Monday, July 23, 2007

July 23rd Log

2001, Jeong Jae-eun, South Korea
1st Viewing, DVD

What a beautiful and perfect film this is! Take Care of My Cat opens with a group of five young friends celebrating their graduation. Within a moment we are taken out of this joyful celebration of youth and into the world of early adulthood. A world that grows far more complex and ultimately begins to divide friendship. Take Care of My Cat is an emotionally captivating film that takes on many layers despite being made with a master touch of simplicity. What could have been forceful or melodrama, becomes something beautiful and natural through the minimalist approach by Jeong Jae-eun in his debut feature film. The emotions, expressions, and layers of the film are not explained, but rather they speak for themselves in a way that recalls the mastery of Yasujiro Ozu. The film is simplistic in that it does not rely on plot, yet there is a complexly structure depth to the film that allows the viewer to reflect upon and appreciate afterwards. We understand these characters experiences and we share in their humanity. The performances by the five women are each excellent, but it is Bae Doo-Na that is especially great. As Tae-hee, Bae finds herself alone and alienated from love and from family, always drifting into private thought. It is her friends that give her the connection and support she needs and Tae-hee struggles to reunite two of the friends that are drifting from each other (Hae-joo, an ambitious career-woman who’s moved to Seoul and Ji-young, a depressed orphan living in a broken down shack with her grandparents). Within the lives of these five woman is the cat Tee Tee who was found in an alley by Ji-young. Tee Tee moves through the hands of each character, becoming a reflection of their lives. Another minimalist expression of the film is the recurring use of cell phones and text messages, which serve to attempt to connect the friendship as it slowly drifts further apart. The cinematography of Take Care of My Cat is extraordinary, specifically in the way (without being forcefully “pretty”) it captures beauty and sadness in the most authentic manner. Take Care of My Cat is just a lovely film. I can not praise it enough except to say it is perfect and one of my favorite films!

1932, Howard Hawks, United States

Repeat Viewing, DVD

Made at the innovative peak of the gangster genre and prior to the enforcement of the Studio Production Code, Scarface stands as one of the most impressive and certainly most influential genre films ever made. Directed by the brilliant Howard Hawks, Scarface is a landmark masterpiece. Scarface is a film that is completely indecisive in it's view of violence, as it brutally displays violence yet also absorbs and entertains with humor. Hawks rates among the most versatile filmmakers in Hollywood. Whether Hawks is working with Screwball Comedies, Westerns, or even Gangster films, they were never overly stylized yet each contained a depth and expression that made Hawks one of the true masters of filmmaking. Scarface is a film of dark brutality that manages to be both funny and disturbing. The film also uses several inventive cinematic techniques, including the use of sound and visual imagery (sometimes off-screen) as metaphors. Paul Muni is fantastic as Tony Camonte, in presenting the a frightening and viciouscharacter in a way that is equally humorous. Scarface is an absolute masterpiece film and remains a deeply influential and unforgettable achievement in film history.


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