Archive for April, 2013

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My March ’13 in Film

April 3, 2013

March was another month of completism rather than discovery, so much so that I’ve had to create categories for the directors I became attached to. Rohmer and Chabrol’s small book Hitchcock: The First Forty-Four Films fueled a fascination (alliteration!) with the master’s silent period in particular, and in viewing the woefully ignored “minor” efforts from throughout his oeuvre. These 9 films only fortified my adoration for the man’s work. Yes, Hitch made suspense pictures, but truly his is a cinema concerned with marriage as vital as Lubitsch’s. Jesus, 94 films in one month, including Wang Bing’s 9-hour epic and not including Scorsese’s shorts…I am wasting my youth.

  1. The White Meadows (2009, Rasoulof)
  2. A Girl in Every Port (1928, Hawks)
    and to a lesser extent #2 & 3 under “Hawks” below
  3. Running on Karma (2003, To/Wai)
    and to a lesser extent Fulltime Killer (2001, To/Wai)
  4. The Manxman (1929, Hitchcock)
    and to a lesser extent #2-4 under “Hitchcock” below
  5. Khrustalyov, My Car! (1998, German)
  6. Raw Deal (1948, Mann) and T-Men (1947, Mann)
    and to a lesser extent He Walked by Night (1948, Mann/Werker)
  7. The Wife (1995, Noonan)
  8. Hard Target (1993, Woo)
  9. Drive (1997, Wang)
  10. Torque (2004, Kahn)
  11. Dead Heart (1996, Parsons)
  12. Sue (1997, Kollek)
  13. Decision at Sundown (1957, Boetticher)
  14. Choose Me (1984, Rudolph)
  15. Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks (2003, Wang)
  16. Everybody in Our Family (2012, Jude)
  17. Dillinger Is Dead (1969, Ferreri)
  18. Nostalgia for the Light (2010, Guzmán)
  19. Melissa P. (2005, Guadagnino)
  20. The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque (1993, Rohmer)
  21. Freeze, Die, Come to Life! (1989, Kanevsky)
  22. After May (2012, Assayas)
  23. Le Dernier Combat (1983, Besson)
  24. The Crimson Pirate (1952, Siodmak)
  25. Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003, Kiarostami)
  26. The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966, Pasolini)
  27. A Good Lawyer’s Wife (2003, Im)
  28. Rope of Sand (1949, Dieterle)
  29. Dans la Maison (2012, Ozon)
  30. The Flower of Evil (2003, Chabrol)

Compelled to mention:

  • Sudden Death (1995, Hyams)
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011, Ritchie)
  • Rien sur Robert (1999, Bonitzer)
  • In the Bathtub of the World (2001, Zahedi)
  • Abel Ferrara: Not Guilty (2003, Pitts)
  • New York Stories (1989, Scorsese/Coppola/Allen)
    for Scorsese’s Life Lessons only

Worst:

  • New York Stories (1989, Scorsese/Coppola/Allen)
    for Coppola’s Life Without Zoe, surely the worst film ever made.
  • Bullet in the Head (1990, Woo)
  • The Expendables (2010, Stallone)
    *

Hitchcock:

  1. The Manxman (1929)
  2. The Farmer’s Wife (1928)
  3. Downhill (1927)
  4. Topaz (1969)
  5. The Paradine Case (1947)
  6. Jamaica Inn (1939)
  7. Champagne (1928)
  8. Rich and Strange (1931)
  9. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)

Hawks:

  1. A Girl in Every Port (1928)
  2. Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
  3. The Criminal Code (1931)
  4. Tiger Shark (1932)
  5. The Crowd Roars (1932)

Boetticher:

  1. Decision at Sundown (1957)
  2. Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)
  3. The Cimarron Kid (1952)
  4. The Man from the Alamo (1953)

Carpenter:

  1. Someone’s Watching Me! (1978)
  2. Village of the Damned (1995)
  3. Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

I suppose these three Carpenters are considered among his least, but for me they each affirm his qualities. #1 & 2 are strong examples of the insidious terror that so encapsulates Carpenter, with the 1978 Hitchcockian film about a woman’s apartment being stalked/violated astutely fed right into the viewer’s own personal space via the television set that was its original destination. Also noteworthy for its strong, witty, successful, and sexually assertive female protagonist and the surrounding ideas of sexism and defilement ingrained in her urban milieu. Why wasn’t this in the above top 30 again? Village displays the auteur’s brilliant comprehension of line and composition in his trademark scope frame, scarcely more appropriate than for this story of inhuman Hitler Youth-esque offspring and the fascistic forms they collectively exhibit. And lastly there was his Invisible Man, a neo-noir technological (diegetic and formal) update of a “monster” classic made fascinating for Carpenter’s workmanlike dedication to achieving the many visual effects above its fairly clumsy humour (though shoutout to the risible womaniser and his strained Gregory-Peck-doing-James-Mason voice) and clumsier baddie scenes.

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