I have watched THE TREE OF LIFE again. Words do it no justice. Easily among the finest films of the last 30 years and the current benchmark for the still nascent decade. There is THE TREE OF LIFE and then there is everything else. Of this I am convinced.
Brandon - I really enjoyed reading your quiz. I have such a cursory knowledge of horror that I couldn’t do the same quiz with any justice or insight. But, I like the HOUR OF THE WOLF shout-out. If you do decide to do a horror list at some point, then I’d be really interested to read it. I’d also be really interested to read a horror list by Jason. I’m afraid I can’t offer anything other than a generic list one could find anywhere else. But I will say that I enjoy the horror genre very much so. I love watching the classics from the golden age and even the sort of new wave horror in the 60s and 70s. I’m afraid that I am not really interested in modern horror films (28 DAYS LATER and ANTICHRIST are some few exceptions), but I’m always on the look-out. And I’ll use you and Jason as guides for this. You horror fans need to bear the cross for the rest of us!
EYES WITHOUT A FACE is a real gem. It has legitimate Gothic creepiness, but also this deep poetic tenderness. I would wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote. The Val Lewton films have this same understanding of the importance of atmosphere and humanity. I mean, you say it all here:
“So yeah, this is one of the great ones, a horror picture that knows the importance of atmosphere. It also knows and heeds to the importance of humanity, drawing us in only to tear us down. It’s not cruel; it just knows that the only way to end well is to end. It’s not above the genre and it doesn’t seek to somehow improve it but Franju had no interest in tracing lines. We’ve talked about revolutionary cinema, well here it is.”
I might need to borrow it, so I can talk about it more specifically (only saw it once). But from what I remember, I loved it and agree completely.
You’re right also, what a lovable bunch of rag-tags in THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. They have an inherent sense of adventure, which makes their encounter with the alien more of a game than a outright attack. They are facing a behemoth and are cornered, but they know how to play defense and offense as a unit–the alien really stands no chance. But, boy, that first appearance by the alien is really something, isn’t it?
Chris, Bunuel is my hero, but you already know this. And one simply cannot get enough David Lean. A class act all around and a born storyteller. Let's make every night a Lean night!
Ben, I haven’t read any Paul Auster, but I am curious about this book now. I’ve really loved BORED TO DEATH so far this season. The three leads just interplay so well together. They are hysterical, but also really tender. Talk about camaraderie.
I'm still jealous of your having seen MELANCHOLIA. But the rest of us are gonna band together and do something about this soon.