April 2017 in Films
Here we are again! April mostly consisted of continuing my binge rewatch of Frasier – and I finally finished! Yes, 11 seasons, 263 episode – watched! That show really holds up, jsyk. I also spent a good deal of April in Los Angeles for the TCM Classic Film Festival (the highlight of my year every year!) and stayed an extra week on vacation. Despite all that, I did almost make it 30 films in April, thanks mostly to FilmStruck. So many films, so little time! As always, you can see everything I watched after the cut, as well as some highlights.
- The Zookeeper’s Wife
- Street Scene
- Their Finest
- Assigné à résidence (Locked-in Syndrome)
- Something of Value
- Stolen Holiday
- Blondie of the Follies
- Uncle Yanco
- Du côté de la côte
- Jean de Florette
- Manon des sources (Manon of the Spring)
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
- Les Portes de la nuit
- Lemon (1969)
- Manual of Arms
- Process Red
- Zorns Lemma
- Hapax Legomena I: Nostalgia
- Hapax Legomena II: Poetic Justice
- Hapax Legomena III: Critical Mass
- Magellan: At the Gates of Death, Part I: The Red Gate I, 0
- The Birth of Magellan: Cadenza I
I saw quite a few films I liked in April, but these five films stood out from the rest:
Street Scene, 1931 (dir. King Vidor)
I was lucky enough to see this gem on the big screen at the TCM Classic Film Festival (the only new-to-me film I was able to catch this year at the fest). King Vidor is such a master both of sweeping visuals, but also the depth of human feeling, all of which are on display in this pre-code talkie. Starring Sylvia Sidney, most of the action in this film takes places in front of one building over the course of 24 hours. The entire human experience – from birth to death and everything in between – happens in that place in that time. While you can feel the film’s stage roots, it is a purely cinematic experience.
Their Finest, 2017 (dir. Lone Scherfig)
I was wary at first as Scherfig’s last two films weren’t the greatest, I found myself pleasantly surprised by this WWII film packed with a hefty feminist punch. Gemma Arterton stars as a woman who takes a wartime job writing for BBC propaganda shorts who then finds herself working on a feature film with a rather difficult, yet charming, screenwriter played by Sam Claflin. This film works as both an ode to the women who worked during WWII, but also as a love letter to women in film, and the importance of representation – both in front of and behind the scenes in entertainment.
Assigné à résidence (Locked-in Syndrome), 1997 (dir. Jean-Jacques Beineix)
I’m a really big fan of Julian Schnabel’s 2007 film The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, so when I discovered this short documentary about Jean-Dominique Bauby I just had to watch it. It seems to me a good deal of what went into Schnabel’s film was not just inspired by Bauby’s book, but appears to have been lifted from this doc. That’s not to say his film shouldn’t be admired, but fans should also seek this gorgeous, moving documentary out as well.
Du côté de la côte, 1958 (dir. Agnès Varda)
This film reminded me a bit of Jean Vigo’s silent doc À propos de Nice and the two would make a great double feature. Filled with Varda’s signature wit and eye for color, this documentary/travelogue focuses not on the inhabitants of the French Riviera, but rather its visitors and the mythos surrounding this modern Eden.
Hapax Legomena II: Poetic Justice, 1972 (dir. Hollis Frampton)
Another strange short, this film from Hollis Frampton is entirely in your head. Wait, what? Yes. The entire 32 minute short consists of the above set up – a cactus, some papers, and a cup of coffee. Each shot of the film is described by text and it is up to the viewer to imagine the scenario. I was dubious at first, but I got caught in the humor if it all and by the end really fell in love with the film.
So that was April. I’ve got big plans for May, and as I stated above I finally finished Frasier, so here’s hoping I get to closer to a film a day again in May!
Posted on May 1, 2017, in 2017 in Films and tagged Agnès Varda, Assigné à résidence, Du côté de la côte, Hapax Legomena II: Poetic Justice, Hollis Frampton, Jean-Jacques Beineix, King Vidor, Locked-in Syndrome, Lone Scherfig, Street Scene, Their Finest. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.