Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Selma 2014

Selma has got the movie it deserves. This is a film with energy, momentum and exuberance as it captures one of the rare slices of history in which the flame of the spirit burns, when right confronts might. The central image is of police batons raining blows and cracking skulls, as the people march.  It is a naked face of brutality, power at it's most corrupt. Its hard to watch, and inevitably brings to mind a similar sequence from Attenborough's film. This is a riveting movie--a must see.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Au Hasard Balthasar 1966

This film enters the soul of an animal, in this case an unfortunate beast of burden. This reminds me of Rembrandt's Balaam's Ass or even Guernica. What would a donkey have to say, its life one of harsh labor and punishment. Some of the other characters in the film share an element of the animal experience, being trapped in a cruel destiny. We have much in common with animals, we live in the same space, more so in times of war, famine, poverty and despotism. Not least among the attractions is the blending with Schubert.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mouchette 1961

Someone says "Our hearts have been bombed out." Mouchette, for a variety of reasons, is outcasted from the people around her. She cannot even voice her feelings, her throttled tears breaking through to pour soundlessly. People don't care, like Breughal's picture of Calvary. Society is a cruel place. The dying mother, a wailing infant, an abusive father, not a friend, rejection, isolation. This is about the the disconnect, the gulf, the chasm, the spiritual void, the fractured heart, which is the reality of life. Finally, what a wrenching disengagement from the world, rolling down the slope, still reluctant, success after three times, The style is terse and the movie moves swiftly through it's 77 minutes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boyhood 2014

This beautiful and humane film examines life in contemporary US through the experience of Mason, a boy, tracing his life from early boyhood to late teens. The milieu is the ever changing present: the re-definition of family structures, sexual behaviors, livelihood and education. I gleened incidentl;y that the US must be one of the most favorable environments for the young to grow up in, with its patches of unrolling greenery, and vast educational opportunities. Nevertheless, economic hardship is a prime challenge faced by the characters, and happiness is as elusive as elsewhere.The strength of the movie is in the eternal unchanged aspects of existence, the transience of things, the failure to discover meaning, and finally, the enigma of looming death. By all means, outstanding.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mr Turner 2014

Director: Mike Leigh; As Turner: Timothy Spall. The film has the qualities of a painting. In some cases, the cinematography resembling the moist and chilly seascapes of Turner. This visually exhilarating biopic is an interesting account of a very human human being blessed by nature with an exceptional talent, without the quirks and eccentricities one associates with it. Timothy Spall's portrayal is dynamic and charismatic. The character of the artist and the men and women in his life are well fleshed. It brings to life the  Dickens like era, the onset of industrialization, in which it is set. A film to relish and savor.