This is Paul Thomas Anderson's first foray into documentary film-making. It may not be as flashy or groundbreaking as his feature films but nonetheless an interesting evolution of an artist. Exploring the making of an album in India with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and several other musicians, it is a celebration of music and culture. It may be minimalist in style but there is this trance-like energy that is inescapable to be charmed with. What makes this picture special is that you can see the passion and love from all involved in creating music and in the end that is what matters the most.
After catching the attention of many with his second feature film, Blue Ruin, everyone eagerly anticipated what Jeremy Saulnier would do next. For my money, he certainly did not disappoint. A dark violent thriller set in the backdrop of a rock scene belonging to the Neo-Nazi skinheads. Every beat is expertly crafted to transport you to this pulse pounding atmosphere. A true horror experience that makes you believe that this world exists. Thus making Jeremy Saulnier one of the most exciting voices from the indie scene.
To be honest, it was hard deciding as to which movie to recommend in the Movie of the Week segment, Baraka or Koyaanisqatsi. They are often compared to each other, as they share the same DNA and I do love these films a lot. In addition, I do believe Koyaanisqatsi has one of the best original film compositions of all time. That being said, in this moment in my life, there is something spiritual regarding Baraka that resonated a lot with me. Sometimes, just pure images and music is an inexplicably powerful experience. No dialogue, no drama, nothing but the audiovisual experience that is transcendental. It is almost as if you are meditating while experience it. Something like that is uniquely special and not often seen/experienced. Thus must be appreciated and cherished.
Edward Yang's magnum opus, A Brighter Summer Day, just like any other great piece of art is more just about one thing. As much it is about the ever changing politics of Taiwan and the sense of the loss of culture due to the influence of the west, it is also about the lives of the teens, the parents and the uncertainty of each character's future. It depicts life in the most humane way possible. Just like the characters that inhibit the world, we are transported to their lives and along with them question everything that is thrown to us. As soon the credits roll, it is almost as if you woke up a dream where you lived a different life. For a moment, you were someone else.
War just like the subject of love, has seen countless adaptations and interpretations across all mediums throughout history. As much as it showcases humanity in its worst state, it is nonetheless a subject fascinated many. Some artists glorified, some criticized the act of war. Especially in the late 70s and early 80s we saw a massive influx of movies depicting the barbarism of the Vietnam War.
There is an anecdote, that every great filmmaker at least once in their career tackles the subject of war. So what is the best movie that tackles this hefty subject? Well, for my money it comes from an unusual place. During the period of WWII, John Huston, whom at the time was at the army, was commissioned by the U.S. Army Signal Corps to make documentaries about the war. They were supposed to be propaganda films to enlist more recruits. However, the third and final part, Let There Be Light, did something different. Unlike the previous two, which was showcasing the battlefields, the last one showed the effects of the war. The documentary follows a group of soldiers on their journey of recovery from all the psychological trauma they have received. It showed the real face of war and what it has done to those whom wanted to protect their homeland. Unsurprisingly, the Signal Corps tried to ban it as it did not fit with their agenda and the movie did not see the light of day until 1980s when the ban was lifted. It is a seminal piece of documentary filmmaking that is still relevant today
Robert Altman is a great filmmaker. There is no arguing that. He has made countless fascinatingpictures. But what makes him great is that, despite telling various stories that are in no way are similar in his filmography, you still know you are watching a Robert Altman film. He retains his artistic style that is instantly recognizable across his films. Yet they don't feel forced. His films, are as if they were only could be told that way. Again, he has made many great films. But none reach the greatness that is McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Not only one of the greatest Westerns ever made, but one of the best movies the world has ever seen.
Everybody have their own favorite niche genre of films. A category of films that for some reason speaks to them. For me personally, it is the movies that are from West Germany during the 70s and 80s. In particular, the more underground gritty films that really captured the daily life of West Berlin. What movie did this best? In my opinion, Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, did exactly that. Certainly, the more popular movie of that underground cinema, thanks to David Bowie, whom makes an appearance in the movie (concert segments) but also providing the soundtrack for the movie. Capturing the wild youth of that era. It is a picture that can be depressing and heartbreaking due to its depiction of a real person's life, as it is based on a true story. But it does it with such rawness that you are instantly transported to that world from the very first seconds.
In the wake of the sad news that the iconic filmmaker, Jonathan Demme, has passed away at the age of 73, i thought it would only be appropriate to recommend a film from his rich library. Known for revolutionizing concert films as well as attempting all genres of film, from thrillers to comedies and doing them such ease and confidence, it is hard to just pick one picture from his vast filmography. What he perfectly achieves, is the balance of simplicity and invisible trickery. Each shot/scene/picture may seem simple at first glance but with a magnifier, you will see all the complexities hidden away so they don't get in the way of your viewing experience.
My pick is a personal favorite of mine. You can call it a quirky comedy, a road movie or a romantic action flick It has a lot going and I never get enough of it. A pure 80s film, that is timeless. The world of cinema lost someone special this week, but his films will live on forever.
Film Meets Art II, will be shown at the Brussels Short Film Festival this weekend in Belgium. Under the programme organised by CANAL+ titled "Night of the Shorts", my work can be seen on the big screen on the 29th of April, 00:30 (local time). For more details and the tickets, head to the website.
Here is the thing, any piece of work from Nuri Bilge Ceylan's filmography is worth recommending/watching, simple as that. A Cannes favorite, his work is often highly regarded for pushing the modern Turkish cinema that we see today, into new cinematic heights. And rightfully so. I chose Three Monkeys, because it is often ignored compared to his more recent works. Showcasing his photographic background, Ceylan's characters are often belittled against the tall towering dark clouds in the compositions. Setting a brooding atmosphere, as if something is going to happen or that there is an underlying story-line we are not aware of. The images, the characters and the setting stays with you even after the credits roll. I know they have stayed with me for years.
A Korean drama by the critically acclaimed director, Bong Joon-ho. This movie is primarily about the mother-son relationship, which has a murder mystery as its backdrop. The less is said and known, is better. As the towering performances, especially Kim Hye-ja, keeps you right at the edge of your seat. At all times, you are trying to guess what is going to happen next. This movie has its intense pulse pounding moments, intrigue, drama and as it is in all Bong Joon-ho's films, a tinge of black humor. In my opinion it is his best work to date.
From the writer and director, David Michôd, his second feature film stars Guy Pierce and Robert Pattinson. A dystopian drama set in Australia, where the economy has collapsed and it is a crime filled wasteland. David Michôd opts for a low-key sparse storytelling, elevated by the strong performances of the two leads. This is a bleak look into the future but one that is very raw and gripping.
This week's pick is an instant classic from the genius mind of Tommy Wiseau. To be honest, I do not even know where to begin with. This movie deserves all the shower of praise it gets. The direction, the score and the groundbreaking acting. It puts every other film and filmmaker to shame. It is not only the true masterpiece of the 21st century American cinema but in fact, the whole world's. The Room not only changes the way we view contemporary cinema but the way we critique art itself. I will tell you this, without a doubt, The Room is one of the best movie going experiences I have ever had and I cannot wait to view it again and again and again.
A personal favourite of mine. A movie I am constantly compelled to revisit. A documentary that celebrates a city, the people, the history and in general, life itself. Timothy "Speed" Levitch is simply a joy to watch. His old school romanticism, passion, philosophy and knowledge, draws you in since the first opening frame. It is a strong unique debut from American filmmaker Bennett Miller.
A slick, stylish crime drama that is rich with character and atmosphere. An ignored gem of 2014, which is made by, in my opinion, one of the best new voices of American cinema, J.C. Chandor. All three of his films deserves a recommendation but this one for me stands out the most. A film that at times feels like it is a Sydney Lumet film, in the best possible manner. A fascinating look into 1981 crime filled New York, where tensions are high. A dazzling cinematography by Bradford Young and an unforgettable score by Alex Ebert. And one cannot mention the strong performances, not only by the two leads but by the entire cast.
It has been over three months since I have made a video. However, i can finally present my first video of 2017 - RECREATING HISTORY. Hope you enjoy!
This is one of my all time favorite films. A movie that just oozes with style and confidence. A picture that is more to do with the visuals than narrative (cinéma du look) but oh what a journey it is. From one set piece to another, it just doesn't hold back. Constantly surprising the audience. For that reason alone, it is better to go and watch it without knowing anything about it.
A low-key road trip drama starring the incredibly compelling Ben Mendelsohn and an amazingly charismatic Ryan Reynolds, whom in my opinion puts out his best performance seen on screen. If you crave for a picture that harkens back to those of the 70s, this movie is for you. It is all about the characters, and it is a pure delight to watch it unfold.
An impressive directorial debut from Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi, it was one of the most audacious and impressive films to come out in 2014. It has challenged the language of cinema on how to communicate with the audience. It is truly one of those cases of "actions speak louder than words". Sure, the picture is tough to watch. Certainly challenging not only due to the limitations of any actual verbal dialogue, but mainly due to it's subject matter and the actions of certain characters commit. It is definitely challenging because it feels real. Without a doubt, it is one of the best films to come out of Ukraine in recent memory, and it is a picture I will constantly revisit in years to come.
This week's pick is a film by Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty. A beautiful picture mixed with fantasy and naturalism, inspired by the French New Wave. The imagery, the music and journey completely sucks the audience into the world Mambéty has created. A picture that is clearly made by a poet. This film and the filmography of Djibril Diop Mambéty in general, is one of the most important voices of the African cinematic history.