Monday, May 30, 2011

Cinematic side-trip

Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky

I guess everybody knows what the above is. This movie really hit me out of left field. I had only ever seen his debut Pi; Faith in Chaos and didn't care for it, but the trailers for this one caught my attention. And when I saw it, I was blown away. Ok, there are some pats I don't care for, in fact I now understand Aronofsky is known for including some rather jarring moments of lowbrow pop culture in his films, which for the most part are actually quite elegant - almost more like European films than American. 

It made me decide to watch his other films, and I was quite impressed with them all. 

Requiem for a Dream

If you're interested, you can also look up trailers and clips from The Wrestler and The Fountain. I enjoyed all of these movies. Such a nice break from all the Hollywood slickness and homogenized formula. Heh... sounds like something from a baby's bottle, which seems appropriate for most Hollywood movies. 

Anyway, the real reason I wanted to make this post was because my interest in Black Swan also led me deeper into cinematic excellence. I discovered it was influenced by several films I had not seen, so I sought them out and was again blown away by all of them. I hit some kind of Motherlode when I started digging into the fertile soil under Black Swan! 

So here I include trailers or clips from those movies. Get ready for a sweet blast of mostly black and white cinematic excellence! But understand... these movies unlike today's blockbusters are not simple escapist fare or feelgood romantic comedies... they're powerful artistic statements that at times are harsh or terrifying or brutal. Reminders of what art can be when its not subsumed by wishy-washy Disneyfied sentimentality. 

Roman Polanski's 1965 psychological thriller Repulsion

Catherine Deneuve is having a bad day.

The Double Life of Veronique

I was lucky enough to find somebody had uploaded the puppet sequence. 

andrzej wajda's Kanal

These two are in Polish with subtitles. No serious cinephile would let that stop them from enjoying amazing cinematography like this!! These are not directly related to Black Swan, but gems I've discovered recently that I wanted to share. Above is Kanal, based on a real event; the Polish army, armed only with pistols and grenades, were getting hammered by Nazi tanks and bombers, and the remnants of one unit took refuge in the sewer for a very surreal and beautiful sequence I know I'll never forget. 

Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water

Need I say anything about this one? Amazing. 


Unknown said...

I just watched Pi about a month ago when I was sick- great movie! And Requiem for a Dream is a classic. I'm still waiting to see Black Swan though, heard it was good.

tonychauzer said...

Hey Mike!

Really awesome post :) Great great films here. If you enjoyed The Double Life of Veronique (and haven't yet seen Kieslowski's other works) - definitely check out his Three Colors Trilogy.

He's also popular for his Decalogue (or Dekalog) series as well - but as you mentioned they aren't films to escape in. Just stories that sometimes include harsh / brutal artistic statements.

Be seeing you around!

UbaTuber said...

I wasn't too thrilled with Pi either on first viewing but I loved Requiem ("I'm gonna be on television!!") and adore the romantic nature of the Fountain....always wanted to see Repulsion, thanks for reminding me :)

Oh yeah, Black Swan was great too, Portman's best film since The Professional (one of my all-time faves)...

Maureen said...

The parallel to Repulsion is really striking. One thing really neat about that clip of Catherine Deneuve is how little sound Polanski uses.

hilo helicopter tours said...

Definitely a work of art. Excellent film.

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I was engrossed and was very hooked with Black Swan! The film really deserves to be awarded!