The Films of 2017

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Films of 2017

#76 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Naoko Ogigami's Close Knit (original is something like "when they knit earnestly (together) ..." -- sort of parallel construction to Naruse's "When the Woman Ascends the Stairs ....") finally showed up in Boston, courtesy of the 34th Annual LGBT Film Festival. This story of a neglected 11 year old girl (a mother almost as problematic as the one in Kore'eda's Nobody Knows) being taken care of by her uncle and his transgender (almost fully transitioned) girlfriend seemed to be a crowd pleaser. Plenty of comedy mixed into a story with lots of serious elements (child neglect, home/trans-phobia, school bullying, etc.). The young heroine (Rinka Kakihara) is very well done -- and the performances are all quite good (as usual for Ogigiami). Not sure that all plot points fit perfectly, but didn't find anything especially aggravating.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Films of 2017

#77 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:06 pm

Samuel Maoz' Foxtrot is purposefully disorienting - with an elliptical structure, surreal imagery, animated interludes, and a strong lead performance by Lior Ashkenazi that is (purposefully) often withholding and near mute for much of the film - but the audience's inability to get a firm grip on the film's aims for much of its runtime is ultimately more appropriate to the material than frustrating, as the emphasis put on Foxtrot's titular metaphor is (arguably more than) enough to make both its intended points clear by the conclusion. Jumping between a family receiving tragic news about their son and that young man's time at a border checkpoint somewhere in Israel/Palestine (though neither nation or their people are mentioned by name), the narrative ultimately coalesces around a sharp sociopolitical criticism couched in character-driven drama, bolstered by striking cinematography and production design that emphasizes the sense of place in (and the distance between) the muddy, ragged outpost and the upper class urban apartment that serve as the primary settings.

Though obviously very different in form and plot, I was strongly reminded during Foxtrot of the sensibility of Waltz With Bashir; that film's director, Ari Folman, was - like Maoz - deployed to Lebanon during the 1982 war, and both films are clearly grappling with the personal and societal impacts of that conflict. I haven't seen Maoz' debut feature, 2009's Lebanon, which appears to cover events similar to those in Bashir through a more gritty and realistic lens rooted in Maoz' experience, but there's enough clearly biographical detail in Foxtrot to infuse it with a sense of personal and social urgency that provides clarity to what could have been a more obtuse, less compelling film without it. Definitely recommended, and worth heading out to the theater for as it continues its limited release in the US.

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knives
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Re: The Films of 2017

#78 Post by knives » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:51 pm

Lebanon, which I voted for in our war list, isn't quite a realistic film with a lot of fantastic imagery (the polarizing donkey tears being the most obvious point) though it is a film of psychological realism.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2017

#79 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:50 pm

Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd) One of the things I've noticed from tours of colonial homes is how terribly noisy everything is, and if nothing else, this 1800s Brit-set film shows how hardwood floors got their name! The title clues you in to what will transpire as the new lady of the house deals with an impotent husband by fucking the help and then killing everyone who gets in the way of continuing-- and I do mean everyone! This one gets away with being predictable by virtue of not flinching, and the film crafts an expert unease throughout its compact running time that makes for a stressful viewing experience regardless of knowing the beats it's about to sound

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Re: The Films of 2017

#80 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:36 pm

domino harvey wrote:Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd)
I find it hard to imagine this story without the tremendous music Shostakovich created for its operatic adaptation (and which put him deep inside Stalin's cultural dungeon).

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2017

#81 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 20, 2018 10:29 am

La jeune fille sans mains (Sébastien Laudenbach) French animated film adapting the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale about a miller who inadvertently sells his daughter to the Devil in exchange for limitless riches. Like a lot of the Grimm fairy tails, the actual narrative elements of the film are horrific-- the Devil wants his young prize "dirty," so the father, keeping his promise to the Devil, traps her up a tree guarded by vicious dogs until she's soiled herself. However, since she's wiped away the tears from her eyes, her hands are too pure to be carried off to Hell, so the Devil makes the father chop her hands off... All of this is depicted in the film's wonderful elliptical art style, with every image looking like an unfinished sketch:

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I gather from reading comments elsewhere online that this style is maddening for some, but for me it's obviously the film's raison d'être. This film was apparently singlehandedly illustrated by Laudenbach, and it bears a distinct charm by virtue of its style. At 75 minutes, it's about as long as this kind of experiment can sustain, and the narrative, while dark and grotesque (no need to dub this into English for kids, they'd probably be either bored or terrified if they got far enough into this), does not ask much more of us than to sit back and watch it unfold prettily. Shout quite unexpectedly put this out on Blu-ray, and it's def worth picking up, especially since they threw in a handful of shorts by the director as well.

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