"Hey kids, let's put on a Marxist film collective!" Jonathan Kiefer: "That, more or less, was a founding principle of Cine Manifest, the seven-member strong (and sometimes less strong) assembly of San Francisco filmmakers working from 1972 through 1978 to make politically potent movies that regular people could tolerate.
Judy Irola's breezy personal documentary Cine Manifest... brings a fond, proud and wistful recollection of the group's formation and probably inevitable dissolution."
Chuck Tryon finds it "a solid contribution to understanding not only the broader histories of independent filmmaking and 1970s politics but also the narrower personal reflections and reassessments of those histories."
"What's become known as 'the Bill Douglas trilogy' - a brace of short features/featurettes made between 1972 and 1978 - is one of those rarely seen, rarely exhibited, distributively cursed legends skulking around the borders of the modern canon, revered by the few but largely ignored, and sprouting from a swatch of time in its national cinema when there was little else worth noting," writes Michael Atkinson at Moving Image Source. "Taken together as a single film, the trilogy may be the most concentrated and merciless act of family vengeance in cinema history."
The Ken Russell at the BBC set is "indispensible," but Tim Lucas notes that one film is missing: "Months of anticipation wasted, and my day is ruined."
All three films collected in Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy "are delightful, on some level," writes Dan Callahan at the House Next Door. "They all involve people who work at low-level jobs: garbage-men, factory workers of all kinds, shop girls. In the second film, Ariel (1988), the heroine (Susanna Haavisto) begins as a meter maid giving out tickets, then progresses to jobs where she always seems to be cutting up disgustingly large sides of beef. Yet these movies don't feel like drudgery, maybe because they aren't in any way realistic; they take place in a tightly controlled world of their own. I've never been to Finland, but I'd be surprised to find even a vestige of Kaurismäki's grim, deadpan cuteness."
"Kaurismäki is still busy - both The Man Without a Past (2002) and Lights in the Dusk (2006) made it onto US screens - but it's his bursting work of the late 80s and early 90s that will be remembered, and not merely for their faded hipness," writes Michael Atkinson for IFC. "As expert in dry comic timing as Keaton, Kaurismäki is a cunning intelligence interrogating the empathic rhythms of moviewatching by way of Job tragedy and comatose vaudeville. Still, your experience is never preordained: watching a Kaurismäki movie, you may guffaw when no one else on Earth would, and vice-versa." Also reviewed: Jerzy Kawalerowicz's Shadow, "a mysterious and rarely discussed work, a lurking examination of collaborationism and resistance as it's expressed in an investigation into the identity of a dead man."
Silver Jew is out today. Director Michael Tully: "I think the reason many Jewish film festivals ignored us after requesting a screener is because the film isn't about Judaism as much as it is about faith and connection in a universal sense. I think the reason many other festivals didn't respond to the film is because it didn't have a clear-cut agenda. I think the reason some music fans may have been disappointed is because we avoided providing a historical context for David and the band. These are the exact reasons why I'm so proud of the film."
"[E]pilogue aside, [The Last Laugh] can really best be understood as a horror story, the horror of a modernity that leaves behind the old and infirm and the horror of a world that places its greatest emphasis on outward tokens of significance, while everywhere effacing the importance of the individual," writes Andrew Schenker, reviewing Kino's "Deluxe Restored Edition" in Slant.
Cullen Gallagher at Not Coming to a Theater Near You on Häxen: "The religious power of the camera is commented on again in the final section of the film, in which [Benjamin] Christensen analogizes the supposed signs of witchcraft not only to symptoms of hysteria in contemporary medical practices, but also to star-crazed movie fandom."
Erich Keursten at Bright Lights After Dark on Moontide: "This is a great little piece of California neo-realist 'dream poetry' - something John Steinbeck might dream up after a night of opium smoking with his Cannery Row bum buddies."
Bill Hare has the Noir of the Week: The Third Man.
Glenn Kenny's "Monday Morning Foreign Region DVD Report" at the Auteurs' Notebook is now the "Tuesday Morning Foreign Region DVD Report": "The Eureka!/Masters of Cinema series, an offshoot of the Masters of Cinema website, recently released a new version of Bruno Dumont's 1997 debut feature La Vie de Jesus on disc. In so doing, they issued a valuable corrective."
"Last Saturday, 9 to 5: The Musical opened in Los Angeles in preparation for its Broadway debut in April 2009," notes Megan Hustad in Slate. "Will a 30-year-old comedy about sexism in the workplace feel as period as Mad Men? Has consciousness raising turned into camp? The DVD of 9 to 5, released most recently in a 'Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical Bigot Edition,' offers a chance to see how far we have - and haven't - come."
Jen Chaney in the Washington Post on the High School Flashback Collection: "John Hughes saved my generation. Maybe that sounds like hyperbole, but to the kids who struggled with their own particular brand of adolescent angst in the 1980s, Hughes's coming-of-age films served as the best kind of cinematic comfort food. Collectively, they reminded teens that it's okay to be confused, jaded, occasionally depressed and completely comfortable with eating Cap'n Crunch and Pixy Stix sandwiches for lunch."
"I can appreciate disturbing material employed for a purpose, but Cannibal Holocaust says very little as loudly and obnoxiously as possible," grumbles Andrew Bemis.
"Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) and Martin Scorsese's non-profit film preservation organization, The Film Foundation, have teamed up to release onto DVD beloved titles from the Sony catalog that have been out of circulation for years." Douglas Polisin has a few details at MovieMaker. Via the SXSW News Reel.
Online viewing tip. The NYT's AO Scott on Do the Right Thing.
DVD roundups: Paul Clark (Screengrab), DVD Talk, PopMatters and Slant.
And as always, keep an eye on the Guru.
Posted by dwhudson at September 23, 2008 11:44 AM
Bookmark/Search this post with: