25 posts categorized "Art Film"

June 27, 2017

STALKER — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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ColeSmithey.comJean Paul Sartre’s ‘No Exit’ meets ‘Waiting For Godot” in Chernobyl in this influential cultural and ecological think piece from visionary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. This beautifully alien film makes Dostoevsky seem like an optimistic romantic with its inhumane post-apocalyptic dystopian setting.

Avant-garde filmmakers such as Guy Maddin, David Lynch, Pedro Costa, and Bela Tarr have all drawn obvious inspiration from Tarkovsky’s minimalist filmic appreciation of dirge-like tempos, earthly decay, and dark visual textures.

Although "Stalker's" theatrically bound narrative structure of philosophical discourse bogs down as much as it reveals, ‘Stalker’ is a daring film that takes its audience on a necessarily Russian sci-fi inflected trip of the mind.

ColeSmithey.com

Check out Tarkovsky's thematic logic.

"Weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it's tender and pliant."

ColeSmithey.com

Alexander Kaidanovsky plays the ‘Stalker’ of the film’s title, which screenwriters Boris and Arkady Strugatsky transposed from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Stalky & Co.’ stories for the protagonist of their initial novel. Looking like a Russian Woody Harrelson, Kaidanovsky’s Stalker works as a guide into the Zone, a dangerous region bereft of wildlife save a few fish and a dog. The Zone contains a Room that enables its visitors to realize their innermost desires. Stalker admits that he has never in his life "seen one happy person." It doesn’t bode well for his two clients, a science professor and a writer, both of whom are two of the least fulfilled people you could imagine.     

Stalker.colesmithey.com

The wet and toxic landscape that Tarkovsky presents is unnerving. No comfort is anywhere to be found. Everything is muddy and wet. There isn't even a tree stump you'd want to sit on. Tarkovsky savors awkward beauty in the ostensibly post-war debris that rots in shallow bodies of water that exist as constant reminders of life that once resided there.

ColeSmithey.com

The filmmakers utilized two disused hydro power plants for key sequences in areas poisoned by toxic factories. The association with Chernobyl is no joke. Life as we know it cannot exist here. The experience took years off Tarkovsky's life for the numerous health issues he faced after spending extended periods of time in the radioactive region. 

ColeSmithey.com

While the script seems more adaptable to a stage play, the film's visual impact is at once horrible and lovely. Truly this is a movie for its audience to stalk and suffer. You might not find any answers, but you will learn some things about yourself while searching if you have such a predisposition to the task.

Not Rated. 183 mins. 

4 Stars

Mike picked Ommegang's Nirvana IPA for us to imbibe while chewing the fat over Andrei Tarkovsky's STALKER.

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

May 10, 2017

MANIFESTO


ColeSmithey.comBy far the best film to come along in the first half of 2017, “Manifesto” is as thought and discussion-provoking as films come. It also happens to be entertaining as hell. This is one provocative movie about the ongoing culture wars that disrupt our lives in the most intrinsic ways.

Writer/director Julian Rosefeldt comments on modern life and art through a textual landscape created from different manifestos from such authors as Marx and Engels, and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism.” Still the barrage of ideologies remains refreshingly transparent thanks to the social setting of each of the film's highly stylized backgrounds. 

Screen Shot 2022-03-26 at 9.54.02 PM

Cate Blanchett shows off her chops in a virtuosic display in which she plays 13 different characters, each with a lot to say about art, commerce, creativity, love, hope, desire, geo-global politics, death, global warming, passion, ignorance, authenticity, capitalism and family. If that sounds like a lot, be assured that I have but scratched the surface of the ambitious ideas that Blanchett embodies with a ferocity of purpose seldom seen on stage or screen.

Blanchett

Even the Dogma 95 manifesto makes an appearance in an elementary classroom full of whip-smart students. There’s even a surprise ending that reveals the harmony hidden between each of Cate Blanchett’s wildly different characters.

Screen Shot 2022-03-26 at 9.53.54 PM

“Manifesto” is a beautifully conceived think-piece that takes the viewer on a journey of ideas and expression. Any person interested in bold artistic statements should check out this tour de force art film delivered with virtuosic precision from one of the world’s greatest living actresses. It’s not too far a stretch to call this film a real treasure. Bon appetite.

Cate Blanchett

Not Rated. 95 mins. 

5 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

December 11, 2014

NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME II

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

NYMPH()MANIAC VOLUME IIThe decision to split Lars von Trier’s epic erotic journey into two parts is one of the worst cinematic travesties committed in 2014. Von Trier’s signature rigor, combined with the freethinking filmmaker’s unique instincts for penetrating universal human truths, resounds with a pure cinematic clarity that is astounding.

Provocative, droll, fearless, and cinematically sexual in unprecedented ways, “Nymphomaniac” (in its proper unedited form) is a four-hour movie with an unknown potential to alter reality.

Colesmithey.com

Charlotte Gainsbourg’s sexually polymorphic character Joe represents an icon of the contradictions of modern day feminist ideologies. That Joe’s sexually adventurous self-help therapy places her in the presence of an overeducated male exploiter (disguised as her rescuer) puts a sharp grace note that carries on and on and on.

Not Rated. 124 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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