Thursday, March 28, 2019

Shoplifters ( Manbiki Kazoku, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2018)

Family business

Hirokazu Kore-eda's film begins with as unremarkable an opening as possible: a father and his son enter a grocery split up to walk down separate aisles. Only father and son keep throwing each other sidelong glances and hand signals; only son does a little finger twiddle that we'll see from time to time; only when a clerk working nearby glances at son father walks up to block the clerk's view while son drops several packets of instant ramen in his backpack. Graceful bit of choreography made casual by long practice, understated yet captivating in its intricacy.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

At Eternity's Gate (Julian Schnabel)


It isn't as if the life of Vincent Van Gogh hasn't been adapted for the big screen before. Lust for Life was Vincente Minnelli's lusty take (based on Irving Stone's novel), with Kirk Douglas holding little back as he strained to suggest Vincent's intensity; Robert Altman's Vincent and Theo focused on the relationship between the Van Gogh brothers and their destructively parallel trajectories; Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh--easily the most unsentimental of the collection--presents a harsh uningratiating view of a harsh uningratiating artist, avoiding the traditional highlights (including that ear thing) and dwelling on more quotidian activities--Pialat doesn't even make much effort to show the paintings, or approximate Vincent's unmistakable style onscreen. 

So what does Julian Schnabel's latest bring to the party? 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kangkungan (Swamp Patch, Mike De Leon)

2019 Kangkungan A Video by Mike De Leon from Citizen Jake on Vimeo.


First the title: 'Kangkungan'--literally swamp (or water) spinach patch. A highly nutritious green that flourishes in canals and fishponds all over the Philippines, often sauteed with fermented shrimp paste and minced garlic. What's the significance?

Filmmaker Mike De Leon--one of the last surviving filmmakers from the great period of '70s Philippine cinema--breaks out of his self-imposed retirement again (he'd been inactive since Bayaning Third World (Third World Hero) came out recently with Citizen Jake) to release this short on the eve of the 1986 EDSA Revolt anniversary.