Friday, March 9, 2007

March 9th Log

2006, Terry Gilliam, Canada / United Kingdom
1st Viewing, DVD

After losing control in post production on the 2005 film The Brothers Grimm, Terry Gilliam sought to make a project solely on his own creative terms. The result is a mixed bag that will very likely divide audiences. The personal and passionate aspect behind the film is certainly one you have to admire. The DVD opens with an introduction from Terry Gilliam who warns us that we may or may not like what we are about to see, but he encourages the viewer to treat this film as though in the perspective of an 8-year child who is innocent, and imaginative, and free of corruption or prejudice. I don’t know if the introduction was necessary, as it seems a bit forced, but I guess Gilliam is defending any critics of his film. Tideland is the type of film you’d expect if you’re a Gilliam fan: creepy, unsettling, and hallucinating. It certainly creates a world through Gilliams trademark visuals and tiled camerawork (the ugliness of the interior shots are contrasted by the beauty of the exterior location). With heavy references to Alice in Wonderland, Tideland is a film that takes us into another universe through the mind of a child. For the most part it captures interest (particularly because of a terrific lead performance by the young Jodelle Ferland), but at times it seems to drag and lack any emotional connection. The ending leaves for interpretation and possible hope for the young girl, while also leaving the idea that this world will never escape her thoughts. I’m not so sure how much interest I have in visiting the film again, but I applaud what Gilliam has done with his vision.

1937, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan
Repeat Viewing, DVD

What Did the Lady Forget is a joy of a film from Ozu. His earliest influence as a filmmaker was from the West and while this is evident in much of his earliest silent films it may be most prominent in this early talkie. The film is a social satire of the upper class and it even mixes in elements of screwball comedy. The great German-American filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch (known for his "Lubitsch touch') seems to be an influence here. Ultimately this is Ozu at his most lighthearted and charming. This film does not express the human condition as powerfully as his previous film (his first talkie The Only Son). What Did the Lady Forget is a wonderful comedy highlight by terrific performances. This may not be the most significant film Ozu made, but it is among his most endlessly watchable and endearing comedies.

>> More on What Did the Lady Forget? @ A2P Cinema's Yasujiro Ozu website HERE

>>> A scene from What Did the Lady Forget?:


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