Saturday, 7 December 2013

November 2013

1. Angel’s Egg (Mamoru Oshii, 1985/Japan) [Rewatch]
2. The Great White Silence (Herbert G. Ponting, 1924/UK)
3. Mawaru Penguindrum (Kunihiko Ikuhara, 2011/Japan)
4. Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974/France) [Rewatch]
5. The Falls (Peter Greenaway, 1980/UK) [Rewatch]
6. The White Dove (Frantisek Vlácil, 1960/Czechoslovakia) 
7. The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963/UK-USA) 
8. The Marriage of Maria Braun (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1979/West Germany) 
9. My Way Home (Miklós Jancsó, 1965/Hungary) 
10. Chronicle of Ann Magdalena Bach aka. Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach 
(Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, 1968/West Germany)
11. Noisy Requiem (Yoshihiko Matsui, 1988/Japan) 
12. The Brute (Luis Buñuel, 1953/Mexico) 
13. Sicilia! (Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, 1999/France-Italy-Switzerland) 
14. Takeshis’ (Takeshi Kitano, 2005/Japan) 
15. Brain Damage (Frank Henenlotter, 1988/USA) 
16. The River (Jean Renoir, 1951/France-India-USA) 
17. Space Adventure Cobra (Osamu Dezaki, 1982/Japan) [Rewatch]
18. Josef Kilian aka. Postava k podpírání
(Pavel Jurácek and Jan Schmidt, 1963/Czechoslovakia)
19. The Steel Helmet (Samuel Fuller, 1951/USA) 
20. Decoder (Muscha, 1984/West Germany)

Honorable Mentions: Vertical Features Remake (Peter Greenaway, 1978/UK) [Rewatch] / Sympathy for the Devil (Jean-Luc Godard, 1968/UK) [Rewatch] / Celluloid Man (Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, 2012/India) / Farewell to the Ark (Shuji Terayama, 1984/Japan) / The Awful Dr. Orlof (Jesus Franco, 1962/France-Spain) / That Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Buñuel, 1977/France-Spain) [Rewatch] / Chocolat (Claire Denis, 1988/Cameroon-France-West Germany) / The Heisters (Tobe Hooper, 1964/USA)

An interesting month of films where reality questions itself. A search for God. Internal reality is pushed to the outside until it animates the whole reality. Characters end up participating in the stories they've been watching through magical boiled sweets. Art represents ones internal emotions. Art takes down a whole society. Documentary is able to make real the journey of incredibly brave men in the South Pole. An American forest and pre-existing footage makes up the Korean War. Outer space is a cosmic journey but reality as it is as abstract, whetever its excepting the past (Mawaru Penguindrum), dealing with the present (Noisy Requiem), through drug pushing worms (Brain Damage) or just trying to figure out the absurdity of it all (Takeshis' and Josef Kilian). Reality as it exists is just as important because of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and through Jean Renoir's The River and all the extra shorts that came with it depicting India, and Claire Denis's debut film, the world and many cultures stand tall even over colonialism. And the colonialists try to find their purpose too. Penguins are running around the place and people are turning into birdmen. Men forget even that they are "Me" while one man did everything he could to prevent Indian cinema being forgotten, getting his day in the sun in a film of his own about films, even to the point that pirating film reels is seen as a necessity in preservation and education. And on the opposite coin, Peter Greenaway proves the documents and archivists can completely miss the point of what they're supposed to be doing, with typo errors that archivist P.K. Nair would have found unforgivable if he encountered them. 

There are disappointments, the great hope of Lav Diaz failing me when Century of Birthing (2011) merely makes the mistakes that a Celine and Julie Go Boating doesn't in depicting the structure of reality, but there are highs, not only animated or in colour, or with ridiculous bad English kung fu dialogue, but with a whole part of the month entirely in monochrome as seen in the images above. Inexplicably I ended up watching promotional football DVDs. My first North Korean film, propaganda and all, makes sense digging into the world, but the football DVDs I can't explain. Nor am I explaining why I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles singing awful Christmas songs with Jamaican accents, that could cause reggae as a genre to punch the creators of this concept in the face. Any guilty pleasures? Not really but it was a month where the female nudity was gratuitous at points, real and hand drawn, which could be seen as shameful if I didn't give up being "respectable" and just excepted it all. Most of it was silly at its best, or tiring at its worst. Anything truly awful? When animation just gets scuzzy in a disturbing way (Jinki:Extend (2005)), without even needing nudity, ninja turtles butchering Christmas, and in Curse of Chucky (2013), horror cinema completely lost from its original artistry and sense of ghoulishness. Trick Or Treat (1986) would be another example, proving it was losing the plot as a genre back in the eighties, but that film at least had Ozzy Osbourne. Jess Franco and Robert Wise ended up having to rescue the genre this month.

November has passed, scored by the glam noise of  Kanye West's Black Skinheads, and it'll soon be 2014. Christmas is arriving but that's not going to lead to a succession of bad Xmas movies. If its to be, it'll be like stepping into the world of Santa Claus (1959), the Mexican film, a gaudy, strange existence of giant sets, red lipped computers and dancing devils. That way it'l be somewhat more entertaining.

63 Works Watched In November
14 Rewatched Works
49 New Works Seen


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