Thursday, December 1, 2022

Top 10 Discoveries 2022

2022 was a recovery year. A mixed bag of getting back to work excitment and exhaustion. Vacation ruined because of still raging covid in the summer and family having tested positive, it has been an emotionally and physically unsettling year. And this choice viewing list, taking from variety of influences and sources reflects on that volatility. Sometimes fulfilling, sometimes directionless, these films guided me through some unknown territories. I am eternally grateful to Kelly and Carol for introducing me to some of these films.

Listed chronologically

Hindle Wakes (1927) - Elvey bfi-00m-kqo_copy_800x Unlike Hollywood films of this time - think of Clara Bow's It, Britain's Hindle Wakes' take on the definition of a job and woman's place in the post-industrial society is surprisingly progressive of its time. Fanny, in her Louise Brooks wig, is a mill worker who gets noticed by a mill owner's engaged son at a company sponsored outting. She gets stranded and spends the night with him in the countryside (big scandal!). Her father, a foreman of the mill and the owner tries to plug the scandal by a hasty arranged marriage. Nonplussed, Fanny announces that she is moving out of her parent's house. The ending of Hindle Wakes killed me. "I can get a job anywhere where there is a mill."

Hotel du nord (1938) - Carné Screen Shot 2022-10-12 at 8.22.17 AM There's a casualness in Hotel du Nord - amorality is given - a husband is ok with his wife being asked to go out by a womanizing cab driver, homosexuality is out in the open, prostitution is just a profession.... People hook up and break up on a whim and pledges their love as if it is as easy as blowing their noses. Are these doomed lovers an omen for the upcoming world war...I ponder.

Bringing Up Baby (1938) - Hawks J28k9qnHNCASAIf9kEJFc4N7mCRCiU_original Not into Hollywood comedies or comedy in general, but Bringing Up Baby’s unrelenting forward momentum is truly a juggernaut of manic energy. It was easily watchable and digestible without thinking too deeply about it. It doesn’t give you much time to mull anything over because it is over by then. It’s that unpredictability and over-the-top-ness that was enjoyable.

Los Olvidados (1950) - Buñuel screen-shot-2014-05-02-at-11-06-01 Fuck them kids. Wow. Bleak. It is easy to take a jab at the bourgeoisie, but portraying the poor this way, since no one cares about the poor, only thing Buñuel was offending was the box office numbers and sensibilities of some liberal’s misplaced nationalistic pride.

Niagara (1953) - Hathaway Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 4.16.23 PM Rose (Monroe)'s prolonged, almost silent murder scene is as good as it gets and puts most stylish giallos to shame.

Nostalgia (1971) - Frampton cm-capture-4 I really enjoyed Hollis Frampton's Nostalgia. His out of order narrations as he burns each photographs on an electric stovetop was at once whimsical and self-reflexive. I've been reading Byung-chul Han's Disappearance of Rituals. In it Han says that the lack of physicality and lack of rituals in the internet age, makes people lose respect for each other. The physicality of materials which automatically makes them nostalgic in our eyes in the modern world, in this case photographs with stories attached to them, and ritual of burning them one by one while giving it slightly out of sync context really spoke to me.

India Song (1975) - Duras Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 9.40.12 AM Meticulously staged and filmed with slow tracking shots and intentionally wooden performances, India Song strongly resembles fellow nouveau roman scribe Alain Robbe-Grillet's Last Year at Marienbad, directed by Alain Resnais. Highlighting decadence of the Western colonizers with their completely out of place sense of entitlement and how it rots the human hearts, India Song is a cinematic achievement that encompasses all of Duras preoccupation- colonialism, war, love, memories, from a woman's point of view, equally as man's.

Asparagus (1979) - Pitt Asparagus_window Pitt's magical asparagus reminded me of Fantastic Planet but more coherent and subversive in its sexuality. Her combination of two dimensional, primary colored animation and claymation was really awe inspiring.

August in the Water (1995) - Ishii Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 11.48.26 AM Mixing New Age spirituality, animism, astrophysics and advancement in technology, Gakuryu Ishii's trippy 90's relic, August in the Water can be seen as the quintessential film for vaporwave - the synth tinged soundtrack, dolphins, rainbows, dated computer graphics, aliens, etc.

O’er the Land (2008) - Stratman Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 12.34.07 PM Deborah Stratman's film made a big impression on me. Without being didactic or judgmental, the film poses a lot of questions by showing series of seemingly (at first) unrelated images with voiceovers, resulting in viewers examining his/her own views on the society where it seems that reconciliation or understanding one another is not possible, because our paths have branched off long ago. Things have gone the opposite way and the urbanites have nothing in common with gun totting, high school football participating, RV driving and border sweeping people on any level. "We come out here for freedom. This is the only place on earth we have this freedom to do this," a man says over the image of carnage of what seems to be a gigantic gun range. What I was seeing was just as eerie and incomprehensible as the jet pilot describing his descent after ejected from the plane in the latter part of the film.

No comments:

Post a Comment