Archive for March, 2013

Rhye The Fall

There should be words that explain the way…

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They told me drinking doesn’t make me nice.

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Make love to me
one more time
before you go away.

Oh, I know you’re faded,
but stay,
don’t close your eyes.

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Five Stages:

First Break: Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker (2000)

Oh, why do they leave? On the day you needed them the most.

Second Break: Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1971)

Which will you love the best?

Third Break: Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)

Blue songs are like tattoos.

Fourth Break: The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1967)

I’ve been trying hard to find the people that I won’t leave behind.

Fifth Break: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (2011)

How could I dream of such a selfless and true love?

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“Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly”

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“Just as the sand made everything round
Just as the tar seeps up from the ground 
Bitter dancer, ever turning
So was the day that you came to town”

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Sunset Boulevard


Really a fascinating picture. While embodying some very traditional aspects of noir culture, this psychological thriller captures all of the complexity and nuance of the silent to talkie era. Diligently plotted, with a career-defining performance from Gloria Swanson in an all-too-real tale of love and desperation, it still holds up after 60 years.

Very much recommended for modern audiences on the strength of its performances and direction. Like all three of the films I’ll be discussing today, it’s made all the richer by the fact that each (flawed) character is seeking something they feel they’ve been denied.

Amores Perros

amours chiennes

The third Inarritu film I’ve seen, and quite clearly a debut from the Mexican auteur. Watching one of his films is always a visually arresting experience, and this one is no exception. It has a strong visual flare, and probes some very deep concerns regarding loyalty and the nature of betrayal. Dogs, brothers, and hidden identities abound.

The film will be too much for some viewers. Beyond the dog-fighting scenes, the general experience of watching an Inarritu film is of being submerged in the grime and dregs of humanity – but emerging rewarded and validated in the small triumphs of these deeply flawed characters. While I very much enjoyed it, and was even deeply moved by parts of the second and third acts, it feels very deliberately obfuscating and its length / moral ambiguity won’t reward every audience member.

A Separation

A Separation

Now here is a film I can get excited about. What a wonderful, wonderful, heartbreaking film. This story of a divorce in contemporary Iran implicated everyone, and manages to weave a deft, thoughtful story out of seemingly simple parts. Divorce, miscarriage, culpability. While it has been widely compared to Rashomon, in many ways I preferred this film. For one, it had me so engrossed in each character and the rapidly changing nature of truth and justice. I often felt pulled in different directions by the motivations of the characters, and both frustrated and sympathetic to their deep plights.

What an empathetic film. What a film of deep understanding, and care, and responsibility. I think any fan of foreign cinema, or student of relationships, should see this. Remarkable to see how it weaves in complex history and religion into a vision of a contemporary Iran at once alien and all too similar. Global in the truest sense, but human in a way that transcends cultural boundaries.


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