Jonas Mekas, Alice Guy-Blaché and More: My Films of the Week #35

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!)

 

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania
dir. Jonas Mekas
1972, Germany/UK/USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jonas Mekas documents his trip back home to Lithuania, several years after leaving it. Arguably the culmination of the filmmaker’s distinctive and dynamic filmmaking style, enriched by a tinge of nostalgia.

 

Happy Birthday to John
dir. Jonas Mekas
1997, USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jonas Mekas remembers his friend John Lennon by compiling a film of footage he shot of him over the years at a range of events, from private parties to concerts. Vivid and genuine.

 

Baggio: The Divine Ponytail
dir. Letizia Lamartire
2021, Italy ⭐⭐

A likable but lackluster and superficial biopic on Italian soccer star Roberto Baggio.

 

Taken
dir. Pierre Morel
2008, France/UK/USA ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A throwback to John Wayne westerns set in the contemporary world. For all its questionable ideology, the fact Taken works remarkably and that Liam Neeson’s turn is iconic is undeniable.

 

Swing Time
dir. George Stevens
1936, USA ⭐⭐

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers definitely released a couple of duds. Swing Time is one of them, despite the music score. Added cringe points for blackface.

 

Animated Putty
dir. Walter R. Booth
1911, UK ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Clay takes shapes on its own in this visually stimulating early short by trick film and animation pioneer Walter R. Booth.

 

A House Divided
dir. Alice Guy-Blaché
1913, USA ⭐⭐

A rather lifeless and naive comedy of errors by Alice Guy from her American period.

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