Ousmane Sembène, Akira Kurosawa & More: My Films of the Week #32

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!)

 

Women Reply
dir. Agnès Varda
1975, France ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A powerful and creative cine-pamphlet by Agnès Varda criticizing the role of women in a patriarchal society.

 

Neecha Nagar
dir. Chetan Anand
1946, India ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Chetan Anand’s pioneering effort of social realism in Indian cinema, inspired by a Maxim Gorky play and complete with musical interludes.

 

Borom Sarret
dir. Ousmane Sembène
1963, Senegal ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The cinematic debut of Ousmane Sembène, also viewed as the first film ever made in Africa by a black African. Groundbreaking in its simplicity, chronicling a day in the life of a taxi-cart worker in the poorest districts of Dakar.

 

Sembene!
dir. Samba Gadjigo, Jason Silverman
2015, Senegal/USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A solid documentary on the life and times of the father of African cinema Ousmane Sembène. Particularly recommended as a beginners’ guide.

 

Kung-Fu Master!
dir. Agnès Varda
1988, France ⭐⭐⭐

The tale of an older woman’s love affair with a 14-year-old kid, based on a story by lead actress Jane Birkin. The provocative subject is treated with elegance but also superficiality, which makes this quite an unremarkable Varda effort.

 

Ikiru
dir. Akira Kurosawa
1952, Japan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A bureaucrat, faced with his own mortality, desperately tries to discover what it’s like to finally live in the last days of his life. A deeply moving humanist tale, blending social realism with poetic spirituality. With this movie, Kurosawa finds new and surprising ways to expand on the cinematic medium.

 

The Lonedale Operator
dir. D.W. Griffith
1911, USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Aside from this being another effort showcasing Griffith’s growing confidence with intercutting sequences to form a gripping narrative, what is noteworthy about The Lonedale Operator is its tribute to feminine courage and its use of irony within the usual robbery narrative.

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