Sunday, August 21, 2005

Weekly Movie Post

This time, there are only three entries, and 2 of them repeats - I ended up watching Love Me Tonight a couple more times, and saw 2046 again. That only leaves one new film, which may be the only film covered in this post. The other two I think will require some more detail, especially 2046 (since it is new, and, now that I've seen it in a proper setting, I think it might be one of the best films of the decade.)

Junebug *** - a fine movie about the South, about a Chicago based English gallery owner who marries a man from North Carolina, and visits his family in the process of recruiting an "outsider artist"... It then turns into a kind of city folk in the sticks culture clash film, but without the usual cliches. It's a good film - fascinating, accurate, sympathetic, to everyone - it is interesting about art, especially outsider art (which it links, subtly, to broader habits, of making things, of taking pride in making things - woodworking, cooking, sewing, etc.) - on outsider art, it gets both the ugliness and passion of people like the artist here, with his psychotic civil war. Structurally, it does some notable things as well - the way Alessandro Nivola almost completely disappears when he goes home, turning into his father and brother, silent, mysterious, only emerging in a couple scenes - singing in church, the aftermath of the main plot event in the film... It's right - the way he changes when he's home - keeping his counsel, not wanting to reject them, but not part of them anymore either...

Stylistically, it's a well made indie type film with more than the usual ration of explicit Ozu references. I do mean explicit - credits on burlap, use of transition shots (within scenes even), the little tour Morrison gives of the house - as well as the broader influence of the story, the family dynamics, etc. It's not slavish imitation, and avoids the more obvious (and jolting) elements of Ozu's style - the frontal compositions, 180 degree cuts, the graphic matches and so on (which directors like Wes Anderson have adopted wholesale) - and some of the semantic elements (kids, marriages - though this is about marriage and leaving home, just seen from after the fact instead of before). But it's a clear homage, which Morrison has acknowledged.

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