Vittorio De Sica, Mike Leigh & More: My Films of the Week #30

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!)

 

Caesar and Cleopatra
dir. Gabriel Pascal
1945, UK ⭐⭐

An ambitious, large-scale British film adaptation of a George Bernard Shaw play, which rather seems like a period adaptation of the Pygmalion. A bit lackluster and misogynist, although Vivien Leigh’s performance is delightfully unstable, as she constantly switches between spoilt brat to a merciless queen.

 

Lost Boys
dir. Joonas Neuvonen, Sadri Cetinkaya
2020, Finland

I will be interviewing the filmmakers during the week, so I prefer not to write anything about the movie at this point.

 

Godzilla Vs. Hedorah
dir. Yoshimitsu Banno
1971, Japan ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The 11th addition in the fabled Godzilla series. The lower budget doesn’t get in the way of its creativity. The charm extends to its environmentalism, which adds depth to the fun.

 

What Scoundrels Men Are
dir. Mario Camerini
1932, Italy ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A young lovers’ romance is constantly stalled by misunderstandings that appear to originate from the pace of then-modern life in the Milanese metropolis. Before it turns into an argument for conservative gender roles, What Scoundrels Men Are feels fresh both in style and content. Stars a young Vittorio De Sica.

 

High Hopes
dir. Mike Leigh
1988, UK ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mike Leigh’s London-set satire on Thatcher-era class and culture clashes is among the British filmmaker’s best works. Alternating his characteristic realism with a more absurdist vein, the film angers and irritates but also charms with its inner core romance represented by the optimist romance shared between lead characters Cyril and Sheryl.

 

Wood and Water
dir. Jonas Bak
2021, France/Germany

I will be interviewing the filmmaker during the week, so I prefer not to write anything about the movie at this point.

 

Joan of Arc
dir. Georges Méliès
1900, France ⭐⭐⭐

George Méliès integrates his fabled camera trickery within the epic narrative of the life of Joan of Arc. It is only fair to recognize this project’s largescale ambition, especially considering its birth year. However, this is a much more restricted Méliès than his later more dynamic works.

 

The Gold of Naples
dir. Vittorio De Sica
1954, Italy ⭐⭐⭐

Uneven episodic film alternating comedic and dramatic scenes set in the city of Naples, reveling in the Southern Italian city’s mythology with plenty of references to superstition and passionate, even outdated behaviours. Vittorio De Sica’s own turn as a gambling addict is a standout. Sophia Loren also lights up the screen.

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