HarryTuttle's Spontaneous Impressions - I
I Am Two Years Old
I Was Born But...
Immortel (Ad Vitam)
In The Beguining Was The Eye
In The Cut
In Public

In Your Hands
Incident At Lochness
Innocence : Ghost In The Shell II
An Inn In Tokyo
Intolerable Cruelty

The Isle
It's All About Love
Ivan The Terrible
Ivan's Childhood

> CRIT <I Am Two Years Old
1962 - Kon ICHIKAWA - Japan

Being Two isn't easy / Watashi wa nisai
a social comedy on first time parenthood told from the baby's point of view, often heard on voice over, and some colorful animation represent his dreams.
much lighter than Ozu's I was born, but... (1932), more along the lines of Ozu's Ohayo/Good Morning (1959) or The Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947), this funny nearly-sitcom shows the questions, mistakes, issues happening in a young couple, their relation with the mother in law, the neighbors, the doctor, the other kids, the dogs.
there is an hilarious scene of a bunch of kids crying at the "lost children" desk of the Tokyo Zoo! they scream and voices over speak their little cynical thoughts like "i'm crying like everyone else but i'm not even hurt"
the baby gets in touch with his grand mother and they be friend, despite his mother's frowning because the grand mother always criticize the child's bad education.
it's a touching comedy about the japanese society in the 60ies, with the generation gap between the new adults of the modern city in Tokyo and the country side grand mothers dressed in the traditional kimono, with conservative mindset, denial of the new trend of men helping with the kids and housekeeping... the baby's voice over says it "poor daddy, they [mother and grandmother] send u to the outside world to work all day, when you come back home they make u work harder, and they even blame you for everything that goes wrong"
the camerawork is quite interesting, comical more than artsy, using the baby's point of view, visual effects to enhance the baby's perception, like extreme close up of animals at the zoo at ground level, making the visit a nightmare for a baby who cannot get the big picture...
i regret the acting was too archetypal, exagerated, the parents making funny faces, crying, yelling in a ridicule way to make us laugh. sometimes they try too hard. but the recollection of funny situations are delightful. probably a good fun for TV.


> CRIT <I Was Born But...
1932 - Yasujiro OZU - Japan

Umarete Wa mita keredo... (Silent/B&W/91')
a social comedy where children take the lead roles. premises very similar to the 27 years later Ohayô / Good Morning (1959). the kids show a stronger personality with more screening time here, but i found them funnier in Ohayô. the beginning look like a japanese version of Hal Roach's Little Rascals/Our Gang serie (1922-29), with kiddy intimidation, boasting, contests, fights and deals, with some smart perspective on the adult world.
a middle class family moves from tokyo to a poorer suburbs, near the firm, to please the father's boss. the 2 sons drop in a "hostile" neighborhood, and are bullied by the local boy gang. they are scared to attend to school and lie to their parents to cover school skiping. meanwhile they struggle to gain respect among the neighbor kids, and eventually outsmart them because they come from the city.
the boss is fond of cinema and invites everyone to watch the home-made footages he made, featuring the father making ridicule funny faces... (a cameo of Chishu Ryu as a projectionist)
that is why they are humiliated to see their father (who teach them to behave to become important men) to bend over before his boss : they gather than to study isnt worthwhile since they will end up being clerks for the dumber yet richer son of their father's boss. this argument leads to their decision for a hunger and silence strike.
the children protest against this social unfairness, and the contradiction of the parents ("do what i say, not what i do"), and the father understands perfectly what they feel... a beautiful study of the social class gap through the generation gap, in a shaky economical demise worldwide asking for some changes in the rigid traditional structure of the japanese society.


> CRIT < If...
1968 - Linsay ANDERSON - UK

Anderson said "If...." in 1968 and it happened in 1999 in Columbine.
i didnt know the Dead Poet Society stole everything from this film... of course the introduction of John Keating and the theatre class improved dramaticaly the narration and the development of character studies.
Anderson's characters are too stereotypical and one sided, but the portrayal of english private schools is quite honest, even if sometimes a bit overboard. the film is overall rough and abrupt.
however it works very well as a satire and some scenes are powerful.


> CRIT < Immortel (Ad Vitam)
2004 - Enki BILAL - France

an excellent mid term between Blade Runner and The 5th Element!
there are maybe too much CGI characters (who could have been played by flesh actors) but they all respect the spirit of the graphic novel, a distant artificial unreal atmosphere of aesthetic mess. even the plans seem disconnected, frozen in time, like 2 frames of a comics strip.
this is the first film since Blade Runner that recreates the same dark Sci-Fi universe with a strong personality.
admitedly "loosly based on La Femme Piège and La Foire aux Immortels" 2 books of the Nikopol trilogy, i thought the film was very faithful to the story (to the best of my recollection), the design, the composition, the characters.
the story is quite weird, but i bet a great box-office of this film in the world!
the whole universe is surrealist, the plot is symbolic, a cynic look on politics, genetic manipulation, repressive government... and safe sex society.
an unknown alien pyramid floats over NYC 2026, scares the population during a election time. the senator is worried about his popularity because a serie of crimes just occured. meanwhile Nikopol, an activist anti-eugenic (purified genetic reproduction), sentenced to 30 years of cryogenic sleep jail time, is freed of his cell due to a system malfunction. Horus, the egyptian hawk god, must find a host body to find the only woman in the universe able to procreate with gods : the blue haired girl. Nikopol will be this host. Elma Turner (Charlotte Rampling) has captured the girl and performs some test on this unique being whose organic system is most peculiar.
Linda Hardy's acting debut is quite good for a top model Miss France 1992.
only 4 flesh actors on set! one of which is masked. one is Charlotte Rampling. the rest are realist CGI models mapped with human pictures. there is one CGI character who wears a sweater printed with a drawing of Enki Bilal (one cover of the graphic novel i think ). just too cute!
The egyptian gods are beautiful with their skin of marble. the animation is not as realist as in LOTR, but the integration in the context is remarkable. we get used to the CGI eugenic people contrasting with the real humans from the pre-eugenic era. the special effects are subtle, serving the recreation of the comic images.
a weird industrial score by Goran Vejvoda that makes the picture even stranger.


> CRIT <In The Beguining Was The Eye
2002 - Bady MINCK - Austria

Im Anfang war der Blick (45', Color, stop motion/backward footage)
A lonely poet in his library full of dusty books travels throughout Austria and backward in time by looking at thousands of old postcards. The text written on the back of these found postcards, naive, vaccuous, painful, terrible, become whispers on the soundtrack. A Few of them praise Hitler's 3rd Reich, ending the message with "Heil hitler" instead of "Love"...
One trip goes in the austrian Alps. One to the Erzberg mountain (Iron-mount) which was an open air quarry, leveled over the years. The serie of postcards show how the face of the landscape evolved while the mountain is exploited. The last trip is to Salzburg, Mozart's hometown, which evolved because of the war. The postcards show the house of birth of Mozart cut in half and fitted with a modern building on the side.
The film's gimmick are 5 fold:
1 - an eye POV, with the eyelid shutting on the camera lens with disturbing liquid noises this eye (fixed angle) shifts from room to room, like a big brother surveillance camera.
2 - the poet is filmed backward (a direct reference to this memorable scene in Top Secret! taking place in a library too!), which gives an awkward feeling to his movements.
3 - the postcards are shown one by one, like a boring slide, lingering on some views, or sometimes flipping them at fast speed. The use of similar perspective, elements, colors, help to create a continuous flow of images and animation at times when the postcard views of the same scenery from different places make a travelling effect.
4 - the poet is inserted in the still photos, old photographs are overlapped on todays footage of the same place
5 - used of slow motion and fast speed from a fixed camera to see people moving through the place.
I thought the variety of style and tricks was too diverse and disconnected from one part to the next. Each are very clever and should have been developped into a coherent film of its own, the sum is unfocused...


> CRIT <In The Cut
2003 - Jane CAMPIONE - USA

yet another big disappointment (like Northfork), the film had all the potential to be a decent experience, but fails to even be acceptably average... the trailer was terrible, and the feature was only longer
the photography is interesting, it's a good point, much better than in the average serial killer flick. (even if sometimes too dense, too pointlessly artsy)
i think i remember people liking Ruffalo's performance. that's another good point of the film. unfortunately his character is aimless and totaly overwhelmed by the narration imperatives. but he does his job indeed, with inspiration. take away the stupid investigation and we might have an interesting couple study going on here...
Meg Ryan is ok (although her performance is not credible/convincing in this environment). Jenifer Jason-Leigh is over the top, but she hasnt got many opportunity to dilute her exposition... i usualy like her.
so why Campion decided to take a stab at this formated genre of the serial killer? this is what i dont get.
She doesnt even play the rules that Studios handle way better, it's a working recipe now. the screenplay is laughable: the only handful victims and suspects are familiar (the same block/hood) and shown on the crime scene to raise suspicion, heavily accentuated by psychopatic behaviors and coincidental timetable... the management of suspens is all fake.
She could decide to offer a new perspective at serial killer flicks... with parody, cynism, humor or realism. not.
she collapses 3 movie genres: chick flick + cop flick + serial killer = antagonist interests and development.
-it's a crap serial killer suspens!
-it's a shallow sentimental cop flick
-it's a dreadful gory chickflick
instead of subliming one genre, she fails 3...
the aesthetic atmosphere of the character development is great, would be even better if not blatently connected to a murder case... why something dreadful has to happen in their lives to give meaningful insights on their relationship? the mix up of several (loose-ended) storylines is a mess, barely TV-grade. every single scene is awkward, without any internal coherance to justify it.
keep the photography, the character study, the feminist orientated dialog and the cynical/stereotypical cop portray, fine! but get rid of those supporting character only there to justify the serial killer thingy (the nerveous doc, the cop's friend, and the black student)... and rewrite all the text from scratch focused on relationship between strangers and love/hate attraction. this with an unresolved serial killer affair in the background that we only hear about from Ruffalo but never actualy see on screen, and u get a solid atmosphere to allow good actors to perform in ONE defined genre.


> CRIT <In Public
2001 - JIA Zhang-Ke - China

DOC - Short - Color - 30'
A documentary on public spaces in China, without a word, just the direct sound capture. Observing people waiting at the bus stop along the highway, in a train station hallway, onboard the local bus, in a dancing class, spying on them, tracking their thoughts, waiting for their reactions. The style looks strangely similar to Wang's 9h long doc Tiexi Qu. Only this one is entirely focused on people and doesn't record their conversations, it's purely contemplative and without message. Meanwhile this is the most objective documentary on people's behavior in public spaces, left to our interpretation, so we can feel the slow passing of time on their activity.


> CRIT <In Your Hands
2004 - Annette K. OLESEN - Denmark

Annette K. Olesen was in attendance for a post screening debate. She dissmissed a reference to Kieslowsky's Dekalog (which was spot on), and Winter Light, and pretentiously confessed she inspired her women-couple from Persona... I choked. Anyway "non-complying references" aside, the movie was well constructed, I really liked the crude image and the impros added to realism and intimacy (even if the prison was a barbie dollhouse). The light was exceptionaly bright for indoor DV without lighting support. The role of the preacher being a woman and avorting was something quite disturbing for our french catholic culture (because of the religious status involved, not abortion in itself). But the couple is well investigatd and developped in genuine/original slices of life.
She said she worked a lot on the improvisation and it does well, however I wasn't convinced by the lead convict, too cold and too silent and too moody for the profile of her character.
The content is too dense/multiple for a film of this scope that merely scratches the surface of the abortion issue. Faith, drugs, prison life, trust, love are only distracting topics. Funny how danish preachers didn't change outfits since Dreyer's films ;)
It's a good film precisely for dealing nicely with the Dogme95 "obstructions"... but the various flaws I mentionned tarnish its noteworthy effort. A reasonable ambition would have helped to make a stronger point. I'll keep an eye out for more of her improvisations.


> CRIT <Incident At Loch Ness
2004 - Zak PENN - UK

I hadn't read anything on it, and wasn't prepared, so I bought into it. I thought it was a documentary, while in fact it's a mockumentary, one destined to film buffs or fans of Werner Herzog. If you liked Lost in La Mancha (an obvious inspiration), the (real) documentary on Terry Gilliam's Don Quichotte's demise, you'll like Incident at Loch Ness The cynism in colliding Werner Herzog and a Hollywood producer reminds as well of this cult polish mockumentary Polish Kitsh Project (by Marius Pujszo). A self-criticism of the commercial movie industry.
Summer 2003, a crew is making a documentary on Herzog's latest project which is a documentary on the myth of the Loch Ness monster, Nessie, in Scotland. Herzog states upfront he doesn't believe in the monster, but wants to understand why people need to believe in supernatural things like alien abduction or BigFoot. Zak Penn, a former screenwriter turned producer, offered Herzog to fund this project, and secretly makes sure it reaches out for a wider audience. So he invited a playboy model as a sonar opearator, and an obsessive scientist nut to "dramatize" the shooting, as well as a remote controlled monster-miniature for "re-creations". But Herzog figures out the hoax, like the local population...
Could have been excellent, but the acting is merely believable, despite a true involvement by Herzog. It's really funny tho, and should be taken with a lot of irony.
Opening on a dinner at Werner's villa on Wonderland Ave in L.A., featuring Jeff Goldblum, Crispin Glover, and other members of the cast. Clips from Herzog films inserted with commentaries.


> CRIT <An Inn In Tokyo
1935 - Yasujiro OZU - Japan

Tokyo no yado / Une Auberge à Tokyo (Silent/B&W)
a lone poor homeless father, with his 2 young sons, wander around the industrial suburbs of Tokyo searching for a place to work, to feed and shelter his family. His wife went away without a note. There is no job to find.
They discontinuously sleep outdoor or in a miserable inn, and rarely eat.
there is a marvellous scene when the older boy pretends to eat imaginary rice, and serve his father invisible sake.
amidst their misery they meet a lone mother and her daughter who are also homeless and desperate for a job, and quickly sympathize.
Luckily the man bumps into an old relative who accomodate him and his boys. but when the homeless daughter gets sick, her mother and the man have to take dreadful decisions against their principle that will break their destiny...
optimistic realism from the gutter! Light humor and cynism of the struggle in poverty around the japanese megapole, aftermath of the depression. Developping around the kids split by a rough dilemna between children games and responsability for money and survival.
beauty of the photographic composition. the old copy of the film literally added a blizzard of dust on the roads at times


> CRIT <Innocence : Ghost In The Shell II
2004 - OSHII - Japan

Impressive computer assisted anime, with 3D rendering and special FX. Obviously the original manga by Masamune Shirow (creator of Akira) is rock solid, fully detailed in robotic design and futurist architecture. The philosophy around cybernetic and the desire of man to become a God creating life, making robots to his image, the labyrinth of cyberspace, the illusion of reality in the mind... is quite interesting but really heavy, constantly illustrated by philosophers quotes like Confucius or Descartes... Nonetheless this sequel to Ghost in the shell is visually stunning! especially the 3D design and the cyberspace FX already developped in his earlier motion picture Avalon. I strongly suggest to watch this film dubbed in your language because the original voices are very plain, and the subtitles fly by.


> CRIT <Inter-view
2001 - Jessica HAUSNER - Austria

a self-concerned journalist student interviews people int eh street about their career plans and their satisfaction of personal achievement in life. he's annoying and condescending. painting of individualism, small people and deluded hopes. slow and pointless, but with a terrifying look at ourselves.


> CRIT <Intolerable Cruelty
2003 - COEN Bros - USA

probably the cheesiest hollywoodesque romance of the infamous brothers... that streak is going lower and lower! i wonder if they dont actually like to make money-making blockbusters better than art films, i worry they will ever come back to quality now. my opinion is:
Clooney + Coens = baaaaaaaad! (O'Brother, Intolerable Cruelty)
Clooney + Soderbergh = baaaaaad! (Solaris, Ocean's Eleven, Out of Sight)
Clooney should stop messing up with good directors :D
Well the film is somehow a satire of the genre... but it uses so much of the genre clichés that it's difficult to say if they targetted at the romance audience or the cynic humor audience. the combination is the failure for both.
-Clooney's speech about love at the N.O.M.A.N. convention with final standing ovation??? please!!!
-the obvious redundant gag by the air hostess?
ok this is an above average chick flick, with some witty catch lines, and excellent cinematography. but it's not up to a Coen handicap.


> CRIT <Invasion
1969 - Hugo SANTIAGO - Argentina

Black & White from a scenario of Jose Luis Borges!
in a nameless country (Argentina), a small group of freedom fighters organize the underground under a repressive regime, to prevent the imminent invasion of undetermined foreign military squads (USA). little talk and beautiful photography, with cryptic camerawork/editing. the tension is unbearable because the pace is so slow and we have no idea what is going on at any time, just like if we were one of them. haunting drama!


> CRIT <Irezumi
1966 - MASUMURA - Japan

A photography harmoniously composed like a japanese etching on every single plan!
The story is a bad B-movie, with gore scenes and heavy plot-driven dialog. The daughter of a rich owner is kidnapped and sold to a Geisha house where a devilish spider (awesome graphism!) is tattooed on her back. The spider wil alter the girl's already affirmed misoginy and provoke a succession of murders by fatale seduction.


> CRIT <The Isle
2001 - KIM Ki-duk - South Korea

haunting and penetrating aftertaste of the slime in your morning glass of water. minimal set of characters and almost no dialog, repetitive scenes, unrevealed background... the images masterize the whole adventure afloat. unforgetable scenes of selftorture to express unspoken frustrations and desires.


> CRIT <It's All About Love
2003 - Thomas VINTERBERG - multinational

It's All About Love (USA/Japan/Sweden/UK/Denmark/Germany/Netherlands)
good concept, unfortunately totally underdeveloped. too much philosophical crap. the acting performances of Claire Danes and Joaquin Phoenix are enjoyable, but their role is weak, and the story is vain. could have been exceptionnal : so frustrating!


> CRIT <Ivan The Terrible
1940/1976 - Sergei EISENSTEIN - Russia

1st episode is a bit slowish, but with great expressionist performances and photography. 2nd episode becomes somptuous with the use of color (red!) and the dance numbers. I regret the film is essentialy focused on Ivan, deprivating us from a look at the city, the country, the people, the war... It is an effective propaganda tool indeed! When I walked out I was ready to kick the foreigners outside Russia :D It's quite amusing when you imagine the communist agenda behind each line, and each scene. Personaly I thought Ivan was more terrible than this, and would have beheaded his opposant sooner... Here he's a gentlemen in love of his people... barely credible for this barbarian period.


> CRIT <Ivan's Childhood
1962 - Tarkovsky - Russia

Ivanovo detstvo
WW2 horrors depicted through the life of a 12 yold war orphan turned spy. Some outstanding images with great emotional content. An atmosphere close ot Guerman's Check-Point. The cinematographic experimentation, even if clumsy at times, prefigure the style of the master.