Not the new feature, but the director’s early gay art film, before the technical innovation of sync dialogue. Definitely connected to the new film – one doctor’s body keeps growing mysterious organs – the word “secretions” appears often.

“I am Adrian Tripod, the director of this place, the House of Skin. In a sense, my present incarnation was generated by the mad dermatologist Antoine Rouge. The House of Skin began its existence as a residential clinic for wealthy patients who were treated for severely pathological skin conditions induced by contemporary cosmetics.”

Most of the the women in Canada are dead from Rouge’s Malady. Our narrator reports that mad prophet Antoine Rouge had disappeared after seizing control, the House now fallen into the hands of two interns. Our guy visits the Institute of Neo-Venereal Disease and spends a good amount of time giving foot rubs, is later invited to join a pedophile conspiracy worshipping underground spheres.

I’d seen this before – I think it was a bootleg VHS alongside Stereo – mainly leaving an impression from the architecture and the way it’s presented, which I still think about. The color of the HD restoration is really great, and the ideas are groovy, so I was being generous while watching, telling myself “the movie is not long and slow, the sound loops are not annoying,” but it is and they are. Glad to revisit it anyway – anticipation is very high for the new one.

I know we have to be precious about everything now, and make time in our redlining documentaries for a guy to play a flute solo, but it’s sometimes nice to choose a topic, do the research, and put out a well-edited interview/narrator doc about that topic and how it fit into the history and culture. It’s also nice to take a thing whose name is synonymous with failure and close your doc with women who say they loved the failed thing, and it was the best thing in their lives, and you believe them and it makes you love it too. The topic here was a complex of high-rise low-income housing in St. Louis, which would’ve been great if it’d stayed 1956 forever, but instead turned into a Colossal Youth ghost story mixed with a The Wire crime scene, before being demolished in 1972.

Having a rough week, I considered pulling out the emergency relief film, Paddington 2, but Brian Dennehy had just died, and I’d long wanted to see it, so chose to watch the movie about a man in constant pain whose professional and personal life falls apart until he commits suicide – great fuckin’ idea.

Composer Wim Mertens does a serviceable Michael Nyman impression – or maybe that was Glenn Branca, one of his few film credits. Architect Dennehy is in Rome with wife Louisa (Chloe Webb, just off starring in Sid & Nancy) outlining the exhibition he’s preparing on an obscure French architect. Webb is pregnant, and having a blatant affair with Lambert Wilson, who is also stealing money and discrediting Dennehy so he can take over the exhibition, and whose photographer sister Stefania Casini (Jessica Harper’s murdered friend in Suspiria) is trying to seduce Dennehy. I like how Dennehy finds her room full of photographs of previous scenes, as if whenever Casini is offscreen, she’s filming the movie we’re watching.

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:


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: