The range of my recent viewing covers classic Italian and Eastern European films by Elio Petri and Karel Zeman as well as a pair of 1970s sci-fi/fantasy productions from the BBC, newly released on disk by the BFI.
CarFree: Stories from the Non-driving Life (2014) is a new one-hour documentary from Cagey Films about urban dwellers who consciously choose not to drive and how that decision affects the ways in which they live their lives.
A selection of recently viewed films ranges from revisionist horror to horror-comedy to experimental to Hitchcock imitation (or homage), all impressively presented on Blu-ray.
Horror, action, mindless violence and exploitation: summer viewing has involved a lot of switching off my brain and watching undemanding genre movies.
Video Nasties: Draconian Days, Jake West’s second documentary about Britain’s panic over the evils of home video is a fascinating examination of the political intentions of censorship and the resulting chaotic social impact of the state’s attempts to control personal taste.
Roman Polanski’s Macbeth stands as one of the finest adaptations of Shakespeare on film, a seamless blend of poetry and harsh realism in its depiction of a cruel medieval world and the futility of ambition.
There are bad movies and then there are “bad” movies; our relationship with the latter is more complicated than it first appears.
The documentary impulse was integral to the evolution of film and a key element was the application of the new technology to the 19th Century impulse to explore and “conquer” far-off exotic places and cultures.
Vengeance Is Mine (1979). Shohei Imamura’s chilling fact-based film about a serial killer, now on Criterion Blu-ray, is shot through with anger and satirical jabs at post-war Japanese society.
In part three of my response to the Sight & Sound list of “greatest documentaries”, I finally get around to comparing my own choices with those in the magazine, finding some points of overlap and others of disagreement.