Castello Cavalcanti (2013, Wes Anderson)

Cute – Schwartzmann is a racecar driver who happens to crash in his ancestral village then decides to slow down and hang out for a while.

Aningaaq (2013, Jonas Cuaron)

The other side of a radio conversation Sandra Bullock has in Gravity, with a man in the icy wilderness who doesn’t understand her. It’s fun as a companion short but gets all its emotional weight from the Gravity recall.

Stephane Mallarme (1968, Eric Rohmer)

A visit with a typical pretentious french poet. Or I can’t tell if he’s pretentious since the spoken interview is translated but his written poetry excerpts are not. It’s all starting to seem odd, when the “documentary” short ends and the credits tell me Jean-Marie Robain (of Melville’s Le Silence de la Mer) played the poet, who died in 1898.

“In a society without cohesion, without stability, it’s impossible to create stable, definitive art.”

Weed (1996, Fatih Akin)

A corny-assed comedy starring Akin with Counting Crows hair, who tries to impress his new dance-club friends by claiming he has amazing weed at home, which he does not. So in order not to get killed once the lie has spun out of control, he brings them weeds from the garden, which they smoke and find to be amazing, because potheads have no standards I guess.

More slight than I would’ve thought possible from Akin after seeing his The Edge of Heaven. Injured chef Zinos runs a simple restaurant for locals, hires his fuckup paroled brother (Moritz Bleibtreu, Lola’s boyfriend in Run Lola Run) and a fancypants chef from the city (Birol Unel, star of Head-On), has a troubled long-distance relationship with his girl. Can they save the restaurant from the idiot brother, a scheming realty developer, health inspectors, their customers and themselves? Kind of. Loosely inspired by the life of lead actor Adam Bousdoukos, who ran a restaurant during the making of Head-On.

Nice to have a laptop full of movies on the plane. I’d loaded up on drowsy motion-sickness pills so instead of falling asleep in the middle of a feature (as I did with The Grand Duke’s Finances) I took a bunch of shorts. The first four are from the 2004 compilation Visions of Europe.

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Europe Does Not Exist (Christoffer Boe)
A large businessman (actor from The Celebration) tries to pronounce the word “europe” with the help of a hot woman, I’m not sure why. Boe made the art-drama Reconstruction the year before this.
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It’ll Be Fine (Laila Pakalnina)
Each scene a person or a few stand faces the camera for a not-fixed period of time, then finally nod and walk off. Some vaguely unsettling music and sci-fi soud fx. Europe! Director is an award-winning Latvian.
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Die alten bösen Lieder (Fatih Akin)
Idel Üner sings about about the death of old evil songs in an empty theater while a guy who may be FM Einheit drills something and hammers a giant spring. B/W music video with a color scene. Interesting, but over my head if it had a point.
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Cold Wa(te)r (Teresa Villaverde)
Illegal immigrants, I’m guessing – being rounded up on the shore (alive and dead) and processed by the authorities. Wordless, quiet, slow-motion. Not crazy about this one. Villaverde is Portuguese, has a film called Os Mutantes.
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Love Exists (1960, Maurice Pialat)
“Deep in my memory, a train passes by just like in the movies. Memories and films are filled up with objects we dread.” You have to read the subtitles loosely – translation seems off. Present-tense empty landscapes accompany wistful music and a wistful narrator speaking of childhood memories from these places. I think it’s really easy to use cinema to express nostalgia. I won’t hold it against Pialat – still looking forward to checking his À nos amours and Naked Childhood. Gives way to distopian dread over the suburbs: “Again and again advertising prevails over reality.”
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Charlotte et son Jules (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)
Translated as “Charlotte and her lover” for some reason. Girl (Anne Collette, returning from Charlotte et Véronique but not Charlotte and her steak) walks into Jean-Paul Belmondo’s apartment to jaunty music and he never stops talking for 12 minutes, essentially “I know why you left me, I knew you’d come back, I know why you’re back, I don’t need you, I do need you,” and when she finally gets a chance to speak it’s “I came back to pick up my toothbrush.” Godardian hilarity! Gérard Blain (of Truffaut’s Les Mistons) waits for her in the car. These last two movies were on that DVD “Their First Films,” alongside Resnais’s Le Chant du styrene and Rivette & Chabrol’s Le Coup du Berger
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