Thoughts On: End Of The Week Shorts #31.2


End Of The Week Shorts #31.2

Today's shorts: Sans Soleil (1983), Tout Va Bien (1972), Tangerines (2013), The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek (1944), Contempt (1963)

Truly remarkable and an irrefutable masterpiece, Sans Soleil (Sunless) is a cine-poem that, from an outsider's perspective, explores and contemplates various elements of other cultures, primarily that of Japan, in juxtaposition to existential themes of memory and time. 
Though it takes a lot of patience to immerse yourself into the world of this narrative, once you manage this, you are locked in; the incredible aesthetic, affecting montage and evocative prose in V.O all merge into an indescribable sensation of awe and wonder that drive deep into a literal and conceptual human curiosity. 
Having been left pretty much speechless, all I can do is recommend Marker's Sunless as a genuine and stunning attempt at simultaneous exploration and introspection through the medium of film.

Far from unbearable, Tout Va Bien is one of Godard's directly political films from what some refer to as his revolutionary period. I was taken aback, however, by how observational and inquisitive this film is: there aren't endless Maoist statements and aphorisms being thrown at us; there is not much of a call for revolution. 
In the simplest terms, this shows the complications and many sides to the national unrest of France in 1968 and the characters that live in its aftermath. So, though I don't care much for all that Godard attempts to propose (much about Marxist fulfilment and mindfulness) because of his irritatingly transparent uses of alienation, I did appreciate the focus on character and perspective - something that Godard is often incapable of handling. 
Ultimately, I didn't like this film much, but I also didn't hate it - which is pleasantly surprising.

Tangerines is a tremendous anti-war film that is ultimately not so much a blind statement for peace, but a narrative about fighting for the truth and for what is good - and with as little bloodshed as possible. 
Centred around the Abkhazia War of the early 90s, this is a very simple film somewhat reminiscent of No Man's Land from 2001 that sees two wounded soldiers from opposing sides forced to live alongside one another in a farmer/carpenter's house. With a sumptuous earthy colour pallet and perfectly paced realist camera work, we then are immersed in a series of character scenes that, without ambiguity and pretence, exude strength and stoicism through a commentary on masculinity that isn't contrived and condescending, rather, genuine and affecting. I can't then help but recommend this movie; it is not the most original film you will ever see, but it is certainly faultlessly executed.

I honestly thought that the Marx brothers made the most absurd screwball comedies. I couldn't have been more wrong. 
On one level this is a dark social drama, on another this is a story of heroism and righteousness. However, infused into these two serious strains of narrative is an almost surreal level of stupidity, flippancy and slapstick nonsense, that has left me tingling with confusion - and I wish that was a hyperbole. There's very little I can say with this one. Sometimes I was too empathetic and took the themes too seriously, other times I was swept away by the mad-cap tone. As a result, I was lost in a whirr of thought that I still can't make sense of. 
Try as I might, I can't explain The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek. It's imperfect, but fiendishly effective; a masterpiece of pure cheek and daring. I think I have to recommend it.

Contempt is, in a way, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf without passion and without reason. Godard then has us suffer through drivelling, pointless and meandering arguments from a stupid couple for the profound sake of projecting inertia and frustration. This gets tiring after 45 mins; the strong aesthetics wear loose and the transparent references to The Odyssey express very little. Contempt then begs one simple question: why contemplate the existential struggles of a couple you see no sense or humanity in and bare no connection to? 
Ultimately, my desire to beat Godard with Bretch's dead bones grows ever stronger. At least there is inadvertent catharsis with the ending; meaningless death incites relief and I felt like I got my time's worth. This is not Godard's worst film and I did find myself immersed for a good 30 minutes, but his style soon takes its toll.

Previous post:

End Of The Week Shorts #31.1

Next post:

Porco Rosso - Quintessential Ghibli

More from me:

No comments: