Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January 23rd Log

1998, George Miller, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

What a wildly exciting and inventive film this is. Babe Pig in the City is the sequel to the Oscar winning 1995 hit Babe. Where this film shines and perhaps even surpasses the original is in the visionary inventiveness of its filmmaker, George Miller. Miller, who co-wrote and produced the original film took over the directing duties of this sequel and the result is a darker and more dazzlingly world of imagination and metaphoric visuals. The tone of the film is clearly a bleaker one then the sentimental original, yet it remains equally inspiring and far more visually stunning. Through wondrous visuals, Miller gives the imagery of the film a blend of surrealism and neo-noir city landscapes. As a complete narrative, I’m not sure if this sequel comes together as focused as the original film, but I think that intentionally works well with Miller’s more abstract world. Overall Babe Pig in the City is just a magical as the original and is the more visionary work even if flawed. Either way, this is a treat fro all ages. This is the kind of fantasy film that lifts you up and takes you into another world of magical and surreal imagery and adventure. A world that is bizarre yet strangely reflective of our own world.

1967, Robert Bresson, France
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Now available on a beautiful new Criterion Collection DVD... Mouchette is one of the most heartbreaking films ever made! Mouchette is a film of indescribable sadness and graceful filmmaking. Few filmmakers capture the reality of life and human existence as masterfully or poetically as Robert Bresson. Bresson rates among the greatest visionaries of film and to me, this is his greatest film (or at least along with Au Hasard Balthazar). Bresson's films are so simple yet so incredibly involving emotionally. There are so many unforgettable images, sounds, and moments within Mouchette but particularly the opening (close-ups) and closing scenes (suicide) which rate among the finest and most powerful and beautiful displays of filmmaking evermade. Also, the performances, each non-professional (a Bresson trademark), are outstanding, particularly by Nadine Nortier. Nortier plays Mouchette, a young woman who's alienated and in search of connection yet struggles to live and is bound to give up the suffering of existence. The ending is heartbreaking, yet through the sadness of the tragedy lies a hope and redemption for Mouchette. This film is unbelievably beautiful and powerful. It simply must be experienced. Mouchette is a masterpiece of artistic filmmaking and one of the truly great achievements of cinema. Even in the saddest moments of Bresson’s cinema, “all is grace.”


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