marți, 20 februarie 2024

The Zone of Interest (2023)


I was expecting Jonathan Glazer's fourth feature with much anticipation. He doesn't make a a lot of films, four in over 20 years...the 1st one, Sexy Beast (2000) stuck with me from the first frame, Birth (2004) so and so and last one ten years ago , Under the Skin (2013) was an UFO of the foremost cinematic kind (in my Top of 2014 films and soundtracks). So, when I first about the plot of his new film that took ten years to make, The Zone of Interest, the fact that is shot in German and on location in Poland's Auschwitz-Birkenau made me want to see it more than any film in last year's Festival de Cannes. I am now totally convinced it should've won Palme d'Or more and much more than Anatomy of a Fall, which is for me one of the most overrated films of 2023. Zone won Cannes' Prix du Jury in 2023, the FIPRESCI prize and two tech awards, Johnnie Burn for the sound and Mica Levi for the music (the Cannes soundtrack award). 

The Zone of Interest is loosely based by the Martin Amis book, but it takes just the plot idea from there. Beyond that it went into a deconstruction of the Evil as banality, and offers a very different view of the Holocaust from the Inside Out.

One of last year's best and most powerful films (also in cinematic language) , where what you hear is more important than what you see-and go and see it in a cinema, it plays now near you.

Will definetly win the Oscar for the best foreign film and sound, it's nominated for 5 categories including best film and best direction. More than Nolan and Scorsese Glazer's direction is topnotch, original, artful, an observational film, experimental, in many ways avant-garde. 

                                        thermal b & w photography sequences

vineri, 16 februarie 2024

Billy Joel - Turn the Lights Back On (2024, SOTD)

 Turn the Lights Back On marks Billy Joel's first original song in 17 years !!!

more info here

and an explanation with Billy J. on Howard Stern's show here. He brings up Edith Piaf's "Je ne regrette Rien", well...i agrre with Howard on this...


Please open the doorNothing is different, we've been here beforePacing these hallsTrying to talk over the silenceAnd pride sticks out its tongueLaughs at the portrait that we've becomeStuck in a frame, unable to changeI was wrong
I'm late, but I'm here right nowThough I used to be romanticI forgot somehowTime can make you blindBut I see you nowAs we're laying in the darknessDid I wait too longTo turn the lights back on?
Here, stuck on a hillOutsiders inside the home that we builtThe cold settles inIt's been a long winter of indifferenceAnd maybe you love me, maybe you don'tMaybe you'll learn to, and maybe you won'tYou've had enough, but I won't give upOn you
I'm late, but I'm here right nowAnd I'm tryin' to find the magicThat we lost somehowMaybe I was blindBut I see you nowAs we're laying in the darknessDid I wait too longTo turn the lights back on?
I'm late, but I'm here right nowIs there still time for forgiveness?Won't you tell me how?I can't read your mindBut I see you nowAs we're layin' in the darknessDid I wait too longTo turn the lights back on?
I'm here right nowYes, I'm here right nowLooking for forgivenessI can see as we're laying in the darknessYeah, as we're laying in the darknessDid I wait too longTo turn the lights back on?

miercuri, 14 februarie 2024

Poor Things (2023)

Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos won the Golden Lion in Venice, all top awards around (just now Five BAFTA's) and is nominated for 11 Oscars. It's amazing for a film like this, a one-of-a kind extravaganza with no limits. Gun blazing sort of cinema, risque acting from the top three actors, Emma Stone (she will win an Oscar, her second  for this, no doubt), an epic makeup-ed Scottish accented Willem Dafoe and an incredibly funny offbeat Marc Ruffalo (an uncanny Nae Girimea impersonation ;), career best of going against type.

Mixed feelings, and would've been even better if I didn't find out about the book, by Scottish writer Alasdair Grey. The book was published in 1992 and the author died in 2019. He sold the rights to the book to Yorgos Lanthimos in 2009. There are huge huge differences from the book in the film and Tony McNamara script relocated it from  Glasgow to London, and got rid of on the recent different timeline hooks. The book is told by different characters, through letters and it's supposed to be a found true story. Also at a running time of 2h21, it's at least a half-an-hour too indulgent longeur. Things begin to be too repetitive, esp. in the Paris episode.  There is a fish, aquatic-like theme that runs along the whole film, a dark humour surreal atmosphere and a manifesto of Shock & Panic cinema. 

Impecable tech credits, brilliant cinematography (by Robbie Ryan who did The Favourite too, in Technicolor, black and white, with grand angular, fisheyed lenses, 16 mm, etc), gorgeous set and production design, costumes and great music (pop musician Jerskin Fendrix' debut score), with a very original sound, also because its his first and Lanthimos' first film with an original film score.

Shot in Budapest at the Korda Studios for  a mere 35 million $. I mean, really, it looks alike a much more expensive picture.

Great title lettering inspired by Pablo Ferro. Via Kubrick maybe (dr. Strangelove), he is Lanthimos most revered mentor. Early Tim Burton, Elephant Man, Young Frankenstein, Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula, Fellini's E la Nave Va. I saw some Jodorowski in the Belle du Jour chapter, some Quay Bros. on the fisheye and iris black and whites. The fillmakers acknowledge Roy Andresson also as an inspiration and the primary Technicolors of Powell & Pressburger's Black Narcissus. I'll add some Hammer color too.

luni, 5 februarie 2024

Il sol dell'avvenire/A Brighter Tomorrow (2023)

Il sol dell'avvenire/A Brighter Tomorrow, in Romanian Un viitor luminos (cum numai Partidul stie sa prezica ;), the title is of course Ironic. I mean, Nanni Moretti (now 70!!!) is a leftie and a socialist but this is his Nuit Americaine, or 8 1/2, a Meta film, with most of the fun from him in many years. Reminded my of his earlier films, Palombella Rossa (1989) and Caro Diario (1993). It was much funnier and warmer than his big Cannes fares (he has a Directing award for Caro diario and a Palme D'or for La Stanza di Figlio-2001). Habemus Papam (2011) was also funny, but here's there's a lot of more things Cinema to be enjoyed. Of course his new film was part of the official competition in 2023's Cannes Fest.

It's about a director in a very long mislife and creative crisis, making a film no one would like to see, about the events in Hungary 1956 seen through the eyes of the Italian Communist party. The title comes from a resistance song from WW2, "Fischia il vento". Add to that the circus of Federico F., plus the songs and musical fantasies, and some woodyallenesque soliloquies plus psychotherapy, life lamentations and narcissism to the max. The soundtrack is great, features belli canzoni, from Joe Dassin to Franco Battiato (Voglio vederdi danzare), Aretha Franklin  with "Think" from The Blues Brothers, Faure & Beethoven, and Fabrizio de Andre (La canzone dell'amore perduta). Featuring classic Moretti collaborators, Margherita Buy, Polish director and actor Jerzy Stuhr and a premiere, Mathieu Amalric as the fou producer. And surely Moretti as Giovanni, the tormented director. 

It's Moretti meets Fellini with bits of Demy (Lola and la Dolce Vita are even on the screen).

It's almost a miracle this film is in cinemas, very limited release. The scene with Netflix must be seen to be believed. It's like that, really, the WTF...