Monday, 19 January 2009

Film Feast

These past few days, now that my exams are over, I have been trying my hardest to relax. Oddly, one of the things I find least relaxing is spending a day doing not much apart from eat, watch TV and surf the 'net; somehow this is what makes me most restless, least content. It can make me feel most melodramatic, until by the afternoon I'm jumping on the rooftop screaming: I'M BOOOORRED. TIME IS SLIPPING THROUGH MY FINGERS. I'M WASTING MY WHOLE LIIIIIIIFFE!!!

In fact, I find over-indulging in wonderful films and books a much better way of relaxing. Unlike the trashy TV form of escapism, masterpieces really do manage to transport you to another world, much more effectively. Then, when the film or book is finished you are left with a sense of accomplishment, that you have experienced something more or less important. Whilst over-indulging in heavy movies may leave my head spinning, too many re-runs of Will & Grace back-to-back leads to an overwhelming feeling of nothing.

Here are the full contents of this week's film feast:

Slumdog Millionaire
I know, everyone is watching this; when buying tickets my friend and I actually snagged the last two before it was sold it. But there's a reason for the hype - this is a great film. Wonderful child actors never cease to amaze me, and the kids in this film with no acting experience seem to have bucketloads of talent. This, combined with the unusual method of mixing two languages in one film and the wonderful evocation of a culture foreign to most of its audience makes this film slightly reminiscent of The Kite Runner. Sadly, the older leads in Slumdog Millionaire are nowhere near as good. I mean, Dev Patel does a decent job at trying to eradicate the memory of his immensely silly character in Skins. But for Freida Pinto, the drop-dead gorgeous love interest, this is her first time acting (she was a model) and, unlike her younger counterparts, you can so tell.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I have a completely irrational dislike for Brad Pitt, and so originally I didn't want to watch this. But I was finally talked round and ohmygod am I glad. This is one of those films I see as really blurring the line between film and art because the cinematography is so insanely beautiful. However I do think that in the case of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (I love the crazy long title and have been driving all equally crazy by insisting on repeating it fully every time I mention it) the beauty on the screen means so much more. It's definitely a puzzling film - very thought-provoking - and so I'm still not quite sure exactly what the beauty of the cinematography means. Maybe a way of bringing out the contrast between the ugliness of violence and cowardice and the beauty of the world in which it exists? Either way, the film (cinematography, title, music and actors) is certainly very purdy.

The Savages
I was hoping to catch this at the BFI last year but never got round to it, and I don't know why it took until Saturday to finally get there. Speaking of contrasts, it was a fabulous film to watch straight after The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (oh yes!) because they are both wonderful films, rich in acting and things to think about. But in every other way, they are different. One noticeable point is that much of it is filmed hand-held, creating a more unfinished, less grandly cinematic effect. I adored this film because of its intimacy and the detailed study of the characters; whilst they are equally complicated to Jesse James or Robert Ford, we are led to understand Wendy and Jon Savage much more.

A Streetcar Named Desire

I am still only halfway through this film, so I'm not going to try to write about it. But despite not having seen half of it, I am already completely enchanted. Yes, it's wonderfully acted and extremely thought-provoking but I have a feeling that Brando's fine physique has a lot to do with the charm...

Which movies do you watch in your film feasts?


  1. Great films. I too can feel like life is slipping away when I don't do anything...but it usually isn't enough to make me get up and be proactive!

  2. great films, sometimes it's just nice to chill out and watch a film. I know what it's like after you finish exams and you almost don't know what to do with yourself. just enjoy it!

  3. The Godfathers, I & II, always.

    I couldn't get through The Savages, because it made me remember my mother's illness too much. Too uncomfortable.

    It's nice to hear that even though you're bored, you're finding a way to enjoy films. :D

  4. I felt that Casey affleck acted much better than brad!

  5. Yes, BCB and Clothes Horse I (was) enjoying it... sadly I don't think the lull in work was really long enough to get too bored...

    enc - finding it uncomfortable myself due to the basic unsettling themes of discontent etc, I can't even imagine how hard it must have been for you

  6. I have been wanting to see both Slumdog Millionaire and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - so now I must see them after reading your positive reviews :)

    My movie-thon usually consists of Breakfast at Tiffanys any A Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movie. I also love indulging in good books, plays, and the ballet for some wonderful mind stimulation. :)

  7. yiqin - i thought they were both pretty good. Although, to be completely honest, I found it hard to evaluate the acting since it didn't really appear to be the focus of the film.

    Paula - I'm so jealous of your ballet love, I rarely go for some reason and I'd love to! Oooh but I adore Breakfast at Tiffany's. Also, be warned, I find it hard to give negative reviews ;)