|There Will Be Blood
|Paul Thomas Anderson
|JLG/JLG- AUTOPORTRAIT DE DECEMBRE
|The Thin Red Line
|Di jiu tian chang
|La grande bellezza
There Will Be Blood
Is it a fable of capitalism? If so, its main achievement is to always challenge us on our point of view: landscapes are not shown when expected; every tragedy is followed – or provoked – by an immense success; nothing – emotions and sensations alike – is real. And maybe this is what capitalism is.
The Piano is maybe the film that made me discover the art of cinematography; still today I am as impressed as I was by the virtuosity of Campion’s eye. This film also embodies a genre that I love in cinema: the telling of a great big, wide story while keeping at its centre – and as a guide – a very specific element or theme.
This film was impossible to find in the film rental shops of the city where I grew up. In the university library, after years of looking for it, I finally found it in the photography section. If cinema is supposed to be ‘story + image = emotions’, then La Jetée is one of its jewels.
“Sers la bonne cause et meurs / Serve the good cause and die”. War films have always populated my references and my dreams. In this instance, the losing and reappropriation of one’s body in a military context is a theme that transcends me.
JLG/JLG- AUTOPORTRAIT DE DECEMBRE
As I gradually got into ‘auteur’ films, I remember not being too impressed by Godard's early works. It's only when I discovered his more experimental – and thus more personal – films that I truly started considering him as a great filmmaker. The simple narrative of JLG/JLG is one for the ages; a man tells random stories that are supposed to form an exhaustive vision of a portrait. He chooses peculiar stories to share with us; but a portrait is only what you want to show, and the rest is hidden in the shadows.
The Thin Red Line
The most beautiful war movie – if war can be beautiful. I probably rewatch it every year. Roger Ebert said something good about it: “Fascinating: a film in the act of becoming, a field trial, an experiment in which a dreamy poet meditates on stark reality.” He doesn't like the film that much, and that's where I disagree with him.
Di jiu tian chang
I discovered this film on MUBI, and despite being a bit repelled by the idea of watching it in my office chair for three hours, I absolutely don't know where those 185 minutes went. I was simply stuck to my chair, absolutely baffled by the mise-en-scène, without even thinking about the storyline – and it's only later that I realized that what was instilled through the mise-en-scène was a subtle and terrifying story of parenthood and loss over decades in China. I am afraid to watch it again, and that is a good reason to put it in my top 10.
As a teenager, the simple act of receiving VHS videos of one’s life as filmed by someone else was the scariest thing possible. The colour of jazz music and bedsheets remain to this day imprinted on my retina. Also the use of the music; Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails were in line with my taste and impressed me as I understood they could be used in cinema. I had the chance to watch it in 35mm at the Cinémathèque Suisse a couple of years ago and it only reinforced my love for this film.
I discovered this movie very late, as most Google searches redirect to the Ratcatcher of DC Comics. The kind of film I watch without expecting anything and end up experiencing 94 minutes of pure cinematographic poetry. The plot is so tiny, like a seed that will bloom into a magnificent flower. Oh, and also, “When I’m older, I’m gonna have the biggest zoo in the world.”
La grande bellezza
A cinematic journey over two hours. A bit posh, sometimes pretentious, often kitsch, but nonetheless beautiful.