Writer director novelist & comic-book creator
|I Am Cuba
|Come and See
|Francis Ford Coppola
|Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno
|2001: A Space Odyssey
|Grave of the Fireflies
I Am Cuba
Soy Cuba is an accident, a propaganda film made by a Russian in Cuba to taunt the Americans at the time of the missile crisis. This film is an aberration and yet here it is. A great masterpiece, a film that contradicts everything that the small traders of the dictatorship of the script, the proponents of writing in 3 acts and the followers of saccharine emotions believe - that a film without (obvious) characters, without plot, without intrigues can be a miracle of cinema. When the cinematographic language purifies itself and takes refuge in poetry and arrives at a state of grace that Gaspar Noé tries to find, as well as the angst of Gerald Kargl. Soy Cuba is also the best Antionioni film that Antonioni never managed to make...
Unforgiven is a great film about the deconstruction of the double myth, that of the far west but also of the totem Clint Eastwood. It has always acted as the anti-John Wayne film and works as an almost punk response to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford 1962) . it's fascinating how you go from spaghetti western to meta western to come back with a superhero ending with the ease and panache of a Clint Eastwood who's grittier and older than ever. I have watched this film so many times and yet there is always an incredible youthfulness, a freshness.. and Morgan Freeman, who is already rehearsing his role for Se7en with his air of amazement. Cult. Unique. Unbeatable, and also very #Metoo with its story of prostitutes who hire a killer to avenge their honour...
Come and See
There are so many war films, spectacular, violent, funny, ironic, dramatic... there are so many war films denouncing war - even John Rambo is a pacifist. But in Come and See, no need for all the violence on screen. Neither the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, nor the napalm of Apocalypse Now, nor Kubrick, nor the poetry of Terrence Malick in The Thin Red Line manage to show the horrors of war like THAT close-up on Flyora…
One close-up to say it all about war…
I like what I call "cold cinema": cinema about cinema, but not as plagiarism, pastiche or homage, I am interested in theories on cinematographic writing. Good and bad theories. Unfortunately Cahiers du Cinéma is dead under the weight of the void of their words and delusional cartoonish view on cinema. So we can find consolation going to the source. The Conversation is one huge theoretical object. Stuck between Blow Up (Antonioni) and Blow Out (De Palma) you can find The Conversation, which was also stuck between the Godfathers 1 and 2. And this film is stuck between several things that seem more important, it has become over time bigger and FF Coppola's best movie. And this very cold film is now a very warm memory in these times of media overexposure and lack of decency, where you don’t need a spy to know everything about anyone: you just need to log In... merci pour rien!
We always talk about the Scorsese/DeNiro duo, never about the Lumet/Connery couple who nevertheless did very beautiful things in the dignity of silence. The Offence marks the apogee of this collaboration: a sticky, stifling film, which examines the human soul of a dull and analogical England as one turns pancakes on the fire: without tenderness. Sean Connery plays his character with a kamikaze desire to continue undermining his James Bond hunk image. The editing and sound of the weird first sequence is so powerful that the whole film seems haunted. A film where the banality of everyday life is combined with frustration, distress and the poor cop played by Sean Connery no longer knows what to do with his dark thoughts that pollute his brain and his soul. It's a film where death lurks, innocence walks in the mud, silences stun and where you can kill a man with your bare hands and it's not pretty.
Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno
The cinema of Kechcihe is a cinema of transcendence, but at no time does it aim for something mystical or religious, it prefers the feeling of love to the religious feeling. His faith in cinema comes through the stretching of time, mixing time, staying in the sequence when there is nothing more to say, when embarrassment sets in, fragility lets exist a perfume of the eternal through apparently banal exchanges. Then sex acts as a metaphor for the class struggle, or a fight for life. France is a country tired of its own certitudes, and its geriatric cinema purrs painfully like a cat at the end of its life. Apart from Jacques Audiard who hides in the genre film (like others, no one has said that Titane is only a vague plagiarism of Tetsuo from Shin'ya tsukamoto 1989), Kechcihe remains the most fascinating Arab filmmaker in French cinema despite a very controversial personality…
2001: A Space Odyssey
It's complicated with Kubrick when you're a filmmaker. But I choose a film that has kept its mystery despite the millions of things written or said about it (this is also valid for The Shinning, Barry Lyndon, or Clockwork Orange)… we always say that Kubrick was the “cinéaste” of control, but everyone knows that it was the projectionist who put on the Blue Danube to watch the special effects of 2001, that it was Malcolm McDowell who had the idea for Alex's costume in Clockwork Orange... Kubrick's cinema is nourished by life, that of its author, and sometimes you simply have to pay homage to the man behind the work. Unfortunately, Kubrick, like Orson Welles, never had heirs, but those who try to fill that seat (Chris Nolan) really aren't, and those who are likened to him (David Fincher) don't want that heritage and slalom between Sidney Lumet and Alfred Hitchcock…
Grave of the Fireflies
For me, this film is the scariest in the world, I remember seeing it very young and being so moved by its story, simple, refined, which goes to your heart like a full metal jacket bullet. What strength! What humanity!
I remember that I had bought the Blu-ray and for 7 years I was afraid to see the film again, I was afraid of being heartbroken by this story…I can see Salo by P.P. Pasolini every day of the week, I can even see Martyrs by Pascal Laugier again any weekend, but I am terrified by Grave of the Fireflies, A tragedy that never became a farce.
It’s not a joke, this film was the Doctor Strangelove of my generation. The director is a visionary funny dude, he got it right all the way. It’s as disruptive as possible and deserves to be part of any punk poll about best cinema. People need to watch it, It consoles in a time when you have to be pretentious and violent to denounce injustice or say terrible things about the world.
I don't know if Fight Club is ageing well or not, it's a movie I've lived with for half my life. A hymn to freedom that goes through a violent affirmation at a time before 9/11 when terrorism still had the varnish of romanticism of the 70s. Another film without descendants, a suicidal film, a punk Gestalt where the director breaks the camera like a rocker who breaks his guitar. It's spectacular, impressive, but silly, because you have to buy another guitar (or do Panic Room) the next day to continue. Everyone clings to the punchlines, to the visual malice, to the subliminal images, to Brad Pitt filmed with a Leni Riefenstahl eye, a direct descendant of Clockwork Orange. It's sometimes fun to watch these films in our time: to take away from your mouth the taste of woke, cancel culture or to repel the excesses of #metoo.