Manana is tired of her family, and one day walks out and gets her own apartment. Everyone tells her this is unacceptable and ridiculous and she’ll come crawling back, but she does not. She still sees her husband and kids and parents, reluctantly, but mostly keeps to herself even when home. Remarkably, the movie allows this to happen, doesn’t condemn or destroy her.

Michael Sicinski on letterboxd:

Nana & Simon’s choice to spatialize Manana’s rebellion allows them to literalize her movement away from the fold, a break which is then compromised by her older brother’s insistence that some dumb lugs in her building “keep an eye on her.” Unbeknownst to Manana, the patriarchy is everywhere. This is made even clearer, in far harsher terms, when some old friends of Manana’s divulge a secret about her past, something that she herself did not know.

That something is that her husband Soso (“ironically but accurately named”) had a long-term affair, something her friends assume Manana already knew, because why else would she have left. In fact, he has a son with this woman, and Manana meets him under the pretense of checking their gas meter. Meanwhile life goes on in the family she has left – one kid has a breakup, the other has a new (pregnant) girlfriend, and Manana’s parents and brother can never stop meddling.

Bilge Ebiri, whose review got me watching this in the first place:

The film unfolds as a series of long takes, as we follow characters in and out of rooms, staying close enough to register individual experiences while always making sure to keep the rest of the world in focus. But the camerawork isn’t that rough, handheld, vérité style we’ve become so used to; it’s fluid without being showy, immediate without being unbalanced.

Codirectors Ekvtimishvili and Gross made a previous feature called In Bloom, which is also about females in Georgia escaping their families. Soso starred in Aleksey German’s Under Electric Clouds, and I have no idea where Manana (Ia Shugliashvili) came from.

We didn’t want Downsizing to be our official final film of 2017, so we rewatched Inside Out on new year’s eve, then after a couple of attempts, managed to make this early Ghibli feature our first movie of 2018. The early ones are cool, but we’re more taken by their later works (Mononoke and everything after).

Pirates:

A couple of orphan kids from different backgrounds meet and end up saving the world by teaming with pirates to stop a power-mad government agent from harnessing the destructive power of an ancient and abandoned floating city called Laputa. The boy Pazu (pronounced POT-sue in the Disney dub) is from a factory town, and the girl Sheetah is descended from Laputa royalty, and that’s about all we learn about them before the movie erupts into battles, pirate humor, and tons of flying machines.

Every Miyazaki movie has a standout piece of character or vehicle design – in this one it’s long-armed bird-loving robots.

Stupid Matt Damon has money problems (you can tell because he stays up late at a cluttered desk frowning at an adding machine) so he decides to get small. His wife Kristen Wiig decides against the idea at the last minute, then he loses his palacial house in the divorce, moves into an apartment below hard-partying Christoph Waltz whose housecleaner is Vietnamese dissident Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau of Treme, Inherent Vice). These three hitch a ride with Udo Kier to the original small colony led by Dr. Rolf Lassgård (A Man Called Ove), which is retreating into a mountain to wait out the impending human-caused global catastrophes. Stupid Matt Damon decides to go with them, then decides not to, then convinces Ngoc Lan he’s in love with her.

Katy says it’s like they asked each actor what they’d like to play (“a sea captain!” “a hard-partying smuggler” “a one-legged humanitarian”) then wrote a script around it. It tries to be a bunch of things at once, not so successfully, and there are awkward and obvious bits, but I appreciate the ambition, and Christoph Waltz looks like he’s having the best time. Second movie we watched theatrically in a row to feature Laura Dern.

Opens with Etaix introducing the idea, explaining the sheer amount of film that was shot for this project, then being attacked by a giant flowing mass of unruly film stock. Unfortunately this turned out to be the best part.

The rest is an interview film, gauging the man on the street’s attitudes on sex and violence, entertainment and celebrity, TV and advertising, world events, personal relationships, and Pierre Etaix. Interviewees are French people on holiday, just after May ’68, which doesn’t really come up. He spends longer than necessary at some kind of open-mic festival. It’s all like the least interesting aspects of Chronicle of a Summer and À propos de Nice mixed together, with some fun/ironic editing, but not enough to make it worth sitting through all the amateur singing performances.

I didn’t manage to watch The Challenge in 2017 – it was playing at True/False and in New York while I was there – but I found these shorts by the same filmmaker to tide me over.


Piattaforma Luna (2011 Yuri Ancarani)

Deep-water divers run equipment checks and prepare for a dive, shot mostly in static compositions, though the great opening shot is a slow pull out from a man doing a prayer chant. Are they breathing helium or is something up with the sound recording? Ben Frost provides some lovely rhythmic industrial drone for the start and end segments.


San Siro (2014 Yuri Ancarani)

I liked this one better – workers prepare a soccer stadium for the next game, efficiently moving cables and barriers and doing security sweeps… then some structural views of the team and fans arriving.

Problem:

Solution:

Emily Prime, a year older than last time, is visited by an incomplete backup copy of her third generation clone, who is using time travel to visit her own inherited memories. The clone hopes to copy Emily’s consciousness over her own, a process which somewhat succeeds, after some memory tourism, personality glitches, future history lessons, and of course, philosophizing on the meaning of life and our individual place within the universe.

The computer-animated mindscapes and off-world dystopian future visions are as great as in the previous film, which I’ve been known to call the best animated short of all time. So I had absurdly high expectations, and Episode 2 met them, feeling like a perfectly natural continuation of the first film. Not as many mindblowing new ideas in this one since he set up so much previously, but the writing (based around conversations with a six-year-old) is probably better, circling back to each idea and conversation in a self-conscious loop while expanding the ideas about memories and identity.

0. Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch) *

1. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas)
2. A Ghost Story (David Lowery)
3. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
4. Good Time (Ben & Joshua Safdie)
5. Get Out (Jordan Peele)

6. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
7. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-soo)
8. The Other Side (Roberto Minervini)
9. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
10. Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz)

11. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonca Filho)
12. The Florida Project (Sean Baker)
13. Black Mirror: San Junipero (Owen Harris)
14. Paterson (Jim Jarmusch)
15. Song to Song (Terrence Malick)

16. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
17. Atomic Blonde (David Leitch)
18. Quest (Jonathan Olshefski)
19. Coco (Adrian & Lee Unkrich Molina)
20. The Unknown Girl (Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne)

21. The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki)
22. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
23. Strong Island (Yance Ford)
24. Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes)
25. 20th Century Women (Mike Mills)

So many runners-up… it was a good year for movies, if nothing else.

*I’m not saying Twin Peaks is a movie, but I didn’t make a TV list and it’s the greatest thing I watched in 2017.

“Recent” being the last five-ish years.

LNKarno is heavily represented.

1. Indignation (2016, James Schamus)
2. Bird People (2014, Pascale Ferran)
3. Lincoln (2012, Steven Spielberg)
4. Stop the Pounding Heart (2013, Roberto Minervini)
5. Resident Evil 4 and 5 (2010/12, Paul W.S. Anderson)

6. Moana (2016, Disney)
7. Hill of Freedom (2014, Hong Sang-soo)
8. Museum Hours (2012, Jem Cohen)
9. O.J.: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman)
10. Jack & Diane (2012, Bradley Rust Gray)

11. Split (2016, M. Night Shyamalan)
12. Amour (2012, Michael Haneke)
13. In Another Country (2012, Hong Sang-soo)
14. Girl from Nowhere (2012, Jean-Claude Brisseau)
15. Somebody Up There Likes Me (2012, Bob Byington)

16. Last Time I Saw Macao (2012, João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata)
17. Demon (2015, Marcin Wrona)
18. Ape (2012, Joel Potrykus)
19. Evil Dead (2013, Fede Alvarez)
20. American Honey (2016, Andrea Arnold)

1. L’Argent (1983, Robert Bresson)
2. The Virgin Suicides (1999, Sofia Coppola)
3. Same Old Song (1997, Alain Resnais)
4. Casualties of War (1989, Brian De Palma)
5. The Last Days of Disco (1998, Whit Stillman)

6. Paper Moon (1973, Peter Bogdanovich)
7. Cuadecuc, Vampir (1970, Pere Portabella)
8. Heart of Glass (1976, Werner Herzog)
9. Boy Meets Girl (1984, Leos Carax)
10. After Hours (1985, Martin Scorsese)

11. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007, Andrew Dominik)
12. Tampopo (1985, Juzo Itami)
13. Funeral Parade of Roses (1969, Toshio Matsumoto)
14. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947, Joseph Mankiewicz)
15. Blue Sunshine (1978, Jeff Lieberman)

16. In the City of Sylvia (2007, José Luis Guerín)
17. Le Révélateur (1968, Philippe Garrel)
18. Sleep Tight (2011, Jaume Balaguero)
19. The Aviator’s Wife (1981, Eric Rohmer)
20. The Tin Star (1957, Anthony Mann)