Last Man Standing (1996)

Kurosawa on Kurosawa Students of film have great fun with situations like this. Here we have three films (‘Yojimbo,’ ‘Fistful,’ and ‘Last Man’) with the same script but entirely different cinematic philosophies. All do well at what they attempt. Kurosawa is one of the great innovators of film, developing the notion of the disembodied eye… Continue reading Last Man Standing (1996)

The 400 Blows (1959)

Real Fiction With this film began an experiment that was to ultimately fail after dozens of notable films. It was much like the experiment in art nouveau in architecture seventy years earlier. I suppose that every art has cycles which begin with a collapse of the passion in artifice and a resulting call to the… Continue reading The 400 Blows (1959)

Clue (1982)

Hasn’t a Clue No genre has more opportunities for mind-bending and/amusing bends than the mystery. Especially film mysteries. And this one has a very promising foundation: a parody of a parody: ‘Murder by Death,’ which itself was rather clever in a lowbrow sort of way. Add to this the also clever notion of building on… Continue reading Clue (1982)

Sex and Lucia (2001)

And the Story Starts Again Halfway Written reality. I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing this soon after Ruiz’s Proust. Both about writers creating a life. Time folding. Narrative layers. The three sisters from ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ here named Alsi/Elana, Lucia (the Alice, an anagram, in fact one that Carroll used) and Belin. The story… Continue reading Sex and Lucia (2001)

Insomnia (2002)

Waking Life The element that makes cinema unique is the ability to fold: to shuffle time and narrative both by the mind and eye. Nolan showed great promise with ‘Following’, built around a very ambitious narrative structure. It moved the notion of narration way in front of the camera and even beyond, in front of… Continue reading Insomnia (2002)

Audition (1999)

Simple Folding of a Love Story People forget that ‘Casablanca’ was a B-movie, made quickly and cheaply. Its success depended on its unimportance — several modern trends were being followed by the various artists involved and they had the freedom to go a little further than they could on important films. As with that, so… Continue reading Audition (1999)

Amélie (2001)

Life, A User’s Manual I avoided this film for ever-so-long because of what I had heard about it. One would believe that this is a well-photographed simple sweet story. That somehow it has something to do with the adventures of a sweet girl-woman. Well, it is. But it is so much else, and that ‘something… Continue reading Amélie (2001)

Go (1999)

Unbearable Lightness of Going Critics and commentors have beaten to death the Pulp Fiction’ comparisons. Yes, this has parallel stories, time folding (but not the time shuffling of Pulp’), black and white shuffling, guns drugs and ironic violence, diner scenes and a hip perspective. But to me that is less central than the relationship of… Continue reading Go (1999)