Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Not the 2014 Autumn Pt 1 Program

But if it were I'd title it "Absorption"

So it's the end of summer and as I ventured out to get some nosh for later tonight when I sign off on the project work for the evening and settle in to something on screen I again was plagued by the sense memory of making my way through the dusk of Collingwood to the ABC Gallery with a backpack stuffed with bread, dips and cinema. My weekend is going to be pretty active and social so this Friday in will be just for me (and probably self-mercifully gentle). So, instead of the salmon 'n' salad  I decided to get a bake at home turkish loaf and dips and a bottle of something red and South Australian. On the way home, thinking of what I might watch after drawing and editing I thought I might concoct another hypothetical Shadows year starter program. So here it is. Sorry it's not for real (only place I'll be screening these is at home) but you can have some fun hunting these 'uns down for yerselves.

Berberian Sound Studio
Brilliant, closeted English sound artist Gilderoy whose best work has been in his shed plummets into the intimidating vortex of Italian filmmaking. He's used to modest but rich nature documentaries but finds himself creating the sounds of extreme torture and constant violence. Will he get out alive? The answer might just surprise you in the third act.

Le Beau Serge
Francois, struck with TB, returns to his native village for the better weather and also, who knows, to say adieu at the place he began. He reconnects gratingly with his old friend Serge who, feeling robbed of his potential as a youth by a cul de sac marriage has become the town drunk. As Francois gives in to the teenage siren, Marie, it dawns on him that he might be creating a point of last ditch competition in his old friend. Chabrol keeps the atmosphere in a strange corridor between verite and mystery as this tale of hobbled promise and fleeing youth slithers to its end.

A Field in England. A rag tag crew of deserters from the English Civil War find themselves in a field planning on escaping not just the war but the death penalty for desertion. The Sudden appearence of the magisterial stranger makes it seem as though there has been no chance involved in their assembly as they set to locating a treasure buried in the field. This odd psychedelic western out of water has much to say on concepts like loyalty and faith and then, when we least expect it, about survival and ambition.

Umberto D
A classic for perfectly good reasons. It's a genuine classic. Umberto D is a retiree sinking into debt and dependence, unable to run ahead of the forces that the younger life around him press. Is it just pride that keeps him hanging on to an increasingly futile thread or is there another trick that this old dog will need to learn? Extraordinary film from the rich and influential Italian neo realism.

In a World
The guy who owned that phrase in the Hollywood trailers has passed on to the great coming soon in the sky and everyone back on earth wants his job. Carol works as a voice coach, teaching Hollywood stars how to do accents. Her father has passive aggressively kept her down all her life. He does voiceover work as well. The rising stud of the voice over is growling sonorously around as well. Barry, the sound guy has always liked Carol. This mumblecore fantasia works in ways that it shouldn't. Gina Davis' verbal slap towards the end is both funny and sobering.

The Devils
Ken Russell let loose on a gross miscarriage from the marriage of church and state. Russell's at his peak here stretching the bounds but also observing the virtue of them as 17th century nuns go demon wild for the good of the realm. Puzzled? Actually, it makes perfect sense when you see it. Great cast and music score rounded off by the big screen debut of Derek Jarman as art director (boy did he earn his keep with this one!). Russell could do with a fresh look after his critics all but buried him at the end of the 70s. He really did a lot of good as a cinevisionary. Here's his masterpiece.

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