- Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman)
- Broadway Danny Rose (Woody Allen)
- Nashville (Robert Altman)
- I’m No Angel (Wesley Ruggles)
- All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk)
- Charulata (Satyajit Ray)
- Stage Fright (Alfred Hitchcock)
- The Magician (Ingmar Bergman)
- Zero Focus (Yoshitaro Nomura)
- The Music Room (Satyajit Ray)
1- I recently had a big, round birthday and I wanted to do nothing more than watch a few of my ‘birthday’ movies. These are films that one watches over and over again throughout one’s life and that come to define one’s aesthetic. On my big day I got up at 5:30 in the morning and had the pleasure of once again taking that momentous car trip in Wild Strawberries. I rounded the day out later in the evening with a viewing of the exceedingly kind and lovely Broadway Danny Rose and the, for me, epochal Nashville. I think I need to write a piece about ‘birthday’ movies.
2- Ah, Mae West! Subversive, hilarious and, more than anything else, powerful. Too bad that there aren’t more films. I’m No Angel is brilliant. I keep hearing her as she saunters past the jury box while she is acting as her own defense attorney and saying to the folks in the box ‘How am I doin’?’ Mae! The best.
3- Both Stage Fright and The Magician I had regarded as lesser works of towering masters. I was kind of right with Stage Fright, but it is still a hugely entertaining movie – just without the subtexts that make Hitchcock a master. The Magician, on the other hand, is up there with Bergman’s best. Fascinating.
4- As time goes on, I realize that film noir isn’t a genre, it’s a posture. The very messy Japanese film Zero Focus really brought this point home to me. Plus, it made me realize that I find the whole film noir cult a little tedious. It is all too operatic without the great music.
5- I am belatedly going through Satyajit Ray’s oeuvre. You don’t need me to tell you that he is one of the absolute masters. You do need me to tell you to watch more Satyajit Ray. Good news: Criterion will be releasing the restored Apu Trilogy in the fall. Rejoice!