Medieval art has always been one of my semi-blind spots within art history. Russian art draws an even greater blank in my mind, with little knowledge of art before the twentieth century. With the HFA screening some Tarkovsky this month, it seemed like a fine time to get a bit of art history in with my classic film viewing. Andrei Rublev depicts several (mostly imagined) scenes in the life of the titular artist, a medieval master about whom little is actually known. Played by Anatoliy Solonitsyn, he is a thoughtful, creative monk who struggles with both his artistic subject and his faith. He hopes to spread joy and divine inspiration through his work, but the church enforces terrifying representations of the Last Judgment.
When two best friends, Marie (Cécile De France) and Alexia (Maïwenn), visit Alexia’s family farm while preparing for their university exams, they’re expecting a quiet stay in the countryside. The only signs of possible discontent seem to stem from Marie’s secret crush on her friend, and jealousy of Alexia’s many affairs with men. The very night they arrive, a mysterious stranger breaks into the house and silently slaughters Alexia’s father, mother, and little brother. Marie hides any signs that she’s even staying there and surveys the carnage while in hiding. The killer kidnaps Alexia and Marie manages to sneak onto his truck, and the rest of the night unravels into a deadly game of hide-and-seek as she tries to rescue her friend while avoiding the monster’s gaze.
Though I’m finding the whole thing rather baffling, I am set on finishing the Evangelion reboot film series. Mostly because I lost interest in the show itself and feel like this is a faster way to find out what happens at the end. Plus the animation is better. The third entry in the film series is the most inscrutable yet, but so beautifully animated and so god-damn weird that I guess I liked it. I GUESS. It shifts the action 14 years in the future where everything is terrible, more terrible even than before, and punctuates the snippets of exposition with big robot battles. For my full review, head over to 366 Weird Movies!
I realize I’ve never actually reviewed any of his films on here, but know that I really love and respect the films of Makoto Shinkai. He’s a terrific animator and visionary artist, and I like how his works are all kind of sad and tinged with longing. It gets to me. His latest feature, Children Who Chase Lost Voices (aka Journey to Agartha) is a bit of a change for him in that it is mostly high fantasy, and works much more in the Miyazaki vein than his other films, but it still retains some of his signature as a storyteller and artist. The plot revolves around Asuna, a hardworking preteen loner who briefly befriends a mysterious stranger. She discovers he is from a mythical land known as Agartha, a kind of underworld where all the old gods fled after people stopped believing in them, along with some human groups who followed them.
Way back in October 2011 I took a trip to Toronto for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and it remains one of my absolute favorite vacations because everything was fun and everyone was AWESOME. I feel like the Toronto film blogger/writer community is collectively enticing the rest of us to move there, and it’s totally working. While there I got to see Guillermo del Toro speak at the TIFF Lightbox, and he sort of tracked his whole career through film clips and anecdotes, and I learned a bit about the two I’d never seen: Cronos and Mimic. Ever since catching a glimpse of a mysterious older man licking blood off the floor of a sparkling white marble bathroom, I knew Cronos should be a priority. Yet somehow it took me until now to see it, thanks to the Brattle’s del Toro retrospective.