Darren Aronofsky, Harold Lloyd & More: My Films of the Week #27

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!)

 

The Twentieth Century
dir. Matthew Rankin
2019, Canada ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A bewitching surrealist film reimagining the formative years of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Its dreamlike quality evokes the turn-of-the-century avant-garde movements. Its deeper explorations of the human condition evoke the same period’s vibrant discussions on psychoanalysis. The fact that it does all this whilst remaining a fun and profound spectacle with a fair dose of humous makes Matthew Rankin’s super-creative feature debut all the more impressive.

 

Walchensee Forever
dir. Janna Ji Wonders
2020, Germany

The film has yet to premiere at the Vilnius Film Festival at the time of writing. As a result, I will refrain from making any comments about it, out of respect for its makers.

 

Our Neighbor, Miss Yae
dir. Yasujiro Shimazu
1934, Japan ⭐⭐⭐

The coming-of-age of the sons and daughters of two neighboring families. This early Japanese talkie impresses for exploring some modern themes, namely a marked criticism of Japan’s patriarchal society. However, it’s a little rough around the edges; the narrative arch is superficially constructed and its character development a little too careless.

 

The Joke
dir. Jaromil Jires
1969, Czechoslovakia ⭐⭐⭐⭐

One of the best adaptations of a Milan Kundera novel. Jaromil Jires brings this satirical tale of revenge with a bitter twist to the screen with that marked sense of humour and those tinges of absurdism that make the Czech New Wave so acclaimed to this day.

 

Black Swan
dir. Darren Aronofsky
2019, USA ⭐⭐⭐

An exploration of mental health within a rather simplistic and traditionalist ballet context, not at all as profounds as it wants to be. Natalie Portman’s lead turn is still noteworthy but her character’s story is an autopiloted journey.

 

Welcome Danger
dir. Clyde Bruckman and Malcolm St. Clair
1929, USA ⭐⭐

The first Harold Lloyd talkie, hugely successful at the time but quite dull by today’s standards and nowhere near as spectacular or memorable as Lloyd’s silent works. It’s still interesting to point out how seamlessly Lloyd himself was able to transition his cinematic personal into the sync-sound age.

 

Bellum – The Daemon of War
dir. Georg Gotmark and David Herdies
2021, Denmark/Sweden

The film has yet to premiere at the Visions du Réel at the time of writing. As a result, I will refrain from making any comments about it, out of respect for its makers.

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