Sunday, April 20, 2014

The best movie I saw last week

I had intented to write a little bit about every film I watch in this blog but it gets daunting when I've had a good week like the past one. So, instead, I decided to focus on one movie each week. The best one, ideally.
And even though this week I've seen a lot of amazing five-star films, there was really no contest. The best movie of the week is:

A Passage to India (David Lean, 1984)

For all good things that posmodernity has given us, there is something to be said about neo-classicism in contemporary film. Its peak is most likely Lean's A Passage to India, but can also be appreciated in Minghella's The English Patient (1996) or Cold Mountain (2003).

This is not to say that they are old-fashioned movies or out of date. They are, especially A Passage to India, thoroughly modern as the best classic movies were in their time. The movie has a classical narrative pulse but the story it tells us is contemporary even though it is set in the past. I'm sure it has been read through the prism of post-colonialism and post-feminism and it is a natural thing, because when a text is as rich as this one, every angle is worthwhile.

The supporting cast is extremely good, Peggy Ashcroft's Oscar is possibly one of the most deserved, but this is Judy Davis' show. Adela is a smart and complex character on paper but Davis layers it so thoughtfully that it is impossible not to be mesmerized by her.

David Lean is one director in an extinct breed. His command of the action, of the shots filled with people, of the shots filled only with a face, is astonishing and has provided us with one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Other films I saw this week:
Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930)
Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)
Shirley Valentine (Lewis Gilbert, 1989)
The Remains of the Day (James Ivory, 1993)
Min and Bill (George W. Hill, 1930)
The Letter (William Wyler, 1940)
Face to Face (Ingmar Bergman, 1976)
Theodora Goes Wild (Richard Boleslawski, 1936)
I'll Cry Tomorrow (Daniel Mann, 1955)
Le Mépris (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
Kes (Ken Loach, 1970)
Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1992)
Vacas (Julio Medem, 1992)
Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)
Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996)
Away From Her (Sarah Polley, 2007) [Rewatch]
Rosetta (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 1999)

In general, it has been a ridiculously good week in terms of quality, heavy on Best Actress Nominees on the beginning and with the Cannes Proje(c)t 2014 (about which I intend to blog about) later in the week.

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