Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Film Comment Selects

It's Film Comment Selects time at the Lincoln Center. This is totally like a best-of film festival thing, so if you are new to the idea of booking tix two weeks ahead of time, then queuing an hour early to see some rare/brand-new/international or domestic/revival/wacked-out film — that you may never see elsewhere, ever again — then Film Comment Selects is the perfect promo for you. Then you can tackle those festival circuits like a pro! And if you're a seasoned vet, you know how the deal works and you'll be ON IT. Though there are over two dozen films this year, so allow me to cherry-pick some of my favorites, to lead you to the dopest selections. Then check the full festival schedule and the helpful genre guide and begin reserving. Alphabetically, I dig:
- "Accident" (dir. Soi Cheang, Hong Kong, 2009). This is a gritty, in-your-face director (I mean seriously in your face. His crime-dramas "Dog Bite Dog" (2006) and "Shamo" (2007) were all hooked elbows, flickering sweat and blood, and ultra close-in fighting), and his new film — an 'accident choreographer' hitman caught in a choreographed accident — sounds particularly deliciously claustrophobic.
- "Air Doll" (dir. Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan, 2009). I was so bummed when Koreeda's new film wasn't included in 2009's New York Asian Film Festival, and now I've got my chance to see it! Now, this director is not one to shy away from controversial subjects, oh say like Bae Doona playing a live-action inflatable sex doll to a sarariman? You know it's more than that.
- "A Brighter Summer Day" (dir. Edward Yang, Taiwan, 1991). Yang's four-hour coming-of-age opus, set in early '60s Taiwan. This is one of those 'rare, revival' films I mentioned before.
- "Godard Rarities" (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, France). This just SOUNDS dope: odds and ends from the master of Nouvelle Vague, which I believe will include some American stuff too but it's JLG and he can do no wrong in my eyes.
- "The Land of Madness" (dir. Luc Moullet, France, 2009). Another Nouvelle Vague director (and critic), Moullet wields the documentary camera on rural isolationism and folklore. One of those 'not distributed stateside' films.
- "Morphia" (dir. Alexei Balabanov, Russia, 2008). aka 'Morphine', the good young doctor in a rural hospital during the Revolution, who becomes addicted to said drug and entangled w/ the nurse.
- "Persecution" (dir. Patrice Chéreau, France, 2009). aka Romain Duris + Charlotte Gainsbourg's new film, a destructive path of romantic distress and torment, which Chéreau knows VERY well how to depict (anybody see "Gabrielle"?).
- "The Revenge: A Visit from Fate" + "The Revenge: A Scar That Never Fades" (dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan 1997). Double-header! And while I won't quite say 'before there was Kōji Yakusho there was Shō Aikawa', you've got to give it to Kurosawa for knowing how to select some true hard-boiled, no-nonsense roughhousers. Aikawa looks like he could chew nails. Which is a good thing, as "The Revenge" double-feature, filmed just before Kurosawa's J-Horror psych-out game changer "Cure" (starring Yakusho), is Aikawa up against the baddest-ass yakuza thugs. Like Toshirō Mifune in Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo"/"Sanjuro", only set in the mid-90s.
- "Un Lac" (dir. Philippe Grandrieux, France, 2008). Film Comment Selects features three of this extreme director's films, and I'm totally unfamiliar with them so I figured why not dive in head first w/ what is probably the most intense/experimental/disturbing? Family lives secluded in a forest, unknown stranger arrives, action is captured on extended handheld camera. A bit like Pasolini's "Teorema" for the contemporary age? Or way freakier?
Tix are on sale. Off with you now.