Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'd been meaning to keep up with more regular blogging, but Christmas came and then various health issues, and, voila, more than a month passed. And a lot has happened. Today (Tuesday, 24 january) there was the announcement of the Academy Award nominations. Yesterday was Chinese New Year; it was also the night when Turner Classic Movies devoted the whole night to Max Ophuls. Of course, i've seen all the films shown, but in some cases ("The Reckless Moment") not in a while. I've been catching up with movies i missed during the year, and every so often, a movie will be on TV (Showtime or HBO) that i missed on release. One example (which i watched on Sunday) was "Lebanon, Pa." I've been to press screenings for the Dance On Camera series that will be at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; i've been to press screenings at Film Forum.

So there have been a lot of films seen, and i want to start to write about them. For instance: i'm really fascinated by what people are doing in terms of what used to be called "dance films". Obviously, this was occasioned by seeing Wim Wenders' "Pina", which i thought was one of the most inventive dance films i've ever seen. And i've seen a lot. And then i saw Frederick Wiseman's "Crazy Horse". Having also seen his earlier "Ballet" (about American Ballet Theater) and "La Danse" (about the Paris Opera Ballet), it was really instructive to see how his style has evolved (and it has): the new digital technology has allowed for greater flexibility and a greater visual freedom, and so the focus is different, because "Crazy Horse" seems slicker and less gritty, less "real" than "Ballet".

I'm trying to remember everything i've seen in the past month, and it's a lot. It's even something like Renoir's "Diary of a Chambermaid" which was on TCM last week: i haven't seen that film in about a decade, and it was fun to see it again. The thing about Renoir is that there is this reputation as a naturalistic, realistic director, which isn't true: throughout his career, there are always those films which are extravagantly artificial, highly theatrical, and wildly stylized. This can be seen in "Nana", in "La Chienne", in "The Golden Coach", "French Can-Can", "Elena et les Hommes", and it's certainly true in "Diary of a Chambermaid". Renoir allows everyone to go beserk in their acting, and it's funny.

More and more, i find there are always movies to get passionate about, and that makes me happy.


Blogger Karen 5.0 said...

I just saw "The River" yesterday and liked it. What did you think? It made me homesick for India. The Criterion Collection included an interview with Scorsese as well as a documentary on Rumer Godden's return to India in 1995 after so long.

I'm going to see "Pina" tomorrow with a friend. I enjoyed your comments on the film. Wim Wenders usually doesn't disappoint.

5:30 AM


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