Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pierrot le Fou - New 35mm Print Via Janus Films

I'm so jealous, particularly because Godard's film won't be playing in a cinema anywhere near my part of the country. I had to resort to an old VHS to see it, but it was worth it. The film was funny, intelligent, and idiosyncratic. In the 60's, Godard's talent was steadily augmenting, and he reached an aesthetic apotheosis with Weekend. May 1968 had a crippling effect on Godard. His earlier creative muscle went away with de Gaulle's government. His subsequent work seems to be more didactic, even more so than what he did in the 60's. Watching films like For Ever Mozart or In Praise of Love is more like sitting in a university lecture hall than being in a cinema. But I admire Godard for going in this direction because at least it shows some cinematic evolution on his part. As much as I love Antonioni, sometimes he just repeats himself. But Antonioni is the best facsimile of himself because he has learned himself better than anyone. Watching his segment in Eros, "The Dangerous Thread of Things", was enjoyable, but ultimately felt like self-indulgence on the auteur's end.

Well, it's time to close my critical evaluation of these European cineastes.
Pierrot le Fou is being re-released in theatres, and I predicate that a new, gorgeous Criterion DVD will be here in the States by this time next year.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mondo candido (1975)

This movie has it all! There's sex, violence, and philosophy. It's an epic surreal arthouse/exploitation/comedy adventure. Most noteworthy about the film is how littered it is with gorgeous yet cartoonish symbolism and props. It's like something out of El Topo combined with Monty Python. The humor in the film is lighthearted, intelligent, and morbid at the same time. I really can't describe this movie in words and do it justice. It's an amazing experience that has to be seen to be believed. The plot is simple, it's just about a guy searching literally the whole world for his lover but so much craziness goes on in between. From my understanding this film was inspired by a Voltaire novel too. There's no official release of this movie that is attainable. The only release you can get is a bootleg, which has custom subtitles since no other version was ever translated. You can order it off this place:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Update: Clips from Akio Jissoji's Mujo

Now, I finally have the equipment needed to play import DVD's, and seeing these clips confirms my choice for which discs will be my first purchases. There is a large boxset of Jissoji's early films available in Japan. I believe it is an 8-disc set, and includes all his films with the Art Theatre Guild. I will attempt to write a thorough review on these films once I see them, but my most recent obligations are to write "homemade retrospective" essays on Toshio Matsumoto and Shuji Terayama.

Some of these clips might be quite dark, and sorry, no English subtitles.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Follow-Up to the Akio Jissoji Post: Trailer for Mandara (1971)

iskander80 is now my favorite YouTube user. He has uploaded the trailer for Akio Jissoji's Mandara, and I have e-mailed him to request more trailers from Jissoji's early art films. And now, thanks to Paul Berry at the University of Washington, I have found an article on Mandara, along with other articles on Nuberu Bagu films, all concerning sexuality in 70s Japanese cinema.

Warning: This trailer contains nudity.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Xala (1975)

Today, June 11 2007, African filmmaker Ousmane Sembene passed away at the age of 84. I just remembered I've seen one of his films, Xala, a long time ago. I'm sketchy on details (cause it's been so long since I watched it) but it was a really good political satire comedy from what I remember. There was a character with impotence, which I believe was an allegory about the system and power. The end is very disgusting yet so hilarious and probably the one thing that you'll remember the most after watching this film. It's not the most challenging film, but the viewer does have to stay focused to really get into it. If you want a really strange African film though to see how complex African cinema could be, I'd suggest "Touki Bouki", which I didn't understand and was confused by. Well anyways, Xala is pretty accessible cause it is a comedy at the core but not too simple, that's a good thing. It's a nice start if you want to get into Sembene's films. This one is out on DVD in the US, although I see the DVD cost around $20 so try to rent or borrow it if you're low on cash.