Francoise Truffaut’s Two English Girls

Written by Joe D on March 11th, 2019

 

Here is a kind of follow up to Jules and Jim, Truffaut’s earlier masterpiece about a love triangle. This film is also based on a novel and stars the wonderful JeanPierre Leaud, whom Truffaut had discovered as a boy and cast him in The 400 Blows. Truffaut released this film in 1972 but unhappy with the reaction to the film in France, he restored 20 minutes of footage right before he passed away in 1984. The restored version came out posthumously. I think this film is great, understated, poetic, romantic. Check it out, here’s the trailer to whet your appetite.

 

Fred Astaire Dancing at the 1970 Oscars

Written by Joe D on February 28th, 2019

 

I guess I’ve been in the mood for film dancing lately, here is some footage from the 1970 Oscars where Fred Astaire does a number, he was born in 1899 so that would make him 71! You can see semi-bearded Jack Nicholson in the crowd watching, he was nominated for his role in Easy Rider that year. Anyway enjoy!

 

Mabel Lee-Queen of The Soundies

Written by Joe D on February 15th, 2019

The great Mabel Lee has passed on at age 97, she was a great singer, dancer from Harlem. She appeared in many Soundies, short musical films that played in coin operated jukeboxes in cafes and bars. Here’s a classic example. The Chicken Shack Shuffle.

and here is a Soundie Player in action.

The Nicholas Brothers

Written by Joe D on February 9th, 2019

Check out this dance number from Stormy Weather by the incredible Nicholas Brothers.

Lee Chang Dong’s Burning

Written by Joe D on February 4th, 2019

This is a great film, the story is simple, almost a genre detective structure but the nuances of character, class, Korean life, and memory weave a complex web that is fascinating and will stay with you for a long time after the film ends. You probably will want to watch it again and catch all the clues, I love films that don’t explain everything,that don’t spell everything out for the audience. Because mystery is a wonderful element in any artistic creation and the filmmaker that explains everything disrespects the intelligence of the audience. The characters are wonderfully drawn out, especially our three main ones, Jong-seo Jun plays Shin Hai-me, a young girls so full of curiosity about life, so charming, she’s like your first love, the cool girl you met in college.

Ah-in yoo plays  Lee jong-su, our hero, a would be writer, a kind of normal everyman with a deep soul, smarter than he seems at first glance, a young man pushed to the brink.

Steven Yeun is Ben, a rich sociopath, everything in life is a game to him.

I don’t want to say too much about this terrific film, just watch it for yourself. I guarantee it will affect you and make you think.  This is Cinema.

Patricia Gozzi!

Written by Joe D on February 2nd, 2019

 

Here is an interview with the amazing Patricia Gozzi. She was a child star of such cinematic power, unforgettable! Check out Jean Pierre Melville’s Leo Morin Priest with Jean Paul Belomondo and the masterpiece Sundays and Cybele.

Day Of The Fight Stanley Kubrick’s First Film

Written by Joe D on January 23rd, 2019

This is Stanley Kubrick’s First film. He said making it was the best film school he could have gone to. He had photographed this boxer for Look magazine and decided to make a film about him. He sold this film to RKO and actually made a profit! Atmospheric and photographically sophisticated, a great first film.

2001 A Space Odyssey

Written by Joe D on January 17th, 2019

Here is a great in depth look at the making of 2001.I metDan Richter, the mime that played the lead ape, the one who throws the bone up in the air, at a party at The Chelsea Hotel back in the 70’s. I also worked with Ray Lovejoy, who edited this magnum opus. It was his first job as an editor. Christopher Nolan recently restored the film and I think he made an IMAX print. I’ll have to see that one day. But anyway here is a great exploration of the making of this magnificent film.

Astro Boy

Written by Joe D on January 15th, 2019

 

Goback to your childhood, well, my childhood and check out the great cartoon Astro Boy! Created by the “Father of Manga”  Osamu Tezuka. Astro boy appeared in comic form in 1952, he was called Mighty Atom in Japan. The animated series was started in 1963.  He’s like a modern super powered Pinocchio. So check him out!

The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Written by Joe D on January 7th, 2019

The Genius Of Cinema-Ermanno Olmi

 

I saw this when it was released in 1978 with my best pal Frank G. Host. We talked about it for a long time. It is a masterpiece! One of the best films ever made! Made by a true genius of Cinema, Ormano Olmi. He wrote, photographed , directed , and edited it. Damn! And all for a very small budget with non actors! Be inspired filmmakers of the future! See the Power of Cinema!

ROMA!

Written by Joe D on December 22nd, 2018

Alphonse Cuaron’s Roma is the best film of the year, probably the best of the last 10 years, it’s a masterpiece. It’s also my favorite of all his films . An amazing accomplishment, he is one of the very few filmmakers that is advancing the evolution of Cinema. He has picked up the mantle of Orson Welles long takes and run with it. You are so absorbed in what’s happening on the screen you don’t notice that there hasn’t been a cut in a long time. No one since Welles has been as good at this, I think Welles came to it from Radio, rehearsing actors so the dialog was fast and furious without the need for editing to pace it, he got the actors to get the right timing then filmed it, sometimes with spaectacular camera moves , Ambersons, Opening of Touch Of Evil, but other times with barely any camera movement, I’m thinking of the scene in the Mexican boyfriend’s apartment, where Quinlan and Vargas have an argument with the suspect while Quinlan’s sidekick Pete finds the dynamite offscreen in the bathroom. An amazing scene no cuts, plays just like a Radio Play.

Cuaron does this kind of thing perfectly if not better! The scene in the delivery room what a tour de force and so emotionally powerful. The scene on the beach where the camera cranes like 50 feet in just above the waterline. Masterful.

There are so many great things in this film, Cuaron also picks up something from The Double Life Of Veronique, in that film the heroine is passing through a square in Prague or some Eastern Euro City, there is a student demonstration going on that breaks out into a riot, but it’s all in the background. Cuaron stages a student riot similarly and to great effect.

This is a period film and it’s done beautifully, one shot in particular blew me away as Cleo runs down a busy street chasing after her young charges, she crosses a big boulevard and the camera tracks with her, revealling a vista of period cars and people and city life that is astonishing! Another gem is when Cleo takes a bus ride to an amazing crazy barrio , the buildings are just tacked together from whatever as around, a guy is shot out of a cannon in the background, you have to see it for yourself. I just recently rewatched Ermano Olmi’s masterpiece The Tree Of Wooden Clogs, a great film about tenant farmers in Italy 100 years ago. All non actors in the cast yet it is great, moving, real.

Cuaron has done the same thing, made a compelling , supremely watchable film with basically an amateur cast. There are some great actors, the woman who plays the mom is terrific. But she just makes the others better.

 

Libo and Idrector Alfonso Cuarón

Finally I must say there is something Cuaron does that no one else can do. He makes films that seem shorter than their length! I don’t know what magic he posseses, but these films are over in the blink of an eye, and they’re over two hours long! I first noticed it with Gravity, but in Roma, it’s the same thing. Incredible. So watch it, you will love it. It should win every award out there, it’s in a class by itself. Bravo!

Bukowski! Taylor Hackford documentary

Written by Joe D on December 15th, 2018

BUK VS. HACK

 

Here is in my opinion of course, Taylor Hackford’s best film. A 1973 documentary on the legendary Charles Bukowski, patron saint of the dive bars, library stacks, post offices and racetracks of Los Angeles. I saw this film years ago and it was very hard to find for a long time but now thanks to the wondrous miracle of YouTube , here ’tis. Check it out amigos, borrachos!