music friday: john renbourn, 1944-2015
the 2015 rubio begonias

what i watched last week

An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujirô Ozu, 1962). Ozu's last film, like so many during his career, is instantly recognizable ... the low-level camera and the lack of camera movement take care of that, even before we get to the plot and realize that once again, Ozu has returned to a story about a family with a daughter at the age to be married. Although the idiosyncratic nature of his style by definition draws attention to itself, Ozu always manages to give a feeling of "real life", as if a static camera suggests a documentary. Throughout, I felt like I was missing something because I wasn't a Japanese viewer in 1962, but rather an American in 2015. The class structure that affects relationships among the characters isn't always clear to me, but it seems to be very clear indeed to the characters. The struggle to be true to that structure means people rarely speak their minds without resorting to allusion. Drinking loosens tongues, though. Some lovely acting here, and this is another must-see for fans of Ozu, even if it isn't quite the masterpiece that is Tokyo Story. #252 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 8/10. A companion film would be Ozu's Late Spring.

My Summer of Love (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2004). Nicely drawn tale of two teenage girls from different backgrounds who come together one summer. Emily Blunt (Tamsin) is properly beautiful as the rich one; Natalie Press (Mona) dresses in a thrown-together manner that befits her casual, working-class status. It's easy to see why Mona is taken with Tamsin, but it doesn't initially play as you might expect. Tamsin seems to have real feelings for Mona, which Mona matches, but Mona is never condescended to. Or so it seems. A series of revelations at the end of the movie show that more was going on with Tamsin than Mona realized. That realization makes the movie a bit more generic, but the buildup, and the interaction between the two actresses, makes their summer of love believable, and thus makes the end of summer surprising. #463 on the TSPDT list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century ... it benefits greatly from the new format that expands the list from 250 to 1000 films. 7/10. If you'd like to create a double-bill, go with Heavenly Creatures.

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