Thursday, 1 May 2008

My Week(s) in Film


I've spend the majority of my time in the past two weeks covering Hot Docs 08, which has been an exciting and informative film festival but left me with little time to see any other films. I did not get out to any theatrical releases, but did catch a few on TMN and caught up with a few from the library.

I mentioned on my last Week in Film that I had started watching Caché, and I did finish watching it. Quite an interesting film although I was left with thinking that I should be thinking about something. My initial overall reaction was confusion, until research unveiled it is a Michael Haneke film whom is known for both versions of Funny Games a controversial film noted to question our reaction to it. I do think that was the intent with Caché as well, and I think across the board viewer reactions would not be consistent in terms of what the film was about.

Next up is The Searchers, which I finally got from the library and had hoped to watch it last November when my film focus of the month was westerns and this film is always ends up on favourites lists. Although I did enjoy this film, I don't think I would put it with my favourite westerns. This is mostly due to the nature of the film being a 'cowboys and Indians' western and I don't enjoy seeing cultural stereotypes. It does have an epic quality to it even though it clocks in around 2 hours, it has quite a few nicely woven story lines excellent cinematography and the always entertaining John Wayne. A solid film.

Now we turn to Groundhog Day, the 1993 Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell comedy directed by Harold Ramis about reliving the same day over and over. This film is another reminder to me that comedies do not always stand up to the test of time. Although it had funny moments and a great side role by Chris Elliott it just didn't strike a chord with me. The humour was not unfamiliar from that of Stripes and overall it really reminded me of Scrooged in a bizarre way. I think if I had seen it in '93 I likely would have found it charming and over time nostalgic.

Last up is low and behold a documentary. I believe this made my list as it was nominated for an Oscar, as I'm not sure what would prompt me to see Deliver us From Evil a documentary about sexual abuse by figures in power of the Church to children. That being said it is an excellent documentary that presents footage from not only the survivors but also one of the offenders, as well as commentary from the Church itself (via archived court footage). It's hard to say which of all of those if more alarming to see. It is very tactfully done, and I hope provides closure for all of the survivors.

Upcoming Films on the radar: The Visitor, Fitzcarraldo, The King & I


Anonymous said...

"Deliver Us From Evil" was a film that really left me angry after seeing it so it was a great opportunity to unpack it with a festival-like crowd and the director with a Q&A. I'm not sure I even need to see it again (emotionally draining) but it's one of those stories that needed to be told - and heard.

Sounds like it's been a good (and busy) couple of weeks!

Suzie Ridler said...

I just love these posts! And I love that photo too Shannon. It amazes me how much you are seeing, on top of everything you are watching. The issue of race can be a big issue when watching westerns it's true and they can be very sexist as well. When you find a timeless classic though, it's amazing.

I watched Groundhog Day a while ago and actually enjoyed it more than when I originally saw it in the theatre. Anything with repetition tends to bore me to tears but his personal transformation actually inspired me the last time I saw it. Not hugely or anything but more so than over a decade ago.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Yes, Marina, Deliver Us from Evil is really an angering film and I'd agree I'd not ever have interest in watching it again. It is definitely a story that needs to be told.

I'm glad you enjoyed Groundhog Day Suzie! I think I'm in the minority with my non enjoyment of it, but that is ok - comedies have not been making an impression on me recently.

Suzie Ridler said...

Like I said before, it took me a DECADE to warm up to it! And it wasn't for the laughs, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Chiming in late, but wanted to mention that the heart of the Searchers actually questions the stereotypes of Cowboys & Indians, and many interpret John Wayne's character as an anti-hero rather than hero.

I watch Groundhog Day every year on 2/2, but not necessarily as a comedy! Believe it or not, I think it's much deeper than most people give it credit for. I've come to see it as an examination of the levels of human perception of our role in the universe and the celebration of the possibility for personal transformation!

Scrooged has that same mean-guy to nice-guy transformation story, so yes, I think they're related...

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