It Comes At Night, dir. Trey Edward Shults (2017).
Staying Vertical, dir. Alain Guiraudie (2017).
Afterimage, dir. Andrzej Wadja (2016)
Tout Va Bien, dir. Jean-Luc Godard (1972).
By shooting the factory as if it were a set (a nod to Tati’s late films?), Godard underscores the artificiality of management-worker relations in the years after les soixante-huitards ground France to a halt. Jane Fonda (speaking excellent French) and Yves Montand play the couple. One of his least appreciated films, one of his most compelling.
Death in Venice, dir. Luchino Visconti ((1971).
First seen in high school when I read Thomas Mann’s short novel, Death in Venice was practically new to me a couple weeks ago; all I remembered were reaction shots of Dirk Bogarde, pout disfigured by powder, watching his beloved Tadzio frolic on the shoreline with companions. I had an idea Visconti wasn’t worth watching after The Stranger either. But his use of Mahler and the languorous tracking shot are imaginative correlatives for Mann’s prose, compensating for the awful flashbacks in which Bogarde’s Aschenbach listens to accusations of coldness from a pompous friend. The hotel lobby and restaurant scenes conjure a diseased subsection of high society; they play like sequels to similar scenes in The Leopard.
John Wick: Chapter 2, dir. Chad Stahelski (2017)
Just when he thought he was out…the Italian mafia wants him back in. Keanu Reeves, in his best role since Speed, fights featureless Euroscum and his inability to squeeze consonants from his throat. Did he Botox his pharynx?
Kagemusha, dir. Akira Kurosawa (1980).
A first draft for what he’d realized in Ran: an idea of splendor, a sense that power is ceremonial and thus ephemeral.