Opening abruptly as police break down the door of an apartment, Amour quickly establishes not only the film’s premise but also the ending to come as the police unseal a room and find an aged woman lying in bed, deceased. We are then taken back in time to a night in the near past that this woman and her husband attend a performance in a theater, an elderly couple appearing to be rather healthy despite their age. Throughout the film, [...]
Browsing all posts by John C. Clark.
At one point during Holy Motors, two actors in motion capture suits embrace, and we simultaneously watch both their actual actions and the animated sequence. The scene gives us nothing in the traditional sense of plot, but it’s so fascinating and visually exciting, it doesn’t seem to matter. There’s also a sewer-dwelling imp (a return appearance from the director’s short film in Tokyo) who kidnaps a famous model, a father who treats his teenage daughter as more mature than she [...]
The Last Step (Iran – Director: Ali Mosaffa – 88 minutes)
In The Last Step, writer/director Ali Mosaffa cast himself and real-life wife Leila Hatami (A Separation) as a married couple, creating an additional meta level to a film that already has a lot to untangle. Told in a fragmented, non-linear manner that often repeats scenes from different perspectives, The Last Step revolves around the death of the lead/narrator (who announces his own death at the beginning of the film, [...]
For the first 30 minutes or so of Ang Lee’s new adaptation of Life of Pi, the 3D seems almost unnecessary, other than some interesting-but-perhaps gimmicky shots of animals during the opening credits. It seems to be a fairly standard film where a subject narrates his life story to another person, and there doesn’t seem to be much need for that third dimension. But then, Pi’s story heads into more exotic territory, and it becomes clear why Lee decided to [...]
Before director Nicolas Winding Refn became well-known in the US for his hit Drive, he was known amongst arthouse crowds for wildly diverse films such as Bronson, Valhalla Rising and the Pusher trilogy. The first film is the latter trilogy was released in 1996 to acclaim in Denmark and later throughout Europe. A gritty, low budget directorial debut, Pusher told a pretty standard underworld crime story of a drug deal gone bad, but thanks to its grit, tension and sense [...]
The films for this year’s AFI Fest have been slowly trickling out, with announcements of the opening and closing night world premieres (the Oscar-bait biopics Lincoln and Hitchcock) a few weeks back, followed by the New Auteurs titles (a section worth poring over as the festival approaches; it included last year’s Oscar foreign-language-nominee Bullhead). But the AFI Fest 2012 Present by Audi just released the list of Galas and Special Screenings today, and it’s a rather impressive lineup (and this [...]