Daily Archives: December 20, 2016

My Lists for Indiewire, 2016

My lists for Indiewire, submitted before I saw La La Land, Fire at Sea, 20th Century Women, and Passengers (among others). — J.R.

paterson-couple

Best Film:

1. Paterson
2. Cemetery of Splendour
3. Everybody Wants Some!!
4. Moonlight
5. Arrival
6. The Love Witch
7. Indignation
8. Hell or High Water
9. Certain Women
10. Miles Ahead

Moonlight
Best Director:

1. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
2. Richard Linklater, Everybody Wants Some!!
3. Jim Jarmusch, Paterson
4. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Cemetery of Splendour
5. Anna Biller, The Love Witch

Elle-Isabelle-Huppert

Best Actress:

1. Isabelle Huppert, Elle

HellorHighWater-1

Best Actor:

1. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

nicholsmay1

Best Documentary:

1. Becoming Mike Nichols
2. I Am Not Your Negro
3. OJ: Made in America
4. The Thoughts That We Once Had
5. Cameraperson

La-mort-deLouisXIV

Best undistributed film:

1. The Death of Louis XIV
2. Scarred Hearts
3. John From

indignation-sundance-20161

Best first feature:

1. Indignation (also best screenplay)

 

 … Read more »

2 or 3 Things I Know About Demy

Written for a retrospective catalog devoted to Jacques Demy, published by the San Sebastian International Film Festival, September 15-24, 2011. — J.R.

“Braque, Picasso, Klee, Miro, Matisse….C’est ça, la vie.”–- Maxence in Les Demoiselles de Rochefort

“Life is disappointing, isn’t it?”

–- Kyoko in Tokyo Story

1

I’ve never come across any critical discussion of common traits in the separate films of Jacques Demy and Agnès Varda, who lived together for three decades. Their oeuvres are in fact quite different and distinct from one another, but one striking characteristic they share as filmmakers is their preoccupation with indexing and cross-referencing their own works within their own films.

In chronicling and excerpting her own previous work, Varda’s Les Plages d’Agnès (2008) brings this tendency to a climax, but her DVD containing Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse (2000) and its sequel, Deux Ans Après, already formalizes and optimizes this tendency — which can be traced within and between some of her previous films — by allowing one to leap via one’s remote control from a character in the former documentary to the same person being filmed two years later (or vice versa). In a comparable spirit, Demy transplants Cécile/Lola (Anouk Aimée), the title heroine of his first feature (1960), from Nantes to Los Angeles in his fifth feature, Model Shop (1968), after having had her killed offscreen in Rochefort in his fourth feature, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1966).… Read more »

Eruptions and Disruptions in the House of Lava

Written for the Second Run DVD of Pedro Costa’s Casa de Lava, released in the U.K. in 2012, and developed from separate articles in the Chicago Reader, November 15, 2007, and the Portuguese collection cem mil cigarros: OS FILMES DE PEDRO COSTA, edited by Ricardo Matos Cabo, Lisboa: Orfeu Negro, 2009. — J.R.

casa-dvd4

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cinema of Pedro Costa is populated not so much by characters in the literary sense as by raw, human essences — souls, if you will. This is a trait he shares with other masters of portraiture, including Robert Bresson, Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Demy, Alexander Dovzhenko, Carl Dreyer, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, and Jacques Tourneur. It’s not a religious predilection but rather a humanist, spiritual, and aesthetic tendency. What carries these mysterious souls, and us along with them, isn’t stories — though untold or partially told stories pervade all of Costa’s features. It’s fully realized moments, secular epiphanies.

Born in Lisbon in 1959, Costa grew up, by his own account, without much of a family. Speaking about O sangue, his first feature, he admitted that there was a personal aspect in his concentration on the incomplete family in that film “because I never really had a family.… Read more »