Beau Pere (1981) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.1) – Drama, Romance (France)
I was looking for films similar to Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962), one of my all time favorite films, and I bumped into Bertrand Blier’s Beau Pere (literally: Stepfather). I must say that I was rather impressed with this film, even if it is basically just a French, color version of Nabokov’s Lolita. I loved the actors, Patrick Dewaere and Ariel Besse, and their “chemistry” and I loved the fact that in this film it’s the girl that initiates the “relationship”. This may all sound wrong, but for a film dealing with what could essentially be labeled as “pedophila” it is very tastefully executed, while still managing to be erotic. I don’t know how they pulled it off. The film’s attitude is what I appreciated most, because it’s different from most French films and even films dealing with “taboo” subject matter. The filmmaker clearly loves the characters and doesn’t judge them. It’s just an all-round great film I’m sure I’ll re-visit at some point.
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976) – 8 (IMDb 6.8) – Drama, Biography (Italy) written & directed by Federico Fellini
Burden of Dreams (1982) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.8) – Documentary (USA)
Burden of Dreams is the “making-of” documentary of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. The film shows all the hardships and difficulties that went into the production and making of Herzog’s crazy epic about a man trying to move a ship over the Peruvian Andes. It’s a great story about a massive achievement in filmmaking and it certainly makes you appreciate the film a whole lot more. Herzog is interviewed and other crew members as well, there are some great, fascinating stories and the film is never boring. Unfortunately unlike the newer Werner Herzog documentaries this one is narrated by a robotic sounding woman, instead of the filmmakers warm German voice. It seems like a weird choice, but as Herzog explained himself during a master class I attended “It took me a while to find my own voice”. He said this in relation to his documentaries, but I think we can all agree that now that he has found it they are more spectacular than ever. Burden of Dreams is still a great film and is especially recommended to Herzog fans, filmmakers and true cinephiles.
These were the best films I watched last week, Fellini’s Casanova being my favorite, but the other two getting both extremely close. What good movies did you guys watch last week?
I watched three great films this week, makes me happy. I also re-watched a couple Spike Jonze shorts, which are available on YouTube. Their very short and incredibly quirky so they’re well worth your time. The main event for me this week in terms of movies was The Bling Ring. I waited for this film for more than a year. I wish Sofia would be more like Woody Allen. Anyways, going into the theater I was very excited, but at the same time worried that I would not enjoy it, but I totally did. It was great. The theater audience seem to “get” the movie. They all laughed at the jokes. I wasn’t distracted much by the people next to me (as it usually happens) and some people even stayed for the end credits, which resulted in me missing my train, but it was totally worth it!
If you haven’t seen Sofia Coppola‘s The Bling Ring yet: Make it happen, support good cinema! The film didn’t make a whole lot of cash, probably because it was marketed as something it wasn’t, or because of its cast of newcomers (who are all amazing!) or maybe because Sofia is not interested in making a film that is telling you exactly how to think and feel. Fact is this is my favorite film of 2013 so far, and it’s more than likely going to end up in my top five for the year (if not maintaining the top spot). I’d also like to single out Taissa Farmiga as my favorite supporting role in the film. She doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but she does the most of it, while also looking very sexy and alluring.
Fitzcarraldo (1982) – 8 (IMDb 8) – Adventure, Biography, Drama (Germany)
Certainly Werner Herzog’s biggest film in terms of budget. Fitzcarraldo is the film about a crazy entrepreneur trying to bring the opera (namely Caruso) to the Andes. In his nutty quest to make money and gain some sort of respectability from the Peruvian high society he decides to get into the rubber business. As it turns out to get to the land he bought will have to literally move his ship over the mountains. The film is just as incredible as its premise and fully delivers on every level. Klaus Kinski is great as the title character and so is Claudia Cardinale. There aren’t a lot of other faces that I recognize in terms of actors, but that’s never a problem, because all the talent in front of the screen is just as good and qualified as the people working behind the scenes. I’m not big on adventure films, but this one is fun, thoughtful and very engrossing. Good job Werner Herzog!
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
The Bling Ring (2013) – 8.5 (IMDb 6.4) – Crime, Drama, Comedy (USA)
Office Space (1999) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.8) – Comedy, Crime (USA)
Very funny film and incredibly quotable. There are so many great lines in this one. It kind of makes you wonder where Mike Judge’s career went. Office Space is about a guy that has officially had enough of his job and is not going to take a single minute more of the corporate oppression. He and his friends decide to “steal” money from his company. The film may take a while to “get started”, but once it does it is very entertaining and charming. I like how the sadness and uniformity of corporation is reflected in the costume design and the cinematography, through depressing tones and monochromatic brushes of brown and grey. The film is very funny, but never vulgar or silly. The characters are very relatable and human, never turning into caricatures, while still drawing from well-known archetypes. All in all a very enjoyable comedy.