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?

Cockfighter (1974)

Director: Monte Hellman
Number of viewings: 1

Comments: Great example of New Hollywood independent filmmaking. Adapted from the novel by Charles Willeford, Hellman's picture excises large chunks of the plot. Yet even though I wish that the film was longer the finished product stands on its own as a prime example of genre cinema. Hellman is becoming one of my favorite directors.

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