Charlie Chaplin, Bela Lugosi, Yasujiro Ozu & More: My Films of the Week #24

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!)

 

Country of Hotels
dir. Julio Maria Martino
2019, UK ⭐⭐⭐

Lost souls all inhabit the same hotel room over an undefined period of time in this surrealist, independent drama. More than the narrative, it is the world created by the filmmakers that makes this feature compelling.

 

Shake! Otis at Monterey
dir. D.A. Pennebaker
1987, USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

D.A. Pennebaker was not only an architect of the cinema verité movement but also a pioneer of concert films. Here, every part of the filmmaking process feels infected with the energy of Otis Redding.

 

The Hasher’s Delirium
dir. Émile Cohl
1910, France ⭐⭐⭐

One of the earlier-known fusions of live-action and animation. If it wasn’t for this claim, it would be a bit dull even for that period.

 

I Flunked, But…
dir. Yasujiro Ozu
1930, Japan ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Probably the earliest great Yasujiro Ozu I have come across. Pivotal. The film may show the influence of Harold Lloyd on the filmmaker’s early work but there is a sense of introspection and melancholia that hints at what was soon to come in his glorious filmography. It is also one of the best college-themed films of its time.

 

Tampopo
dir. Juzo Itami
1985, Japan ⭐⭐

A post-modernist mess, defined as a noodle western by some. There might have been some vision behind it but the animal cruelty made me lose interest in it entirely.

 

Night of Terror
dir. Benjamin Stoloff
1933, USA ⭐

A silly thriller made even worse by the incredible racism. Bela Lugosi’s filmography is an oddball.

 

The Pilgrim
dir. Charlie Chaplin
1923, USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overlooked but hilarious mid-length film from the time when Chaplin briefly thought of branching out into melodrama. The Kid from 1921 was always going to be difficult to follow. Yet, Chaplin’s growing confidence in the lengthier format is noticeable.

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