Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

More films.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes, 1976)

Why is it that I have become so interested in films elliptically about artists? Pierrot le Fou and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie are both about their makers more than about any plot or genre. Cosmo Vitteli is John Cassavetes. He is the center of an eccentric family of performers, all working to express themselves and stay alive. The film has the same air of tragedy as Godard's: that of the lost artist. And yet, in the same way as Godard this film has hints of a simple misogyny. But it is undercut in the films by Godrd's love of Karina, even in his sadness, and by Mr. Sophistication, Cassavetes grotesque self portrait. He uses the genre's conventions towards a probing examination of art of self.

Dreamgirls (Condon, 2006)

Way too long, but with good songs and great performances by Murphy and Hudson. Condon has no personal style, which limits this from being anything special.

Flowers from Shanghai (Hou, 1998)

My first Hou Hsiao-Hsien. It took me a good 20 minutes to adjust to his style, because he is speaking in a language all his own. The film he makes here is ravishing and epically sad. Off putting at first, the series of fades give the film a sense of memory that never borders on nostalgia. Leung and the ensemble feel authentically of the period. This is an incredibly intriguing film which may be a masterpiece; only more Hou films will help me to know.

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