For those of you who watch films at home, have you seen anything interesting lately? DVDs are a last resort for me, when there is no way to see (or see again) a film that interests me on a big screen.
Therefore the last DVD I saw was Terry Zwigoff's documentary Crumb from 1994. At last word, R. Crumb is still hiding out in France somewhere and continues to resist selling the movie rights to Mr. Natural.
I do over 99% of my viewing at home, either online or the occasional dvd.
The last two dvds viewed were "When the Levees Broke" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly".
Spike Lee's "Levees" was an interesting piece of film-making on many levels. First of all, it will wind up being the most-viewed & enduring record of the human suffering wrought by the flooding after Katrina. The first three discs of the 4-disc set are compelling viewing. The last seems to be made up of footage Lee didn't want to jettison, but for which he had no real use.
I recommend the documentary as something that needs to be seen, but with the warning that you'll be distracted by some of the devices used in filming it -- the odd group of gold-colored chairs chosen for the interviewees, why didn't they give Sean Penn some place to put his ashtray, and why are editing cuts sometimes so obvious, that kind of thing.
Those clunky editing cuts are particularly strange considering that editing is used brilliantly in another section. There is a story told by several different participants in a particular incident. As the story unfolds, it moves seamlessly in mid-sentence from one narrator to another, to great effect.
At the end, I was left wondering if I would have been "correctly" affected by the film were I not so emotionally involved with the city of New Orleans.
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" deserves all the acclaim it has received. It's a film about what should be an impossible subject, the memoir of a man who suffered a stroke & subsequent locked-in syndrome. The movie was taken from the book (actual memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby) of the same name and directed by Julian Schnabel.
I won't attempt to describe it, merely to urge others to see it. It is brilliantly done, making the viewer simultaneously yearn for details on Bauby's life after the stroke and for the back-story of his life before. Somehow Schnabel makes the viewers feel the excruciating slowness of Bauby's post-stroke existence and keep us completely riveted the while. The cinematographer deserves special praise for the lush, sensitive use of color, framing & texture to convey all that is lost to a person afflicted like Bauby was, and Bauby's deep love and appreciation of his life.
I prefer the cinema and used to go once a week at least, now its mostly DVD and we only go once a month or so.
The last films I saw were Persepolis which was recommended by K - it was fantastic film: the animation was beautiful and the narrator completely endearing. I suppose it may be because it is about a young girl growing up in turbulent times but something about the voice of the girl reminded me of dramatisations I have seen of Anne Frank.
Before that I saw Howl's Moving Castle - I just love Studio Ghibli films, I think they are just magical.
Last week I also saw Mama Mia - anyone who dislikes this film seriously needs to lighten up. My boss hates it and he is one of the most miserable people I know. I can't see what is not to like, its just good fun.
I prefer to get out to the cinema, but it seems that we get less and less motivated as we get older. I think it helps that we have a large flat screen TV with stereo sound.
Last big thing we did on DVD was to do a LOTR marathon day (extended versions). We started at about 10am and didn't finish until 11:30pm. We stopped only for dinner and not much else. I really thought it was going to be misery, but I surprisingly enjoyed it.
Two 'film noir', Call Northwest 777 and The Third Man, for the nth time.---I love this film and the sound track haunts me. My tenants have a private collection of 1,000 DVD's and I have complete access!
kerou - I thought it was going to be overkill. I can barely sit through one film without getting fidgety, so it's minor miracle that I made it through the day. Having a bunch of friends over probably helped a lot.
Watched MAN ON WIRE for the second time last pm, Mr. C hadn't seen it so... My question is there is no mention of $$$. Where did these people get the funds to zip back and forth let alone survive? Rich kids? Certainly not just as a street performer, if that's the case then I'm in the wrong biz.
Last night I watched "Meeting David Wilson", a feature length documentary about a young African-American man whose genealogical research prompts him to look up a descendant of the family which enslaved his.
It's quite interesting and moving as a human story, although it moves too slowly in parts to really carry one along. Because of the breaks in it, I assume it was made to be aired on television. Also, it's fairly obvious one of the goals of the director was to create a teaching tool. You need to tolerate the scholastic film feeling in the early part, wherein there is a clunky nod to genealogical research and to the assumption that people can't quite place the era of US slavery in history.
That brief part at the beginning is worth enduring in order to watch how David Wilson follows his findings all the way back to Ghana. And his 97-year old cousin in North Carolina is not to be missed.
This would be an excellent film to watch with kids in their early teens as it would prompt questions and an interest in history.
While the majority of the city was out reveling last p.m. I brought Carnival to me via BLACK ORPHEUS (1958Brazil),dancing,incredible music,black magic set against the backdrop of the Carnival in Rio de Janiero.
Mr. c. and I watched "OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES" recently. I had already seen it after it came out on the big screen. I forgot what a powerful film this is. I imagine it was discussed before somewhere among you but just in case, see it. It's set in Communist Germany and revolves around the lives of one particular couple and their friends at the mercy of the Communist government monitoring their seemingly every move. Chilling,suspenseful,riveting. Won the 2007 Foreign (german) Oscar.
'Other People's Lives' is very good. While you are in the obscure foreign film division, look for Since Otar Left. This film is excellent. Shot in Georgia (Russia) it is the story of a mother and grandmother whose life revolves around her beloved son who has gone to Paris to seek his fortune. Each letter from him is a jewel for her. I don't want to give it away...she lives with her daughter and grandaughter...it is a remarkable story of the love of mothers and daughters and grandaughters...simple, loving, funny. One of my favorite special 'double bills' at home is to watch this and Persepolis together.
Light fare last p.m. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA was on the TV last p.m. Classic Marx Brothers. I love the scene where they're on board ship and the tiny cabin keeps filling up and up with people. Hillarious!
I stumbled upon Eden and it is a sensual and erotic delight. It is a German film. The main character is Gregoire, a single man in his 50's who loves food and is an exceptional chef. His restaurant, which is booked months ahead, has only three tables. He is a big man, sensitive, creative, and he loves food in all ways. He is rather lonely. One day by chance he meets a married waitress with a child. The unconscious seduction begins...they develop a friendship as she visits and he prepares delicious dishes for her. Gradually we see him begin to allow love for another into his life. Please, do not watch this film if you are on a diet or hungry...that would be masochistic.