Saturday, February 27, 2016

The World of Suzie Wong (1960)

How rare it is for a movie to acknowledge large age differences between actors cast as love interests. That's where The World of Suzie Wong stands out; when William Holden tries to detour Nancy Kwan from pursuing a relationship with him, he tells her "You're not even 20, I'm pushing 40." Now, Holden was 42 when the film was released, and Kwan 21, and while this is the only acknowledgment of their 2 decade age gap, it still counts for something. 

It's one of the reasons, including the charming performances and nice chemistry between the leads, why I kinda liked this movie, in spite of my better judgement, since it does contains the exoticization so common in white guy/asian girl pairings, the slut-shaming found in tart-with-heart romances, and death accompanying an interracial romance.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Black God, White Devil (1964)

I learned so much from this movie, a Buñuel-like concoction curtesy of director Glauber Rocha and Cinema Novo, the Brazilian New Wave. Not from actually watching it, but because its references to historical Brazilian figures forced me to pause and make a bee-line to Wikipedia in order to figure out just who Antônio Conselheiro and Lampião were. Turns out they were a wandering mystic and an outlaw, which helps to clarify the movie's bizarre yet energetic turns as it followed a poor farmer (Geraldo Del Rey) attempting to find meaning in his life; first becoming the devout member of violent catholic cult, then later joining a small roving band of bandits.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

I have a sneaking suspicion that Blue is the Warmest Colour wouldn't have gotten so much attention and adoration from the American press if it wasn't French. Because as a 3 hour saga of two girls meeting, falling in love, and breaking up, it's a total bore.

I admit, when it comes to serious love stories, I prefer the melodramatic shirt-tearing kind, where emotions range from simmering, suppressed passion to explosive declarations of adoration to (if it's foreign) an inevitable, yet tragic end.

And Blue is not that kind of movie. It wants to be a naturalistic and contemporary commentary of the irreconcilability of the working and intellectual classes. Though it's hard to take it's message seriously when it consistently films its heroines (Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux), dressed and undressed, in such an openly licentious and male-gazey way.

Ultimately, I didn't find either woman, together or apart, compelling enough to hold my interest for 2 hours, let alone 3. The movie only really came alive near the end, when the two, long since broken up, have an awkward meet-up dinner. There's clutching, kissing, and tears, and it reaches this sublime emotional apex that's both quite silly and a little moving. But it's a lot more investing than anything that came before.