Thursday, August 7, 2008

Splotchy Film Festival

SamuraiFrog tagged me last week with this nice little meme, and now I finally have the time to complete it.

I get to pick 12 movies to program into 6 nights at a theoretical film festival.

First, the rules:

1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.



Okay, here goes!


FIRST NIGHT

A Little Princess (1995)
Time Bandits (1981)
We ease into the first night with films dealing with childhood and the imagination. These are two topics that have always been important to me.

A Little Princess is a wonderful children's film filled with empathy and magic, directed by the great Alfonso Cuarón.

Time Bandits is a children's movie aimed at adults. It captures the wonder, the fear, the disappointment, the confusion, everything about being a child. It's my favorite Terry Gilliam movie.


SECOND NIGHT

Sonatine (1995)
Dazed and Confused (1993)
The movies of the second night have a thread of uncertainty and aimlessness. The characters are a little adrift, but not necessarily in a despairing way.

Takeshi Kitano's Sonatine pretends to be a violent gangster movie, but morphs into something odd and compelling as its characters are yanked out of their world.

Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused pretends to be a stoner comedy, but explores the casual cruelty of adolescence.

Both of these movies are complicated, deeper and richer than the genres in which they are categorized.


THIRD NIGHT

In A Lonely Place (1950)
Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (1974)
In the third night, we deal with relationships, and the difficulty of maintaining them. It's all about the problem of making and keeping connections.

Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place features what I feel to be Humphrey Bogart's best performance. There is a romance that figures prominently between Bogart and Gloria Grahame, but I think the relationship between Bogart and his agent is even more deeply moving.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats The Soul is an extraordinarily empathetic look at what first appears to be an unusual relationship, and the strains and cracks that appear in it over time. It's filled with truth, sadness and hope.


FOURTH NIGHT

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Touch of Evil (1958)
The fourth night is the darkest of the Splotchy Film Festival. We explore the decay of the human spirit.

There aren't many darker movies than Alfred Hitchock's Shadow of a Doubt. That's all I'll say about it. See it for yourself.

If you haven't seen Orson Welles' Touch of Evil, please do so. Mike Vargas might be the hero of this movie, but it's Hank Quinlan that we feel for.


FIFTH NIGHT

Escape From Alcatraz (1979)
Touch of Evil (1956)
Can we let a little hope into the festival? First we saw the decay of the human spirit, now we see its strength -- strength under oppression, monotony, repetition, indifference.

Don Siegel's Escape From Alcatraz is an incredibly watchable, suspenseful movie, filled with memorable characters. And hey, the prison warden is played by The Prisoner Patrick McGoohan himself. How crazy is that?

Robert Bresson's A Man Escaped is one of those movies that somehow communicates in the medium of film better than 99% of other movies. It's utterly engrossing, moving and hypnotizing.


SIXTH NIGHT

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Playtime (1967)
We end the festival optimistically. The films on the sixth night are filled with hope and a childish wonder.

Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey sees a future for humanity, beyond violence and ignorance.

Jacques Tati looks for humanity, but instead of seeking it in the future, or in outer space, he finds it in the environment around us.

***

So, there it is. I'm not tagging anyone else, but I'd happily read about the programming of any of your own theoretical film festivals.

3 comments:

Comrade Kevin said...

I'll have to indulge myself when I'm feeling a little better.

SamuraiFrog said...

A Little Princess is wonderful, and it was so quickly overlooked, too. Warner Bros. had a nice, brief flash of family classics in the early nineties; The Secret Garden was also great.

To this day, I still haven't seen a Takeshi Kitano movie. I always mean to, but I never do.

You make Ali: Fear Eats the Soul sound interesting. I have a hard time with Fassbinder, but maybe I should give this one a chance.

And I need to see Playtime! I've seen two of the Hulot movies and loved them.

That was a great list, Splotchy!

skippy said...

playtime is brilliant in its third act.

tati sets up a literal myriad of jokes, and the movie actually seems to be quite boring, because nothing really gets done, as the employees of the restaurant prepare for the grand opening.

then, voila, when the opening comes, every joke that has been set up comes at you with rapid-fire punchline after punchline, until you are on the floor laughing so hard your sides ache.

i have never seen another film that has the audacity or confidence to do that.