After last month’s technical gaff that lead me to record my reviews straight from the dome, I decided to stick with the audio format and spice it up a little. However, I’m still here to give you what insight I have to this month’s Blu-ray releases. It’s a small but solid crop of movies: a wickedly fun made-for-TV movie helmed by one of the more well-respected horror directors and starring one of Hollywood’s finest actresses; an irreverent comedy/thriller getting the Blu-ray treatment for the first time since getting dumped to streaming over six years ago; a suspenseful and thrilling WWII film starring Burt Lancaster and God’s most perfect co-star, a train; and finally a documentary that became an instant classic after debuting back in 2018 to critical acclaim and has grown more resonant as the years have passed. (more…)
Much has been made of the fleshiness of Claire Denis’ 2001 horror film, Trouble Every Day. With its cannibalistic and erotic themes, the film almost demands a tactile analysis.
But in my most recent viewing of Trouble Every Day, I was struck by its uncanny sound design. The sound does not call attention to itself as prominently as the visuals, but it’s central to the feeling of uneasiness that saturates the film. (more…)
Guest post by Caleb Allison.
Even as Louis Malle’s taut crime thriller, Elevator to the Gallows (1958), descends to dark, fatalistic depths it simmers with a kinetic futurism that portends the mischievous talents of the French New Wave. Blending equal parts Hitchcockian thriller and methodical Bressonian precision, the 24-year-old Malle concocts a noirish thriller that clearly sought to cut ties with an older brand of French cinema. Foregoing any kind of modest piecemeal approach, Malle finds avenues for innovation in every element of the film. From its decidedly modern locations to the improvisational jazz score by Miles Davis to the stunning black-and-white night cinematography by Henri Decaë, the film reveals a French modernity not even realized yet. It remains so vividly cool, and make no mistake, this is one of the coolest films of all time, because it is bursting at every seam with a style that was yet to be named, codified, and repeated. It is on the cusp of cool, and, well, that’s the coolest place to be. (more…)
The original American trailer for Children of Paradise (1945) called it France’s answer to Gone with the Wind, but there are so many better ways to describe this incredible film. You could spend hours discussing its beautiful recreation of 19th century Paris or its excellent cast. But more than anything it is one of the great masterpieces of one of France’s many superb types of cinema: poetic realism.
Poetic realism was the kind of amorphous semi-movement that had space for the charming romance L’Atalante (the only feature-length film directed by Jean Vigo) as well as the gritty proto-noir La Bête Humaine (which Jean Renoir directed a year before he made the incomparable La Règle du Jeu). The most important quality that unites these and other disparate films under that label is their spirit of presenting a vision of reality that is paradoxically gritty and lyrical. The working-class characters in poetic realist films operated in environments that often contained a strong crime element as well as a sense of the joy that can exist in the darkest places. They often pursued romantic relationships that offered transcendence even as they ended in tragedy. (more…)
Guest post by Brittany D. Friesner, Interim Director of IU Cinema.
If you asked me one year ago how we might be commemorating the 10th anniversary of our first public screening, my answer, of course, would have included a much different vision than what we have planned this semester.
However, the essential vision of the celebration would have remained the same—an occasion that would bring together our entire team to reflect on and celebrate an extraordinary first decade of uniquely engaging, educational, and entertaining cinematic experiences which have transformed our campus and our community—one we absolutely could not have achieved, quite literally, without you. (more…)
Sometimes technology just doesn’t cooperate the way it’s supposed to. This month’s review round-up was all typed and set to go, but due to a computer error, I lost everything but the notes I jotted down in a notebook as I watched this month’s films. However, my benevolent editor and I didn’t want to deprive anyone of their physical media fix. I jumped onto Audacity and freestyled my thoughts on this month’s titles, and what an eclectic bunch it was: a lavishly decadent period piece, kinetic narrative showcases, an erotic psychosexual thriller, and more! (more…)