|The Battle of Algiers
|Ride the High Country
|Weather Diary 1
Early films often have an exhiliration and freshness to them that is lost as ambition and recognition accumulates around a given director. Here, Scorsese still has that inherent surprise about the plasticity and power of narrative cinema.
Rare it is that a film can replicate the unconscious which such fetching imagery. This is Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast" as sci-fi thriller.
Again, a director is energized as a tyro before the masterful smothers the exploration of moving images. Combine this film with "Days of Heaven" and you have the heartland as waving wheat mythos.
The Battle of Algiers
Cinema can be anything it wants to be--pure optical splendor, regurgitations of past art forms, or agents of change. Pontecorvo's unflinching masterpiece is like a banner flapping above the advancing troops of truth.
Bunuel, like few others, did everything cinema could do. Here, he manages a realism that is expressive, a social philosophy that is unflinching, and a non-regressive emotional impact that raises empathy and rage.
Old-school masculinity meets incendiary expression. The ambiguity of loyalty, the desperation of honor, and perhaps an off-handed critique of the marketplace, gets run through with a sword as sharp as it is sharp-witted.
Ride the High Country
Peckinpah will always be remembered for "The Wild Bunch," but the themes-without-the-flourishes were already in place with the poetically efficient "Ride the High Country." This film seemed to suggest that the Vietnam War was about to smother the glories of western expansion.
Few captured the majesty of our cinema dream-life as well as Buster Keaton. Here, the movie is the movie is the movie. That each of us could enter and indulge in a redemptive dream life was the tacit promise of the medium and Buster made good on that promise with pathetic nobility.
Is "La Jetee" the thinking man's "Sherlock Jr."? Where Keaton was pure antic dream, Marker was pure athletic smarts. Every film by Marker is a gift, but "La Jetee" just keeps on giving. It's originality is stunning; it's imagery bristling. And there is a sadness and yearning that sits right beneath the intellectual surface. Surely sent to us from another time.
Weather Diary 1
George Kuchar had his promiscuous way with cinema. Though he was thoroughly inhabited by cinemas-past in his love of melodrama, cliche, and redundant imagery, Kuchar also could shake off that preoccupation and do something that was his alone. It took rejecting the pure film medium for its tawdry country cousin, video, to find a monumental diaristic form that exemplified this personalized invention. The "Weather Diary" pits man against nature as the autobiographical subject--in the person of Kuchar--ponders his mortality, his love of fast foods, and the confines of a tawdry motel. Here, cinema probes the vulnerability of one man who stands amidst the philosophical whirlwind that is life.
I rest my case.