May 2021 In Films
May was a pretty busy month for me. It started with the tail end of the Atlanta Film Festival (one of those last films made my favorites list for the month) and ended with me writing my very first professional film (and TV!) reviews. So in case you missed it, here is everything I wrote in May: movie recs and a poem over at the Classic Film Collective, I profiled Marielle Heller for Netflix Queue, I interviewed Aubrey Plaza for RogerEbert.com, dropped several more episodes of Prog Save America, speaking of podcasts I talked small town cinema on Movies With Gravy, still talking Zodiac with Zodiac Minute, talked the sled scene with Citizen Kane minute, for Moviefone I wrote about women who made films while pregnant for Mother’s Day, curated a watchlist for The Fast Times, for Nerdist Vampire Week I wrote about vampire films directed by women, Jean Painlevé’s Le Vampire, and the horniest Dracula movie of them all, for The Playlist I reviewed Natalie Morales’ directorial debut Plan B and the new YA show Panic, and lastly for my Moviefone column I interviewed Gia Coppola, Haifaa al-Mansour, and Danielle Lessovitz, and wrote about a couple of rock docs.
Whew. And now to everything I watched in May! After the cut, as always, you’ll find the list, a breakdown by decade, and a handful of my favorite first time watches!
- The Human Voice
- The Sleeping Negro
- Moon Manor
- En man som heter Ove (A Man Called Ove)
- Solo el mar nos separa / فقط البحر بيننا (Only the Ocean Between Us)
- Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President
- Na Cidade Vazia (Hollow City)
- The Last Angel of History
- Cassandro, The Exotico!
- I Don’t Know
- Gone! Up in Smoke
- Behind Every Good Man
- Le crime de Monsieur Lange
- And Nothing Happened
- A Touch of Class
- Christmas in July
- The Sweetest Sound
- Embrace of the Vampire
- Blood & Donuts
- Waiting For Godot (filmed stage production)
- Tale Of A Vampire
- Dance of the Damned
- You Will Die At Twenty
- The Family Album
- New York City Ballet Spring Gala
- Voices of the Sea
- El cuarto reino. El reino de los plásticos (The Fourth Kingdom: The Kingdom of Plastics)
- Home Movie (1973)
- Dear Mom,
- The Body Beautiful
- Black Mother
- Okaasan (Mother)
- Akibiyori (Late Autumn)
- A New Leaf
- Shiva Baby (2018)
- Looking for Mr. Goodbar
- La caduta degli dei / Götterdämmerung (The Damned)
- Spook Sport
- Synchromy No. 4: Escape
- So This Is Paris
- Verbena trágica
- Sergeant Rutledge
- Her Man
- Rockfield The Studio on the Farm
- The Perfect Candidate
- Those Who Wish Me Dead
- Quattro strade (Four Roads)
- Medicine For Melancholy
- The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
- Die bleierne Zeit (Marianne and Juliane)
- Duel at Diablo
- Shu’our akbar min el hob (A Feeling Greater Than Love)
- The In-Laws (1979)
- The Mothman of Point Pleasant
- Nobody’s Business
- Watermelon Man
- Supa Modo
- Carbon Copy
- Rosa Luxemburg
- Thomasine & Bushrod
- Plan B
- Port Authority
- Una Corriente Salvaje (A Wild Stream)
- Vision – Aus dem Leben der Hildegard von Bingen
- August at Akiko’s
- The Woman in the Window (2021)
- Main Street After Dark
- The Flirting Widow
- Hannah Arendt
- The Silent Partner
- So Fine
- The Reflecting Skin
- Intimate Stranger (1991)
- The Railway Children
- Out of State
- Branco Sai, Preto Fica (White Out, Black In)
- Era uma Vez Brasília (Once There Was Brasilia)
Moon Manor, 2021 (dir. Elizabeth Brissenden & Erin Granat)
This was such a strange and lovely film. I do believe the screening at ATLFF was its world premiere, so I’m not even sure when it will be available for others to watch! It stars Jim Carrozo as a man named Jimmy who is hosting a FUNeral on his last day on earth. Having lived a full life and slowly being ravaged by advancing Alzheimer’s, he plans to peacefully transition to the next plane of existence that night. Lou Taylor Pucci plays a journalist who has come to interview him for his obituary, and it was so nice to see Pucci thriving in a great role again. The filmmakers tackle assisted suicide with a zeal and reverence for life and right to choose when to end it.
The Last Angel of History, 1996 (dir. John Akomfrah)
I’m not sure I fully understood this video essay but I was enthralled! A great primer on the roots of Afrofuturism and a film unlike anything I’ve seen before.
I Don’t Know, 1970 (dir. Penelope Spheeris)
This was part of a curated selection of rare queer films called “The Girl Can’t Help It: Trans-Femme Portraits at the Dawn of the Sexual Revolution” put together by Redcat. I’m so glad I got to watch this selection of films. This docudrama by Penelope Spheeris was my favorite of the bunch. You can read more about the films here.
Dear Mom, 1995 (dir. Tammy Rae Carland)
These next three films were all selections on Criterion Channel that I watched on Mother’s Day. This video piece was only about 4 minutes long and features the director dictating a letter to their mother as they try to find the words to come out as a lesbian. It’s funny and heartbreaking in equal measure.
Italianamerican, 1974 (dir. Martin Scorsese)
Okay so Mama Scorsese is the best and I want her kitchen. This doc is such a lovely portrait of family and a great peek at how Scorsese became the man we know today.
Akibiyori (Late Autumn), 1960 (dir. Yasujirō Ozu)
You really cannot go wrong with Ozu. Flipping her role from Late Spring, Setsuko Hara plays a widow who is trying to get her 24-year-old daughter settled in marriage. As with all Ozu, this film is a delicate, humanist work that showcases the complexities of human relationships better than any cinema before or after it.
Looking For Mr. Goodbar, 1977 (dir. Richard Brooks)
I was prepared to not like this film as it has a weird reputation attached to it, but what I found was something quite stunning. This is Diane Keaton’s definitive performance. She is fearless and layered as a woman from a repressed background finding freedom in post-sexual revolution New York City. While some have read the ending as a moralistic punishment for her sexual appetite, I read it more as just a stark reality of how unsafe women are always. Also, important to note that the film is based on a book that was in turn based on a true story, and so what appears to be a cliched depiction of a self-loathing gay man was unfortunately inspired by the story of a self-loathing gay man. So rather than a dated artifact of another time, it’s more a time capsule where NYC was a sexual playground – but only really for straight men.
Tarantella, 1940 (dir. Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth)
This was a lovely avant-garde animated short film that attempts to visualize the feeling of music. I love everything I’ve seen by Mary Ellen Bute, but the color scheme of this one put it to the top of her work for me. You can watch most of her films on YouTube.
So that was May! June is looking to be another busy month of watching and writing about films. It’s not even noon on June 1st and I’ve already conducted an interview and posted a new article on Nerdist! June is my birth month, so I am ready to T-H-R-I-V-E. I hope you do as well!!!
Posted on June 1, 2021, in 2021 in Films and tagged Akibiyori, Dear Mom, Elizabeth Brissenden, Erin Granat, I Don't Know, Italianamerican, John Akomfrah, Late Autumn, Looking For Mr. Goodbar, Martin Scorsese, Mary Ellen Bute, Moon Manor, Penelope Spheeris, Richard Brooks, Tammy Rae Carland, Tarantella, Ted Nemeth, The Last Angel of History, Yasujiro Ozu. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.