seen 15th-21st July : Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) [7/10]; Los Olvidados (1950) [8/10]

CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING : [7/10] : Celine et Julie vont en bateau – Phantom Ladies Over Paris : Fr 74 : Jacques RIVETTE : 194 mins (BBFC)
seen at The Tyneside Cinema – Gateshead, 15th July : public show :  £5.20
   Paris, 1973. Wakey Wakey (5, 5). Mantic / ludic. Frustration / Exhilaration. Self-referentialism / dark flippancy. "Naïve larks." Insignificance / tall stories. Wordplay / puns. Freewheeling originality. Doubles / doublings. Bagginess / convoluted. Hermetic / precious. Liberation / constriction. Watching > acting. Semiotics: signs, wonders and meanings. Surreal farce / self-indulgent artifice. "7bis, rue Nadir aux Pommes." M.Proust / H.James / L.Carroll (1, 7, 5, 3.) Joycean-playful, densely allusive text – yes, catnip for critics (9, 4). Hallucinations / nightmare. Circularity (of Circular Ruins.) On-the-hoof airiness / clodhopping-galumphing. Jeux sans frontieres. Dense webs of allusion (and illusion, elusion) in which we, they, and Rivette become helplessly entangled. Familiars: cats (great, stupid last shot). Familiar: the solitary black fish, endlessly circling in a too-small bowl (Harold, like Madlyn, in constant peril… What's his perspective?). "Spectators" emerging groggy, shaken, from the "dark" (3, 5, 2, 6). Repetitiveness / poetic. "Cosmic twilight pimps." I C real drabness (anag., 6, 8.) Playful / daftness. Sinister / surreal. Childhood innocence / sinister Suspiria faux-childishness. Obfuscation / silliness. Galumphing, overextended improvisations. Anything-goes kaftan-wafty looseness inspires cult following (6, 5). Magic / performance. Hollywood, the Haunted House (Barbet Schroeder: Single White Female, Reversal of Fortune, Murder By Numbers). Hermetic / hermeneutic. Layers / obfuscations (6, 11). Theatricality / hallucinations. Oneiric / newly vague. The Naïve Lark ("ooh… nasty!"). Circularity / repetitions (5, 4, 6). Endlessness: A way a lone a last a loved a long the    PARIS    1922-1939. Paris, 1973. [But, with Renault, it's already 1974.] 16.7.07




LOS OLVIDADOS
: [8/10] : aka The Young and the Damned : Mex 50 : Luis BUNUEL : 81 mins (BBFC)
seen at Gala, Durham – 16th July : public show :  £3.20
   "Poor Mexico! So far from God, and so close to the United States!" – the legendary dictum of Mexican president Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915), whose harsh "modernising" policies led to the dire social problems uncompromisingly chronicled in Los Olvidados. "The Forgotten" are the children of Mexico City's poorest residents, abandoned by the state, shunned by their communities, alienated from their downtrodden kin. The film focuses on a fundamentally decent lad, Pedro (Alfonso Mejia), whose awkward relationship with his mother (Estela Inda) stems from the fact that he was conceived as a result of rape. Pedro struggles to be good, but finds himself surrounded on all sides by negative influences – personified by the relentless cruel and venal older boy Jaibo (Roberto Cobo)…
   Bunuel – whose own origins were affluently aristocratic, and himself had two sons under 16 years old – closely based his script on files from local reform-schools. Los Olvidados is thus often cited as the groundbreaking forerunner of cinema's many subsequent, harrowing depictions of harsh underclass lives. Regardless of its importance in movie history, however, the film still packs quite a punch more than half a century on – especially in the unexpected bleakness of its (all-too-convincingly) downbeat finale. Although somewhat dated by an incongruously conventional score (Bunuel would later generally eschew non-diegetic music), much of Los Olvidados feels ahead of its time: in particular, a pair of slow-motion fantasy-sequences (one a dream, one a brief hallucination) which remain among the most remarkable and transcendent ever committed to film. 22.7.07


Neil Young

NB 
1. all films seen in the UK, and all timings approximate, unless stated otherwise
2. timings taken from the BBFC website are rounded to the nearest minute (i.e. 100min 29sec = 100min, but 100min 30sec = 101min)
3. an asterisk [*] in the rating indicates that film is not a feature (i.e. 0-39m = short; 40m-63m = medium-length; 64m+ = feature)