Cloudless Blue Egress of Summer (2019, Sky Hopinka)

Split screen (sorry, “two-channel”) film, water and sky giving way to drawings and stories (text on screen, and one stereo channel reading the text aloud). Sounds academic, but really cool in the way Hopinka’s films tend to be.

Kicking the Clouds (2022, Sky Hopinka)

Interviewer’s mother talks about language for a while then gives greater family context, the camera showing beadwork, people from a distance, ground and trees, poetry, and of course clouds.

We Need New Names (2015, Onyeka Igwe)

This covers a lot of ground: racial and gender difference, family history and belonging, tradition and its meaning. Clips from black/white archival films of African dance, and modern video of different dance, each of them tourist-docs the way the narrator is removed from the rituals she sees, including dancing pallbearers at her grandmother’s funeral (who reportedly died at age 103 – mom says that’s not true “but I think you should leave that alone”).

Crocus (1971, Suzan Pitt)

Mom and kid move with awkward paper-doll joints, sliding all over the floor, which is better than dad, who moves with no joints at all, like a he-man figure with a gigantic cock. When the adults finally get down to it, the camera spins around them, then various suggestive objects fly through the room and out the window.

Lili Reynaud-Dewar

In Montreal we checked out a three-part exhibit of her solo works, including a room with a four-screen re-enactment of Pasolini’s final interview with rotating participants reading the same lines, the rare multi-channel video piece that really worked for me. In a larger room was a parallel array of screens showing 30-some dance videos made over a decade – some of which are on vimeo, so I got screenshots.

4:3, excellent color, trendy arthouse long takes, unusual sound mix. Great looking/sounding, reminds of Jauja. Per the commentary, the trajectory of the long takes were designed to mirror cycles of life.

She is Mantoa, is told her son has died (in her introduction scene, the movie’s best), and that the town will be resettled and a dam built. Enter a low-voiced narrator, and another entry in the “rural woman goes to the city and deals w bureaucracy” genre, more enjoyable at least than A Gentle Creature. Her house burns down. A kid dies. It is a burial, pretty much.

Our seventh True/False. Travel is exhausting, so we took Thursday off and started early on Friday… earlier than musician Cemone James, who arrived late. Seems like only her guitarist and keyboardist were awake. The movie is a quite long and rambling montage of archive footage, still photos, video, film, computer map imagery, and radio broadcasts. Protests and strikes, neverending for decades, trying to be able to live and thrive in their own land. At one point Touré nicely sums it up, panning over the photos and posters covering the wall of his room, saying “life is a struggle” again and again and again. He stays in France, spends a few months a year back in Mali. Between protests he became a photographer and hung out with Med Hondo. He died in early 2022, his close collaborator Grisey finishing the film.

Way more colors, in more places, than ever appeared in Rafiki.

Piles of e-waste merging with society in the nearby towns…

Inspired by Cemetery of Splendour

The Q&A: “Technology is a reflection of human consciousness… we are the technology.”

Need to watch again with Katy, in a more alert state, but this was an extremely cool movie to be drowsy with, and the excellent director(s) Q&A afterward lasted almost as long as the movie.

Miller has made an interesting movie out of typical prestige drama material by not shooting this in a typically prestige-drama manner. It looks Little Shop sound-stagey, with big cartoon Lost Children close-ups and boss scene transitions.

DC family’s beloved son starts having violent outbursts, they’re told it’s a fatal degenerative brain disease with no treatment, so the dad goes from support groups to library research to medical conferences to hiring labs to make custom experimental drugs, earning his son twenty extra years of life through the resulting treatments. Intro scene in East Africa pays off when they invite L’s protective buddy Omouri to help out towards the end (Nolte balks: “We can not bring an African to this racist country”).

All the nominations went to Sarandon and the writers, but all the awards went to Emma Thompson and The Crying Game. No noms for Nolte, who can’t do much to elevate the movie while saddled with an Italian accent.

The opener was Little Mazarn feat. Thor Harris, a 3-piece with xylophone, keyboard, banjo, accordion, saw and loop pedals. A Personal Journey movie, gradually revealing the director’s own youthful voyage paralleling his current one. On reaching Bamako, Young Ike decided Morocco and Algeria sound dangerous and diverted to Gambia, but this time he pushes through to Morocco (Thor drumming his feet on the wood theater floor in time to the Moroccan music) and meets two women determined to cross over to Spain. The voiceover is usually plainly descriptive – he aims for poetry and time-collapsing poignancy and doesn’t quite get there.

A good haunted house movie, much scarier than the 1970’s one, with some good demons and a new twist: the couple can’t move out of the extremely ghost-filled house because they’re Sudanese refugees who barely survived a treacherous boat ride that killed their daughter, and have been placed here by the government, their only chance to stay in Britain. He’s Sope Dirisu of the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel, and she’s Wunmi Mosaku of Lovecraft Country and the Wyatt Russell episode of Black Mirror. Ghosts in the house, crows in the walls and thugs outside, nowhere to hide. When he’s scraping off all the wallpaper and pulling out the wiring, and she’s trapped in the maze of their housing complex, I start wondering if they died at sea and England is hell, but they’ve got other secrets: their “daughter” was a girl they kidnapped to get preferential treatment while escaping. But instead of hell-vengeance, the wife kills the witch and they patch up the walls to please the housing people, and try to live in relative harmony with their racist neighbors and house full of spirits.

Wife, husband…

and daughter:

Danish Ulrich watches The Red Chapel, agrees with Mads that the movie didn’t find a smoking gun against N Korea, so Ulrich joins the Danish Korean Friendship Society (“a fairly depressing group of people”), befriends the Korean Friends global leader Alejandro (who was a guide for Mads group in Red Chapel and still holds a grudge), visits N Korea regularly as a mole for ten years, bringing in Mads, who hires spies to help. They invent Mr. James, a rich international man of mystery, who would be open to making drug and weapons deals, and soon they’re being asked to transport bombs to Syria, and being sold a Ugandan island for an underground weapons factory (kicking all residents off the island is included in the cost).

I watched Red Chapel in an airport, so it only seemed right that I watch this one in the same place. It nicely unites the other Mads movies: Africa, Korea, int’l crimes, Danish men on a mission. Mole records every damn conversation and gets away with it. Closing text says the UN is investigating, but whatcha gonna do.

Photojournalist Jack Nicholson isn’t having a great time in Saharan Africa, sees an opportunity and grabs it, stealing the identity of his suddenly deceased hotel neighbor, the only other white guy in town. Jack’s abandoned wife Jenny Runacre (The Final Programme, Jarman’s Jubilee) investigates, while Jack faithfully follows the dead guy’s appointment book, even after learning that he was an arms dealer, and meets the same fate as the guy he’s impersonating, though he gets to hang out with Maria Schneider along the way.

Maria, Jack, Gaudi:

Thought I’d seen this a long time ago, but maybe I’ve confused it with The Conformist again. MA: “Actually, the entire story takes place in a short period of one day, from early morning until some time before sunset” – that’s not true, it’s set in four countries and we see a UK newspaper article about Jack’s death in Africa, and we see Jack’s appointments spread across a week in the book. Maybe he meant as the film was originally written. The fourth movie I’ve seen in the last few years to play in the 1975 competition at Cannes. Argh, the execution footage in this wasn’t faked.

Las Ramblas: