Something Like an Autobiography
by Akira Kurosawa
Published by Vintage | 1983 | 205 pages
Among Japanese film makers, no one is perhaps as universally known as Akira Kurosawa.
“Something like an Autobiography” is an account of the legendary director’s early life. It is only a partial account, encompassing his childhood, adolescenct years, the early years of his film career, up to the point of Rashomon. Nonetheless, the book benefits anyone keen for understanding the man behind such remarkable films as Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Rashomon, and Dersu Uzala among others. Kurosawa’s films were – Stuart Galbraith IV writes in the introduction to his book “The Emperor and the Wolf” – first and foremost, deeply humanist pictures, films which effortlessly transcend cultures and centuries. Something like an Autobiography helps one understand the evolution of the artist Kurosawa, the influences that shaped his vision. Continue reading
A father-daughter relationship is melded, strained, and deepened by a shared angst: the grandmother in the family left her home by train and never arrived at her destination. The father Pierre (Jean Rochefort) is distraught that the police could basically dismiss the issue as inexplicable, and he decides to retrace on foot the voyage his mother should have made. His daughter Amelie (Camille de Casablanca) goes with him, and the story evolves as the two walk along the train tracks, searching in the nearby terrain and bushes for any evidence that might point to what happened. Along the way, their once antagonistic and distanced relationship (Amelie is a student, her father is a picture-restorer) begins to work itself out… Continue reading
Yum, Yum, Yum! is a glorius celebration of cooking and eating in Louisiana. It’s Les Blank and Maureen Gosling’s latest love song to the little-known Cajun and Creole cultures of the Gulf Coast and backwood bayous. It’s as seductive as a five-star dinner in one of New Orleans’ top-line restuarants, as simple (and unforgettable) as a home-cooked meal in Eunice.
Another Masterpiece by Chantal Akerman, 18 November 2009
Author: kubrick2899 from Concord, North Carolina
THE EIGHTIES marks the turning point in Chantal Akerman’s career. It stands as the end of her more experimental films of previous years and as the beginning of her more mainstream efforts of later years. The bulk of the film consists of auditions and rehearsals for a musical. In the final act, we get to see some segments of that musical. It’s a wholly original and brilliant motion picture experience. Like most of Akerman’s films, though, it’s not for everyone. Her films are experiences for those who aren’t into mainstream cinema. The songs in the film are catchy and unforgettable, and it’s a special treat to see Akerman herself pop in a few times and give the performers some direction. The only downside of this film is that it’s only available on an old VHS. The Criterion Collection has gotten a hold on her earlier films; maybe some day they’ll get a hold of this one, as well. Another interesting aspect to this film is that it serves as a prelude to her next feature film, GOLDEN EIGHTIES or WINDOW SHOPPING. Continue reading
Toute une nuit presents a series of brief, disconnected, near silent vignettes that capture the inherently intimate episodes that transpire throughout the course of human relationships. A woman (Aurore Clement) deliberates on placing a telephone call to an absent lover before deciding to hail a taxicab to his apartment. A man and a woman sitting at adjacent tables of an anonymous bar exchange reluctant, fleeting glances as they wait in vain for their respective lovers to arrive, and eventually succumb to an impulsive, awkward embrace. An unconcerned young woman smokes a cigarette as she sits in a diner with two young men before being confronted to choose between them. A hurried man misses an opportunity to meet his lover outside her home. A middle-aged couple awaken to the noise of an off-the-air television set and decide to go out for the evening. A woman hurriedly packs her belongings into a suitcase and sneaks out of the apartment only to return home at dawn to her oblivious, sleeping husband. Lovers consummate their relationship or part to their separate ways at entrances and stairwells of impersonal apartment buildings. Continue reading
Told as a film within the film, the story concerns an aging actress. Ewa is a flamboyant, pushy actress whose career and love life have come to a dead end. She lives in a faceless housing development. She is totally engrossed in herself and dreams of making a comeback as a singer. But her overbearing personality time after time sets her into conflict with those she tries to work with in the theater and her bedroom Continue reading
Chantal Akerman, Bernard Dubois, Philippe Garrel, Frederic Mitterand, Vincent Nordon, Philippe Venault
“Two young French filmmakers, Bernard Dubois and Philippe Venault, had the provocative idea of making a follow-up to the 1964 anthology film, Paris vu par, that became a manifesto for the emerging directors of the New Wave. Unfortunately, the unity of that movement is long gone, and this new project is wildly uneven, ranging from the brilliant (Chantal Akerman’s opening sketch, J’ai faim, j’ai froid, is an entire coming-of-age film compressed into 12 frenetic, hilarious, and ultimately touching minutes) to the intriguing (Philippe Garrel’s Rue Fontaine offers a rare Stateside opportunity to see the work of this acclaimed avant-gardist, whose work suggests a crossing of John Cassavetes with early German expressionism) to the mediocre (the segments by Dubois, Venault, and Frederic Mitterrand) to the unwatchable (Vincent Nordon’s Paris-Plage, certainly the longest 13 minutes in film history). A sad lesson emerges–that the French have no more new ideas than we do–but the Akerman itself is worth it all.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum Continue reading