Daily Archives: January 7, 2008

States Of Unbelonging

After reading a news story about the death of another woman filmmaker, Revital Ohayon, during a terrorist attack on an Israeli kibbutz, experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs made this 2005 documentary, in which she exchanges thoughts about Ohayon with an Israeli friend, interviews members of the woman’s family, incorporates excerpts from Ohayon’s films, and shows her own children and home in the U.S. The film has many strengthsbeautiful shots, poetic insights, moving details, original modes of expressionbut with no unifying strategy, these elements often compete with or undermine one another. In English and subtitled Hebrew. 63 min. (JR)… Read more »

Architecture With A Twist

Two European documentaries from 2005 about the construction of two large, innovative, and controversial buildings. Fredrik Gertten’s 59-minute The Socialist, the Architect, and the Twisted Tower, in English and subtitled Swedish, concerns the Turning Torso, a residential high-rise by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava in Malmo; it has the more interesting subjectconflicts between class and aesthetic issuesbut the filmmaking is dull. Dutch director Mirjam von Arx’s 52-minute Building the Gherkinin English, about Norman Foster’s pickle-shaped office tower on the site of an IRA bombingis something of an industrial, but it’s an adept and entertaining one. (JR)… Read more »

The Face Of Another

I recoil from most allegorical films, so it’s hard to watch Hiroshi Teshigahara’s heavy collaborations with writer Kobo Abe and composer Toru Takemitsu. Yet the third of their efforts (1966) is more palatable than its predecessors (Pitfall, Woman in the Dunes) because its philosophical focus and thrillerlike story overpower the allegory, allowing Teshigahara’s eclectic mix of styles and forms to move beyond artiness. The embittered victim of an industrial accident (Tatsuya Nakadai), who has to hide his scarred face in bandages and has been rejected sexually by his wife (Machiko Kyo), gets fitted with a lifelike mask that encourages him to try to seduce her as a stranger. Though the story becomes almost as overloaded with ideas as Pitfall, the theme is brilliantly and imaginatively explored, and the acting is potent. In Japanese with subtitles. 124 min. (JR)… Read more »