Sunday 30 December 2018

Defending Cinephilia 2018 (11) - David Hare runs through his highlights

My tribute to cinephilia this year is basically a madwoman's breakfast. 
Paul Schrader
A few more movies I liked very much in 2018, aside from the previously mentioned (and reviewed if you hit the links) First Reformed, Buster Scruggs and Cuaron's Roma.
There's the new Sophie Fiennes Bloodlight and Bami, a portrait of Grace Jones from someone who's doing the best imaginable documentary portraiture in the movies now, after her two great Slavoj Zizek movies. Watch a video if you click here
Sophie Fiennes and Grace Jones
Also the latest series of David Lynch's Twin Peaks, all of it disarming, provocative, moving, original, funny and compelling, and with an Episode (number 8) that must be the most stunning work of abstraction in American Cinema.
Claire Denis' addictively funny and wise Un Beau Soleil Intérieur  (Click here for my reviewwhich introduces Alex Descas (left), her favorite male actor, to save the day and rescue the male species from a parade of inexcusably awful men. Denis then ends the movie, with credits rolling, while on the biggest louse of them all, Depardieu, who plays her "psychic therapist" reading to her and us the audience a litany of equally compelling total bullshit that even takes the wind out of Xavier Beauvois' odious banker with his craft whiskies and his vegan olives. 
Jean Gremillon
And a multitude of rediscoveries too long to list, largely prompted by mostly incredibly beautiful new 4K restorations. Just a few: Chikamatsu Monogatari, The Apartment and Some Like It Hot, new French discs from new 4K's of Gremillon's masterpiece Gueule d'Amour and Bresson's sublime treatment of Cocteau, Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, both from TF1 (without English subs). The long awaited Criterion boxset of the Dietrich-Sternberg pictures. Sony’s dazzling new 4K for A Matter of Life and Death, finally after ten years of very compromised video releases. From Gaumont in France three late 30s Ophuls in lovely new 2Ks, all of them derived from OCN's or fine grain nitrates, YoshiwaraDe Mayerling à Sarajevo and Sans Lendemain. Again none of these are English subbed. 
Max Ophuls
Finally, even though I did not make the pilgrimage to Bologna this year, something even better came along. Geoff Gardner's brainchild and the product of very much sweat, love and passion from a small but dedicated band, Sydney's first Cinema Reborn season last May. That enterprise was hugely successful on every level, not least the personal, I think for everyone involved. but especially for Geoff who finally got to introduce his most beloved film in the history of Cinema, Renoir's great Le Crime de Monsieur Lange. The event went beyond the collegiate in the totally convivial way it pulled together associates, presenters, and audience into one larger entity, something which has been missing from Sydney for decades: a truly cinephilic occasion by and for people who can bring that back into the life of the city. 
Here's to next year!
The Crime of Monsieur Lange

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