Archive for Agnes Varda

City of Angles

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on September 4, 2013 by dcairns

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In LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF, Thom Andersen’s magisterial essay film, he cites Jacques Demy’s underrated MODEL SHOP as perhaps the best evocation of LA light and life and look. Starring 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY’s Gary Lockwood as an architect who loves LA (“People say it’s ugly but I think it’s beautiful) and Anouk Aimee reprising her LOLA role, it’s an addition to the Demy universe, tying together several of his movies — Lola’s photo album connects her to Jeanne Moreau in LA BAIE DES ANGES and maybe even the sailor chap in Agnes Varda’s CLEO FROM 5 TO 7.

Anyhow, the movie isn’t quite as compelling as it should be, but it’s lovely to look at and Andersen is right — that strange beauty of LA sprawl is captured precisely.

You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything yesterday — Shadowplay’s first empty day in five and a half years of existence, I think. That was because something important happened which I’m not allowed to tell you about, yet. But I will soon.

More

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2012 by dcairns

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As Barbet Schroeder is always saying: MORE!

Lon Chaney’s last film gets the once-over at Awkward Early Talkie Theater — hilarious and unsettling as the film itself.

Brandon’s Movie Memory digs into the memory banks and digs up the last films of Von Sternberg, Von Stroheim, Lang, and an obscurity by Varda which you won’t find much other info on… is that a late film? Well, Agnes is no spring chicken but we’re all rooting for her to achieve a career of at least Oliveira-like duration.

And now, set your brains to Portuguese, or set Google Chrome to autotranslate, as SARATOGA (last film of Jean Harlow) goes under the microscope at Critica Retro.

Now set them back to English, as Thrilling Days of Yesteryear racks focus to Humphrey Bogart’s final bow, in THE HARDER THEY FALL.

Beaches

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by dcairns

Agnes Varda and Chris Marker, the cat.

Forgot to mention how much I enjoyed THE BEACHES OF AGNES, an autobiographical essay-film by Agnes Varda. An 18 Certificate warned us of “strong sexual imagery,” which turned out to be one shot of man with an erect penis. I almost asked for my money back, then remembered that ten or so years ago the film probably couldn’t even have been shown uncut in the UK with such an image. So I guess it qualifies, barely, as a strong sexual image.

But it isn’t all penises, the film is charming and moving and produces regular striking images of the kind Varda has specialized in throughout her career, but which have been rarer in her recent tiny-budget documentaries, because houses made of film-strips and beaches decorated with mirrors require a little bit of time and money to set up. Somebody’s apparently given Agnes a bit of cash to make this one, and about time.

What else have I seen that I’ve forgotten to tell you about? There was THIRST, by Chan-Wook Park (OLD BOY), which Fiona liked a lot more than me. The borrowings from THERESE RAQUIN (previously filmed by Marcel Carne) sat oddly in a vampire movie, and the lead character’s moral decline never became as obvious to him as it needed to, in order to provide a dramatic catharsis. Lots of icky imagery and some beautiful visuals. The idea of a modern vampirism arising from an experimental treatment for an AIDS-like illness struck me as a bit tacky, though. (Although this disease afflicts celibate men, which at least is original.) OLD BOY is still this guy’s best movie by a squid-s length, although I’M AN ANDROID (BUT THAT’S OK) has considerable charm and oddity value.

Finally tracked down BACHELOR FLAT, Frank Tashlin’s widescreen bedroom farce with Terry-Thomas, Tuesday Weld, Richard Beymer and Jessica Dachshund (a dachshund). The stand-out scene is the one everybody talks about, Jessica dragging a dinosaur bone along a beach (the shot CinemaScope was invented for), but T-T is on great form, Tuesday is as cute as a whole row of buttons, and there are some nice visual tropes. The only Tashlin left for me to see now I think is THE LIEUTENANT WORSE SKIRTS.

Been enjoying the 1930s Perry Mason films with Warren William (and later a couple other dudes), a widely disparate series of “thrillers,” some of which are pure slapstick and some of which rely a little more on drama. Mason’s secretary, Della Street, seems to be played by a different actress in every film, whereas Allen “Office Dibble” Jenkins turns up playing different characters. Michael Curtiz’s super-snappy THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE is the stand-out. Thanks to regular Shadowplayer mmedin for the discs.

Also, time for an update on the strange quest known as See Reptilicus and Die…

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