Archive for September 14th, 2010

by Joel

#83 in Best of the 21st Century?, a series counting down the most acclaimed films of the previous decade.

With its sun-dappled village huts, its jaggedly Gaudi-like mosque (topped with a 150-year-old ostrich egg), its gorgeously bright primary colors, its grins and laughter, Ousmane Sembene’s Mooladé is a film of immense good cheer. It is also a movie about female genital mutilation, in which the tortured deaths of several young girls are acknowledged, in which a husband whips his wife mercilessly in the public square, in which a man is murdered outright, in which a brutal system of female subjegation, social oppression, fearful superstition, and child abuse is maintained, exalted, and bloodily enforced. But Sembene’s film is neither superficially naive, nor self-importantly morose. It is manifestly the movie of an 81-year-old master, simple in presentation but echoing with depths, observing tragedy with a sad smile, and buffonery with the indulgence of a satirist – affectionate but hardly gentle. Despite his knowledge of human weakness, despite his awareness of the power of the elders and the men and the female priestesses, Sembene offers up optimism, not the avoiding, weak kind but the earned kind, the kind that rests in reservoirs of strength, for which good humor is not a front but rather a manifestation of indomitable resilience and wisdom.


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by Allan Fish

(Japan 1958 95m) DVD1

Aka. Kyojin to Gangu

You can’t link caramels to space!

p  Hidemasa Nagata  d  Yasuzo Masumura  w  Ishio Shirasaka  ph  Hiroshi Murai  ed  Tatsuji Chujo  m  Tetsuo Tsukahara  art  Tomoo Shimogawara 

Hiroshi Kawaguchi (Yousuke Nishi), Hitomi Nozoe (Kyoko Shima), Hideo Takamatsu (Ryuji), Michiko Ono (Masami Kurahashi), Yonosuke Ito (Junji), Kyu Sazanka (Takakura Higashi), Kinzo Shin (Kohei),

In the mid 1950s Hollywood first began to drift into the realms of vulgar satire, firstly through Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch, then through the comedies of Frank Tashlin that exploited the pneumatic charms of Jayne Mansfield, The Girl Can’t Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?  They led to other imitators, and while the Tashlin films still have a ropey charm to them, they are very dated, while Itch remains, some able comic turns aside, one of Wilder’s weakest films.  It makes Yasuzo Masumura’s achievement with Giants and Toys all the more remarkable, for though Giants is a film of its era, very much so, it stands head and shoulders over other films of its type because its targets are still those skewered today by much less talented writers and directors.  (more…)

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