9 posts categorized "Women's Cinema"

February 04, 2021

DAGUERRÉOTYPES

Screen Shot 2021-02-04 at 1.07.47 AMEquality. Recognition. Artistic and personal truth. I’ve watched all of Agnès Varda films while discovering Criterion’s lush celebration of the French New Wave’s progenitor. If you could only have one filmmaker’s oeuvre on your private desert island, Agnès Varda’s films are the right choice to last you the rest of your life.

In Varda-approved random fashion I begin my slight review of Varda’s supremely personal, transgressive, and satisfying films with Daguerréotypes, a documentary film that fully expresses Agnès Varda’s confidence and openness to the world around her. In this case that meant the 90 meter distance of cable that her camera could reach from her floor-level apartment to the shops and locations in the Rue Daguerre district of Paris. Varda was raising her two-year-old son at the time, so she needed to stay close to home. Varda's catlike curiosity pours through every second of this truly delightful movie.

Daguerreotypes1

The magician who appears at the film’s opening credits returns during a public performance in front of an audience of (Parisian) neighborhood regulars. Everything from the magician’s formal approach to his audience and their delightful reactions to his Grand Guignol-inspired tricks, Varda captures a dynamic personal immediacy to time and place. Think Les Blank. There's boldness in Varda's subtle simplicity. Agnès Varda retained this transparency throughout her spectacular career as a filmmaker of the first water.     

DAGUERREOTYPES2

The film's title comes from Rue Daguerre, the street that Varda lived on. The street was named after Louis Daguerre, "inventor of the Daguerreotypes of photographic printing."

Daguere

Naturally this movie is a time capsule of French life, by virtue of Agnès Varda's generous and willing ability to reach out to her neighbors in a cinematic way. There is much to enjoy, relish, and learn from the elderly subjects in this treasured movie. Taken with the joy that Varda captures and inspires, "Daguerréotypes" is a social study for all time. What love. What magic. What a celebration of life.

Chardon-bleu

Five Stars

June 16, 2017

SWEETIE — CLASSIC FILM PICK

Sweetie-movie-posterNew Zealand auteur Jane Campion broke the ice with a cheeky transgressive familial comedy whose dark thematic import announces itself only at the film’s end. The result is a sucker punch of methodical storytelling. Coincidentally, the movie presaged Mike Leigh’s similarly titled and themed debut picture “Life Is Sweet.”

Campion pulls you in to an emotional rip tide. Neurotic Kay steals her man Lou (played by Tom Lycos) from another woman by seducing him in a car park. Kay’s libido subsides after the escaped couple set up house together with Kay’s (seemingly) bi-polar sister Dawn, a.k.a. ’Sweetie,’ (Geneviève Lemon) moves in with her new (lowlife) ‘talent manager.’

Colesmithey.com

Precise depictions of off-kilter character habits touch on an undercurrent of sexual abuse in a film that never hits a single theme line on the head. ‘Sweetie’ is a rich black comedy told in dominant chords. When it resolves to minor, you can’t help but be swept away.

SWEETIE

Rated R. 97 mins. (A) (Five stars — out of five / no halves)

Mike picked SCULPIN IPA from BALLAST POINT to accompany our discussion of Jane Campion's debut feature 'Sweetie,' currently streaming on FilmStruck. 

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January 08, 2017

ZERO MOTIVATION

Zero MotivationTalya Lavie’s 2014 black comedy, about a woman’s place in the Israeli Army, plays like a cross between “Reform School Girls” and “Catch 22.” Lavie skewers religious and military indoctrination in the context of psychological and physical abuses levied against female soldiers by male and female officers alike.

Writer-director Lavie takes inspiration from Jean Vigo's once banned 1933 film Zero For Conduct, about bourgeoning rebellion in an all boys boarding school, to transpose a narrative drawn from her experiences serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Although this movie might play as light comedy to Israeli audiences, the film echoes systemic abuses of female soldiers in the American military where rape is a common occurrence.

Colesmithey.com

When our rebellious heroine soldier Zohar (Dana Ivgy) attempts to lose her virginity to a fellow soldier, she requests that he “be more gentle.” His callous response, “I’m combat, baby” speaks volumes about the sexist effect of his military training. Zero Motivation is a troubling movie in spite of its primarily comedic tone.

"War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing." —Edwin Starr

Zero Motivation

Not Rated. 97 mins. (B) (Three stars — out of five / no halves)

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