Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are You Serious Cineaste?

Hello Cinephiles and Soldiers,

I received the new issue of Cineaste this week and it had The Kids Are All Right on the cover. Really? Why is it that in America just because a film is about lesbians it has to be considered an "independent" or "art house" film. The Kids Are All Right is a mainstream film. The same thing happens with foreign films. If a film has subtitles, it has to play in a small "art house" theater, when a majority of the time it just a conventional mainstream film. For example, the upcoming French film Heartbreaker is a case in point. A film that looks conventional and stupid in every way, but because it is in French, it is playing at the Ritz. This is something that I do not understand at all. If a film like Heartbreaker were made in Hollywood, it would probably star Dane Cook and Jessica Alba. I am not making any kind of value judgment about The Kids Are All Right, as I haven't seen it and probably won't, but if the film wasn't about lesbians, I know for a fact it would not be considered an "independent" film. It has Annette Bening in it!

No really anything good playing at Ritz right now. Like I said, A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop looks like it could be all right, but I don't think there is any reason to rush out and see it. I'm Still Here looks like it could be funny and absurd, but again, probably not essential. Not too much interesting on the horizon. Enter the Void could be interesting. It has mixed reviews and I am not particularly a fan of Gaspar Noe (Irreversible was a piece of shit), but as far as an interesting experiment, if nothing else, it appears promising. That opens October 1st. Otherwise, the Ritz lineup looks pretty bad. A lot of bad documentaries; kind of standard these days, I guess.

The Chestnut Hill Film Group starts their fall 2010 screenings on September 28th with Badlands. I haven't been to any of these screenings yet, but they play some very good films. attend a few of these screenings this fall. Nick Ray's On Dangerous Ground in October, Hiroshi Teshigahara's Woman in the Dunes in Feb and Howard Hawks' Twentieth Century in March are the highlights.

Next weekend should be promising at International House with Aki Kaurismaki's The Match Factory Girl Saturday Sept. 25th and Chaplin's The Kid with a live score on Sunday Sept 26th should make for some excellent viewing.

Recommendations for the Week:

1. In a Year of 13 Moons by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. My viewing of Ali: Fear Eats the Soul has reinviforated my love for Fassbinder, so I think I need to watch some more. I am going to go with my personal favorite this week, 1979's In a Year of 13 Moons.

2. Eyes Without a Face by Hiroshi Teshigahara. This film is not nearly as famous as Woman in the Dunes, but for my money this is Teshigahara's best film. Highly original, expressive, intellectual and subversive. This, along with maybe Alain Resnais' Je T'aime, Je T'aime is probably the height of 1960s film modernism.

3. Frontier of Dawn by Philippe Garrel. This was Philippe Garrel's most recent film and along with Regular Lovers proves him to be one of the few filmmakers still working who is offering unique and challenging films. Garrel is incredibly underrated and under-seen in the United States. I will be writing more about him in the future, but everyone should see anything by him that is availble here.

4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia by Sam Peckinpah. My favorite Peckinpah film. Violent, cynical and one of the great examples of a time when Hollywood would actually let a madman like Peckinpah make a film like this.

5. La Pointe Courte by Agnes Varda. Agnes Varda's first feature film from 1954 is one of her best. It doesn't have the same reputation as Cleo from 5 to 7 or Vagabond, but this is a key film in the development of the French New Wave and the move toward subversive "art house" cinema that would take place in the 1960s. This is a really underrated film, which I hope gets rediscovered thanks to the recent criterion edition.

I also have the latest Herzog film My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done and Docks of New York by Josef von Sternberg from criterion's new box set from netflix, which I am looking forward to watching this week.

I hope to be adding another blog or two this week as well. One about Summer 2010 highs and lows and some words about Inception.

I also want to put together a list of upcoming fall films, which are actually worth seeing.

-Josh Martin

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