Currently Browsing: Turner Classic Movies
At first glance, El Camino and Hollow City might not seem like they have much in common. Yet, after having watched the two, I find that they complement each other remarkably well. Both offer the beginnings of a coming-of-age story in which the audience looks at the world through a child’s point of view. Together, they offer both parallels and juxtapositions of how such a child must grow — as seen through the lenses of death, setting and agency, and friendship.
Prata’s work, Sleepwalking Land, is an adaptation of Mia Couto’s novel of the same name about wartime in Mozambique between 1977-1992 and the common people’s struggles to survive the conflict. Quite often, when a woman creates a film, she is labeled a “female filmmaker.” Her work is limited by her gender role and the stigma which comes attached to it. Men are not labeled in the same fashion. Teresa Prata, the director and writer of Sleepwalking Land, separates herself and her work from that label.
Regarding plot, there isn’t much to summarize in Chantal Akerman’s Je Tu Il Elle (1974). In the Belgian director’s second feature-length film, the principal character “Julie” (played by Akerman herself) spends a month in voluntary isolation before hitchhiking with a truck driver (Niels Arestrup) and finally visiting her ex-girlfriend (Claire Wauthion). If the camera dedicates a full five minutes to a scene in which Julie and the driver drink their beers and smoke cigarettes in silence, why do I need to keep my eyes on the screen? What will I miss in the seconds that I turn away?
Olivia is a particularly beautiful watch. Within lavish costumes, bedrooms, and ballrooms, the story is surprisingly intimate.
La Cienaga (2001) is Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel’s debut; subtitled in Spanish, it is the story of an extended family sniping and worrying about minutiae while the larger problem of their country’s economic stagnation looms. Like most bourgeoisie, this family is unwilling to admit either their shallowness and spend most of their lives avoiding it. Unfortunately, the film is so good at making us hate these characters that it isn’t gratifying. (GPG: 3/5).
When someone considers whether to watch a film at the theaters, it’s standard practice to Google search the movie name and look at reviews. Reading the film’s summary and the reviewer’s feelings are usually enough to tip the balance on whether or not to purchase a ticket. However, these reviews are often not gender-balanced.