Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders is the story about family and loss. The director uses themes of both brotherly relationships and fatherhood as a metaphor for man’s quest for personal identity, and he does it magically.
The fi out rst time we see Travis he is walking in Terlingua, a barren and dusty region of Texas. He is wearing a filthy suit along with a ragged red baseball cap. A bit into the film Travis reunites with his brother Walt Henderson, we know four years have passed since Walt and his wife Anne took responsibility for raising Travis’s young son Hunter. The story takes on from there.
The cinematography is poetic and there is a visual sense that contextualizes the characters’ feel of looming, present and past loss. Wenders shows us that his storytelling finds truth and poetry in the mundane. The film doesn’t need gimmicks or cliches to escalate emotional reaction from the viewer or create interest. This result is obtained simply by making the characters feel human.
All I can say is after I finished watching this masterpiece I was feeling everything and nothing at the same time. I don’t exactly look for this in a film, but once this feeling comes along, it’s hard to look at the art form in the same way ever again.
It’s a 9 out of 10. Please go and watch it now!
I’ll start by explaining what this film is about without any spoilers because this film is just too precious. The Farewell was directed by Lulu Wang and follows Billi a young woman who learns that her grandmother is sick and has a very short time left to live. To her surprise, the family decides not to tell her grandmother that she is dying. Instead, they arrange a wedding as an excuse for everyone to go back to China and see her one last time before she passes, almost like saying goodbye without being able to say it!
The film is able to approach the subject from both the western and eastern mindsets without diminishing neither of them, which for me was one of the greatest qualities of the story. The Farewell is packed with complex characters who feel like real people, who have real conversations about topics that really matter. The film maneges to be funny between the sad moments giving it the levity that it needs, not the mention the amazing way in which the family bonds are portrayed.
I cried about 5 times during the entire film and one extra time once it ended. I’ll list the scenes that made me cry the most:
- When Billi speaks about how hard it was for her to leave China, the impact it had on her to not be able to be around her grandma as much and how painful it was to never be able to see her grandpa again given that her parents never really explained his death to her.
- I cried during the wedding part when Billi’s cousin starts to cry and we realize the all “thing” is really taking a toll on him too, even if for him the situation is sposed to be normal.
- The one that made me cry the most was when “Nai Nai” is talking to Billi and tells her that when the time comes for her (Billi’s) wedding she will give an even bigger party just because it was for Billi.
I can not end this without mentioning the shot of Billi running as fast as she can in order to get her “Nai Nai” medical results in order to get them before her, I truly loved it and the music for that shot was incredibly used (and in the entire film, overall).
(END OF SPOILERS)
Exactly as I wrote in my notebook after watching The Farewell: “I’m in love with this film, the soundtrack is 100% amazing and exactly what it had to be elevating the film to a whole other level. THANK YOU LULU WANG! This is excellent.”
I gave this film 9 out of 10!
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!
Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach is a modern coming of age tale as well as a story about friendship. Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a 27-year-old dancer living with her best friend Sophie. Baumbach is a unique filmmaker, his movies tackle literally every subject matter while capturing real day-to-day life. In this film, he goes back to the basics of filmmaking: there are no complicated technics, no colourfull shots and yet he manages to guide us through Frances complex life.
Frances’ life is as depressing and comedic as it is relatable, as far as the other characters go no one is overly dramatic. This shows us realism can be both depressing and unbelievably funny. As I see it, the film is centred in a friendship where one person wants to grow up and move on while the other is desperately holding onto the past in every way possible.
The director makes a homage to french new wave cinema and we can witness that in the scene where Frances running and twirling across streets of New York with David Bowie’s “Modern Love” on the soundtrack.
The script is so masterfully written by both Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, not to mention so brilliantly performed. This film is a masterpiece and I can’t recommend it enough.
I gave this film 8 out of 10.
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!
“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it, but it’s a party and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual but because that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”
“Perhaps my fifth-grade self is trying to tell me a new way to fly.”
Only Yesterday by Isao Takahata is an animation about Taeko Okajima, a young woman in the 80’s trying to get a sense of both herself and the world surrounding her. The film is set during two timelines, the primary one occurring in 1982 when the main character is 27 years old and working in an office in Tokyo.
Taeko is the youngest person in her household, that includes a lifeless father, a very concerned mother, a strangely distant grandmother and two older sisters. Our main character has all kinds of memories of her fifth-grade self, struggles with young love, dealing with puberty, an early love for theatre and other frustrations and joys of being a kid in the late 1960s. But the one memories that struck me the most was one of the family trying their first pineapple and figuring out how to eat it. This shows the film is capable of finding beauty and charm in ordinary experiences.
The characters in Only Yesterday manage to have individuality and autonomy while being part of a whole, which is remarkable. The film is subtle and cleverly structured and the ever-increasing interaction with the surroundings cames of as a form of love for nature.
There is really nothing left for me to say, just go watch it. PLEASE
I gave this film 8.5 out of 10.
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!
“Booksmart” by Olivia Wilde tells us the story of two seniors, Molly and Amy, who are about to graduate high school and have spent their high school years exhaustively studying, never missing any school work whatsoever, because they believe this is the best and only way to get into a good university. They, all the sudden, find out that the other kids who have been partying and not taking school as serious as they have, have also gotten into good universities. With this, they feel like they should use this last night before graduation as an opportunity to not miss out on everything they have been passing up all these years.
This is a well-made comedy, directed by someone we can see understands the genera. Not the mention, the amazing performances by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever who really boost the film to the next level. The supporting cast is just as remarkably hilarious as Feldstein and Dever and is given something more to do than be the manifestation of high school stereotypes.
It really feels like you are there with Amy and Molly, the plot never seems to stop our slow down mostly because most of the film is about this one night of craziness. By the end of the film, you really feel like you have connected with these people and want them to be happy and fulfilled.
It is wonderful to watch a film dealing with strong and supportive female friendships and it is also exhilarating to see it take place in an environment like a high school field with diverse students.
This film feels unique and was probably one of the funniest films I’ve watched in a long time! It manages to be hilarious and heartwarming, it is just wonderful. For me, it was an 8 out of 10, please go watch it!
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!
“The Lobster” from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, presents a dystopian society where being single is a criminal act. A breakup shoves the person left alone into the corner of society. A person has 45 days after the end of the relationship to find a new partner, if the person doesn’t find a match, he/she will be turned into an animal of his/her choice. The film manages to be close enough to our reality to leave us thinking.
The film starts with David’s girlfriend breaking up with him, after that we see David on his way to a facility where single people try to find a mate and we can, at this point, notice that he is feeling both depressed and defeated. People in the film call this facility a hotel, however, to watchers, it looks more like an institutionalized environment to control human emotions.
In this word, there are so many dangers that come with being single that something as crucial to a relationship as personal-connection becomes not only impossible but irrelevant. To add to this lack of connection, “The Lobster” is narrated in a monotone by a character that only appears later in the film. Not to mention, the way people talk reveals a complete absence of nuance and subtext, there is noT only no emotion, but you are also aware of these people’s lack of life.
In my opinion, Lanthimos is trying to show us that our own society values couples more it values single people, that we see a relationship as an accomplishment bigger than a career or any other aspirations.
“The Lobster” is different, weird, unfamiliar and satisfying all in its ingenious way. I recommend you so savour it until its last drop of amazingness. For me, it was a 6.8 out of 10, only because the monotone of the narration made me feel uneasy!
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!