Showing posts from 2015

My Review:Sansho the Balif, by Kenji Mizoguchi

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi Mizoguchi (May 16, 1898 – August 24, 1956) is perhaps the most Japanese of Japan's great directors. Kurosawa was known for being influenced by the West, and Ozu known for being a Japanese purist mizoguchi was even more so."His films have an extraordinary force and purity. They shake and move the viewer by the power, refinement and compassion with which they confront human suffering."(Mark Le Fanu Mizoguchi and Japan, London: BFI Publishing, 2005, p.1) The story is written by Fuji Yahiro, Yoshikata Yoda. Cast Cast overview, first billed only: Kinuyo Tanaka ... Tamaki Yoshiaki Hanayagi ... Zushiô

Federico Fillini's I Vitelloni

  Federico Fellini, "I Vitelloni-"1953. This a great film, it's a fine film and it occupies an important place in the history of art cinema. It's not like I've said before, of the Bresan film, eat your vegetables (watch a tedious film) so you can grow up to be a strong cinefile, this is more pleasurable to watch than that. The major achievement of post war European cinema was Italian Neo-realism. This was the European answer to American film Noir. It preceded French "New Cinema." It's hall mark was the squalor of post war Italy, the dark earthy sets and dark earthy  women and degradation (such " the Bicycle Theif . " Vittorio De Sica "  Fellini was to emerge from the 50's as one of Italy's most important film makers and one of the greats of world cenima. But in the early 50's he was still struggling with one  bomb after another. This film was no exception. It was a failure at the box office, but I think with it

Review: Cleo from 5 to 7

Review by James Bratone Cleo from 5 to 7 1962, written and directed by Agnes Varda Cleo Victoire is a young, successful pop singer in Paris with hit singles playing regularly on the radio. She is beautiful, rich, has a successful boyfriend and even a personal assistant. But things are not what they seem. She is ill with what she dreads to be cancer. In fact, as the film opens, she is awaiting test results from the hospital that might confirm her fears. The results are due at 7 pm. and the action starts at 5; the film follows Cleo for those two hours. We watch her virtually moment by moment as she awaits the news that could indicate her imminent death. Two hours of her life are presented in an hour and a half, almost cinema verite style, each episode of ten minutes or so presented as a chapter with a title and the time interval in which the episode occurs, so we are continually reminded of the quickly approaching 7 pm. The first chapter finds her consulting a fortu

Review: Tokyo Story by Yasuirô Ozu

Kurosawa is the Western Japanese film Genius, Ozu is Japan's Japanese director. Kurosawa was criticized by critics in Japan as being too Western (in which he took pride--even though he was trained as a samurai). Ozu was one who was hailed by critics of his own country as epitomizing their own style and flavor of film. What that means for the western film buff is long and boring! Not to say the film is no good. It's an excellent film, it deserves to be thought of as up there with Bergman's Wild Strawberries , and Di Sica's the Bicycle Thief , some have said it's one of the greatest films ever made. But Western viewer beware! To get the point where you enjoy and appreciate this film you are going to have to learn to love films where nothing happens. The true Japanese spirit of film is a long ambling slice of life that takes forever to unwind. Once you stick through it all the way it's rewarding, but it's getting there that's the trouble. Another gre

Ingmar Bergman's Winter Light. (1963)

  Gunnar Björnstrand I have reviewed several Bergman films on Metacrock's blog, starting with my review of his death several years ago ( "Greatness has Left the Planet: Ingmar Bergman Dies "). Since getting Netflix last Summer I've been watching what I consider to be the greatest films from the the greatest age of art films. From the late 40s, beginning with Italian Neo-Realism, which followed the lead of Viscanti, to the mid 50s in French "new Cinema" and on to the end of the 60s film make reach it's peak in terms of artistic direction. A host of great filmmakers cranked out sublime creations, the greatest among them was Sweden's Ingmar Bergman. Bergman has a special sensitivity to religion. He was an atheist, he did not pull punches about his feelings of angst at the lack of a God (in his world view) but he was not one of these message board Dawkies. He approaches it with a sensitivity that preserves the dignity and intellige

Review of Hiroshi Teshigahara's "Woman in the Dunes," by Joe Hinman

Hiroshi Teshigahara's  greatest work, Woman in the Dunes , circa 1964, is a brilliant film. I have seen it only one time, this summer just a few weeks ago was my first time and yet I include it among my very favorite films, maybe top 20 of my all-time list. It's themes are universal and existential, which usually makes for a great film. It's well shot, beautiful cinematography, well acted and though it seems like it would be tedious is compelling and I could not stop watching. It's filmed in Black and White and this one of those times when the b/w make for a powerful image rather than bland lack of color. One of the dominate camera angles of the entire film is the very tiny Writers: Kôbô Abe (novel) Kôbô Abe (screenplay) Cast   (Credited cast) Eiji Okada ... Entomologist Niki Jumpei Kyôko Kishida ... Woman Hiroko Ito ... Entomologist's wife (in flashbacks) Kôji Mitsui Sen Yano Ginzô Sekiguchi rest of cast listed alphab