Movie Roundup

Lotsa movie-watching, not much blogging, not that anyone reads it anyway.

Good Night And Good Luck – A very good little film that has a very specific point to make about the state of today’s media and very little else. It’s directed with a very neat, elegant style by George Clooney. It’s going in at #8 on my 2005 Movies Of The Year list.

Why We Fight – On the other hand is the lefty polemic documentary that doesn’t so much inform as it argues, ineffectively at that. It’s better than the other recent lefty docs, excluding Michael Moore’s films, including director Jarecki’s own The Trials Of Henry Kissinger, but it’s still an exercise in preaching to the choir.

Au Hasard Balthasar – A great movie that somehow manages to convey the whole of human experience through a very simple story about a girl and her donkey. It sounds absurd, but it totally works. The second film in my Robert Bresson series, I like it a lot better than the other two I’ve seen so far.

Diary Of A Country Priest – The third Bresson in my series is my least favorite. It’s not as profound as Balthasar and lacks both the virtuoso style and sense of whimsy of Pickpocket. It’s an episodic story about how a young priest’s faith is tested by his community, which seems to hate him. There are some beautiful scenes, but the film doesn’t come together as well as those others. Next up in the Bresson series: A Man Escaped.

Solaris – Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s famously slow sci-fi film both did and did not fail to live up to the hype. The slowness of the film tends to make it seem more profound than it really is. The film’s an ode to solipsism, it proposes that human beings aren’t interesting in exploring other worlds, but only interested in recreating their own world. And concurrently, are most happy living out their own pasts in their own minds because actually connecting with other people is impossible. A ridiculously depressing theory.

The Passion Of Joan Of Arc – Still depressing but not nearly as pessimistic as Solaris is this silent film by Carl Theodor Dreyer. The story’s largely based on the transcripts of Joan’s trial, but it’s told almost entirely in stylized close-ups and totally without musical accompaniment. The performance of Maria Falconetti as Joan is remarkable, and justly famous. One of the very best silent films I’ve ever seen.

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