Funeral Parade of Roses (Japan – 1969 – 4K Restoration)

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Apparently acknowledged by Stanley Kubrick as an influence on A Clockwork Orange, Toshio Matsumoto (1932-2017)’s Japanese cult film, Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), is released theatrically in a brand new 4K restoration.

Shot in glorious black and White, Funeral Parade of Roses follows the adventures of Eddie, a popular transgender figure active at nightclub Genet,  in the infamous Shinjuku district.  Eddie befriend a group of young revolutionaries, artists and filmmakers during a period of social unrest.

A personal rendering of the Oedipus myth (one sequence features the Japanese poster to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex),  Funeral Parade of Roses has much to do with avant-garde and contemporary art in portraying the subculture of 1969 Tokyo, especially Shinjuku. It uses constant fractured narrative (Matsumoto was Continue reading

It Comes at Night (USA – 2017) – Short Review

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It Comes at Night is Trey Edward Shults’ second feature starring Joel Edgerton (Black mass, Midnight special) Carmen Ejogo (Selma, Alien: Covenant) and Christopher Abbott (A most violent year, James White)

A world threat, coming under the form of a virulent disease, forces a family to isolate itself under a set of rules. The sudden arrival of another family seeking refuge puts their domestic order and empathy to test.

It Comes at Night is your behind closed doors – let-them-come-I’m ready- minimalist take on the end of civilization. It shares the pessimistic views on the subject of pictures like Time of the Wolf (2003), The Road (2009) Take Shelter (2011) and countless others. It pretty much covers known territories to film buffs of the 21st century, basically making honest and efficient use of what looks like a shoestring budget. Yet it is not totally successful in Continue reading

KEDI (Turkey – 2016) – Short Review

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Turkish director Ceyda Torun’s Kedi propose a singular look at the city of Istanbul through the eyes of its emblematic inhabitant: the street cat.

Ceyda Torun, who grew up in Istanbul, provides numerous portraits of individual felines with an obvious sympathetic view of an animal arguably very difficult to shoot with. Today’s light camera offer the opportunity to trail the furry beast and follow it in its footsteps and into alley cats territory. The shooting certainly took a lot of patience. And it is the most rewarding asset of the project.

A feature that goes beyond the cat video, while sharing its cuteness, Kedi unfortunately runs slightly out of gas halfway through. It introduces some insight and stories about the pussy invasion within the walls of the city but it simply does not furnish enough content to fill 80 minutes. These links about the immigration of our fellow with claws should have been extended to keep it going. But it simply doesn’t. Still, Kedi is a pleasurable adventure into the world of our favorite flea bag.

First date movie? Sure.

*** For Montrealers, the film started May 26th at Cinéma du Parc.

Chuck (US – 2016) – Short Review

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Chuck (it was titled the The Bleeder when shown at TIFF in September)is based upon the real life story of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner who had a shot at glory in 1975 facing Muhammad Ali in the ring and making it to the 15th round.

Directed by Philippe Falardeau (The good lie) it stars Liev Schreiber (Spotlight, X-Men), Naomi Watts and Ron Perlman (Hellboy). It is said that Wepner’s story was influential in the Making of Rocky (1976). At least that is what he wants us to believe.

We are witnesses to the preceding, then the fight and the ensuing downfall. The depiction of 1970’s era is honest, the performances are enjoyable, especially Perlman as the manager. A colorful manager is a must to any boxing film.

Chuck is a pedestrian ride narrated with with a great dose of narcissism, but in such a self-deprecating way it ultimately becomes sympathetic. Chuck is much about trusting the word of the one telling the story…

I, Daniel Blake (UK – 2016) – Short Review

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When I, Daniel Blake won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, Ken Loach entered a highly select group of directors who took home the award twice. Much has been written about it since (it comes late on our Canadian screens as Cannes 2017 edition is already at the Gates) people even suggesting the jury’s top recognition had more to do with the overall body of work – Loach is already 80 – than the film itself.

So what?

I, Daniel Blake  bears Ken Loach (and screenwriter’s Paul Laverty) signature all along. It depicts the despair of a 59-year-old worker, Blake, who, after a heart attack, must apply for social care. Mr Blake contributed a whole life to a system soon to discover it doesn’t really work both ways as Continue reading