The best film of the year might not be Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. In fact, it might not even be 90 minutes long.
The best film of the year might just be Destino, the long awaited finalization of the original collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali.
Using a seamless combination of CGI and traditional hand drawn animation, the animators of Disney's Paris studio have created something of bewildering beauty and unrivaled maturity.
In a mere five minutes, in this surreal story of two characters, I saw more pure aesthetic beauty and truth of the human condition than in most of the films I have seen here. The film's subject is desire, imagination, images and struggle. In ballet like grace, a woman, who connects herself with the shadow of a bell, becomes enraptured with a man, who emerges from rock. In the dance, they struggle with both imagery.
Destino does more than simply dazzle with its images - it imbues them with real meaning. As if that wasn't enough, it goes a step further, and adds new to dimension to Dali's entire collected works. I will never look at a Dali painting in quite the same way after watching this short film.
The animated short is an old and prestigious form. From Winsor McKay's first sketchs (which are remarkably good) to modern revelations such as "The Man Who Planted Trees", the animated short has pressed animation further, and provided audiences with stories worthy of telling and retelling. Destino continues in this fine tradition admirably. Being lucky enough to watch this on the big screen is an experience I will treasure forever.
Cool movies. I was sort of apprehensive to watch Amadeus because the film has been hyped up to an Nth degree, but I actually quite liked it, even if the acting was a bit touch and go, and there were some scenes that seemed superfluous. But I mean, with music this great, and a really strong visual element as well, the acting doesn't have to be THAT great. The villain was interesting, and sort of in the Frollo-mold of the zealot burdened by obsessive chastity.
It really explores the theme of professional jealousy expertly. Not as good as Election though, in that regard.
Don Juan deMarco... well, I liked how it falls into the modern fantasy/reality twist of modern movies and books. This structure occurs when, in the end of the film or book, a twist is made which elaborates on the way we describe the world around us with fantasy. As such, comparisons to the book "The Life of Pi" and the film "Big Fish" are only natural. In Big Fish, the son understands the reality of the father by constructing a fantastical intepretation of his own reality: similar events occur in "Don Juan" and "The Life of Pi".
Cool stuff, that I really dig up as a writer. Be warned, however: not a movie for those who hate romance of the unabashed sort.
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A sunny day in the Mountains - Dr. Johannes Krafft is out mountaineering with his lovely wife and a mountain guide. In his youthful exuberance, he looks up at the mountain that stand before him and laughs.
And like a furious and vengeful Greek God, the mountain strikes him and his life down. As his wife is standing next to a crevasse, peering down into it, an avalanche begins. In the ensuing chaos, the rope which connects her to safety is cut, she falls into the terrible deep, and Johannes clutches the end of the rope with force.
This is a film of primal, operatic power. The plot is threadbare - the entire story could be summarized quickly, with little loss of important events, but the plot is hardly the point of the film. What Pabst and Franck accomplished in their two hour mountain epic was to create a poem of beautiful horror. To combine the elements of wind and water, moving from Winter into Spring, and to express to us, the audience, what a mountain truly means, and to place us firmly in the shoes of those victimized by its terrible beauty. Terrible beauty: a dead man lies sprawled over an ice bridge. As searchers approach, the light shines through the ice, but not through the man's body, crisply showing us the fact of his death in combination with the grace of the piece of ice upon which he rests.
Some of the cinematography present is as beautiful and stirring as anything in cinema itself. The film takes a few moments just to show us the textures of things, cinematically interesting surfaces and movements. There are images, many of them having to do with clouds, that have nothing really to do with the matter of the plot, and yet no single frame ought to be taken away, for they support our experience of entering the world completely and wholely. There is some 'filler', sure. But the film can hardly faulted for not constantly hitting the giddy heights it occasionally reaches. Fanck and Pabst take us to a high realm of cinema, and if they slip a few times, they can hardly be faulted. As this film shows us, climbing is a dangerous occupation.
It's best to forget that Leni Riefenstahl is the female lead, in order to enjoy the film more purely. And then, afterwards, remember that she must have surely seen the film, and been inspired by it, to some degree.[/size][/font][/size][/font]
Gosh, what an absolute gem of a film! I have to admit, I felt like blubbering, twas so sad. Throughout the first half I was thinking "this movie seems like it was made for Mara" but by the second half it had turned into one of those "this movie feels like it was made for me" films.
The photography is absolutely flawless. I could point a dozen examples where the photography directly supports the narrative, not the simple point-and-shoot style of other modern films that have lots of mise-en-scene to distract from the lack of thought (lord of the rings, I'm looking at you). But that's too tangential.
For example, in one scene, the DP establishes the geometry of the scene using vertical and horizontal lines - this establishes calm and peace... an orderly world. This then cuts to the invasion of the medical problems of the film. What is used then are diagonal shots that cut across the screen. The objects split our vision in half, and the world of Jack Lewis begins to feel cut in half as well.
This is really a remarkable film. I really love a good tale of buried emotions. No one does it quite like Anthony Hopkins, I suppose. Also, the film keeps the authors work at a very comfortable distance. There's a metaphor made between the magic of the novels and the faith of real life, but its not a point hammered on, and it sits just to the side. I can only imagine the gaucheness of a film like Finding Neverland tackling a similar metaphor. I'm willing to bet they're more literal.