Noirvember 2018 (Farewell FilmStruck)

As many of you are aware, at the end of October it was announced that FilmStruck was shuttering on November 29th. Thankfully, I still am at TCM (though there were some layoffs). The end of October saw the beginning of my scramble to watch as many films from my queue as possible. This also led to me discovering things that weren’t on my queue but that I desperately had to watch before it was too late. All and all, in the last few days of October and into November I watched 228 shorts and features on the service before it shuttered (plus a handful of films in theaters in November). After the cut you can see everything I watched last month (most of which was on FilmStruck – including almost all of my Noirvember selections). It was a thrilling few weeks and I discovered a lot of things that I had taken for granted. Criterion will be launching The Criterion Channel (which had previous found its home within the FilmStruck service) next year, which I am very grateful for, but I will forever miss my time working on FilmStruck. I’m honored to have been a part of its legacy.

  1. Akasen chitai (Street of Shame)
  2. Follow Me Quietly
  3. The Mirror Crack’d
  4. Evil Under the Sun
  5. ‘I Know Where I’m Going!’
  6. Hijôsen no onna (Dragnet Girl)
  7. Her Defiance
  8. The Call of the Cumberlands
  9. ’49-’17
  10. The Curse of Quon Gwon: When the Far East Mingles with the West
  11. Onna (Woman)
  12. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  13. Love You More
  14. Tord och Tord (Tord and Tord)
  15. The Strange Ones (2011)
  16. La Ducha (The Shower)
  17. J.M. Mondesir
  18. Needle
  19. When We Lived In Miami
  20. Simhall (Bath House)
  21. Cailleach
  22. Monkey Love Experiments
  23. Skunk
  24. La mallette noire (The Black Case)
  25. Washingtonia
  26. Seide
  27. Cipka (Pussy)
  28. Swallowed
  29. And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye
  30. Limbo (2016)
  31. Min börda (The Burden)
  32. Call of Cuteness
  33. Hairat
  34. Deer Boy
  35. An Act of Love
  36. Harikomi (Stakeout)
  37. Saute ma ville
  38. Asparagus
  39. Wildlife (2018)
  40. Chung Hing sam lam (Chungking Express)
  41. Over the Moon
  42. Berlin Express
  43. Travels with My Aunt
  44. Salaviinanpolttajat (Moonshiners) (2017)
  45. Hyas et stenorinques (Hyas and Stenorhynchus, marine crustaceans)
  46. Les oursins (Sea Urchins) (1929)
  47. Oeufs d’épinoche (Stickelback Eggs)
  48. La pieuvre (The Octopus)
  49. La daphnie (Daphnia)
  50. Traitement expérimental d’une hémorragie chez le chien (Experimental Treatment of a Hemorrhage in a Dog)
  51. L’hippocampe, ou ‘Cheval marin’ (The Seahorse)
  52. La quatrième dimension (The Fourth Dimension)
  53. Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard)
  54. Images mathématiques de la lutte pour la vie (The Struggle for Survival)
  55. Similitudes des longueurs et des vitesses (Similarities Between Length and Speed)
  56. Voyage dans le ciel (Voyage to the Sky)
  57. Le vampire
  58. Assassins d’eau douce (Freshwater Assassins)
  59. Les oursins (Sea Urchins) (1958)
  60. Comment naissent les méduses (How Some Jellyfish Are Born)
  61. Les danseuses de mer (Sea Ballerinas)
  62. Histoires de crevettes (Shrimp Stories)
  63. Les amours de la pieuvre (The Love Life of an Octopus)
  64. Diatomées (Diatoms)
  65. Acéra ou Le bal des sorcières (Acera, or the Witches’ Dance)
  66. Cristaux liquides (Liquid Crystals)
  67. Les pigeons du square (Pigeons in the Square)
  68. Time Without Pity
  69. Sous les toits de Paris (Under the Roofs of Paris)
  70. Cry Terror!
  71. Les grandes manoeuvres (The Grand Maneuver)
  72. Orphée
  73. Sapphire
  74. David Golder
  75. Poil de carotte
  76. Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco
  77. Aru kyôhaku (Intimidation)
  78. Un carnet de bal
  79. Zero no shôten (Zero Focus)
  80. Mammy Water
  81. Les maîtres fous
  82. Moi, un noir
  83. La pyramide humaine (The Human Pyramid)
  84. La chasse au lion à l’arc (The Lion Hunters)
  85. Jaguar
  86. Petit à petit (Little by Little)
  87. The Audition
  88. Si Nos Dejan
  89. Arrowed
  90. (The [end) of history illusion]
  91. Ma
  92. Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (The Bad Sleep Well)
  93. Madamu to nyôbô (The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine)
  94. Jinsei no onimotsu (Burden of Life)
  95. What They Had
  96. Osorezan no onna (An Innocent Witch)
  97. Suna no onna (Woman in the Dunes)
  98. Pépé le Moko
  99. Koshiben ganbare (Flunky, Work Hard!)
  100. Nasanunaka (No Blood Relation)
  101. Yogoto no yume (Every-Night Dreams)
  102. Kagirinaki hodô (Street Without End)
  103. La Bête Humaine
  104. Hôtel du Nord
  105. Les Visiteurs du Soir
  106. Mata Hari (1932)
  107. Plein soleil (Purple Noon)
  108. Seishun no yume ima izuko (Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth)
  109. Tokkan kozô (A Straightforward Boy)
  110. Daigaku wa detakeredo (I Graduated, But…)
  111. Sono yo no tsuma (That Night’s Wife)
  112. Rakudai wa shitakeredo (I Flunked, But…)
  113. Rich and Famous
  114. Un Flic
  115. Muhomatsu no issho (Muhomatsu, The Rickshaw Man)
  116. Kurutta kajitsu (Crazed Fruit)
  117. Kyônetsu no kisetsu (The Warped Ones)
  118. Electra Glide In Blue
  119. The Drowning Pool
  120. Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking
  121. Le deuxième souffle
  122. Jinn
  123. Le Cercle Rouge
  124. Torrent
  125. The Temptress
  126. A Society Sensation
  127. Virtuous Sinners
  128. Eyes of Youth
  129. Stolen Moments
  130. Blood and Sand (1922)
  131. The Leopard Man
  132. Madame Bovary (1949)
  133. The Time Machine (1960)
  134. Fanfan la Tulipe
  135. La kermesse héroïque (Carnival in Flanders)
  136. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
  137. The Big Sleep (1978)
  138. Dont Look Back
  139. A Hard Day’s Night
  140. True Stories
  141. Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter
  142. Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable
  143. Zazie dans le métro
  144. Powwow Highway
  145. Der amerikanische Freund (The American Friend)
  146. The Long Day Closes
  147. Kage no kuruma (The Shadow Within)
  148. Histoires extraordinaires (Spirits of the Dead)
  149. Beoning (Burning)
  150. Widows (2018)
  151. Walkabout
  152. The Love Goddesses
  153. The Silver Cord
  154. À la folie… pas du tout (He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not)
  155. Peccato che sia una canaglia (Too Bad She’s Bad)
  156. Easy Living (1949)
  157. Suna no utsuwa (The Castle of Sand)
  158. Glastonbury Fayre
  159. The Devils
  160. Ann Vickers
  161. Roma
  162. The MacKintosh Man
  163. Blue (1993)
  164. Stingaree
  165. La Ronde
  166. Le Plaisir
  167. Lola Montès
  168. Mýrin (Jar City)
  169. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
  170. Mockery
  171. La punition
  172. Quick Change
  173. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
  174. Insomnia (1997)
  175. The Boys from Brazil
  176. Peppermint Frappé
  177. Cría Cuervos
  178. Following
  179. The Kill-Off

1880s: 0
1890s: 0
1900s: 1
1910s: 7
1920s: 11
1930s: 29
1940s: 10
1950s: 19
1960s: 26
1970s: 21
1980s: 6
1990s: 7
2000s: 3
2010s: 39

As you can see I watched a whole bunch of shorts. FilmStruck (and especially Criterion Channel) had a lot of highly curated shorts mixed into their offerings and I really took them for granted. I’m glad I watched so many when I had the chance. I discovered one of my new favorite directors (see below) and sometimes it felt like I was back in film school screening shorts to figure out what kind I wanted to make. Shorts are exhilarating and should be screened as often as people watch proper feature films. Below are a handful of the films that stayed with me long after I was done watching them.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?, 2018 (dir. Marielle Heller)

While I liked the technical skill behind Heller’s debut film The Diary of a Teenage Girl, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the film itself. However her sophomore effort Can You Ever Forgive Me? spoke directly to me. It’s about a frustrated queer woman (Melissa McCarthy) who lives alone with her cat and is having trouble selling her latest work – a biography of Fanny Brice. Trouble ensues after she reconnects with an old acquaintance (a blithely hilarious Richard E. Grant) and stumbles upon the lucrative art of forging literary letters. Based on the memoir of the same name by Lee Israel, the film doesn’t care if you like its protagonists (though the filmmaker clearly does) and I loved that they were allowed to be so acerbic while also occasionally being vulnerable (spoilers: a cat dies). This could very well be a portrait of me in twenty years and I am okay with that.

Min börda, 2017 (dir. Niki Lindroth von Bahr)

One of the filmmakers I discovered during my FilmStruck binge was Niki Lindroth von Bahr, whose stop-motion animated shorts are bleak and hilarious and everything I’ve ever wanted. This one in particular – a musical about the mundanities of life – had me in stitches. Please give her all the money so she can always make these unique little gems.

Fanfan la Tulipe, 1952 (dir. Christian-Jaque)

Okay, I had no idea what I was getting into with this French action-adventure-romance-comedy. It’s one of the country’s most beloved films and I can 100000% see why. I could not stop thinking about how utterly entertaining this film is from start to finish. Set during the Seven Years’ War, it follows Fanfan (Gérard Philipe) a rover of a young man who finds himself joining the army in search of fame, fortune, and a marriage to the king’s daughter. Chaos ensues. This is basically France’s equivalent to Indiana Jones and I can definitely see why it has the same enduring charm.

True Stories, 1986 (dir. David Byrne)

As a fan of Talking Heads, I somehow had never heard of this movie until it was announced that Criterion was releasing a new edition (in the correct aspect ratio for the first time!) Thankfully, we also had it on FilmStruck (as part of a theme on directors who only made one film), so I was able to see it and boy am I grateful. Inspired by both tabloids and David Byrne’s life on the road during tours, this delightful film follows a narrator (also played by Byrne) as he visits a small town in Texas during its 150th anniversary and gets to known its many inhabitants. A wonderful ode to the eccentricities of the banal.

Der amerikanische Freund, 1977 (dir. Wim Wenders)

I love Wim Wenders and I have no idea why it took me so long to watch this damn film. Adapted from Ripley’s Game by Patricia Highsmith, the film stars Dennis Hopper as Tom Ripley who after being slightly insulted at an auction, pulls an art framer (Bruno Ganz) into his sinister world of crime. The film was shot by the great Robby Müller and features some of the most stunning sound design I’ve ever heard in a film.

The Love Goddesses, 1965 (dir. Saul J. Turell)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a 1965 documentary about cinema’s portrayal of women as sex idols, but I definitely did not think it would be as insightful and progressive as this turned out to be. The doc traces how the virgin/whore dichotomy was always part of the art, as well as the way in which society’s sexual mores are reflected the presentation of female characters. Absolutely an essential piece of film history, though it is lacking in its look at race in film (notable missing goddesses: Anna May Wong and Josephine Baker).

Suna no utsuwa (The Castle of Sand), 1974 (dir. Yoshitarō Nomura)

Part police procedural, part melodrama, part social critique, Yoshitarō Nomura is an epic film. The way that the final forty minutes of the film combines music and pastoral cinematography in order to underscore its message is a thing of true genius.

So that was November (and Noirvember 9!). With December starting and the end of the year looming, my plan is to both stay current with the end of the year releases in theaters and also try to catch up on some earlier 2018 releases on DVD (thanks Videodrome!) and on Netflix (gotta catch Shirkers; have heard such great things). I’m thinking of shaking some things up on this blog in 2019, but the next you’ll hear from me will be my December wrap up, my end-of-the-year wrap up, and my Favorite Fifteen Films of 2018, as per usual.

Forever in film, Marya.


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on December 1, 2018, in 2018 in Films and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 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: