Archive for September 5th, 2009

by Joel Bocko

Nights and Weekends, 2008, dir. Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg, released on DVD Aug. 25, 2009

Most of the conversations in Nights and Weekends have a random feel, but one in particular is random with a purpose. Mattie (Greta Gerwig) is returning from a photo shoot with James (Joe Swanberg), her long-distance still-sorta boyfriend. At the shoot, the photographer coaxed the couple into playing cute for the camera, cooing “That’s adorable,” when an embarrassed Mattie cringed or looked at James with uncertainty. Sure enough, her snapshots transform the awkward into the semi-iconic and when the two look at them later on a computer screen, it’s almost enough to convince them they’re a real couple (they start making out, in the most genuinely sensual moment of the film, after viewing the uncomfortable kiss captured on camera hours earlier.) “They’re like present us,” James tells Mattie before leaning in for the kiss, “only acting out past us.” Cue future us. (more…)

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Nostalgia (no 25)


by Allan Fish

(Italy/USSR 1983 126m) DVD1/2

Aka. Nostalghia

Keeping the candle burning

p  Francesco Casati  d  Andrei Tarkovsky  w  Tonino Guerra, Andrei Tarkovsky  ph  Giuseppe Lanci  ed  Erminia Marani, Amadeo Salfa  m  Ludwig Van Beethoven (“9th Symphony”), Giuseppe Verdi (“Requiem”)  art  Andrea Crisanti

Oleg Jankovsky (Andrei Gorchakov), Erland Josephson (Domenico), Domiziana Giordano (Eugenia), Patrizia Torreno (Andrei’s wife), Delia Boccardo (Domenico’s wife), Milena Vukotic (civil servant), Laura de Marchi (chambermaid),

Nostalgia was the last of the Tarkovskys to make the cut; indeed, it was very nearly the only one not to make it.  Seven features, if you exclude his student film The Steamroller and the Violin, and each one makes the grade.  Of the seven, three are what a beloved but  hyperbolic, platitude-dropping friend of mine might call ‘staggering masterpieces’ (Andrei Rublev, Mirror, Stalker), while the other four if not quite so perfect are too beautiful – nay, stunning is the word, for Tarkovsky’s films always speak to the mind as much as the aesthetic senses – to ignore. 

            Essentially, its story is a simple one, and like many Tarkovsky films it’s a journey, for both protagonist and audience.  Andrei Gorchakov has travelled to Italy to make a documentary about an obscure Russian composer, accompanied by Eugenia, his Italian translator whose statuesque and seemingly available features he seems intent on ignoring.  Instead he gets more and more fascinated by local madman Domenico. (more…)

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