Thoughts On: End Of The Week Shorts #37


End Of The Week Shorts #37

Today's shorts: Woman in the Dunes (1964), Machuca (2004), Masaan (2015), The Intern (2015), Magma: Volcanic Disaster (2006), Beau Travail (1999), DragonHeart (1996), Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), The Ascent (1977), Moana (2016)

With Woman In The Dunes, Teshigahara shows an understanding textural movement that very few others - Tarkovsky is one of the few that come to mind - have ever projected. Imagery is not all that Teshigahara masters in this film, however. Though I do not feel confident in my understanding of this narrative as of now, there is a presence of futility and attraction in this film that implies a tremendous profundity in the symbol of a body of sand; trouble, an eighth of a millimeter in diameter, but in multiples of the millions, an unstoppable force. To see a man and woman trapped, bound and willingly immersed in a dune of amalgamated chaos is the source of this film's mesmerising quality. I will certainly be re-watching this in the future.

Machuca is a powerful film about the brief reign of Allende's socialist government in early 70s Chile. In following a trio of children who come into contact through an educational equality programme, this allegorically traces a rather futile attempt at integration which is nullified by bitter social tensions that eventually turn poisonous. Machuca is then a film about a refusal to change, about progress not being given a chance, and such a denial not giving rise to a previous regime and way of being, but a bruised and devolved incarnation of the past. 
Without romanticism or much bias, Machuca features a historical story told well and framed quite poignantly. Recommended.

Embodying a genuine harmony of character, motion, light, theme and atmosphere, Masaan is a masterful moral symphony that sees the currents of the past clash with the currents of the present on a body of streaming tragedy and gushing pathos. 
It feels like it has been an age since I've been so fully immersed in such a unified cinematic space and so entirely at the whim of a narrative flow. This is a faultless film and about as impressive as a cinematic debut gets. No more words really need to be said - and, speechless as I am, I'm not sure I could provide many more. Call yourself a cinefile? This is a must see.

Horribly blunt and contrived. Cheap characterisation. Immature and amateur sound design. The dialogue sounds like a sixteen-year-old was the head writer. Plain cheese. I wish I didn't have to exist in the same space as this claptrap. 
De Niro isn't terrible, but his delivery is generally bad. Hathaway has some of the sloppiest shit to juggle and unsurprisingly doesn't do well with it. Just shameless. I couldn't imagine the torture that it'd be to edit this for weeks on end. Walked away way before the end. Take or leave my opinion.

Magma: Volcanic Disaster is terrible... but not as terrible as the title would suggest it is. And that is almost all that this movie has going for it. Besides a few genuine, non-amateur moments of dialogue that show that the writer either did a lot of research or took Volcanology as a their major and film studies as a minor, this is rife with 'movie dialogue'. The writers aren't attempting a Tarantino impression however: they rip off the most cliched, vanilla movie dialogue that we've all heard too much and grind it through some mediocre actors before casting aside their performances and overshadowing it with some horrific ADR. And the state of the dialogue should suggest to you much about the qualities of the rest of the film: trope-ridden and badly executed (the CGI is almost torturous). 
Wasn't expecting much from an early morning television movie and I didn't get much. In the end, this wasn't hateable, but I did fall asleep.

Whilst I admire the sound-montage of Beau Travail, I struggled to give it much attention. Its image never felt inviting and it holds no illusive or mysterious quality that evokes curiosity. It is then all too easy to see this as a series of happenings that don't deserve to be given much meaning. 
Having read about the movie, its themes of masculinity, identity crisis and the homoerotic, I can certainly see these at play within the film. None of this struck me much, however, and so whilst I can appreciate the function of sound, dance and motion in this quiet montage piece, I can't say I cared much for it. A swing and a miss in my books.

I used to love this movie when I was a kid, and re-watching this today, I can see why. The humour and GCI are very clearly from the 90s, but retain an edge that is both poignant and memorable. Added to this, the story is truly tremendous. Not only is the world then populated with strong characters, but it is motivated by powerful themes of corruption and honour that are deeply embedded in symbolic archetypes. Unfortunately, however, the direction, acting and elements of the writing in this film are often horrific as they show no control or understanding of the story at hand. 
So, whilst I enjoyed this movie, this has much to do with nostalgia. This nostalgia has me think of a potential remake. That said, this movie already has a bunch of sequels - none of which, that I've seen, have been any good. This seems to then be a story that no one can tell right.

Rarely is heartbreak so tragically poignant and beautifully voiced. Make Way For Tomorrow is, in some respects, a film about an old couple facing a young couple's problems: money is seemingly impossible to come by, being together is a struggle against those who run your home and the future seems dim: a force that wants to pull you apart. With old age being a return to infancy as such, Make Way For Tomorrow portrays a world that, whilst the young are cared for as they need, the old are often not allowed the dignity they deserve. Misunderstanding and an ignorance of ones own future and responsibility swirl in the undertow here and so reach out of the screen and knock into us some truth that is worth remembering. 
Emotional poetry from a place and time deeply entrenched in the industrialised new age, Make Way For Tomorrow is an undeniable Hollywood masterpiece.

The Ascent is one of the most miserable and hopeless occupation films and, moreover, is one of the most difficult Christ allegories I've ever seen. There is then no sense of hope in this film, only an atmospheric cloud that hazes what we are urged to believe that some characters see to be a transcendent truth. For the fact that this truth, or any sense of meaning and direction, are shrouded so heavily, there is an intensely dark psychological realism imbued into every frame of this film, one that, as we can only imagine, captures the true struggle of the times depicted, and one that honestly captures the pitiful and the fallible spirit of its characters. 
Hypnotically sable, The Ascent is a film to behold.

Cinematic magic at its finest. 
Moana is an entirely faultless film and a true joy to watch. The songs are tremendous, the animation is masterful, the characters are brilliant, the subtext - I've already gone into that if you're interested. I could watch this a thousand times and I'm sure I'd still get the tingles. Stupid good, plain great, a straight masterpiece.

Previous post:

Monsieur Hire - The Pallid Introvert

Next post:

Mother - The Maternal Nightmare

More from me:

No comments: