The Last Days of FilmStruck: Pickpocket (1959)

2018/12/01 § Leave a comment

Pickpocket served as my introduction to the films of Robert Bresson, of whom I have heard so much. The film showcases Bresson’s spartan style — both for dialogue as well as for aesthetics. I was struck by the way Bresson’s world was odd and alien feeling. I would say that much of this is due to the way he requires his actors to act — which is to say, with no emotion — avoiding at all costs any semblance of “performing.” The end result is a stiff and stilted experience but has since grown on me. [spoilers herein]

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Godard on Bresson

2018/11/30 § Leave a comment

“Robert Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is the German music.”

— Jean-Luc Godard

The Last Days of FilmStruck: Hiroshima mon amour (1959)

2018/11/29 § Leave a comment

In his first feature film, Alain Resnais made what some have considered to be “the most important film since the war, the first modern film of sound cinema.” Indeed, Hiroshima mon amour feels — in all of its stripped, basic, and beautiful features — like a work on modern filmmaking. What I mean by this is that the film differs greatly from the works preceding it — whether that be the previous few decades of Hollywood cinema, or even of the French filmmakers prior to its release — and it’s lasting quality can be confirmed here in 2018. [spoilers herein]

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The Last Days of FilmStruck: Tokyo Story (1953)

2018/11/28 § 1 Comment

Tokyo Story is a film directed and cowritten by the prolific Yasujirō Ozu. Based on the American film, Make Way for Tomorrow, Tokyo Story looks at the life of an elderly retired couple in post-war Japan. The story revolves around them, their family, and the economic and cultural changes that have taken place since the Second World War.

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The Last Days of FilmStruck: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)

2018/11/27 § 2 Comments

The quiet and balanced brilliance of When a Woman Ascends the Stairs is Mikio Naruse’s greatest triumph. Naruse’s approach to film is perhaps best articulated as pessimistic (or perhaps if we’re feeling generous we might call it realistic). The sentiment — however one puts it — is undoubtedly felt in this film. [spoilers herein]

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The Last Days of FilmStruck: Sisters of the Gion (1936)

2018/11/26 § 1 Comment

Sisters of the Gion, one of Kenji Mizoguchi’s most celebrated early sound films, was an arresting experience. Seen as a companion film to Osaka Elegy, released the same year, Sisters of the Gion is a full-on melodrama showcasing the deplorable features of the sex industry in Japan, as well as attacking the cultural value and very nature of the Geisha tradition. Mizoguchi is to have said of these two films: “It is only since I made [them] that I have been able to portray humanity lucidly.”1

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