film

10 best films of 2015

  1. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Turkey-France-Germany)

mustangcinema

The film deals with the life of 5 teenager Muslim sisters in conservative Turkish family who after having spent a moment in the beach with some boys were condemn to be prisoners of their own home. A film that shows the sensuality of the youth world in the Middle East is not something that one found everyday. Between the sisters it had been a development of a very special relationship base on complicity. The young girls are forced to became brides and each girl has different reaction. According to the credits the Turkish government has partly financed the film despite I don’t think that it fits the Turkish cultural nationalism of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his repressive government. Perhaps this film one of the most honest critics to the female treatment in Muslim countries. One of the most interesting aspects of film is that Turkey is supposed to be a more Western country and in theory more modern but his treatment of woman for a lot of families don’t change much with the supposedly more primitive Arab countries. A real subversive film of a  poetic beauty.

2. Tu Dors Nicole (Stéphane Lafleur, Canada)

tudorsnicole

In a cinematic black and white with the particular Québécois accent this film was one of the surprises of the year. The plot is center between the relationship of two twenty something Nicole and Verónique that had nothing to do a summer. There is nothing deep about the story but is the charm that the girls bring to the film that made it almost surrealist. There is a teenage kid with an adult voice in love with Nicole that appear to put a quote of humor in film. The sound is well elaborated from the parent that go in roads with a whale sound to the Nicole’s brother rock band. The finale of the the film is weak part of this masterpiece.

3. The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle, USA)

thewolfpackcinema

A marvelous documentary of the lives of the Angulo brothers that lived locked away away in a Lower East Side apartment. The only connection for them to the outside world are films which they even reenact. The family is afraid of the outside but these teenagers don’t. The film portray the brothers first contacts with the outside world with they. A history about how the limits of cinema and real life are more blurry that one could usually think. Since their vision of the world had been shaped by cinema, they had despite their early youth the vision of older directors and a commitment to create beauty. If Michel Foucault said that the goal in the life is to make a piece of art of it, for these kids is made a movie about that.

4. Heaven’s Know What (Ben Safdie & Joshua Safdie, USA)

heavenknowswhat

In a year where there had been a lot of films about the homeless, this small budget film which had by far the best. Most films about the homeless had require well known actors to get attention into these complex topic but these film was a blend between documentary and fiction since the main character Harley is portrayed by Arielle Holmes, a real life homeless. Arielle performance is simply magic for a film about a very hard topic. The history of the film is actually based on her real life, Harley and Ilya are couple of addict homeless in New York City.  Certainly not the kind of cinema that is made to be a blockbuster but the honest portray of homelessness made it one of the best indie films of the last time.

5. Beyond Clueless (Charlie Lyne, UK)

beyondclueless

A documentary about teenage movies. The film is a reflection about how cinema has portrayed with coming-of-age stories the youth. A truly sociological look to high school films. Center around American cinema the fact that in other cinematographies, coming-of-age films are rare, makes one wonder why is the fascination of America with its youth. Is America the eternal teenager that is tired of the Old Europe. Is he or she, the jock, the cheerleader or nerd, maybe America of is all of the above. Even in some other countries there had been some films about high school is very strange that they merge science fiction and horror, something quite common in America. The question will is if one day would America grow up.

6. Dope (Rick Famuyiwa, USA)

dope

The history of Malcolm a geek teenager and two of his friends in a black neighborhood. After founding a bag full of drugs they decide it to sell it in the deep web and they change the money they earn to Bitcoin. There is love, there are pop culture references and there is dream of Malcolm of getting into Harvard. A geek black comedy that is maybe inaugurating a new sub-genre.

7. Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, France)

eden

A film about the underground electronic music scene in Paris with the one best soundtracks ever, the movie is a narrative tale of the life of these musicians from the love relationships to their addictions. Hansen-Løve is a young director that had been able to find her own voice, every film of her had a particular taste. These film is the first since her debut trilogy and is prove that she is one of the most promising filmmakers of this generation.

8. Appropriate Behaviour (Desiree Akhavan, USA)

appropiatebehaviour

Described as the film Woody Allen would made if he was a lesbian Persian girl. The film follows Shirin portrayed by the  Akhavan herself as a hipster lesbian Persian-American girl living in New York City with dream of becoming a director. An autobiographical film that reflects on hipster culture but also on what it means being “ethnic” in the hipster scene. A truly charming film that put a Akhavan on the map both as a director and an actress.

9. Lost River (Ryan Gosling, USA)

lostriver

The directorial debut of Ryan Gosling was a truly surprise. One best cinematography works of the last time is shown on these film that in technical aspects is perfect. Is not easy to make films about ghost towns and Gosling has made it. The script is far from perfect but having actress like Christina Hendricks and Saiorse Ronan, good performances are secured.

10. Félix et Meira (Maxime Giroux, Canada)

felixetmeira

The film name the two principal characters a single middle age man and younger orthodox Jewish mother and wife. One amazing love story between two persons coming from two very different worlds. The Israeli actress that portrays Meira is Hadas Yaron, one of the most promising rising star of Israel.

Magicians of the Outer Right, Part Zwei – Power Plays

TRIGGER WARNING: There’s that bit in the beginning of the Book of Genesis about The Tree of Knowledge. The material below is all very well known and available to anyone with a browser. However, the weak of mind are strongly advised to cease and desist.

Ah, I see you’re still here. Very well:

My previous post on Magicians of the Outer Right was, admittedly, occult.

From Outside in’s links digest: “Mirror of obscurity.” Nick B. Steves roundup: “a rather cryptic post.” Some further explication was implied.

Steves also linked this:

The fact is Western culture has its own conception of power, a very naive construct that prevents us from noticing how things actually work. We seem to think people have ideas, and act because they believe those ideas, and power just comes out of the strength of those ideas. Call it faith in Christ, or Protestantism, or liberalism. Our conception of history is the history of ideas.

In the last 20 years or so, with the rise of the Web, this conception has been hyper-reinforced. I post my “Neoreactionary” arguments and evidence about how fundamental “right-wing” changes to society would result in peace, prosperity, less crime, happier children, more intelligence, less obesity and, in the long run, the breeding of unicorns that defecate gumdrops. Some SJW grrrl just out of Wellsley (or more likely, struggling to complete her Womyn’s Studies B.A. at a state university) posts that I’m a POS racist sexist LGBTIQ-phobe whose ideas would lead to death camps for everyone except white cismales. She argues that fundamental “left-wing” changes to society would result in equality, peace, equality, less crime, equal children and animals, equality of intelligence, social justice, racial justice, economic justice, sexual justice and, in the long run, Gaia defecating non-GMO unsalted manna that would feed the world and allow her to pay off her student loans.

(more…)

Want to see something really scary?

The horror genre is much bemoaned for its tendency toward artistic bankruptcy. Filmmakers are content to adhere to cliché in the form of gore, scare chords and contrived suspense. If these cinematic temptations are defied by a sophisticated auteur who understands the nuances of audience manipulation, the result is a film to be remembered. Indeed, meticulous attention to detail is among the most celebrated aspects of Stanley Kubrick’s legacy. Even for a Stanley Kubrick film, the production of The Shining was long and painstaking. The film took almost a year to shoot at 51 weeks, while it was only intended to take 17 weeks, and it had very long workdays — rewrites of the script would happen several times a day.

The sense of space is a basic subconscious instinct that all human beings have and rely on every day. This is the pressure point that Kubrick chooses to strike at in order to disorient and ultimately disturb viewers on a level that conventional horror technique cannot approach.

An obviously intentional example of this is the scene where Halloran is leading Wendy through the kitchen. The Steadicam precedes them as Halloran winds through counters and tables, taking twists and turns that that camera and the gaze of the audience moves with. Ultimately, we see him from behind opening the freezer with his right hand – we cut to the camera inside the freezer, and Halloran is seen opening what is supposed to be the same door with the other hand, and the door is now hinged and swinging from the wrong side. When they exit, they, the door swings from the original hinging, giving the impression that they are on the same side of the hall, but this time the kitchen is flipped in front of them and they walk towards it in the wrong direction. In the scene where Jack is interrupted by Wendy, we have a depth of field shot there is a chair clearly in-focus behind Jack. The camera cuts to Wendy then to Jack, and the chair is gone. Geoffrey Cocks notes in the documentary film Room 237 that this disappearance could have been intentional, or could have been just been a continuity error. A third intriguing possibility is that it could have been a continuity error that Kubrick chose to keep. A similar phenomenon occurs with the typewriter changing colors between shots. The third possibility raises interesting insights into the nature of The Shining and of choices in films in general, where even films with meticulous production are fertilized by the unintentional. The interior of The Overlook hotel itself is replete with physical impossibilities, which are, in line with the movie being a psychological horror, instinctually disturbing on a less than conscious level to the viewer. The constant spatial challenging of the psyche is noted by Juli Kearns in Room 237:

(more…)

The end of the rainbow: Eyes Wide Shut analysis

Eyes Wide Shut is probably my favorite film, but it didn’t acquire this distinction until quite a long time after I had first watched it. A second viewing was followed by the nuances of the film creeping up in my mind and demanding a share of my daydreaming. When I watched it a third time, and the rest was history.

I am in some pretty good company – Stanley Kubrick considered it to be his greatest contribution to the art of cinema. Before the film was released, Kubrick died, leaving this enigmatic film for viewers to ponder without its creator to chime in. But the film was not a sudden act of inspiration that came to the auteur, but a culmination of decades of meditation and influence that provided Kubrick with a capstone that ultimately summed up his vision as a filmmaker. Kubrick had been envisioning a film about sexual relations since early in his career, and upon reading the early 20th century novella Dream Story, he decided to buy the rights to it in 1971. For almost 30 years Kubrick held the rights, and the ideas that were to become his final masterpiece took shape throughout that time.

Kubrick’s exploration of the dream world of the film that the audience is part of is ultimately manifested in Eyes Wide Shut. The diegesis of Kubrick is a dream in which the audience is invited to take part in. Kubrick stated early in his career,

The representation of reality has no bite. It does not transcend. Nowadays I am more interested in taking up a fantastic and improbable story…. I always enjoyed representing a slightly surreal situation in a realistic way. I have always had a penchant for fairy-tales, myths and magical stories. They seem to me to come closer to our present-day experience of reality than realistic stories, which are basically just as stylized.

To this end, Kubrick’s films walk the line between the dream and the reality even within his films. Mixture of the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds are a tool used throughout his filmography, at least since 1957’s Paths of Glory, over four decades before his final film. We hear a non-diegetic percussion piece when the soldiers are sent into No Man’s Land from the trench. Later, when being executed, a percussion piece plays again, only this time, we learn that the drummers are in the reality of the film. In A Clockwork Orange, the main character Alex is both the main character and the narrator; he is both the gaze and the object of the gaze. By walking this line, Kubrick recognizes that dream-state of film that always exists in the medium whether creators intend or address it or not. Films are necessarily believable and internally consistent absurdities that echo the mental filtering of reality. In a film, characters are funnier than reality; the passing of time is more perfect than reality. This is because our gaze is restricted to the narrative that is relevant to the auteur’s vision. In real life, our idea and memories of our friends are funnier than reality. Our idea of Christmastime is more wonderful and cozy than can be. Our real life gaze conserves details by only cataloging those details that are relevant to our personal narrative.

(more…)