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Saturday, 18 January 2020

From the (pre-#UCFF) archive : A review of Kosmos (2009)

From the (pre-#UCFF) archive : A review of Kosmos (2009)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


Cambridge Film Festival 2010


From the (pre-#UCFF) archive : A review of Kosmos (2009)

* Contains spoilers *

Kosmos is what he calls himself, when he is asked his name. He has previously saved the young woman’s brother, and he is delighted to hear her baying at him like a wolf, inviting him to follow her, to chase her. When he says that he is Kosmos, she says that she is Neptün, and I find myself thinking more of the seas, than of the planet. (Meeting the girl’s father, he gives a different name, but he is credited as Kosmos (Sermet Yesil), and she as Neptün (Türkü Turan).)

What we see is his visit to this indeterminate Muslim town in the snow, from when he arrives to when he leaves. All that we really know, as a foreign audience, is that he strays into areas where he should not be, that there are sounds of explosions, and that there is a border closed, which some would like opened, but which others say is just for their profit.

If we are trying to judge him, to see whether the words that he speaks when asked questions and which have a ring of teaching such as from the Koran or the book of Ecclesiastes, then we will find that he does things to disapprove of. (But don’t we all. He does not claim to be a great holy man, but answers people’s questions, and seems to seek to help.)

Ultimately, it is the disapproval, and the reliance that others have put upon him to cure as if it is without cost to himself (when we see at the start how he gives of himself to give life back to the boy whom he has rescued from the river), which cut short his time there. Some see him for who he is, but even the teacher, who sleeps with him, seeks to put her guilt on him – what he is looking for, he says, is love.

With Neptün, whether or not they sleep together, there is an unbridled energy and exuberance, a dance as of elemental forces such as their names suggest. Even his acts of healing, and what happens with natural phenomena (reminiscent of what Tarkovksy does in Mirror), suggest that he has a connection that others have forgotten about or overlooked, and which the girl sees in him more fully. The woman who places reliance in the medication Tralin ® , an anti-depressant, seems at the opposite extreme, but he is nonetheless distressed for her.

The crash-landing of some sort of lunar module, which the authorities want hushed up, but which he has already seen, seem to herald a time when judgement turns against him, and he has to leave, although not without showing his care for those who are hurting. He leaves as he arrived, and, except when he is with Neptün, there is always an ambiguous quality about his anguish and about his joy, as if their being two sides of the same coin is very close to him.

This is a remarkable piece of cinema, and would invite me to see it again. What I would have to be clear about is not to do so to find out more about who Kosmos is, since we know only the time when he is with the people in this town and often have to guess at his motives or motivations, but to see how he is valued, to see what people see in him.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 10 January 2020

Story-telling : By juxtaposition - or free association ?

Some responses to watching Little Women (2019) (twice) (work in progress)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


10 January


Some responses to watching Little Women (2019) (twice) (work in progress)







More magnificent still, on a re-watch :





[...]







Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 30 December 2019

Some Tweets about Knives Out (2019)

Some Tweets about Knives Out (2019)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


30 December


Some Tweets about Knives Out (2019)


VLADIMIR : That passed the time.

ESTRAGON :It would have passed in any case.

VLADIMIR : Yes, but not so rapidly.
Samuel Beckettt ~ Waiting for Godot







Postlude(s) :










Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Thursday, 26 December 2019

'Thoughtful' violence in Drive (2011) and You Were Never Really Here (2017) - or the principal elements of film noir ?

Responding to 'Thoughtful Violence in Drive & You Were Never Really Here'

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


Lines of thought sparked off by 'Thoughtful Violence in Drive & You Were Never Really Here' [Nancy Epton, writing for TAKE ONE]









Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 20 December 2019

Restored, maybe revived, but what does The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) have to say to us ?

Restored, maybe revived, but what does The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) have to say to us ?

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


Restored, maybe revived, but what does The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) have to say to us ?



Prelude :




Not so much rage over a lost penny as 'a rant during an interrupted bed-time' ? :






Postlude / reflections :







Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Frank, we did all we could for the man ~ Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


20 December







Need we really consider Joker (2019) as some sort of Scorsese film – or The Irishman (2019) as Scorsese’s contribution to the film universe of Marvel ? :



Meanwhile, in some other universe (when it is Phillips who grossly steals from Scorsese's films, but not in any way to justify the theft), does someone seriously suggest that the indebtedness is the other way around, in 'Why 'The Irishman' Is Scorsese's MCU Movie' !


[...]


Postlude :






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

The 100 greatest films directed by women : A critique of method and / or purpose¹ (work in progress)

The 100 greatest films directed by women : A critique of method and / or purpose¹

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


The 100 greatest films directed by women : A critique of method and / or purpose¹ (work in progress)

BBC Culture polled 368 film experts from 84 countries in order to find the best films from female film-makers – here’s the top 100

One had already heard that BBC Culture introduced its list this year by saying There was one stark statistic that jumped out from the results of last year’s BBC Culture poll to find the 100 greatest foreign-language films of all time : just four out of that 100 were directed by women :

However, despite at least one list with a deficiency, does it seem that BBC Culture has been intent, in setting up this new list of 100 films, in not learning lessons ? In other words, rather than a list that recommends as many as six films directed by the lately deceased Agnès Varda (and another five of Kathryn Bigelow's, so more than 10% of the 100 between them), maybe it could have been limited to just one film each (a maximum of two) by the best 100 or so female directors...



And, if one looks at the list by decade² (tallying them by release-date), how well is the history of film-making really represented ? As the second set of figures in square brackets shows below : 23% of these greatest films were released in or after 2011 (which rises to 43% of the films, when one adds those from the preceding decade) ; the majority are from the last three decades ; and only 16% were released before 1971.


By decade² (number of films chosen per decade, and an increasing / decreasing tally in square brackets) :

* 1910s : 1 [1 / 99]

* 1920s : 2 [3 / 97]

* 1930s : 2 [5 / 95]

* 1940s : 3 [8 / 92]

* 1950s : 1 [9 / 91]

* 1960s : 7 [16 / 84]

* 1970s : 13 [29 / 71]

* 1980s : 12 [41 / 59]

* 1990s : 16 [57 / 43]

* 2000s : 20 [77 / 23]

* 2010s : 23 [100 / 0]



[...]



Enough of the Tweets, etc. ! Here (with needful changes³) is the list of 100 films [as annotated⁴] :

1. The Piano (1993) ~ Jane Campion (1) [English, British Sign Language, Maori]

2. Cléo from 5 to 7 (Cléo de 5 à 7) (1962) ~ Agnès Varda (1) [French]

3. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles ~ Chantal Akerman (1) [French]

4. Beau Travail (1999) ~ Claire Denis (1) [French]

5. Lost in Translation (2003) Sofia Coppola (1) [English, Japanese, German, French]

6. Daisies (Sedmikrásky) (1966) ~ Věra Chytilová [Czech]

7. The Hurt Locker (2008) ~ Kathryn Bigelow (1) [English, Arabic]

8. Toni Erdmann (2016) ~ Maren Ade [German, English, Romanian]

9. Fish Tank (2009) ~ Andrea Arnold (1) [English]

10. Daughters of the Dust (1991) ~ Julie Dash [English, French]

11. The Ascent (Voskhozhdenie) (1977) ~ Larisa Shepitko [Russian, German]

12. Zero Dark Thirty (2012) ~ Kathryn Bigelow (2) [English, Arabic]

13. Vagabond (Sans toit ni loi) (1985) ~ Agnès Varda (2) [French, Arabic, English]

14. Point Break (1991) ~ Kathryn Bigelow (3) [English]

15. La Ciénaga ( The Swamp) (2001) ~ Lucrecia Martel (1) [Spanish]

16. Wanda (1970) ~ Barbara Loden [English]

17. Seven Beauties (Pasqualino Settebellezze) (1975) ~ Lina Wertmüller [Italian, German, Neapolitan, Spanish]

18. American Psycho (2000) ~ Mary Harron [English, Spanish, Cantonese]

19. Orlando (1992) ~ Sally Potter [English, French]

20. Clueless (1995) ~ Amy Heckerling [English, Spanish]

21. Winter’s Bone (2010) ~ Debra Granik [English]

23¹. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) ~ Lynne Ramsay (1) [English]

23¹. The Hitch-Hiker (1953) ~ Ida Lupino (1) [English, Spanish]

24. Lady Bird [IMDb page (2017) ~ Greta Gerwig [English, Spanish]

25. The House is Black (1963) ~ Forugh Farrokhzad [Persian]

26. Stories we Tell (2012) ~ Sarah Polley [English]

27. Selma (2014) ~ Ava DuVernay (1) [English]

28. Le bonheur (1965) ~ Agnès Varda (3) [French]

29. Monsoon Wedding (2001) ~ Mira Nair (1) [Hindi, English]

30. Zama (2017) ~ Lucrecia Martel (2) [Spanish, Portuguese]

31. The Gleaners and I (Les glaneurs et la glaneuse) (2000) ~ Agnès Varda (4) [French]

32. The Night Porter (Il portiere di notte) (1974) ~ Liliana Cavani [English]

33. You Were Never Really Here (2017) ~ Lynne Ramsay (2) [English]

34. Morvern Callar (2002) ~ Lynne Ramsay (3) [English, Spanish]

35. The Matrix (1999) ~ Lana and Lilly Wachowski [English]

36. Wendy and Lucy (2008) ~ Kelly Reichardt (1) [English]

37. Olympia Part One : Festival of The Nations (Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker) (1938) / Olympia Part Two : Festival of Beauty (Olympia 2. Teil - Fest der Schönheit) (1938) ~ Leni Riefenstahl (1) [German, English, Italian, French, Japanese, Portuguese] / [German]

38. Paris is Burning (1990) ~ Jennie Livingston [English]

39. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2019) ~ Céline Sciamma (1) [French, Italian]

40. Boys Don’t Cry (1999) ~ Kimberly Peirce [English]

41. Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) ~ Nadine Labaki [Arabic, Amharic]

42. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed) (1926) ~ Lotte Reiniger [Silent]

43. The Virgin Suicides (1999) ~ Sofia Coppola (2) [English]

44. American Honey (2016) ~ Andrea Arnold (2) [English]

45. Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) (1935) ~ Leni Riefenstahl (2) [German]

46. Near Dark (1987) ~ Kathryn Bigelow (3) [English]

47. An Angel at my Table (1990) ~ Jane Campion (2) [English, Spanish]

48. The Asthenic Syndrome (Astenicheskiy sindrom) (1989) Kira Muratova (1) [Russian]

49. Salaam Bombay ! (1988) Mira Nair (2) [Hindi, English]

50. Outrage (1950) Ida Lupino (2) [English]

51. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) ~ Barbara Kopple [English]

52. Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) (2018) ~ Alice Rohrwacher [Italian]

53. The Headless Woman (La mujer sin cabeza) (2008) ~ Lucrecia Martel (3) [Spanish]

54. Bright Star (2009) ~ Jane Campion (3) [English, French]

55. Monster (2003) ~ Patty Jenkins [English]

56. 13th (2016) ~ Ava DuVernay (2) [English]

57. The Babadook (2014) ~ Jennifer Kent [English]

58. Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) ~ Susan Seidelman [English]

59. The Long Farewell (1971) ~ Kira Muratova (2) [Russian, English]

60. A League of their Own (1992) ~ Penny Marshall (1) [English]

61. India Song (1975) ~ Marguerite Duras [French]

62. Strange Days (1995) ~ Kathryn Bigelow (4) [English]

63. Marie Antoinette (2006) ~ Sofia Coppola (3) [English, Latin, French]

64. The Rider (2017) ~ Chloé Zhao [English]

65. Leave no Trace (2018) ~ Debra Granik [English]

66. Ratcatcher (1999) ~ Lynne Ramsay (4) [English]

67. The German Sisters (Die bleierne Zeit) (1981) ~ Margarethe von Trotta [German, Italian]

68. Eve’s Bayou (1997) ~ Kasi Lemmons [English]

69. The Connection (1961) ~ Shirley Clarke (1) [English]

70. Whale Rider (2002) ~ Niki Caro [English, Maori]

71. The Seashell and the Clergyman (La coquille et le clergyman) (1928) ~ Germaine Dulac [Silent]

72. Europa Europa (1980) ~ Agnieszka Holland [German, Russian, Polish, Hebrew]

73. On Body and Soul (Teströl és lélekröl) (2017) ~ Ildikó Enyedi [Hungarian]

74. Chocolat (1988) ~ Claire Denis (2) [English, French]

75. Meek’s Cutoff (2010) ~ Kelly Reichardt (2) [English]

76. Girlhood (Bande de filles) (2014) ~ Céline Sciamma (2) [French]

77. Tomboy (2011) ~ Céline Sciamma (3) [French]

78. The Apple (Sib) (1998) ~ Samira Makhmalbaf [Persian]

79. Shoes (1916) ~ Lois Weber [Silent]

80. Big (1988) ~ Penny Marshall (2) [English]

81. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) ~ Ana Lily Amirpour [Persian]

82. At Land (Szárazföldön) (1944) ~ Maya Deren (1) [Silent]

83. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) ~ Nora Ephron [English]

84. Portrait of Jason (1967) ~ Shirley Clarke (2) [English]

85. One Sings, The Other Doesn’t (L'une chante l'autre pas) (1977) ~ Agnès Varda (5) [French]

86. Wadjda (2012) ~ Haifaa Al-Mansour [Arabic]

87. 35 Shots of Rum (35 rhums) (2008) ~ Claire Denis (3) [French, German]

88. The Silences of the Palace (Samt el qusur) (1994) ~ Moufida Tlatli [Arabic, French]

89. The Beaches of Agnès (Les plages d’ Agnès) (2008) ~ Agnès Varda (6) [French, English]

90. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) ~ Amy Heckerling [English]

91. White Material (2009) ~ Claire Denis (4) [French]

92. Raw (Grave) (2016) ~ Julia Ducournau [French]

93. Red Road (2006) ~ Andrea Arnold (3) [English]

94. News From Home (1977) ~ Chantal Akerman (2) [French]

95. Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) ~ Maya Deren (2) [Silent]

96. The Meetings of Anna (Les rendez-vous d'Anna) (1977) ~ Chantal Akerman (3) [French]

97. Adoption (Örökbefogadás) (1975) ~ Márta Mészáros [Hungarian]

98. Somewhere (2010) ~ Sofia Coppola (4) [English, Italian]

99. The Souvenir (2019) ~ Joanna Hogg [English]

100. The Kids are All Right (2010) ~ Lisa Cholodenko [English]



To indicate another absurd bias, a tally of language(s)⁵ spoken in the 100 list [five films are silent] :


English (only) : 37 [37 = running total]

French : 13 [50]

Therefore, one-half of this greatest 100 is, if not in English, then in French - very inclusive


English (as principal language⁵) + Spanish : 5 [55]

English + French or French + English : 5 [60]

English + Arabic : 2 [62]


English + other languages : 6 [68]

French + other languages : 3 [71]

Then, when one has added in where English or French is the principal language⁵, but others are spoken, one has accounted for more than 70% of the films


Silent : 5 [76]

Persian : 3 [79]

German : [81½]

Hungarian : 2 [83½]

Spanish : 2 [85½]


Hindi + English : 2 [87½]


Other sole languages, or combinations of languages : 12½?? [100]



Twitter end-notes :




End-notes :

¹ Put another way, one suspects that BBC Culture polled its 384 people will little idea why, but to end up with a ranked list, because it could, and did not have one - this list seemed to acknowledge no joint placings, which would have been odd in one of such compromise and of such length, but the task of re-ordering has found two placed at no. 23 (and no no. 22) [again, one would normally expect, if this is not a typo, both to be placed at 22, with no 23].

² #UCFF is stubbornly insisting that, for example, the 1940s begin with 1941 and end with 1950.

³ #UCFF's needful changes :

(1) The preference for a descending list has been imposed, because an ascending list is a convention, which does not make sense when one can fully scroll through it (as against when one has, at least, to click a link to progress from, say, the section for films 100-91 to that for those numbered 90-81.

(2) It is not a convention to give the release-date as the original list did, so that has also been changed.

(3) The insistence on persisting in putting film titles IN CAPITALS, not italicizing them, is a mistake that has meandered on from when putting on the Shift key in copy was the simplest way to denote a title.


⁴ Directors' names are in italic, with the increasing tally of their films in parentheses afterwards (i.e. where they are from the 19 on whose work the list calls for 56% of its 100 entries). Where #UCFF has a review, the title links to it ; where it has watched the film and approved, TBC ???

⁵ These have been accepted as given by the IMDb-page for each page (to which the non-underlined film-titles link), the language (or languages) : IMDb confirms that the first language, where two or more are given, should be the principal language : it specifiesto those submitting this information that ‘If more than one language was spoken, please enter them in order of frequency such that the main language is entered first’.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Michael Berkeley's Private Passions on Radio 3 - with Ken Loach (work in progress)

Michael Berkeley's Private Passions on Radio 3 - with Ken Loach

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


10 November


Comments on film, music in film, and film-making from Michael Berkeley's Private Passions on Radio 3 - with Ken Loach (work in progress)






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Despite not liking what #UCFF heard, at least we know what Fauré Quartett's recording of Pictures at an Exhibition is

Fauré Quartett's recording of Pictures at an Exhibition

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


28 November


Despite not liking what #UCFF heard, at least we know what Fauré Quartett's recording
of
Pictures at an Exhibition is : it may all become clear here...






It may all become clear here...






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Up here is where it really matters [?] ~ Amelia Wren*

Responses to The Aeronauts (2019) [as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge]

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


27 November

Responses to The Aeronauts (2019) [as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge]






End-notes :

* An amalgam of people, there was no Amelia Wren as such - to quote the IMDb entry for the film :

With [James Glaisher's] co-pilot aeronaut Henry Tracey Coxwell, they broke the world record for altitude on September 5, 1862. Coxwell is omitted from the film, and replaced with the fictional Amelia Wren.




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

#UCFF's favourite moments at Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2019 (an accreting posting)

#UCFF's favourite moments (an accreting posting) at Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2019

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


24 November


#UCFF's favourite moments (an accreting posting) at Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2019




Absolute certainty of composure : The Elliot Galvin Trio :
Darwin College on Tuesday 19 November 2019 (after Sam Leak Trio as support from 7.30 p.m.)


[...]



Other mentions :






Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 25 November 2019

Don't look - just go : Internally, Joker (2019) gives advice to those watching ?

Responses to Joker (2019) [as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge]

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


25 November

Responses to Joker (2019) [as seen at The Light Cinema, Cambridge]




The time is 11.10 - at the start / at Ha Has

Time on Murray Franklin show is c. 10.40

Don't look - just go, almost certainly a quotation from (or reference to) many a film (in a film that deliberately invokes Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver (1976)) and Norman Bates (Psycho (1960)) - yet does so with unimaginative cinemtography (deliberately)

There's something special about you ~ Murray Franklin to Arthur Fleck

P. Fleck (box 37 ?)
Penny / Arthur Fleck

Laboured and unsubtle as the solo** cello-line

** Doubling / electronics ?

Joker Light



Lynne Ramsay - You were Never Really Here (2017) - be angry at JP for taking all her best ideas and doing them over for Todd Phillips ?




Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 23 November 2019

A de facto attempt at live Tweeting : Gods of Apollo at Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2019

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)


23 November

Gods of Apollo at Cambridge International Jazz Festival 2019

Well, at The University Centre wine-bar - the venue for this gig, and run by Cambridge Wine Merchants* - the race was on (as well as The Space Race evocation from Gods of Apollo) to set up the laptop and the phone to make some notes : they ended up, being made on the phone, e-mailed, opened on the laptop and copied and pasted into Twitter - at which point, the connection with real-time reporting had been lost...









Postlude :




End-notes :

* Also, no mean purveyors of Scotch, through their outlets on Bridge Street, Kings' Parade, etc.





Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)