Posts

Showing posts from September, 2015

Kurasawa's "Rashomon" (1950) (6 on top 10)

Image
Rashomon, 1950

I originally reviewed this in 2010 fro Kurosawa's centennial. But I am rewriting some of it today, in 2014 so I'll link to this version from now on. (This film is no 6 on my top 10 greatest of all time).*
 In keeping with Wednesday's theme of God in other faiths and non-Christian cultures  I thought it would be appropriate to review one of Japan's greatest films, indeed one of the world's greatest films form Japan, by it's greatest director, Akira Kurasawa (March 23-1910-Sept 8, 1998). Kurasawa was trained in Japanese military school.That means he really learned how to fight like a Samurai with Bushido blade and Katana. He went on to become known for Samurai epics, Throne of Blood, (his version of Shakespire's Macbeth), Yojimbo, most especially The Seven Samurai that served as the prototype to Hollywood "The Magnificent Seven."  He also studied Western art and was adept in his understanding of Western painters and philosophy. He'…

Ingmar Bergman's "The Virigin Spring"

Image
no 5 on my top 10




Jungfrukällan (The Virigin Spring)
original story by Ulla Isaksson

Max von Sydow ... Töre
Birgitta Valberg ... Märeta
Gunnel Lindblom ... Ingeri
Birgitta Pettersson ... Karin
Axel Düberg ... Thin Herdsman
Tor Isedal ... Mute Herdsman
Allan Edwall ... Beggar
Ove Porath ... Boy
Axel Slangus ... Bridge Keeper
Gudrun Brost ... Frida
Oscar Ljung


The Virgin Spring won the Oscar for Best Foreign film in 1961. Bergman had just established himself as a film maker of international standing a couple of years before with his break out feature "Smiles of Summer Night," (1956) and followed it the next year with one of the finest films ever made (my true favorite) "The Seventh Seal" (1957). "The Virgin Spring" reinforced Bergman's greatness and established him for the 1960s as one of the major film makers of the time.

The film deals with theme of murder, revenge, theodicy. It's a fine commentary on the problem of pain and evil, havi…

"Wild Strawberries:" no 4 on my all time list, Review of Film by Ingmar Bergman

Image
Borg with three students

I first wrote this reveiw in 2010. This summer of 2014 I'm re-viewing all my favorite films for the summer. So I saw this one last night (today is friday the 13).

Derek Malcolm, writing for the Guardian UK (Thursday 10 June 1999 19.36 BST )
"The film I constantly go back to, however, is Wild Strawberries (1957), which, while scarcely a bag of laughs, has a compassionate view of life that best illustrates the more optimistic side of Bergman's puzzled humanity." I agree with Malcolm, I also go back to "Wild strawberries," (Smultronstalliet) again and again. In fact at one time I saw it as tying my favorite film of all times bar none, to two films equally loved, both by Bergman, "The Seventh Seal," and this one. It is not a bag of laughs but it does have a side of humor and though its about an old man at the end of his life it has a hopeful tone that looks to the future. It's not a he…

Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief

Image
no 3 in my 10 10 all time greats




Again, as with the other films I've been discussing, this is one of the greatest movies of all time. It's been honored more than almost any other movie of the 20th century. It was deemed the greatest film of all time by 1999 poll of filmakers and critics for Sight and Sound magazine [1] Honarary academy award in 1950, just four years after it came out. If anyone cares it's no  3 on my top 10 of all time.[2] I have mentioned Itallian neo-realism and how it important it was in the post war era. Fillini was famous for pulling away from it. This is the height of neo-realism.

The introduction t the Criterion collection says of neo-relaism:

The neorealist movement began in Italy at the end of World War II as an urgent response to the political turmoil and desperate economic conditions afflicting the country. Directors such as Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, and Luchino Visconti took up cameras to focus on lower-class characters and th…

Review, film review. La Dulce Vita by Federico Fellini

Image
La Dulce Vita (The good life), Federico Fellini (1960).   I am about the ten millionth person to review this film. I have nothing original to say about it, it's all coming from the commentary on the DVD plus what I've learned about Cinema over the years, but nevertheless I take great pleasure in discussing it. This is one of the greatest films ever made. It's clearly up there with Bergman's the Seventh Seal. It's going to be in the top ten of any critic worth his celluloid. It's number 2 in my top 10.* At first glance this might appear to be a banal look at a group of shallow play boy and play girl fashion model types form the late 50's who lived in Italy and had no thoughts in their heads. So what? I like to review great art films that have something to say about God, such as  Wild Strawberries, but what does this pack of refugees from the Italian version of "the Nanny" have to do with God? A lot actually, there's much more going on there tha…