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Archive for October, 2009

Here’s a new short film by Spike Jonze that Scott put me onto. Bizarre and brilliant in equal measure.

Whatever you thought of Kanye West after his recent outburst, he does a pretty good job here as himself.

There will be moments where you will be tempted to stop watching this piece, but I encourage you to persist to the end. Something special.

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This movie almost always gives me a sizable lump in the throat. Probably because i’m a sad old geezer.

Personally, I think it is the most consistently great Francois Truffaut film. Truffaut was a founding member of the French New Wave of the 1960s, alongside such other luminaries as Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette.

“Antoine and Colette” is a half-hour short film Truffaut made in 1962. It continues the adventures of Antoine Doinel, the main protagonist from Truffaut’s highly praised 1959 feature film, “The 400 Blows”.

The film follows Antoine as he seeks the affections of a girl. He takes her to the movies. He moves from one apartment to another in order to be closer to the girl and her family. He eats dinner with the family. He takes her to a concert recital.

But this film is about unrequited teenage love. And a sad business it is. Feel the pain. Let the tears flow.

The last two minutes of this piece are poignant and almost too much. But therein the genius lies.

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Chris Marker is one of the most interesting film directors of the post-war period. He is a frenchman with a penchant for meditations on memory. This is his most famous piece. He would go on to make another great film in 1983, “Sans Soleil”.

“La Jetee” is a 28 minute science fiction film. It is entirely comprised of still photos, which makes it feel far more contemplative than most movies.

Terry Gilliam’s “Twelve Monkeys” starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis would use Marker’s film as a central inspiration. In many ways it is a Hollywood remake of “La Jetee”. But they are also very different works.

I remember (ha) seeing this film back-to-back with Dali’s “Un Chien Andalou” back in the late nineties, and this film haunted me for years afterwards. Beautiful. Back in 1966, highly rated film critic Pauline Kael described it as “very possibly the greatest science-fiction movie yet made”.

I don’t know if this reputation could still be bestowed upon “La Jetee”, but if you don’t like this movie I may not be able to talk to you again.

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