June 2019 in Films

June was a pretty great month in cinematic shenanigans for me, even if it was light on feature films (more on that after the cut). Halfway through the month I joined the Battleship Pretension podcast for their retrospective episode on the late Agnès Varda. I also saw a lot of really artistically challenging films (and binged a ton of soapy TV!). As always, you can see everything I watched and read a little bit about my favorites after the cut.

  1. The Jimmy Show
  2. Bara no sôretsu (Funeral Parade of Roses)
  3. I Am Mother
  4. Late Night
  5. Un couteau dans le coeur (Knife+Heart)
  6. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
  7. Murder Mystery
  8. Queen of Diamonds
  9. The Bloody Child
  10. Five Feet Apart
  11. ANIMA
  12. Shimásáni
  13. Sanma no aji (An Autumn Afternoon)
  14. Strop (Ceiling)
  15. Elisa y Marcela

1880s: 0
1890s: 0
1900s: 0
1910s: 0
1920s: 0
1930s: 0
1940s: 0
1950s: 0
1960s: 3
1970s: 0
1980s: 0
1990s: 2
2000s: 2
2010s: 8

My feature film viewing was down a bit in June because I watched SO MUCH TELEVISION. I watched the first season of the new Spanish show Alta Mar starring Jon Kortajarena (aka the most handsome man), which then led me to watching three seasons of the Spanish period soap Cable Girls. I also watched the new teen show Trinkets from writer-turned showrunner Kiwi Smith (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, etc.). I also went on a quick work trip to NYC and while I was there I saw Michael Shannon and Audra McDonald in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune (spoilers: they get completely naked!), as well as an outdoor screening of The Birdcage (always fun with an audience). Lastly, I saw four Věra Chytilová films at the Egyptian (two features, two shorts; one short I had not seen before). It was a great month!

Un couteau dans le coeur (Knife+Heart), 2018 (dir. Yann Gonzalez)

A queer Giallo homage set in the world of the Parisian 1970s gay porn industry. Definitely not a film for everyone, but for those who are operating on its wavelength it will take you on a delirious, dangerous, and sexy ride.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, 2019 (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Not a traditional documentary in any sense of the word, this non-narrative fever dream of a film is perfectly Dylanesque in its complete disregard for the truth in favor of creating ones own story. This would make a wonderful double feature with Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There. My favorite film of the year so far by far.

Queen of Diamonds, 1991 (dir. Nina Menkes)

I had never seen a Menkes film before attending a double feature of her work, which included a Q&A with Menkes herself between the two films, and I am very glad I have finally discovered them. This new restoration is absolutely gorgeous. The film features Menkes’s sister Tinka Menkes as the titular queen – a blackjack dealer adrift in Las Vegas. Much like the work of Chantal Akerman, Menkes wants you to feel the passage of time as you watch. She finds the beauty and the pathos in the tedium of every day life.

ANIMA, 2019 (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

This one-reeler which features three songs off of Thom Yorke’s album of the same name is a postmodern Buster Keaton short with a helping of Shirley Clarke’s early dance films and Maya Deren’s surreal art films thrown into the mix. I loved every single second of its 15 minute run time. Hands down one of the most achingly romantic films I’ve seen in a long while.

Elisa y Marcela, 2019 (dir. Isabel Coixet)

I didn’t really care for the previous film by Coixet that I saw, so I was a bit hesitant with this film, but the sumptuous black and white cinematography in the trailer really lured me in. Based on the true story of the first same sex marriage in Spain’s history (and still the only performed in a church), the titular roles are played by Natalia de Molina and Greta Fernández, whose chemistry is something to behold. I love an interview I saw by Coixet where she said she felt what these two women did was just as brave as many historical stories by and about men that are often deemed more important. You can feel Coixet making a statement that resonates even still today, where things are much better but still not quite equal.

July is set to be filled with a lot of wonderful rep screenings at both UCLA and the Egyptian, but I’m also going to make a concerted effort to see more new releases in theaters this month. So far the first half of the year has treated me pretty well, here’s hoping the rest of the year follows suit!

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on July 1, 2019, in 2019 in Films and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I attended the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) where I got my MFA in Film Directing back in 2014. Nina Menkes teaches in the film school there so I made sure that I found some way to take one of her classes since a lot of the film directing courses at that time didn’t always align schedule-wise with her usual classes. I recommend sitting in on one of her classes cuz it’s very informative and gritty/robust for lack of a better term. Also, since viewing her films is typically difficult to do because of their availability, I made sure to watch all/most of them in the CalArts film library, which is where I spent much of my time since it’s basically heaven. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there for her speaking engagement projecting the new prints of her film(s) but I can imagine she was very forthright, passionate, and spoke with her emotions on her sleeve; which, if so, was very much like the way she teaches and is one of the best aspects of attending her class.

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