Tokyo Drifter, Charlie Kaufman, Jean-Luc Godard and More: My Films of the Week #15

As a lifelong cinephile, I have always consumed a copious amount of films. In this new feature, I keep track of the films I watch during the week. (Also, Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!)

I’m Thinking of Ending Things
dir. Charlie Kaufman
2020, USA

Sophisticated, surrealist and slightly experimental movie about relationship apathy and paranoia, as well as the representation of a heterosexual relationship in cinema. It’s not as good as it thinks it is. I would suggest watching Jean Cocteau or Alain Resnais instead.

 

The Cemil Show
dir. Baris Sarhan
2021, Turkey

Caught a preview online screening of the show ahead of its premiere at the upcoming International Film Festival Rotterdam. I will be respectful and avoid making any comment on this movie before its proper premiere.

 

Bittu
dir. Karishma Dube
2020, India

A short film based on tragic, true events, exploring the relationship between old generations and future generations, children and adults, students and teachers. As moving as it is brutal in depicting its message.

 

Le Petit Soldat
dir. Jean-Luc Godard
1963, France

Godard’s film about secret services in the midst of the liberation of French colonies. While considered a minor Godard classic, in all honesty, this feels like the lesser companion piece to Breathless, even mimicking its narrative structure with the exception of a torture scene, which feels quite outdated by today’s standards.

 

My Favorite War
dir. Ilze Burkowska-Jacobsen
2020, Latvia/Norway

The filmmaker chronicles her life as a child in Soviet Latvia from the ’60s to the ’90s. To be sure, it is a moving story unearthing more valuable details about those times. The animation is also fine and original. But the narration with poor acting and in heavily accented, Eastern European ears is way too rough on the ears for its feature duration.

 

Tokyo Drifter
dir. Seijun Suzuki
1966, Japan

Ok, if you are looking for a perfectly symmetrical storyline, this is not it. But, it is impossible not to highly regard this stylistically exciting Yakuza movie by a master of the genre. Influenced by American popular culture and adorned with fun fight sequences, Tokyo Drifter is a wonderful post-modernist pastiche with amazing sets recalling anything from classic westerns to musicals of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

 

El Arte del Tobaco
dir. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
1974, Cuba

Nothing more, nothing less than a silent documentary about how the craft of handmade Cuban cigars and the art of their decorative boxes, accompanied by beautiful music representative of the country’s tradition.

 

Black Rider
dir. Pepe Danquart
1993, Germany

A simple, yet timeless and effective narrative short film about racism. Set on a tram – a setting that presents a clear metaphor for moving history – and critical of the bigoted intolerance, Black Rider comes with a sense of hope and a positive stance from a country still mortified by its past of Nazism and racial laws.

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