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Archive for December 14th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(France 2009 161m) DVD1/2

I will watch you from the sky

p  Pierre Vuffin, Braham Chioua, Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier, Vincent Maraval  d  Gaspar Noé  w  Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Gaspar Noé  ph  Benoit Debie  ed  Marc Boucrot, Gaspar Noé  m  Thomas Bengalter  art  Jean-André Carrière, Kikuo Ohta, Marc Caro  cos  Nicoletta Massone 

Nathaniel Brown (Oscar), Paz de la Huerta (Linda), Cyril Roy (Alex), Olly Alexander (Victor), Masato Tanno (Mario), Ed Spear (Bruno), Emily Alyn Lind (young Linda), Jesse Kuhn (Little Oscar), Sara Stockbridge (Suzy), Janice Béliveau-Sicotte (mother),

The arrival of a new Gaspar Noé film on the cinematic horizon is always something to look-forward to, an event in an age when event cinema really doesn’t come along too long.  Not the carefully packaged, non-descript blandness of a Hollywood franchise but the latest work of a cinematic visionary.  Those people who don’t make movies, don’t even make films, but make cinema.  There’s Von Trier, Wong Kar-Wai, Haneke, Malick, Lynch – P.T.Anderson perhaps, the way he’s going – and Noé.  And for Noé it had been seven years since the inflammatory Irreversible when Enter the Void reached Cannes in a rough cut in May 2009.  We expected something that would divide audiences between the enraptured and the appalled; we weren’t to be disappointed. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Germany/Austria 1932 87m) not on DVD

Aka. Flirtation

A bottle of Tokay ‘92

p  Herman Millakowsky  d  Max Ophuls  w  Hans Wilhelm, Kurt Alexander  story  Arthur Schnitzler  ph  Franz Planer  ed  Friedel Buckow  m  Theo Macheber  art  Gabriel Pellon

Magda Schneider (Christine Weyring), Wolfgang Liebeneiner (Fritz Lobheimer), Luise Ullrich (Mizzi Schlager), Gustav Gruendgens (Baron von Egersdorff), Paul Hörbiger (Weyring), Olga Tschechova (Baroness von Egersdorff), Carl Esmond (Lt.Theo Kaiser), Paul Otto (Major von Egersdorff),

Not seen on TV since those halcyon days of the BBC2 Film Club, not yet released on DVD and only available for home viewing courtesy of a VHS released over a decade ago, Liebelei is merely the biggest exhibit for the prosecution against the shameful neglect of Max Ophuls; his best fifties films not even making it to DVD in the US until late 2008.  Liebelei was made when Ophuls was but thirty, and at a time when he wasn’t at all well known, hence his directorial credit sandwiched between those of the writers and cinematographer as if listed in a film guide.  This made his name.

            Set in the Vienna he loved so well and in his favourite period, 1910 – the time and place where Ophuls himself grew up – it follows the adventures of two lieutenants in the Austro-Hungarian army; Theo Kaiser and Fritz Lobheimer.  Fritz seems unable to break off his extra-marital affair with a baron’s wife, and her husband is growing all the more suspicious.  Finally he does so, and accompanies his friend, his friend Mizzi and her friend Christine on a night out.  Fritz ends up falling for Christine, Theo for Mizzi, but it’s Fritz and Christine’s love that remains the focus of attention, doomed as it is by Fritz’s being accused, correctly, of previously being his wife’s lover, and challenged to a duel of honour.  (more…)

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(Japan 1993 113 min)

Director Mamoru Oshii; Writer Kazunori Ito; Music Kenji Kawai; Set Decoration Satoshi Kon

by Stephen Russell-Gebbett

Of all animated films Patlabor 2 : The Movie, in tone, subject and style, is the last one for which you could say: “This could only be done in animation”. The film, much as Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell, reconfigures perceptions of what subjects an animated film may broach; how it feels, how it unfolds.

The film concerns the attempts of a disillusioned and disenfranchised former head (called Tsuge) of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force to destabilise Tokyo with terrorist attacks designed to provoke civil and international war. The Patlabor unit of mecha (giant man-controlled robots) is deployed to try and pull the city back from the brink and dissolve Martial Law.

The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has caused controversy in real life over its roles and remits – whether it can operate abroad or only on Japanese soil. A disastrous mission in Cambodia as part of a UN peacekeeping initiative led to the death of a soldier and great unrest. This is echoed in the first scene of Patlabor 2 where the Labors (the mecha machines) are comprehensively defeated in “South East Asia” and only one man, Tsuge, survives.

(more…)

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