May 2012 in Films: French Films, Student Films and One Year in San Francisco

Sunday marked the one year anniversary of my return to San Francisco and boy what a year it has been. So much cinema. So many opportunities. I’m glad you all came along for the ride. I have some exciting news! The book that I contributed the foreword to is finally available for pre-order! It is called Lew Ayres: Hollywood’s Conscientious Objector by Lesley L. Coffin and you can pre-order it here. I watched a lot of student films at the Academy of Art University’s Epidemic Film Festival and did a few interviews/went to some Q&As with industry professionals. There’ll be content from that posted at YAM Magazine sometime soon. I also finished the Antoine Doinel cycle by François Turffaut and it was amazing. As always, the full list is after the cut, plus five favorites.

  1. Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? (Who Are You, Polly Magoo?)
  2. Hysteria (San Francisco International Film Festival)
  3. Sound of My Voice
  4. A Boy and His Dog
  5. S.O.B.
  6. Skin Deep
  7. Magnolia
  8. Tournée (On Tour)
  9. Dark Shadows
  10. The Gift
  11. Pitiless
  12. Outsider
  13. Dharavi Diary
  14. Luminous
  15. Until We Meet Again
  16. Gray Parade
  17. Dilemma
  18. Three Swords and A Wedding
  19. Desolate
  20. Midnight Secret
  21. Dinner For Four
  22. Flapjack
  23. Exile
  24. Straight To Hell
  25. Walker
  26. “About Last Night…”
  27. Brakkvann (Brackish Water)
  28. Hush. . .Hush, Sweet Charlotte
  29. La chinoise
  30. Born to Love
  31. The Iranian Dream
  32. Virgin of the Candles
  33. The Avengers (2012)
  34. No Way Out (1950)
  35. Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses)
  36. Domicile conjugal (Bed and Board)
  37. L’amour en fuite (Love on the Run)
  38. Hour of the Gun
  39. Ray
  40. The Thin Blue Line
  41. Les enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise)
  42. Brewster McCloud
  43. Kes
  44. The Hunger Games
  45. Barfly
  46. Darling, How Could You!
  47. The Warriors
  48. Keyhole
  49. Scent of a Woman
  50. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  51. Pinky
  52. The Visitors (1972)
  53. Heaven Can Wait (1943)
  54. Written on the Wind
  55. The Tarnished Angels
  56. Babe: Pig in the City

1880s: 0
1880s: 0
1890s: 0
1900s: 0
1910s: 0
1920s: 0
1930s: 1
1940s: 3
1950s: 4
1960s: 6
1970s: 6
1980s: 7
1990s: 3
2000s: 3
2010s: 23

So many great films this month (including about a bajillion visits to the Castro Theatre). I don’t even know how I only pick five to write about anymore.

Magnolia, 1999 (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

I had been meaning to watch more P. T. Anderson for a while now and I’m glad I finally did. I saw the first ten minutes of this when I was 13 on an airplane and I hated it. Cut to about 13 years later and now I loved it so much I can’t believe I waited so long to watch it. I also can’t believe PTA was able to maintain this film’s pace for nearly three hours. There is so much filmmaking and acting prowess on display here. I know I need to watch this film again soon. Or maybe a million times. Also I need to rewatch The Cider House Rules, because although I remember Micahel Caine being really great in it, methinks Tom Cruise was robbed of Oscar gold.

Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses), 1968 (dir.  François Truffaut)

Antoine Doinel is oft said to be Truffaut’s alter-ego and after reading about two-thirds of his Correspondence (which is a book of his letters from the last forty years of his life), I can completely see how similar these two really are. This movie was so wonderful and Jean-Pierre Léaud is slowly becoming a favorite actor of mine. Here was see Antoine just after he’s finished his military service and trying to find his place in the world. He’s just as much a misfit as he ever was, but this time he’s trying even more desperately to play by the rules and win the game. All of which adds up to some wonderfully comic and perfectly heartbreaking moments.

Les enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise), 1945 (dir. Marcel Carné)

Oh my god. I saw the new restored print at the Castro and I cried. I CRIED. I cried so hard. I had no idea what this film was about (I wanted to go in blind) and I was so overwhelmed by its beauty and passion and just everything about it. If you get a chance to catch the print while it’s making its rounds this summer, DO IT. You will not regret it.

The Warriors, 1979 (dir. Walter Hill)

I waited until I could see this film in theaters because I was told it was best with an audience. I am so glad I did that because it really does rule and it was so great with an audience. The energy is just so palpable. I loved Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire (which I also saw for the first time at the Castro) and I can’t wait to investigate his filmography further. I feel really bad for the film’s star, Michael Beck, whose next big film was Xanadu (the wrongfully maligned musical gem), which basically derailed his career for good. The actor once said, “The Warriors opened a lot of doors in film for me, which Xanadu then closed.” Both films, however, have landed Beck in the Cult Film Hall of Fame, so he will not be long forgotten.

Written on the Wind, 1956 (dir. Douglas Sirk)

Another film I saw at the Castro (two days ago actually!) that made me cry. Ain’t no melodrama like a Douglas Sirk melodrama. He can do no wrong as far as I am concerned. And Rock Hudson? Most handsome man ever maybe? Maybe? Dorothy Malone played against type and won herself a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and rightfully so. She tears up the screen every time she’s on it. If you don’t like Sirk’s style, you may not love this film. But if you dig soapy drama, you will dig this film.

I’m not sure how much film watching I will be doing this June because I am attempting to get a job (gasp!) but I will do my best to watch allll the films (I’ve only got two Elia Kazan films left!) and you do your best and we’ll meet in the middle!

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on June 1, 2012, in 2012 in Films and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: