August 2021 in Films
Even though I took a vacation at the end of the month I managed to watch a huge amount of movies *and* do a huge amount of writing. Truly a whirlwind of activity. Over at the Classic Film Collective I recommended Sandy Wilson’s My American Cousin and wrote a poem about Liz Taylor. Podcast-wise I was pretty busy: over on my podcast Prog Save America Adam from Filmspotting chatted Genesis and my old co-worker Alex Vo chatted ELO Part II, I dropped by Lasagna Time to talk Daisies, on Screen Drafts we drafted a top six Bob Dylan movies canon, made yet another appearance over at Zodiac Chronicle, talking butts in jeans and bookish women on the Letterboxd Show, and lastly talked about Ben-Hur as a queer classic on The Queer Quadrant. Also for Letterboxd I wrote a magnum opus about butts in jeans in cinema. For Nerdist I looked at the Welsh Mythology behind David Lowery’s The Green Knight, took a look at off the beaten path movies set in video games or virtual reality, did a deep dive of all the genre films that won Best Makeup Oscars. and looked at the men who inspired Barton Fink. For RogerEbert.com I interviewed Griffin Dunne about the hidden gem Game 6 and Billie Piper about her directorial debut Rare Beasts. For The Playlist I reviewed Modern Love S2, Brand New Cherry Flavor, and The Chair. I somehow convinced Vulture to let me write about aliens on Riverdale. For Moviefone I assembled a bunch of lady assassins, and for my column I interviewed Lucy Walker about her film Bring Your Own Brigade, Siân Heder and the cast of CODA, producer Cody Greenwood and director Gracie Otto about their film Under The Volcano, and Amber Sealey about her latest film No Man of God. I hope you feel as tired after all of that as I do!
But now to the movies. . .somehow amidst all of that I also watched 77 new-to-me movies! As always, you can see the list after the cut + a handful of my favorites.
- Sheng Si Jie (Stolen Life)
- The Photograph (2007)
- The Day I Will Never Forget
- Dirt Music
- Le chaudron infernal (The Infernal Cauldron)
- La colonne de feu (The Pillar of Fire)
- Le Dirigeable fantastique (Inventor Crazybrains and His Wonderful Airship)
- Les illusions fantaisistes (Whimsical Illusions)
- Le Locataire diabolique (The Diabolic Tenant)
- La Fée Carabosse ou le Poignard fatal (The Witch)
- La légende de Rip Van Winkle (Rip’s Dream)
- Le royaume des fées (The Kingdom of the Fairies)
- Le voleur de crimes (Crime Thief)
- The Teckman Mystery
- Le Voyage à travers l’impossible (The Impossible Voyage)
- Les quatre cents farces du diable (The Merry Frolics of Satan)
- The Count
- Behind The Screen (1916)
- The Rink
- The War Widow
- La nuit de la vérité (The Night of Truth)
- Bring Your Own Brigade
- Roozi ke zan shodam (The Day I Became a Woman)
- Sunlight Jr.
- The Adventurer
- The Cure (1917)
- The Fireman
- The Pawnshop (1916)
- Histórias que Só Existem Quando Lembradas (Found Memories)
- The Floorwalker
- One A.M.
- Don’t Blink – Robert Frank
- Full of Life
- Game 6
- Sweet Bean
- Vigil in the Night
- True Confession
- Beckett (2021)
- This Is The Sea
- La fiancée du pirate (A Very Curious Girl)
- 27 Missing Kisses
- Papa, les petits bateaux (Papa The Little Boats)
- The Solid Gold Cadillac
- Le cerf-volant (The Kite)
- Charles and Lucie
- The Learning Tree
- Last Days in Vietnam
- Plaisir d’amour (The Pleasure of Love)
- La pelle (The Skin)
- Under The Volcano (2021)
- O Ébrio (The Drunkard)
- Very Annie Mary
- La cigarette
- The Sea Shall Not Have Them
- Cast a Dark Shadow
- Rare Beasts
- The Hot Rock
- Blanche comme neige (White As Snow)
- The Revolt of Mamie Stover
- La visita (The Visitor)
- Al morir la matinée (The Last Matinee)
- Song of Freedom
- Vision Portraits
- Black Rodeo
- Field of Dreams
- The Night House
- Candyman (2021)
- No Man of God
- The Song of the Butterflies
Les illusions fantaisistes, 1909 (dir. Georges Méliès)
I watched a bunch of beautiful restorations of Méliès shorts by Lobster Films over on Criterion Channel. This was my favorite and I am convinced cinema peaked in the 1900s/1910s. Méliès never fails to delight me and he made SO MANY films that as long as I spread them out I’ll be able to enjoy new ones often. Truly a treat.
The Day I Became a Woman, 2000 (dir. Marziyeh Meshkiny)
A triptych about three women in Iran at different stages of their lives – all rebelling against the restriction society attempts to place on them. All three stories are delightful, but the very last one really got my right in the feels. It’s films like this by women of certain regions about women of certain regions that show truly what it is to be a rebel. I’m grateful whenever I can see a story from a region told by someone from there, rather than a touristic version that often elicits the wrong emotions from viewers. These women are more than their struggles, and films like this help shed a light on those worlds.
The Solid Gold Cadillac, 1956 (dir. Richard Quine)
Judy Holliday is the greatest cinema comedienne period. She brings such warmth to the screen and I am just always so delighted by her. Sadly, I think I only have one more film of hers to watch before I’ve seen them all, but luckily she’s so good her films demand multiple viewings. This film feels as urgent as ever as Judy Holliday cuts all the Wall Street fat cats down to size.
La pelle, 1981 (dir. Directed by Liliana Cavani)
Cavani always surprises me with her films. They are deeply uncomfortable to watch and yet so beguiling. This one had an image that I will never, ever forget. It’s not the image above, though I won’t explain that either. The film is a stark, and often darkly hilarious, look at the end of WWII and the corruption of all those involved.
La cigarette, 1919 (dir. Germaine Dulac)
Men will literally poison a random cigarette and slowly smoke them all until he drops dead then go to therapy. A sassy film about the ways in which men are just so fucking stupid and the women who love them despite themselves. Dulac’s mastery of angles, framing, and light is unparalleled, and her take on love is pitch black. As I said, cinema peaked in these early silent decades.
La visita, 1963 (dir. Antonio Pietrangeli)
Sandra Milo is amazing in this as a single woman pushing forty living in the Italian countryside who decides to take out an ad for a husband. When the man she chooses arrives for a visit she does her best to make the best of the situation, despite the man being a letch who is clearly only after her nice country house. What I loved about this is she gets a little dessert, but she’s smart enough to let this stinker go back to the hell of his own making in Rome. Francois Perier is great as the creep in that I hated him so much. He kicks a turtle! Dump him!
As you can see, August was a crazy month. September is gearing up to be even more breakneck with the Toronto International Film Festival on its way and a few other treats I have up my sleeve. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Posted on September 1, 2021, in 2021 in Films and tagged Antonio Pietrangeli, Georges Méliès, Germaine Dulac, La cigarette, La pelle, La visita, Les illusions fantaisistes, Liliana Cavani, Marziyeh Meshkiny, Richard Quine, The Day I Became a Woman, The Solid Gold Cadillac. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.