Kind of ruins the Atlanta Film Festival to take a break from their offerings and watch a movie this good.

I don’t know much about Ireland vs. England but it looks like a bad scene. Bros Cillian and Teddy turn to rebellion after being terrorized by brits, then when their guy signs a peace agreement, Teddy joins the new government while Cillian keeps fighting. ‘ventually Ted kills his own brother.

Family vs. country / neighbor vs. neighbor thing plays out very effectively. Movie leaves me with my stomach burning. All shots of countryside are heartbreakingly wonderful. No death is taken lightly. Loach takes his “socialist realism” to a Serious Historical Topic and succeeds hilariously. Best picture at Cannes no duh. I’m only writing so little because I waited too long and have lost some details.

At first, seemed like a not-at-all-interesting re-enactment of the last battle to be fought on British soil, when some Scottish Highlanders attacked to get their leader “restored” to the throne. The highlanders lacked the will, experience, rest, nourishment, preparation, leadership or equipment for victory and were easily defeated.

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But then it gets interesting, as the British soldiers not only defeat the Scots on the field, but chase down all retreaters and kill them, kill their families, and just destroy everything in a brutal rampage. Seemingly even more critical of Britain than The War Game was. Watkins says he intended to draw parallels between the behavior of the British troops and that of US troops in Vietnam, which was going on at the time.

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Grainy and real looking, perfectly shot and acted, Watkins gets his point across easily. Like The War Game, not too long. Funny that the same guy should end up making such long movies (La Commune is 6 hrs, The Journey is over 14 hrs).

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Peter Watkins’ own account of the film:

I’m starting to think that everyone should see every Peter Watkins movie. Too bad I started Katy on The Gladiators, cuz now she probably won’t wanna see the rest.

A horrifying look at nuclear war. Should’ve been required viewing, but was instead banned from the airwaves for decades. Ho-hum.

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Short and to the point. Not only tells what might happen during a nuclear attack on Britain, but shows it, enacting the attack documentary-style.

Below: a homeowner discusses self-defense.

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A powerfully convincing movie against the bomb. Unfortunately also harshly critical of Britain and its policies, which I’m sure contributed to the film being banned for so long.

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Of course, Watkins’ own notes on the film are essential:

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Katy didn’t watch it, but probably should.

A motion-slideshow travelogue with narration, from the big squares and queen-attended events to the alleys and streams. The camera is always still, except once in a mall going up an escalator, I can’t imagine why.

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Some interesting photography, but mostly full of references I missed and shots of boring stuff. Didn’t enjoy much. Would only recommend for a few funny quotes, most of which are conveniently gathered here anyway. Sure made me not want to visit London.

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EDIT: Oops, I should’ve re-read the Cinema Scope article that got me renting this in the first place. Buncha stuff about Chris Marker and essay films, anyway.

Who ever would’ve thought that I’d like a movie about nuns as much as this. Fucking incredibly amazing movie, one of the best I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think that’s just because I’m kinda drunk. Need to see this again and again. Would kill to see it in the theater. Maybe next year, 60th anniversary and all. Oughtta watch it again simply because I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should’ve… but still, seems like an extremely worthwhile movie.

Nuns opening school/hospital in the mountains with “primitive” people and a gruff, attractive male neighbor. One, maybe more of them, loses her mind. Plot and character don’t really need to be discussed, not that I paid strict enough attention to them to be able to discuss anyway, but even though they’re pretty great themselves, it’s the visuals that make the thing a fucking masterpiece. Wanted to cry at the end.

I like how some of the most beautiful shots (in terms of scenery, staging) are also some of the most fakey (obvious sets + backgrounds). Little praying, if any – surprising for a nun movie. Better than Nazarin probably… gotta see Viridiana next.

Also: a cockatoo and an african grey – in the same shot!

The movie Carol Reed made between Odd Man Out and The Third Man. I’d never heard of it before it opened outta nowhere at the Landmark.

The Idol in question is Baines, the butler, and the Idolizer is Phillipe, a typical shrill young movie kid who says “Baines” a whole damned lot. Baines doesn’t kill his wife, but she falls down the stairs and dies. At the end, I’m not sure if the kid is covering for Baines, “growing up” by claiming to be telling the whole truth while consciously not mentioning that he thought he saw Baines kill his wife… OR if the kid is smart enough to realize he didn’t actually see Baines kill his wife, and to trust Baines even though he realizes Baines has lied to him in the past. So the kid’s either learning to lie or learning to trust despite others’ lies… either way, that’s what the movie’s about.

Baines is having an affair and preparing to leave his wife, and shows no grief at all when faced with his wife’s death in front of the cops. One of those movies where you can see that everyone’s problems come from hiding something important and that all their troubles would clear up if they’d just stop being so secretive. A lotta movies like that.

But then, also one of those movies where everyone (except the dead wife, who died quite by accident so let’s not worry about her) gets away without trouble, where the movie doesn’t force any undeserved consequences on its characters to teach us a harsh life lesson… not all “Quai des Orfevres” feelgood, but nice nonetheless.

Cool looking part when the kid runs through the streets, terrified of Baines and the death, meets a cop… just the right mixture of low angles and shadows. Gets very tense towards the end, with Baines pulling a gun alone in the basement, threatening to kill himself over the false murder accusation.

Good enough picture but low, crackly sound made it hard to understand dialogue. Glad I saw it, but not gonna be a repeat fave. Movies with shrill British kids as protagonists never are.