Library Loot

I really debated about whether or not to do Library Loot this week, seeing as tomorrow’s Christmas Eve, family is arriving, and there’s gifts to be gifted, received. But I thought why not. So I got a smaller loot this time, and hopefully will be able to find the time between among all the holiday merriment.  Here’s the down low about last week’s loot:

Benny’s Video was really well done.  It made me feel terrible, and inadequate, and deeply ashamed.  I think that’s what Michael Haneke means to do with all his films.  The problem was, I had just seen, the night before, von Trier’s Antichrist, which totally used up all my tolerance for on screen violence and feeling terrible, inadequate and deeply ashamed.  So this was a really tough film for me to watch.  It’s not quite as good as Cache, or Funny Games, but a million times more accessible than Code Unknown, and The Castle.

Olympia was absolutely not what I was expecting.  Touted as the greatest documentary ever made, I certainly didn’t know what I was getting in to.  If someone had told me it was basically just the highlights of the 1936 Olympic games (which it is, really), I wouldn’t have watched it.  But I’m glad I did, it’s a really great monument to the Olympics.

I flat out didn’t understand L’age D’or, and would not have tolerated it, had it been longer than 60 minutes.  Not even The New York Times critique did anything to help me understand this ridiculous little film.  As for it being a comedy, well, it wasn’t funny.  Maybe someday I’ll get it.

The Conformist was finally a Bertolucci film I can jump behind wholeheartedly.  It’s a terrific film.  Fantastic, really.  Using the backdrop of Fascist Italy (and consequently the fall of Mussolini), it was extremely poignant and very interesting to digest.  I could recommend this, without shame, to anyone that’s more than the casual movie-goer.

Shame seemed a little shallow.  It’s not one of the Bergman films that just blows me away.  It was great to finally see Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow finally be in a film together.  This film was also backdropped by war, and I’m not sure what statement Bergman was trying to make.  Maybe that’s my bad, maybe the film just wasn’t spectacular.  I’m not sure.

Fortunately, I did quite like The Passion of Anna, another Bergman film where Ullmann and von Sydow played a married couple.  This is definitely up there among my favorites of his.  It was powerful without being overstated, and while it does require thinking and attention, themes and ideas weren’t hidden under layer after layer of ambiguity.

Here’s this week’s loot:

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4 Responses to “Library Loot”
  1. Ben says:

    I appreciate your take on Olympia, but I think you may have missed the point even if it still is boring. Riefenstahl was a revolutionary when it came to propaganda, and the historical relevance of the film is as much part of its greatness as anything else. Yet isn’t the filmmaking also original, since nothing had been done before that was anything like it? I get you are probably being a bit facetious, but I do feel it is a documentary classic for a reason. For instance, the film aggrandizes the Nazi symbols, leadership, and its own athletes in the documentary, and I feel it does so in a very artistic way. Just my two cents.
    .-= Ben´s last blog ..Play it again, Sam. =-.

  2. Blake says:

    @ Ben – Sorry, I must not have written clearly. I didn’t find it boring at all, in fact, the three hours and forty minutes really went by quickly. And I actually applaud it for being so different than what I was waiting for. What I meant in the blog was that I was totally surprised about what it actually was, but it was a pleasant surprise, and I’m glad I went in to it without having more knowledge than I did, since I might have been less motivated to see it. And sure, Olympia and Riefenstahl’s other magnum opus, Triumph of the Wheel, were huge propoganda machines for national socialism, but I don’t think that either have to be reduced to being identified solely on that characteristic.

  3. Ben says:

    Said like a true film critic. Cheers.
    .-= Ben´s last blog ..Play it again, Sam. =-.

  4. Ben says:

    Sorry to comment so much, but I reread what you originally posted and I see now what you meant. I took it that you DIDN’T like it BECAUSE it was a highlight reel, but it was I who misread your thoughts.
    .-= Ben´s last blog ..Play it again, Sam. =-.

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