film love pt 25/01/2012
When I was sixteen I enrolled into a college film class to learn more about "the cinema". I was much too infantile at the time to follow-through with tests and strict guidelines, but it cemented my interest in finding films which spoke to me. I devoured many as a teenager, when I had no schedule and a relentless desire for varied representations of human nature. I've loved so many: the novelties, the classics, the bizarre- but only a few have really impacted me. My first list can be found here and the second continues:
Ma Nuit chez Maud (My Night at Maud's) by Éric Rohmer
At first I was captivated by the beautiful Jean-Louis Trintignant. Then it was the conversations about life, love, and contentious philosophies that only the French could explore with vigor. There are many profound observations which make way for humor, and the volatility of relationships is well captured. It was filmed during the late 1960s in France, when many other directors were perhaps more interested in style over substance. Conversations between people are at the forefront, providing a nostalgic feel, as though you were there with them. There are many other tales in Éric Rohmer's catalog but this is my favorite.
Summer with Monika by Ingmar Bergman
Most of the Ingmar Bergman films that I love are quite severe, but Summer with Monika has a naive exuberance that sets itself apart from the rest of his work. I saw this in a theater many years ago with my sister, which allowed me to pay particularly close attention to the sights and sounds within. Sometimes it feels impossible to give a film its deserved attention, as I'm always distracted! Monika is wild and spends the summer with her boyfriend, in a boat on the archipelago of Sweden. She seems like a savage at times or like a regular teenager. It's deeply affecting, at times too real and makes you long for a wild summer.
Cría Cuervos by Carlos Saura
Sometimes I dream that I was as cool as Ana Torrent as a child, but it's just not true. She's always deep in thought and imagining an entire world around her that simply does not exist. It's true in both the Spirit of the Beehive and Cría Cuervos. Although the film is heavy-handed at times, there is a playfulness in everything due to the children's innocent perceptions and a very memorable interlude of Jeanette's "Porque te Vas". It is an instant classic.
Spellbound by Alfred Hitchock
I've mentioned what a big Hitchcock fan I am in the past; I could probably do a whole post on his films alone! Spellbound is from 1945, about ten years before some of his most famous films and has Gregory Peck in it. When I first saw it I couldn't believe that such a gorgeous man existed in those days, and I kind of wish I could travel back in time to have witnessed it myself. There's an incredible dream sequence in the film that was designed by Salvador Dali, so it's certainly unlike any other film.
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Stroszek and many more by Werner Herzog
It's difficult to pinpoint which Herzog films that I prefer the most, as they tend to be quite bizarre and very reminiscent of each other. The separation is clear, but they belong to each other as a group. Herzog has such unique narrative; sometimes I wish we all spoke in such a literary tone, although it would be incredibly taxing. The stories he portrays focus on grandeur, human naïveté and even failure, but all include a purposeful insight into basic stories. Many unexpected smiles erupt, like when I saw the scene with the baby above!
La Jetée by Chris Marker
La Jetée is loosely considered a film, if only because it's essentially a 28-minute sequence of still photographs. As soon as it begins, the narration guides you through an incredible tale and you forget that it is not a traditional film, in fact it is irrelevant. Chris Marker manages to describe a complex story with the help of profound images, that is part science fiction and part love story. It revels in a lot of concepts which I love, such as the fascination with the past and of affecting memories. It feels pure and otherworldly at times, which is why it influenced me greatly.
White Christmas by Michael Curtiz
This probably seems like an out-of-place choice considering the previous few, or the fact that it's May and not Christmas. It's a testament to how great the film is, especially since I usually abhor musicals. This is one of the exceptions (and Grease of course)! An element of nostalgia ties me to it, since as a kid I had very few television channels and this was always on. It's been a tradition of ours to watch it every Christmas, but some years ago I put it on throughout the year and it still made me so content.