Two new releases from the Criterion Collection showcase very different approaches to filmmaking. Robert Bresson’s Mouchette (1967) and William Greaves’ Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes (1968/2005), although both made during the turbulent late ’60s, display radically different styles and attitudes towards exploring authenticity in the cinematic representation of reality.
While they form one of the main building blocks of society, families are often mysterious when viewed from the outside, providing opportunities for mystery, suspense and horror since we began telling ourselves stories. Outsiders who penetrate the strange membrane between community and family may be faced with codes and rituals which can turn dangerous … as in four recently viewed movies: Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide (1961) and Games (1967), Freddie Francis’ Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly (1970) and Ted Post’s The Baby (1973).
More random viewing: two obscure independent films from the BFI, Margaret Tait’s poetic Blue Black Permanent (1992) and Maurice Hatton’s gritty fake-umentary about the film business, Long Shot (1977); and three from Twilight Time – George Sluizer’s interesting Americanization of his existential thriller The Vanishing (1993), Terrence Young’s straightforward fact-based crime saga The Valachi Papers (1972), and D.W. Griffith’s monumental but deeply troubling Birth of a Nation (1915).
After three years of steady releases, for some reason the BFI suspended their Flipside series last May. Now, after an eleven month break, they’ve released two new titles, as unexpected as anything which has come before. In John Krish, they’ve returned to a filmmaker familiar from a number of previous BFI releases, while in B.S. […] Read More
Jim McBride was one of the most interesting and accomplished filmmakers to emerge in New York City in the ’60s, debuting with the remarkably assured and inventive David Holzman’s Diary in 1967. One of the earliest, and finest, examples of faux documentary, it fooled many people with its convincing portrayal of a filmmaker (L.M. Kit […] Read More
I had an interesting evening last Friday, thanks to Dave Barber at the Cinematheque. Dave and his co-workers at the WFG brought Craig Baldwin in from San Francisco for a weekend workshop on found-footage filmmaking. I didn’t have time for the workshop itself, but did make it to the Friday night screening of Tribulation 99 […] Read More
One of the real pleasures of the BFI’s Flipside series of DVDs and Blu-Rays is the sheer eclecticism of the choices being made available. The series’ mandate is to present fringe works, movies outside the mainstream. So far, we have gained access to early thrillers by Pete Walker (Man of Violence, The Big Switch); three […] Read More
Given that this week filmmaker Matthew Rankin is back at Sundance with a short film for the second time in three years, he would probably be annoyed if I mention that I first encountered him as an odd, ferociously precocious 14-year-old, when he walked into the offices of the Winnipeg Film Group intent on signing […] Read More