This week, as I began my induction into film school, I have been enjoying a bustling foray into classic cinema. Borrowing at least one movie from the enormous AFTRS library every day, I wasted no time this week greedily binging on the films at my disposal.
Even though I’d seen multiple clips from A Clockwork Orange before, my expectations were still overturned when I watched it from beginning to end for the first time. I was intrigued by Kubrick’s alarmingly accurate commentary on a society we are still living in 45 years later, characterised by senseless violence, oppression and moral ambiguity. As a film, Clockwork is outstanding in terms of its usage music and montage, production design and its performances, and uses its morbid and disturbing tone to challenge and confront you.
This film is frequently mentioned amongst the film buff community, and rightly so. Writer/director Billy Wilder presents a tragic tale of doomed ambitions that puts a spotlight on the darker side of Hollywood. Sunset Boulevard is driven by the complexity and flaws of all the characters, and features an unpredictable plot laden with suspense, romance and murder.
I was completely unprepared to be blown away by the raw cinematic power of The Dirty Dozen, and I cannot wait to see it again. Clearly the inspiration behind Inglorious Basterds, this movie has big ticks for its script, performances, production values and overall experience. You shouldn’t watch this movie if you’re looking for a historically accurate World War II movie. You should watch it if you’re interested in a great movie about working as one towards a common goal, and not judging individuals based on assumptions.
At long last, I got to watch Chinatown in all its glory with zero interruptions this time round. There are so many things this movie does right, the first being its ability to have dozens of layered characters without distracting from the journey and psyche of the protagonist Jake Gittes. There’s also Jerry Goldsmith’s haunting score, John A. Alonzo’s gorgeous cinematography, and of course, Roman Polanski’s killer direction. Although I think they miscast Faye Dunaway* in the role of Evelyn Mulwray, Chinatown still stands out as a classic that is worth watching.
Saturday, 27/2/16 - La Dolce Vita
Grazie, Signor Fellini! La Dolce Vita has everything that made me fall in love with 8½, and brings even deeper material to the table. While it is exhaustingly long and with a few scenes that could have been trimmed, there is still a lot to appreciate, especially its genius cinematography and composition, flawed characters that represent the different emotions of humanity, and dozens of moments that are highly contemplative in their nature. I love how the film speaks for itself, showing that there is always a dark side hidden behind the glamour of la dolce vita.