Saturday, 18 April 2020

Plague Times Diary (13) - Ben Cho finds some films for the times

Harry Farocki
Film diary

The Creators of Shopping Worlds (Harun Farocki)

One of the few places I now visit is the local shopping mall so I thought I’d take a look at this Farocki documentary which examines the planning process behind the consumer behemoth which is my home away from home. Farocki also dives in to the mechanics of organising supermarket shelf space and how operational teams work out how to maximise space and consumer spend. The technology featured in the doc is probably outdated now but it makes for slightly scary viewing that even back then sophisticated eye tracking was keeping note of how our brains respond to commercial signage; God only knows what is used now to work out how to seduce us in to spending more money. 

Contamination (Luigi Cozzi)
A big ship rolls in to a city harbour with infected people onboard and so begins a deadly pandemic. No, I’m not talking about recent news headlines coming out of NSW; just a so-bad-its-hard-to-look-away Italian genre film from Luigi Cozzi starring Ian McCulloch (who was in the Lucio Fulci shocker Zombie). The whole thing plods along with ridiculous plot twists but I have to admit the final alien creature is a brilliantly WTF monstrosity of non-CGI making.
Jean-Marie Straub

France Against Robots (Jean-Marie Straub)  
This was streaming online for free, a 10 minute cine-poem of a lakeside stroll, a Georges Bernanos text and a lament for our current geo-political order. 

Child’s Play [Remake] (Lars Klevberg) 
Now streaming on Amazon Prime, it’s an ok remake but once again why even bother? The Child’s Play series was still going so did the world need this cynical reboot with a way-less creepy Chucky? No. And it’s also a bit of a head scratcher to try and hybridise this sort of 1980s kiddie gang adventure schtick (all the rage it seems) with extremely graphic violence - the two sit uncomfortably side-by-side. 

Basil Dearden

Cage of Gold & Frieda (Basil Dearden)
Two by Basil Dearden and starring David Farrar. I watched Frieda and saw how the wartime community prejudice against Germans was depicted and thought whether the post-COVID19 climate will see an eruption of bigotry against Chinese people? This also reminded me to go on the hunt for more films directed by Mai Zetterling - I’ve only seen Night Games and Loving Couples

Kings Go Forth (Delmer Daves)
Wartime love-triangle melodrama starring Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis. Nothing amazing but I guess in the late fifties a film dealing with miscegenation would have been rarely seen in a film like this? I did have some difficulty in accepting that an ethnically Russian Caucasian actress could pass as half-black but then again this is a world where John Wayne could be Genghis Khan so … ​

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