Daily Archives: January 18, 2002

Alone on the Pacific

Kon Ichikawa’s odd and magisterial docudrama of 1963 (also known as My Enemy, the Sea), beautifully filmed in ‘Scope and color, follows the true adventures of a young Japanese who sailed a 19-foot yacht from Osaka to San Francisco over 94 days in 1962. Alternating between scenes of this journey and flashbacks showing the hero’s various preparations and his overall estrangement from his family, Ichikawa makes this story a fascinating and often comic study of obsession and a striking portrait of a solitary consciousness, full of graphic and compositional brilliance. 97 min. A new 35-millimeter print will be shown. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Wednesday, January 23, 6:00, 312-846-2800. … Read more »

A Touch of Class [GOSFORD PARK]

From the Chicago Reader (January 18, 2002). — J.R.

GosfordPark

**** (Masterpiece)

Directed by Robert Altman

Written by Julian Fellowes

With Eileen Atkins, Bob Balaban, Alan Bates, Charles Dance, Stephen Fry, Michael Gambon, Richard E. Grant, Derek Jacobi, Kelly Macdonald, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Northam, Clive Owen, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Emily Watson.

GosfordPark9

Critical consensus about any movie is impossible, but judging from end-of-the-year polls, Robert Altman’s Gosford Park is widely recognized as a masterpiece. Perhaps because the English period setting and the mainly English cast encouraged the septuagenarian Altman to curb many of his smart-alecky tendencies, he can finally be credited with something resembling a mature comedy-drama — that is to say, a measured and balanced one — for the first time since the 70s.

For all his many accomplishments, Altman sometimes doesn’t know when to stop underlining dramatic points, or exposing the silliness and vanity of his characters, or piling on miniplots. This makes it all the more impressive that he’s now given us a beautifully proportioned work in which 30 fairly well defined characters don’t seem excessive, most of the plot points aren’t hyped, and the director’s ridicule, while far from absent, isn’t allowed to dominate our own responses.… Read more »