Found these on Criterion, whoopee!
No Ward (2009)
Short doc focused on hurricane refugees in Texas, dreaming of life in nearby suburban Carrollton. Cocorosie and Four Tet provide glitchy drone music that wouldn’t be out of place in Tenet.
Their Fall Our All (2014)
A long way from the doc, with beautiful photography and sci-fi editing, transporting a few women and girls between realms. Mirrors reflect different people, identities get mixed up, and there’s a subplot involving a senator being blackmailed. Really good.
You and I and You (2015)
An apparently single-take video to two songs by The Dig (not the “why don’t you believe, believe in your own god” Dig), a couple and their kid walking along a road, accosted by different mystical groups until they’ve been separated and transformed.
Jimi Could Have Fallen from the Sky (2017)
“Nance humor is so chaotic,” writes a letterboxd reviewer. An imagined origin story of Jimi Hendrix in seven minutes, with a bunch of actors (incl. Nance, a purple-haired kid, a skydiver) playing Jimi, with dance scenes and audio trickery. Probably the only great biopic.
This Triet was a real treat… hmu if you need pull-quotes for the 8K reissue. Snappy movie with shocking editing, scenes overlapping, no time wasted – a temporal pincer as complex as Tenet but an hour shorter and possible to follow.
Sibyl is Virginie Efira (of Elle, and soon Benedetta), a therapist cutting back on her case load so she can write novels, then actress Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color) shows up with all kinds of twisted drama (she’s pregnant by her famous costar Gaspard Ulliel, who’s supposed to be with their director Sandra Hüller). Eventually Adele will only speak to Sibyl, so the film production flies her out to Stromboli as a go-between. Of course Sibyl is stealing all this for her writing, which the movie keeps slipping inside, shifting all the roles and drama, while in reality Sibyl is losing her sobriety and her family.
Triet’s Age of Panic and Victoria also got good reviews. This played Cannes 2019 in competition with ten other films I’ve now seen – it’s easier to catch up when there’s no Cannes 2020 to distract me.
Hey, I remember this one, it had some bright colors in it. Not like Bridgerton-bright, but pretty nice. According to the ol’ blog, I watched another adaptation of this with Katy 13 years earlier, which neither of us remembers.
Cowritten with Simon Blackwell (Veep, Breeders) and Charles Dickens (Scrooged, Oliver & Company). Dev Patel starred, Ben Whishaw the villain, Hugh Laurie and Benedict Wong were in there somewhere.
A movie where the main dialogue scene is about finding truth in film performances, which also spends 15+ minutes watching middle schoolers perform Hamlet. Bookend scenes feature a dog who hunts and eats a rabbit palling around with a quiet donkey. Someone hops a fence and collapses at a gravesite to an M. Ward song. Happy to see Franz Rogowski in a small part.
Astrid deals with a kid who’s in trouble at school, and a defective bicycle she bought secondhand from a disabled man. She meets a director whose film she hated and talks his ear off about his poor cinema decisions. A good-looking movie, I enjoyed spending time with it, even if I haven’t figured out what it’s on about. Been hearing about Schanelec for a while, mostly from Cinema Scope – before this came out, Blake Williams called her films “notoriously evasive” and says she “presents us with only enough narrative so that we feel our desire for narrative.”
“The whole lo-fi video look, wasn’t that a thing already in the 90s?”
Shot in 4:3 handheld SD video… Tyler and Anna’s car breaks down, older man Clip helps them, and the three hang out. Tyler is a freelance cameraman impressed by Clip’s vintage camera collection, and Anna is a writer impressed by a long story he tells, which later turns out to have been memorized from a book.
“It’s not quoting – there was no attribution!”
“No air quotes?”
Months later, Anna discovers the source of the quote, and nobody else can understand why she’s upset over this. Meanwhile, Tyler has lots of Opinions, and is obsessed with race, keeps bringing it up, cannot have a casual encounter with a Black person without becoming insufferable (my notes say “she should leave Tyler, everyone should, he won’t shut up”). They both vent at mutual friend (of theirs and Clip’s) Allison, who looks like they are stressing her out. Ends with Allison writing a long inspirational letter to Anna… which I’m guessing was cribbed, since after all, the movie title is plural.
Seems to be of academic interest, but it’s one of those indie movies that is purposely foul-looking and filled with annoying people. Instead of re-reading the Cinema Scope article that first drew me to it, I spent my research time trying to figure whether the director is related to Kathleen Parlow, the violinist discussed in Veslemøy’s Song. On letterboxd, V. Rizov says it’s “dead-on in its depiction of an endlessly fractious, mildly nightmarish couple” and Preston and Sicinski discuss the movie’s take(s) on authenticity.
Visions of an Island (2016)
Portrait of an Aleutian island, interview of a local man with attention to language and landscape and animal life. Doubling and overlaps, adding and removing sounds, manipulating the colors (with a cool moment where you see the before and after). A town in the sky, the sea in the sky. Seals and jellyfish… this has got everything.
Space Without Path or Boundary / Anti-Objects (2017)
Rough/archival sound recordings, and rough audio editing to go with it. Wilderness and city, with some of the most abstract color-field, motion-smear and hand-marked imagery I’ve seen yet from Hopinka. Focused less around descriptive text like the last one, more conceptual.
Fainting Spells (2018)
A whole different sort of thing. Letters written to a friend (who sometimes passes out) scroll from right to left, while the imagery ranges from vertical landscapes seen through an eyeball lens to invisible hooded persons against abstract backdrops to roads along burned-up hills to all sorts of landscapes.
At band practice playing a Bo Diddley song, but more usually, on an overhead projector shuffling through colored films, a poetic correspondence spoken throughout.
“If you do keep drinking, you will die.” Opens with Martin in the hospital, then hangs out as he curates a Chills exhibit from the lifelong collection of mementos and toys in his home, and narrates his own chronological Chills history through his clipping and media archives. A pattern is set: his band makes a record, tours, breaks up, he starts a new band. As always with these things, it assumes the audience cares most about the glory days, not the recent past, so we skip Silver Bullets and go straight into the recording of Snow Bound. Some insight into major label finance: Warner Bros says he owes them $425,000. Very average rock doc, assumes the viewer already believes Martin to be a tormented genius, and doesn’t bother trying to convince newcomers. Some nice vintage concert video, at least.
Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis (2009)
Time-lapse impressions of trees, or the light through and around trees, gives way to flicker impressions, colored like abstract stained glass, gives way to fast smeary movement, the trees now only occasionally recognizable as trees. Set to a manic violin drone by Malcolm Goldstein.
Engram of Returning (2016)
More black than image in this one, the picture coming through in snatches… maybe a snowy hillside, or a body of water, the camera shutter pulsing with the tide. Halfway through we get superimposed landscapes, then things break down very colorfully towards the end. I like that his movies shift from one kind of indescribable thing at their beginnings into completely different kinds of things. Buzzing insect of a soundtrack by Jason Sharp (that was a saxophone??).
The description calls it a “metaphysical travelogue,” fair enough. Saito cofounded a Canadian film collective with a pretty good manifesto. I also re-read Jordan Cronk’s Cinema Scope piece, which is too complex to excerpt here.
Haley (Kaya Scodelario of Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights) is a student swimmer who stupidly drives into a hurricane evac zone to find her stupid father Barry Pepper, who is trapped in the crawlspace of his house because the storm flooding brought alligators. It’s a fight for survival and escape, and you assume the body count will be low, but we get looters then cops then rescuers, all of whom become gator chow. Not impressed by the characters or dialogue, but the storm looked cool and the lighting was excellent.
From the two writers of Carpenter’s The Ward. I haven’t caught up with Aja in a while – after Haute Tension and The Hills Have Eyes Remake came Kiefer Sutherland horror Mirrors, horror-comedy Piranha Remake, Last Ten Minutes entry Horns, then a psychological thriller nobody saw.
Rescuers: Down Under