Thursday, October 15, 2009

January Criterions

Paris, Texas (dir. Wim Wenders)

Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy - Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero

Che (dir. Steven Soderbergh)

on Blu-Ray (dir. Frederico Fellini)

Five films by Chantal Akerman

If nothing here does anything for you...well, if you're not a cinephile, then of course all is forgiven, but if you consider yourself a movie buff at all...c'mon! Look at these things!

I've been meaning to see Paris, Texas for years now, ever since I caught Wenders' Wings of Desire at the Brattle. Guess I'll be waiting a couple more months. Che was one of the best films of last year, and will probably get mentioned on my Best of the Decade pieces. is...I'm more of a La Dolce Vita guy at the end of the day, but is like watching an explosion of imagination and revelation right before your eyes (what other director has so enthusiastically, directly, and entertainingly declared his personal flaws?). I've never been crazy about the current Criterion transfer, so I am unreasonably excited about this.

Let me say this about Italian Neorealism, of which Rossellini's films are more than a part of - along with Bicycle Thieves they are the defining works of the movement. Yes, they're relentlessly depressing. You have to put it in context, though, and recognize that these films were made just as the Europe (and, as one might guess, Italy in particular) were coming out of World War II. Their country was completely decimated and their way of life would be changed forever. As a social document these films are staggering. As part of a country's cathartic experience, they're almost unmatched in the close ties between art and life. I cannot wait to finally see Rossellini's films in their entirety; until now, they've been tough to come across, especially in decent transfers (and Paisan has never been available on DVD).

And Akerman...I saw Jeanne Dielman. It's the kind of film that makes you follow a director anywhere. 'Nuff said.

God I love the Criterion Collection.

No comments: