I haven’t watched any movies this past week. School ends this week, so I’ve been busy working on papers and such. Ben, I hear you, when you’ve got so much writing to do for school, it’s hard to want to write anything else, even for something as enjoyable as film club. But, I have some free time right now between classes so I can post...
Lisa, I watched Waiting for Superman a couple months ago, and I would agree with you about all that you said. I’m horrible at judging or evaluating documentaries though. I enjoy most of the ones I see, just because for me it is like watching something on the History Channel. I’m not good at comparing documentaries to fictional films because I don’t see that much of a connection between them. I probably haven’t seen enough documentaries to know how to evaluate them fully though. Since you watch a lot of docs, I’ll use your word to know which ones are worth seeing.
Jason, you are completely free to not get Lynch or Godard (and any other director for that matter). It’s not even as if there is something to get with either of them. I think you either like em or you don’t, and either way is cool as long as you are honest. I like Lynch but understand not digging him. He’s a certain taste, like Tom Waits when it comes to music. And Godard is also a certain taste, but one I don’t necessarily buy into as much as others do. I like quite a few of his films (Band of Outsiders probably being my favorite) but I don’t adore him as a master the way I do other directors.
Brandon, definitely let us know about Summer People being in that film. That’s awesome!
We gotta hang as soon as I’m done with school. I’ll be around next weekend when ya’ll play Jarvis and Alex and Wally have their grad party. Should be a blast.
All Right, since I don't have any other movies to write about, here’s part one of my 2005 list. I only had time to finish half of it. The rest will come soon.
1. The New World (Malick)
Was there even a chance that this wouldn’t be number one? I’m glad this is our most agreed upon film. It’s one of those films that is so beautiful and dear to your heart that you aren’t even sure about sharing with others for fear that they might forsake it and hurt your feelings. This is easily the most beautiful film of the decade. A poetic ode to nature and existence. It’s almost mystical in its beauty. It’s like discovering some secluded waterfall deep in the jungle and bathing beneath its almost sacred drops. You are so thankful and aware of its presence and power. I love nature and appreciate it beyond words. This film oozes that same sentiment and evokes it with every glorious frame. I bet one could watch it silently (the same for all of Malick’s films) and still be floored by its poetry. But the narration is poetry itself too, and it augments the visual poetry. I bet with sound or without, it’s still a great experience.
Malick has made four masterpieces, and I expect after The Tree of Life I can definitively say five. I agree, those were some beautiful words you posted about Malick, Ben.
2. No Direction Home (Scorsese)
This is mostly a personal pick and favorite of mine. I love Bob Dylan. I could talk to you fluently about every one of his albums (even the lesser stuff from the 80s) and all the different chapters of his life. I was straight up obsessed with him in high school. I bought every movie and book on him that I could get my hands on. He’s still my favorite musician, and I believe he’s the greatest songwriter of all time. This is a wonderful introduction to his life and music. It’s also a wonderful introduction to the times he was living in and the great folk scene in Greenwich village in the 60s. It’s got incredible interviews with all sorts of great people including the man himself. It’s just a fascinating documentary about a really interesting guy and a really interesting time period in American history. Now let’s get a Part 2 for some of those years after the motorcycle accident.
3. Brokeback Mountain (Lee)
Another beautiful film that has only grown in stature after the death of the great Heath Ledger. It’s a heartbreaking love story that transcends the sexuality of its characters, but that doesn’t mean we should be blind to their homosexuality. The cultural mores about homosexuality are the reason these two characters can’t be together (or feel as if they aren’t allowed to). We should see that first and foremost (and understand how it is still working today), and then appreciate it for all its other great qualities. It’s an incredibly human story, that is told effectively and communicated with tenderness. I don’t care who picks on me for liking it. I’m a romantic first and foremost.
4. Paradise Now (Abu-Assad)
A haunting film that I couldn’t stop thinking about for days. The final image is difficult to get out of your head, merely for its suggestive power and abeyance. You just want to jump through the screen and put a stop to it all. You care about these characters (at least I did) and don’t want to see anyone get hurt. It’s a great film about relativity and persepective (something we desperately need in our increasingly black and white War on Terror world). It’s point isn’t simply that one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, but that both are still human. I think we tend to forget that behind all these terms, abstract notions, and political ideologies we have humans, plain and simple. Not monsters, not abominations, just humans.
5. Caché (Hanake)
This a very patient thriller. It’s not what you are expecting. I had to watch it twice to understand the level the film was working on. It requires a lot of attention because it is so elaborately and deliberately framed. It communicates a wealth of ideas if you are willing to sit through it. The title is basically spot on. An ostensibly simple mystery film with deeper meaning hidden and diffuse throughout it. I appreciate films like this, though I can imagine others might find them pretentious as hell. I don’t think this film is trying to be showy. It’s just trying to explore film as a medium and asking you to come along with it. It is done with great care, and that is something I always appreciate. This is a great film from Hanake. It isn’t didactic at all, but just mysterious and expertly crafted. The final image encapsulates everything that is great about this movie, and beautifully represents its objective.