, always arbitrary, and it really is unable to convey on which level I did or didn't like a movie. Enjoy!

  • *Sous le Sable (Francois Ozon, 2000) 29/01 [t]
  • The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones, 2005) 28/01
  • Les Amants reguliers (Philippe Garrel, 2005) 28/01
  • Elizabethtown (Cameron Crowe, 2005) 26/01 [c]
  • Munich (Steven Spielberg, 2005) 22/01
  • Hoodwinked (Edwards & Edwards, 2005) 19/01 (?) [c]
  • Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962) 10/01 - 13/01 [d]
  • *The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949) 07/01 [d]
  • King Kong (Peter Jackson, 2005) 02/01
  • Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955) 01/01 [d]

[c]: downloaded
[d]: DVD
[t]: TV
else: seen in the cinema



Happy New Year!