Sunday, May 31, 2015

Film Log 5.30.2015

The Duke of Burgundy (2014)

Director: Peter Strickland
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: Gorgeous cinematography. Most of the time I didn't really know what the chronology of the story was, I still don't, but it doesn't matter. The cyclical plot structure just contributed to the film's dreamy atmosphere. The film was fascinating. The fluid back and forth movement that both the lead actresses took as they fluctuated between master and slave was great. Can this film be called a feminist sexploitation flick? When did this film take place? It feels modern, but looks to have taken place during the 1950s or 60s. Loved this film. Peter Strickland is yet another director whose work I wholeheartedly love. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Film Log 5.29.2015

Force Majeure (2014)

Director: Ruben Östlund
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: Some scenes dragged a bit, but the film has a lot of memorable dreamy images. Also, the deadpan comedy bits are funny. Loved the shout-out to Bunuel with the film's last scene. The film is almost like a more comedic version of The Shining (1980).

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Film Log 5.27.2015

Cousin Jules (1972)

Director: Dominique Benicheti
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: Beautiful documentary. Unseen for several decades. Shot in the course of six years the film unabashedly shows the life of one man. The monotony of daily life is not boring though. Benicheti carefully shoots every scene. Though it is a documentary it feels far more controlled than other recent docs which often advertise their realism through shaky footage, bad lighting, and home movie style editing, yet in Cousin Jules there is a real sense of a director. Within a scene there is a wide variety of shots used and also there is an arc. By arc I don't mean the traditional Hollywood definition of an arc, but a sense that each scene matters and is building towards the film's quiet conclusion. Within a span of a cut many years go by. Benichetti holds on a short for several seconds and then cuts to an exterior shot of the countryside. What we don't realize until much later is that in the space between that cut many years have passed and Jules's wife has died. Does life have a conclusion though? What do our collective actions say about each and every one of us?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Film Log 5.26.2015

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: "The first Iranian vampire Western." I love the film's black and white cinematography. The picture's cinematographer, Lyle Vincent, uses various gradients of black and white to build the very oppressive atmosphere that surrounds the film. At times though, the film feels more like an exercise in style rather than substance and sometimes the film feels like a hipsterish version of the Twilight saga. Sheila Vand, the eponymous girl that does all the walking in the film, does a fine job emoting through the subtle movement of her eyebrows.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Film Log 5.25.2015

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: Very long film. Too long. Liked the Saul Bass inspired end credits and I appreciated bringing the action somewhat back towards the real world. When Captain  America gets shot by a bullet he feels it. I never liked Captain America before, too white bread for my taste, but this film actually made me care about him. A comic book movie that didn't feel like a rehash of comic book tropes. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Film Log 5.24.2015

Stranger by the Lake (2013)

Director: Alain Guiraudie
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: Poisoned love. A film that could have been penned by Patricia Highsmith. Guiraudie's use of unassimilated sex and nonchalant attitude towards it points to the loneliness that all these gay men feel. The use of a singular location, the lake, illustrates just how removed these men are from the world. Are they hiding?running away? I don't think so, or at least maybe not all of them are. All these men are so mysterious. Michel, is he a self-loathing homosexual or does he murder only when he grows tired of his lovers? So many questions. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Film Log 5.23.2015

Finding Vivian Maier (2013)

Director: John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Number of viewings: 1

Comments:Inspiring documentary about recently unknown artist Vivian Maier. The film is just as much about Maier as it is the filmmakers journey to uncover the story of the artist. The picture revels in the myth of the artist as an outsider. Maier's pictures are beautiful though. A female Robert Frank? I think so, too. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Film Log 5.22.2015

The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden (2013)

Director: Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: Fascinating but overlong. Too much brooding over a mystery that the filmmakers and their talking heads seem to have the answer to; even if it is just mere speculation. The use of voice actors to read the various character's diary entries was a unique touch. It felt like I was watching a radio drama, but in a good way. Need to rewatch again.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Film Log 5.21.2015

Tim's Vermeer (2013)
Director: Teller
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: The film unpretentiously disproves the myth that art and technology are separate siblings. Tim Jenison meticulously recreates not only Vermeer's The Music Lesson, but also the world that Vermeer inhabited. Is there any other superlative art documentaries out there that take the time to delve into history, art, science, and technique? I hope so. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ilo Ilo (2013)

It may not be politically correct to say this, but the Philippines greatest export to the world may be human chattel. Although there are plenty of highly educated Filipinos who immigrate to foreign countries and build very successful careers for themselves, sadly the consensus around the world about the Philippines and its people are that they are an impoverished country whose populace migrate to other far more economically abundant places to work as unskilled labor. Be it the US, Europe, Australia, or Asia no matter how many Filipinos you may find working in hospitals, schools, or running their own businesses there will be just as many or even more Filipinos working as maids, nannies, janitors, farmhands, etc. etc. And because of this it has become easy for many to treat these people as less than human. In places like Hong Kong, stories abound about Filipinos being treated worse than the family dog by their employers, and in proudly democratic countries like the US, Filipino maids are often forced to be on-call 24/7 to their host family in the hopes that maybe one day in the distant future they can get the most coveted thing of all, an immigration visa.