A lovely little almost-romance set in an Indiana town with unusually interesting architecture. A few familiar indie-drama tropes collide as a guy who has escaped his family has to return when his dad falls deathly ill (the twist being it’s not his hometown, but a place he doesn’t know), meeting a girl with smarts and ambition who feels compelled to stay home and care for her addict mother. Jin (John Cho) claims not to be interested in architecture, but his dad’s an expert and Casey (Haley Lu Richardson: Split, The Edge of Seventeen) is fascinated, so Jin helps her realize her goals while she keeps him company during his Columbus purgatory stay. It kinda sounds like nothing special when writing out a description, but the movie’s particular carefully-framed look and feel (David Ehrlich described it as Garden State meets Ozu) set it above the usual Sundance fare.

First time rewatching this since 2003.

A warmup for Playtime, toying with modern technology and living/working spaces ill-suited for the decidedly unmodern Mr. Hulot. At his sister’s house, sound is made by electric gizmos, and at Hulot’s, it’s made by aiming a sunbeam at a caged bird.

Sidetracks follow neighborhood dogs and schoolboy pranks. At the end the dad bonds with his son in a small way, at the expense of having Hulot sent away, and the dogs again take over the film.

On of my favorite gags, the women talking to each other but facing the direction the path dictates:

Won the oscar over Big Deal on Madonna Street, and won a jury prize at Cannes the year of big winner The Cranes are Flying. So many blu-ray extras and reviews of this… a good one: Matt Zoller Seitz for Criterion.

Like an Oliveira film shot by Kaurismaki. Hilariously deadpan, and I was digging all the bold, formal framing, the editing games, the odd performances. Everyone has a clear, straight-ahead gaze while speaking, declaring their line then pausing just the right amount before the next line, reminding me of Sicilia!

And since I was enjoying watching the movie so much, and since I hadn’t read anything about it before watching, it snuck up on me late that it’s a version of my least favorite movie logline: cranky guy (Fabrizio Rongione, who I just saw as Riquet in Rosetta) is saddled with kid he barely knows, they go on road trip and learn stuff from each other.

Less dramatically captivating, his wife (Christelle Prot of every Eugène Green film) stays behind and visits Riquet’s sister, who suffers from fainting spells and is stressed that her brother is leaving soon to attend architecture school. At the end she feels better and Riquet’s horizons are broadened and he teaches the cranky guy the importance of light and everyone’s happy except me, but the first 80% of the movie looked fantastic so I can’t complain.

D. Ehrlich:

Combining the knowingly arch style of Abbas Kiarostami (whose Certified Copy towers over and belittles this film) with the didactically educational passion of your favorite art professor, La Sapienza alternately feels like a self-reflexive love story or a haunted history lesson—its best scenes play like both. Full of bright ideas but so unsure of how to humanize them (the film’s characters often feel like they’re simply supporting the structures they’re in, as wispy and translucent as the ghosts to which they’re constantly alluding), La Sapienza manages to effectively condemn modern life for its lack of memory.

The director as a wise Iraqi refugee:

V. Rizov:

For all this, La Sapienza is a pretty lovely film. Symmetricities are everywhere, starting with that opening architectural showreel, which deliberately avoids perfect symmetricity … In Alexandre and Goffredo’s slowly-warming-up relationship, there’s much talk of what purpose these buildings serve. The older man, a former builder of factories, wants to focus on anti-urbanist structures; his would-be student is even more utopian/regressive in his ideals, positive that architecture’s function is nothing less than to create spaces filled with people and light. The light will protect and inspire the people, who will complete the empty space, which is precisely the function they serve for Green. Rather than merely acting as reference points for scale, it’s the human presence (in the work itself and those standing within it) that makes architecture worth looking at.

Played the Locarno fest with Horse Money, The Princess of France, Listen Up Philip and winner From What Is Before.

A wordless montage of Gaudi architecture and artwork, beautiful and nostalgic of my time in Barcelona. Toru Takemitsu’s usually fine music score got too chiming and ethereal at times. Tiny bit of talking, first a half hour in, then over the climactic Sagrada Familia segment.

First, some Picasso in the square. Facing us: El fris dels Gegants

This is the first thing I always think about when I hear Gaudi’s name:

Sagrada Familia, distant view:

Criterion:

Gaudí’s structures, [Teshigahara] later said, “made me realize that the lines between the arts are insignificant. Gaudí worked beyond the borders of various arts and made me feel that the world in which I was living still left a great many possibilities.”

Wow, we didn’t go here:

The ol’ Parc Guell:

Sagrada Familia, inside view: