Certain Women (2016)
My first Kristen Stewart movie of the year was definitely not a disappointment. This story of three interwoven lives of seemingly regular women grew to be a moving example of the true woman. It displayed the inner workings of relationships – both wanted and unwanted – and the damage we, as women, can have on each other if not showed a bit of respect.
Although I am partial to anything Kstew, I have to admit that the shining beacon in this film is Lily Gladstone. With minimal dialogue and possibly the most complicated performance out of the three, Gladstone was, to say the least, moving as she portrayed an independent native responsible for a horse ranch. As she grasps on to a relationship with a night teacher (Stewart), a misunderstanding throws her off her routine. This performance was obviously emotive and left few people in the theatre with dry eyes.
An American in Paris (1951)
As a self-proclaimed lover of classic cinema, I was itching to get my eyes feasting on this film.
Gene Kelly graces the screen with his effortless dancing in An American in Paris in which the story that is framed in one that dreams are made of. An american man works and lives in Paris, and mistakenly falls in love with his friends fiancé.
As this is such a well-known film, I don’t have much to say about it critically. However, my personal opinion was one of absolute love. This really would be a dream situation for me – and it did kind of happen I suppose (A Canadian in Scotland, anyone?), but the setting of Paris imposes such a romantic scene that it is hard not to completely swoon over this film.
I am glad to say that the french cinema binge continues! This month I saw Breathless ( A Bout de Souffle) – another film directed by the legendary Godard – and I have to say, for me, it’s an absolute rave.
The film is about a criminal and his American girlfriend (can you see a theme?) and was one of the best examples and earliest entries into the French New Wave film era. Godard exemplified this style through his bold cuts, colours, and sudden sounds/inflections.
If you are looking for a film that is plot driven, this is possibly not the film for you. However, if you are looking for a classic example of one of the most influential art movements of the 20th century, and are interested in the visual aspects of film, please do give this one a watch!
Blow Up (1966)
I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t want to watch this film only because of Jane Birkin. I have recently discovered Birkin – albeit very late to the party – and was thrilled to find one of her films in Lewis’ collection.
Although I was intrigued solely because of an actress, I was shocked to find myself completely engrossed with the story. A fashion photographer goes out into the park to find new inspiration and ends up involving himself in a murder mystery.
Being both familiar with the aspects of the fashion and photography industry, I had dual interest in how the story would play out. How would they portray the fashion world at that time? What was the involvement of real models (hello, Veruschka)? And, most importantly, how would this play into every Agatha Christie fantasy I’ve had since I was a child?
Stunning in every sense of the word, this was one of my favourite films of the month and I could not recommend it more.
The new(ish) documentary 13th – a Netflix original created by Ava DuVernay – could easily win my favourite and most informative documentary of the year. This exploration of the state of incarceration and police brutality in the United States had me emotionally on my knees.
Going through the history of slavery and how it effects those who are and have been incarcerated up to today made me question the right to “freedom” in America, and what the term even means. As pointed out, after one set of ridiculous rules working against black communities is replaced with another, it is shocking to learn that there has been no point in history long enough to speak about when coloured people in America have ever been “free”. Even in the media, DuVernay has interviews that speak about the impact of Birth of a Nation – a film that brought true the fears of what, specifically, black men may do to white women. This film ultimately caused the KKK to come back to life and introduced new symbolism for them, resulting in a reality that takes it’s basis off of fiction.
Coming up to today’s climate, the interviews focus a lot on the support garnered from different politicians and corporations to keep prisons full, as it becomes financially beneficial for each party – except, of course, for the prisoner.
There is still so much I could still say on this documentary, but for the conversation to really be able to flourish I urge you all to give it a watch. It is available in over 190 countries, so more than likely you have the ability to.
Miss Representation (2011)
Continuing on my little documentary fascination, I decided to give Miss Representation a go after hearing it recommended from multiple people on YouTube and in the Mustards’ podcast.
I think that with the current climate documentary’s like this one have to have their place among the traditional media that is watched from day-to-day, even at the cinema. The examples shown through studies like the one in Miss Representation are integral to the fight for freedom and independence for women of all colours, backgrounds, disabilities, etc.
However, I had a small problem with the film that was, truly, not anyone’s fault. I believe that at the time this film was made it would have been ground-breaking and shaken up the thought processes around what women are subjected to on an everyday basis. The problem lies in the fact that this was made in 2011, so by now all the revelations made are common knowledge. However, very little – if anything – has changed, and it made me realise the space that is waiting to be filled by new films exposing the problems within today’s feminine society (of which there are many).
Another long, chatty film wrap-up! I really hope you guys enjoy hearing about what I’ve been watching, as it’s something I have been thoroughly enjoying writing about!
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