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Summer with Monika (1953). I caught this one late at MAMI. This film wasn't bad at all, but it was pretty underwhelming. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece from Bergman since it is one of his more obscure films. At the very least, this film is an interesting showcase of his eye for cinematography since much of it is pretty exceptionally well-shot, and only complemented by the sound design, churning the artificiality of the characters' contemporary lives into the pastoral, idyllic serenity of their getaway on a boat. It's funny how immediately I am reminded of Tarkovsky upon mentioning this, and seeing that they had such a prominent influence on each other, it would make sense that these aspects of the film would be the strongest. The biggest issue with this film is its soap-opera-ness. The performances, although they're not bad at all, are kind of hammy, sometimes, and very melodramatic, making the film feel dated. The issue really isn't with the actors, because they have the talent required to translate the beats of the scene; the issue is the delivery of those beats. This is not something that persists throughout, but it will show up every now and then. And if it were a film from another director, I wouldn't even feel obliged to mention this flaw, but Ingmar Bergman's characters are generally incredibly realistic and well-portrayed. Another issue is that it's hard to really enjoy this film today, because this particular story formula has been exhausted at this point, and so much so that I could predict the outcome. However, this film makes up for its issues in its presentation, for the most part. There's some interesting symbolism relating to the usage of a mirror in the film, and a particular event near the end of the film is presented really cleverly, where we aren't shown the event, but we can understand what it might be just from a character's reaction to it. Some of the acting in the third act was pretty fantastic too, and felt more grounded and realistically-delivered. Overall, this film wasn't really exceptional, but watch it if you're a fan of Ingmar Bergman. 6/10.
@__sculpting_in_time___

Summer with Monika (1953). I caught this one late at MAMI. This film wasn't bad at all, but it was pretty underwhelming. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece from Bergman since it is one of his more obscure films. At the very least, this film is an interesting showcase of his eye for cinematography since much of it is pretty exceptionally well-shot, and only complemented by the sound design, churning the artificiality of the characters' contemporary lives into the pastoral, idyllic serenity of their getaway on a boat. It's funny how immediately I am reminded of Tarkovsky upon mentioning this, and seeing that they had such a prominent influence on each other, it would make sense that these aspects of the film would be the strongest. The biggest issue with this film is its soap-opera-ness. The performances, although they're not bad at all, are kind of hammy, sometimes, and very melodramatic, making the film feel dated. The issue really isn't with the actors, because they have the talent

Three Identical Strangers (2018). This documentary was pretty insane, and it only got better the longer it went on. It concerns the lives of triplets that reunite several years after having been separated. It begins on this quirky, entertaining precursor and then evolves into something unexpectedly insightful and empathetic. Some of the worse documentaries I've seen attempt to force a reaction from the audience by withholding previously-known details and manipulating the truth to increase the severity of the experience; however, in this film we uncover information as the characters do because they are basically in the dark about their own situation. Although the film does take a side concerning a particular ethical dilemma, in a way, it in no way panders exclusively to it, and you don't need to agree with it to absorb the invaluable information. I appreciate the lack of dependence on external voiceover, and it would certainly be redundant since the real-life subjects portrayed in this film in several interview clips are genuinely fantastic storytellers, or were at least directed and edited-out well enough to deliver some great anecdotes.There is a fantastic sense of pacing to this film -- despite being the only documentary I saw, I was thoroughly immersed throughout; this was the most well-paced and consummable film in the entire festival. It's like a very well-constructed screenplay, with several entertainingly comedic and cathartic beats, rich characters, ridiculously stockpiling coincidences and the like -- except it's actually real life. The only issue I had was a vague sense of repeated information, but I'm not even entirely sure if it was really significant enough to detract from the quality of the film as a whole. If you're just getting into documentaries, this one is very accessible and a fantastic starting point. Try to extricate yourself from most reviews of this film, actually, since most people don't consider spoiling a documentary 'spoiling' a film at all. As someone that walked into this film blind, I'm pretty sure the experience was made all-the-more compelling due to the holes in my limited background information prior to my viewing. 8/10.
@__sculpting_in_time___

Three Identical Strangers (2018). This documentary was pretty insane, and it only got better the longer it went on. It concerns the lives of triplets that reunite several years after having been separated. It begins on this quirky, entertaining precursor and then evolves into something unexpectedly insightful and empathetic. Some of the worse documentaries I've seen attempt to force a reaction from the audience by withholding previously-known details and manipulating the truth to increase the severity of the experience; however, in this film we uncover information as the characters do because they are basically in the dark about their own situation. Although the film does take a side concerning a particular ethical dilemma, in a way, it in no way panders exclusively to it, and you don't need to agree with it to absorb the invaluable information. I appreciate the lack of dependence on external voiceover, and it would certainly be redundant since the real-life subjects portrayed in

The next film I saw at MAMI was Lee Chang-Dong's Burning (2018), based on the short story 'Barn Burning' by Haruki Murakami. Based on this information alone, you can see why I was pretty excited for this film. This was a much subtler, measured film than Climax, quietly-paced and uneventful to a fault, even, but in a way that strengthened the powerfully enigmatic feeling of isolation as experienced by the protagonist. This film is pretty meticulously directed, comprising of these lengthy, complex shots that almost belie the amount of technical mastery required to execute them so faultlessly. I haven't seen many films where the lighting felt this authentic; no single shot ever felt under-lit or clumsy, but there never seemed to be an external, artificial source of lighting somehow, especially in the various outdoor scenes. The cinematography was gorgeous to simply bask in and absorb. Despite the escalating conflict and tension within the story, the film somehow felt consistently slowly-paced but never in a way that brought it to a lull, instead lending it this lonely, quietly pulsating dread. The memorable soundtrack cleverly complemented the enigmatic storytelling in its minimalist composition.The film emphasised its elusive themes through purposeful, oblique metaphors and concepts in small details such as the dialogue and the choices to include or exclude certain events and details in the plot. This film really grows on you the more you think about it, as I am just now realising that the shot composition also reflected the thematic intent of the story. There's some pretty intelligent symbolism throughout too, if you're really paying attention. The characters were simultaneously mysterious and relatable. The three main actors delivered fairly understated but incredibly precise, naturalistic performances, especially when they were required to deliver subtler details such as coughing or yawning realistically. Overall, this film was incredibly atmospheric and haunting, while somehow remaining entertaining and even comedic when necessary. There were multiple levels of enjoyment and appreciation I experienced in this film. 9/10, for now.
@__sculpting_in_time___

The next film I saw at MAMI was Lee Chang-Dong's Burning (2018), based on the short story 'Barn Burning' by Haruki Murakami. Based on this information alone, you can see why I was pretty excited for this film. This was a much subtler, measured film than Climax, quietly-paced and uneventful to a fault, even, but in a way that strengthened the powerfully enigmatic feeling of isolation as experienced by the protagonist. This film is pretty meticulously directed, comprising of these lengthy, complex shots that almost belie the amount of technical mastery required to execute them so faultlessly. I haven't seen many films where the lighting felt this authentic; no single shot ever felt under-lit or clumsy, but there never seemed to be an external, artificial source of lighting somehow, especially in the various outdoor scenes. The cinematography was gorgeous to simply bask in and absorb. Despite the escalating conflict and tension within the story, the film somehow felt consistently

Climax (2018). This was the first film I saw at MAMI film festival, and probably my most anticipated film of the year due to the fantastic trailer as well as the fact that it was directed by Gaspar Noe. Thankfully, this film did not disappoint. This movie was such an incredibly, earth-shatteringly unpleasant, nauseating, stomach-churning orgy of fucked-up-edness. The innocuous first third is filled out nicely with humorous, but insidious dialogue and these jarring cuts-to-black, before slowly inducing you into this intoxicating psychedelic trance of beautifully improvised dance sequences set to great music, leaving clever, un-obvious seeds for the conflicts in the film.The cinematography is exceptional right from the get-go, and it especially shines in the first dance-related sequence which is insanely well-coordinated, both in terms of the dancing and the shot movement. But the film hardly lets you breathe, immediately thrusting you into the next scene with another long take, following character interactions this time. In fact, much of this film is long, drawn-out, spellbinding tracking shots with fantastic acting and beautifully-lit neon sets, complementing the deranged sequence of events. It's pretty incredible to imagine how the lighting for this film and the various elements, such as the blocking, must have been coordinated to look so effortless. The events, although sometimes implicitly revealed, were only made all-the-more disturbing by the slanted, almost ironically languid camera angles, the ascendingly nightmarish lighting and the increasingly chaotic sound design, often blurring diegetic and non-diegetic sound into a single cacophonous, distorted blat. This film made me physically sick to some extent, but the sickness had a purpose to it, and the commentary on sexuality, inhibitions, culture, society and humanity could only be accentuated by such an insane presentation. This film was masterfully directed but it's definitely not for everyone. If you can get into something this depraved, then watch it because this is an outstanding, boundary-pushing piece of filmmaking. Having seen it only once, this one is a 9 (for now) /10.
@__sculpting_in_time___

Climax (2018). This was the first film I saw at MAMI film festival, and probably my most anticipated film of the year due to the fantastic trailer as well as the fact that it was directed by Gaspar Noe. Thankfully, this film did not disappoint. This movie was such an incredibly, earth-shatteringly unpleasant, nauseating, stomach-churning orgy of fucked-up-edness. The innocuous first third is filled out nicely with humorous, but insidious dialogue and these jarring cuts-to-black, before slowly inducing you into this intoxicating psychedelic trance of beautifully improvised dance sequences set to great music, leaving clever, un-obvious seeds for the conflicts in the film.The cinematography is exceptional right from the get-go, and it especially shines in the first dance-related sequence which is insanely well-coordinated, both in terms of the dancing and the shot movement. But the film hardly lets you breathe, immediately thrusting you into the next scene with another long take,

Kramer knows where it’s at #cinemaappreciation #seinfeld
@garbo_sleeves

Kramer knows where it’s at #cinemaappreciation #seinfeld

My #CinemaAppreciation students read the book and today we went to see #TheHateUGive #movie Great performances and powerful message! 
#gitculture #gitart
@prof_g_wheeler
AMC Movie Theater At Sunset Place

My #cinemaappreciation students read the book and today we went to see #thehateugive #movie Great performances and powerful message! #gitculture #gitart

I saw First Man (2018) by Damien Chazelle and it was pretty fantastic. Everything about this film is refreshingly believable and uncontrived. The practical effects are fantastic but never to the point where they overpower the presentation of the film. When the camera is inside a cockpit, the shots are incredibly claustrophobic and shaky, and not because of trying to cheat technical difficulties, but due to the sets being authentic and life-sized. The cinematography allows for these sequences in space to venture on for so long that you never question their validity, and I appreciate that this film requires some amount of patience because it ultimately works in its favour due to the heightened sense of believability and slow-ratcheting tension, and despite the outcome of this real event not exactly being a mystery. Coupled with this, the cinematography is exceptionally well-done without ever being showy in any sense -- the lighting always feels organic and there is a nice balance between both handheld and static shots. Despite Chazelle's obvious musical inclinations, I appreciate how restrained the usage of the soundtrack in this film was. Several films are butchered by sloppily composed and overused soundtracks that try to artificially compel emotions from the audience and it always feels like such a ruse, but in this film the soundtrack felt appropriate when it appeared because the characters were so well-developed, having experienced some very bleak tribulations, but again these instances in the film never felt forced.Their lives are intimately and honestly explored, through some fantastic performances, accentuated by details such as the subtle changes in Ryan Gosling's performance, makeup and hairstyling as he ages.This film is a sublime, cathartic, personal experience that never feels Hollywoodized or melodramatic; it never cheats its way through its beats, and despite how easily it is to be emotionally invested in the story, the level of realism preserves an almost documentary-esque tone due to the abundant technical prowess. Only three films in, Damien Chazelle is proving to show something of a precocious mastery of genre and versatility in style. 8/10.
@__sculpting_in_time___

I saw First Man (2018) by Damien Chazelle and it was pretty fantastic. Everything about this film is refreshingly believable and uncontrived. The practical effects are fantastic but never to the point where they overpower the presentation of the film. When the camera is inside a cockpit, the shots are incredibly claustrophobic and shaky, and not because of trying to cheat technical difficulties, but due to the sets being authentic and life-sized. The cinematography allows for these sequences in space to venture on for so long that you never question their validity, and I appreciate that this film requires some amount of patience because it ultimately works in its favour due to the heightened sense of believability and slow-ratcheting tension, and despite the outcome of this real event not exactly being a mystery. Coupled with this, the cinematography is exceptionally well-done without ever being showy in any sense -- the lighting always feels organic and there is a nice balance

Naked (1994). This film is quite the underappreciated hidden gem. It fits neatly into the niche of British kitchen-sink realism, in the vein of films such as Trainspotting, exploring the theme of disillusionment in modern society while refusing to bastardise its incredibly depraved characters to make them relatable, or even likeable. David Thewlis in this film is absolutely hypnotic; he has to deliver these incredibly lengthy, complicated, verbose soliloquies in this film and every little detailed, neurotic mannerism in his performance comes from him so organically that it is difficult to believe him as anything but the character of Johnny. This is probably one of the most polarizing protagonists in any film, but definitely one of the best. The writing for this film is probably the best thing about it; the dialogue is so incredibly lyrical and unforced at the same time. The screenplay was conceived from several weeks of improvisation between the actors and this aspect of the film -- these character-revealing conversations -- has a real presence in it. The plot doesn't move forward by playing with audience expectations, it just does whatever it needs to and goes wherever it has to in order to service its characters. Everything from the cinematography and soundtrack, down to the details in the font choices and set design, has this incredibly bare-bones, stripped-down feel to it making this film live up to its title. The suffocating sense of squalor and isolation in its cold-blue cinematography and cramped, inadequate locations creates a somewhat unpleasant, even nauseating atmosphere, which really works in the context of this film. The only real issue I have with this film is the character of Jeremy, who felt kind of one-dimensional and caricaturish compared to Johnny who was so incredibly well-developed and complex. All the other characters in this film felt so incredibly authentic that it was jarring to suddenly learn of this somewhat stereotypical bad-guy character. But apart from that, this film is pretty much a masterpiece. It's a deeply unsettling, raw, well-written character study and you're missing out if you haven't seen it. 9/10.
@__sculpting_in_time___

Naked (1994). This film is quite the underappreciated hidden gem. It fits neatly into the niche of British kitchen-sink realism, in the vein of films such as Trainspotting, exploring the theme of disillusionment in modern society while refusing to bastardise its incredibly depraved characters to make them relatable, or even likeable. David Thewlis in this film is absolutely hypnotic; he has to deliver these incredibly lengthy, complicated, verbose soliloquies in this film and every little detailed, neurotic mannerism in his performance comes from him so organically that it is difficult to believe him as anything but the character of Johnny. This is probably one of the most polarizing protagonists in any film, but definitely one of the best. The writing for this film is probably the best thing about it; the dialogue is so incredibly lyrical and unforced at the same time. The screenplay was conceived from several weeks of improvisation between the actors and this aspect of the film --

So I saw Venom (2018), and wow, what a surprise, it was actually pretty great – if great meant that I wanted to gouge out my own eyeballs by the end of the film. This film was a fucking dumpster-fire. Tom Hardy gives probably the worst performance he'll ever give. It was so blatantly awful that it reached the point where his accent kept slipping in and out. He added these weird voice modulations to his performance but none of it worked or helped the character in any way. I don't even know where to start when addressing what else is so terrible about this film, because this film provides enough material to take up several more reviews. The soundtrack with its autotuned vocals was simultaneously abhorrent and unfitting. The writing (?) was abysmal, every line of dialogue was so incredibly forced and obligatory and everything plays out exactly how you'll predict it. The characters are poorly written and nothing in the plot is motivated or developed in any way. Visually, this film looks like shit; there are blatant green-screen chase sequences, the bland, poorly-lit cinematography is complemented by the seizure-esque editing, creating some of the most woefully incomprehensible action sequences I've ever seen in a film. The CGI is incredibly ugly and unconvincing. When I look at those two symbiotes fighting, I don't have a reason to care because I don't feel like I'm looking at anything. Seriously, The Host from 2006 has better CGI than this film. The distorted, pitch-shifted, voice over for Venom was terrible.There are often basic logistical problems and plot holes within the same scene. A character will crash through a door and pretend like nothing happened. Music in a scene will sound the same both closer and further away from its source. People will consistently make stupid decisions. The entire experience of this film was like a fever dream. Thankfully, this leads to such hilariously terrible scene concepts that the film often veers into so-bad-that-its-good territory. It is a parody of itself. It is such an enjoyably awful, embarassing, half-baked mess that a 1/10 wouldn't be giving credit to how entertaining it was, all things considered. This one's a 2/10.
@__sculpting_in_time___

So I saw Venom (2018), and wow, what a surprise, it was actually pretty great – if great meant that I wanted to gouge out my own eyeballs by the end of the film. This film was a fucking dumpster-fire. Tom Hardy gives probably the worst performance he'll ever give. It was so blatantly awful that it reached the point where his accent kept slipping in and out. He added these weird voice modulations to his performance but none of it worked or helped the character in any way. I don't even know where to start when addressing what else is so terrible about this film, because this film provides enough material to take up several more reviews. The soundtrack with its autotuned vocals was simultaneously abhorrent and unfitting. The writing (?) was abysmal, every line of dialogue was so incredibly forced and obligatory and everything plays out exactly how you'll predict it. The characters are poorly written and nothing in the plot is motivated or developed in any way. Visually, this film

#TCPCinemappreciation: Neeraj Pandey’s directorial debut, A Wednesday told the story of an anonymous man who threatens the mumbai police force into releasing the most wanted terrorists who had been incarcerated. As the movie progresses, his intentions become clear as he identifies himself as a common man who wants to see the guilty punished for their actions. With Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher as the leading opposing forces, Neeraj Pandey has created one of the best movies of the last decade, to an extent that it went on to be remade in 3 other languages, Tamil ,Telugu and even English starring Ben Kingsley.
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#Cinemaappreciation #Awednesday #Neerajpandey #Naseeruddinshah #Anupamkher #bollywood #Acommonman #Benkingsley #crime #thriller #productionhouse #tcp
@tencolourproductions

#tcpcinemappreciation: Neeraj Pandey’s directorial debut, A Wednesday told the story of an anonymous man who threatens the mumbai police force into releasing the most wanted terrorists who had been incarcerated. As the movie progresses, his intentions become clear as he identifies himself as a common man who wants to see the guilty punished for their actions. With Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher as the leading opposing forces, Neeraj Pandey has created one of the best movies of the last decade, to an extent that it went on to be remade in 3 other languages, Tamil ,Telugu and even English starring Ben Kingsley. . . #cinemaappreciation #awednesday #neerajpandey #naseeruddinshah #anupamkher #bollywood #acommonman #benkingsley #crime #thriller #productionhouse #tcp

@helenamurray_ and I went to see a screening of The Secret Garden last week, I forgot how beautiful it is 🌿
#secretgarden #1993 #filmhouseedinburgh #cinema #film #costumestudent #cinemaappreciation #aesthetic
@itsacostumelifeforme
Filmhouse

@helenamurray and I went to see a screening of The Secret Garden last week, I forgot how beautiful it is 🌿 #secretgarden #1993 #filmhouseedinburgh #cinema #film #costumestudent #cinemaappreciation #aesthetic

Stalker (1979) (2/2). This coupled with the singularity of the monochrome colour palette creates a stifling atmosphere, bringing an aesthetically appealing sense of squalor to the world. The performances and writing are absolutely phenomenal as well, but never to the point where they become the emphasis of the film. The emphasis is the relentlessly mesmeric, captivating nature of the filmmaking and storytelling -- spare, economically developed motions in plot with several philosophical sections of blatant soliloquizing from its characters, slowly anchoring the always slightly disparate connections between the sumptuously bleak, grainy images and the philosophical, introspective, often comedically bitter exchanges. The details are so spare that they evoke audience interaction -- all the names of characters and locations are vague and interpretable (The Zone, Stalker, Writer etc.). This is heightened by the usage of the three unities of time, space and action, making the film all that more immersive and believable. The oblique symbolism and dreamlike imagery complement these themes of existentialist angst, self-purpose and human uncertainty very indirectly at first, but if you pay attention they slowly start to congeal together like reincorporated bits and pieces of verses in a lengthy, abstract poem. Additionally the creatively employed sound design relays a sense of subconscious fragmentation, with the image and sound often presented discordantly -- echoing other films like Last Year at Marienbad, but, in my opinion, doing it even better. Despite how elusive and difficult these connections are, they work because they depend on the viewer to extract some form of meaning from them while feeling self-contained and deliberate. The film veers on abstraction due to the evocative imagery, while always feeling grounded and literal due to the well-written story that makes every element of the world feel authentic. This film was pretty much life-altering for me. Very few films have had me thinking about them for as long afterwards as this one. It is a metaphysical conundrum, a labyrinth of paradoxes you can lose yourself in forever.10/10.
@__sculpting_in_time___

Stalker (1979) (2/2). This coupled with the singularity of the monochrome colour palette creates a stifling atmosphere, bringing an aesthetically appealing sense of squalor to the world. The performances and writing are absolutely phenomenal as well, but never to the point where they become the emphasis of the film. The emphasis is the relentlessly mesmeric, captivating nature of the filmmaking and storytelling -- spare, economically developed motions in plot with several philosophical sections of blatant soliloquizing from its characters, slowly anchoring the always slightly disparate connections between the sumptuously bleak, grainy images and the philosophical, introspective, often comedically bitter exchanges. The details are so spare that they evoke audience interaction -- all the names of characters and locations are vague and interpretable (The Zone, Stalker, Writer etc.). This is heightened by the usage of the three unities of time, space and action, making the film all that

Stalker (1979) (1/2). A singularly aberrant piece of filmmaking. It is as mesmeric as it is elusive. It is a lengthy investment, clocking in at 2 hours 41 minutes, and in that duration -- in its several 4-minute-plus long takes of landscapes pockmarked with twisted light-poles, stunted trees, rustling undergrowth, in its richly detailed diegetic sound -- it simply refuses to answer many of the questions it imposes on the viewer. It is ambiguous, but in no way that illustrates a lack of cohesion. It alternates between a machine-overwrought, sepia-toned, monochromatic world and the technicolor natural landscape of the Zone -- a possible alien crash-landing site that holds a room that apparently grants the wishes of those that enter it -- this colour palette being a clever allusion to the Wizard of Oz's usage of sepia monochrome and colour to juxtapose the dullness of reality with the intoxicating colour of dreams. However, in Stalker the usage of colour is meant to service character more obliquely, serving to emphasize the aspirational nature of the quest undertaken by the three men, assaulting the audience with dizzyingly beautiful phantasmagoria that serves as the backdrop for the real meat of the film: the existentialist conversations between the Stalker, Writer and Professor and the escalating interpersonal tensions that seem to plague their journey. This is one of those films where every shot is basically a masterpiece: there are several mind-blowing oners around these detailed sets and locations that stretch to such impossible distances that there is absolutely no question about the authenticity of the film's universe. A wide shot will often follow a character behind a wall or obstacle and end in a meticulously-timed, perfectly-lit close-up of the character's face, adjusting aperture perfectly in synchronisation to the appearance of the character. The framing and shot composition are very purposeful, often isolating characters by muddying up the frame, creating another frame composed of lines, bars, pipes, almost imprisoning them. The visceral sense of texture and grain in the cinematography makes every shot feel tangible, even.
@__sculpting_in_time___

Stalker (1979) (1/2). A singularly aberrant piece of filmmaking. It is as mesmeric as it is elusive. It is a lengthy investment, clocking in at 2 hours 41 minutes, and in that duration -- in its several 4-minute-plus long takes of landscapes pockmarked with twisted light-poles, stunted trees, rustling undergrowth, in its richly detailed diegetic sound -- it simply refuses to answer many of the questions it imposes on the viewer. It is ambiguous, but in no way that illustrates a lack of cohesion. It alternates between a machine-overwrought, sepia-toned, monochromatic world and the technicolor natural landscape of the Zone -- a possible alien crash-landing site that holds a room that apparently grants the wishes of those that enter it -- this colour palette being a clever allusion to the Wizard of Oz's usage of sepia monochrome and colour to juxtapose the dullness of reality with the intoxicating colour of dreams. However, in Stalker the usage of colour is meant to service character