Saturday, August 30, 2008

In the Woods, Late At Night

From Charles Laughton's "The Night of the Hunter", 1955
and F.W. Murnau's "Sunrise", 1927.

While watching "The Night of the Hunter" recently this shot reminded me of Sunrise.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Orphans #2

From Clair Denis' "The Intruder", 2004,
and Larisa Shepitko's "The Ascent", 1977.

Chasing the cars that carry their parents away.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Living Dead

From Michael Haneke's "The Seventh Continent", 1989.

"Objects exist and if one pays more attention to them than to people, it is precisely because they exist more than the people.  Dead objects are still alive.  Living people are often already  dead." —Jean Luc Godard

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


From Larisa Shepitko's "The Ascent", 1977.

Masterly.  One of the best Russian films I've seen from any era, outside of Tarkovsky.

Anatoli Solonitsyn, Andrei Tarkovsky's favorite actor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Essential Films #3: The Heart of the World

In celebration of just having seen Guy Maddin's hilarious and exuberant mock-autobiographical (a my-opic?) "My Winnipeg" I've decided now is the appropriate time to feature his most ecstatic film.

Guy Maddin's "The Heart of the World" was one of a number of 'Preludes' commissioned for the Toronto International Film Festival in celebration of their 25th anniversary in 2000.  The five-minute film was shot over five days in a disused steel factory in Winnipeg.  The talented Deco Dawson is credited as Co-camera and Micromontage Editor.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Old Dark House

From Robert Wise's inspired "The Haunting", 1963.

Dialogue from "The Bad and the Beautiful":

Jonathan Shields: Look. Put five men dressed like cats on the screen, what do they look like?

Fred: Like five men dressed like cats.

Jonathan Shields: When an audience pays to see a picture like this, what are they paying for?

Fred: To get the pants scared off of 'em.

Jonathan Shields: And what scares the human race more than any other single thing? 

Fred: The dark!

Jonathan Shields: Of course. And why? Because the dark has a life of its own. In the dark, all sorts of things come alive.

Fred: Suppose... suppose we never do show the cat men. Is that what you're thinking.

Jonathan Shields: Exactly.

Fred: No cat men!

Robert Wise directed "The Curse of the Cat People" in 1944.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


From Réné Clément's "Forbidden Games", 1952,
and Charles Laughton's "Night of the Hunter", 1955.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Shadows and Fog

From "Bambi", 1942.

Bambi opens quietly with a slow pan across the forest in the morning, lullingly drawing the viewer into the space of the film.  This is a world far outside of the human world.  The artists give only enough detail to suggest nature, leaving something for the viewer's imagination. 

The next two shots appear later in the film.

This shot is motionless, appearing on screen for about a second and a half.  It's pretty, but also a little odd as the grass seems to be bowing in the wind.

The shot reminds me of Sam Kieth's illustrations in The Maxx, though I can't seem to find a good one online to post here.