Capsule digest #13

Recording dates is kind of pointless on these, isn’t it? This is what I’ve watched since the last time I did one of these.

As has so often happened in the last few years, day to day life has taken precedence: we suddenly found an apartment and moved back to Wilmington in August, leaving Oak Island behind and appreciating our return to a livelier environment more than we could ever have guessed. We love our new place. But moving was hard work and we only got situated enough for movie watching to happen much in the last two weeks or so. I saw the first installment of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe on my phone. But the second, Lovers Rock, was on the TV in our new living room and, well, if it sets the stage for a whole breed of new cinematic experiences in this setting, let’s just say I’m ready!

We did, however, just before getting news of the impending relocation and also just before Delta sent us back into a state of semi-lockdown, make it out to the movies again. We ended up at AMC twice: first for a Juneteenth reissue of Do the Right Thing, which was a wonderful experience (although we were alone for it) and then for the lovely documentary Summer of Soul about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. I hope we do it again before too much longer, but even if we don’t I’m glad we squeezed those moments in. We also managed a single live concert — the Mountain Goats, their first real show in a year and a half, at the Orange Peel in Asheville where I saw Yo La Tengo for the first time nearly twenty years ago — and I’m so grateful to have been able to witness that.

The move, by the way, means that I gain approximately two extra hours of free time a day. The shorter commute has already made an enormous difference in my well-being. Will that affect the blog output? I hope so!

I made virtually no progress on my typical projects this month, gingerly kicking off the AFI 400 without getting much of anywhere. But I did crack open Essential Fellini, and the first results are mixed into the usual capsules below.

Full reviews this cycle: Had I not made a conscious effort to keep such a thing from happening, this would’ve been the first time we had two consecutive capsule updates with no full essays in between. While in the middle of boxing up all of our worldly possessions, I carved out a few hours to revisit and wax on the subject of Dziga Vertov, encountering the immortal Man with a Movie Camera for the second time, and the first on the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray edition (just before packing it!). I’m hoping there will be more long reviews this next cycle — the last film I saw as of this writing, I Vitelloni, certainly deserves a full treatment but my intellectual energy at the moment is pretty well sapped (and what little I’ve conjured up in the entirety of August has been devoted to my n*v*l).

Having said that, I did dedicate myself to a very extensive breakdown of Agnes Varda’s output. More on that below.

Other films seen:
– Relaxed with first-time-on-Blu revisits of North by Northwest, Psycho, Adaptation, The Reckless Moment and The Lady from Shanghai.
– As mentioned above, caught a theatrical screening of the masterpiece Do the Right Thing.
– Returned to second and third viewings respectively of early 2010s faves Winter’s Bone and 127 Hours. Absurdly overrated 127 Hours in my old rankings. I just enjoyed the sense of journey around it so much and it caused me to distort how worthwhile it was as a film, but comparing it to most modern movies I’ve rated highly it just feels rather facile. I still love it but I love it the way I love The Pink Panther or something. I can’t really stand up for it as a work of art. So it knocks out from fortysomething to ninety-something on the 2010s list. And as I try to find its new slot I see all these other little issues in the list that feel wrong to me, but that’s the eternal struggle with this stuff. It’s taken me nearly three years to rewatch everything from the ’10s but that’s fine, I’ll just prepare for the long haul next time and start earlier, if I’m not too obsessed with the silent and Pre-Code eras by then to bother watching anything else.
– Viewed alternate versions of Dementia (the Daughter of Horror recut with Ed McMahon narration, a curio but nothing more) and Parasite (the black & white version, a curio but nothing more, though significantly it doesn’t really dull the film’s impact much if at all).

Non-feature or non-cinema screened:
– My great achievment since 2018 has been that I’ve become better at relaxing (which in my case means thoroughly shutting down the impulses that cause me to relentlessly record and analyze everything), and moreover at forgiving myself for relaxing. But faced with a scenario in which I had no choice but to stay fully in gear for a full month of moving, doubled with the ongoing complication of what has become an all-consuming career rather than just a job (not a complaint), I’ve found it necessary to really cherish the moments in which I’m not obligated to do anything in particular. During the main week of the move, which I had off from work, I didn’t even have time to pick up a book; I generally am able to carve out at least a half-hour or so to read every day, typically longer. But I was braindead during my breaks and recharge periods the first half of this month, and what can I tell you except that I rediscovered the pleasures of Kitchen Nightmares and its hideously kitschy Youtube channel, which is a good way to avoid sitting through the boring redemption sequences on the show so you can enjoy the best parts. Not Gordon Ramsay’s over-the-top meltdowns, but the flood of eccentric and often delusional oddballs who devote themselves to getting their restaurants on TV then seem displeased when they’re put through the wringer of the show’s actual, well-known premise. Nearly every installment has some transcendently hilarious moment. But is it dumb and pointless? Yeah, absolutely.
– The renewed attraction to that show actually happened because it was playing on a 24-hour loop on some TV channel picked up at the cabin where we stayed outside Asheville, in the memorably isolated mountain town of Gerton where we were installed half a mile away from the town of Batcave and a shop called Sam’s Walking Sticks. Out in Asheville, however, we did tourist things for the first time since Memphis in 2019 (still one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited) and what will likely remain the last time for a good while. We made the most of it, checking out — among other things — the Moogseum, a modest but fascinating little number dedicated to the life and work of Robert Moog, inventor of the modern synthesizer. Among the many wonderful, heavily interactive exhibits was this vintage beer commercial which demands your immediate patronage.
– Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of my Beatles discography has led to a few experiences I’m rather surprised I’d never gotten around to having; this month’s example was my first-ever viewing of the first Beatles episode of The Ed Sullivan Show, aired February 9, 1964, in its entirety. Of course I had seen and heard the Beatles’ own performances many times, but I’d never experienced the full context, which I’d always been prepared for as a prime example of how disruptive the band’s sensibilities were to the pop cultural establishment. I wasn’t disappointed. I also wasn’t prepared for just how pathetically unentertaining the rest of the performances were; the most frequently mocked of the other acts, the acrobatic closers Wells & the Four Fays, is actually by far the most enjoyable to watch today, with the rest of the stale comedians (including Frank Gorshin!) and Broadway performers just feeling like they stand a century apart from the Beatles, who despite the passing now of the better part of sixty years still seem fresh and fun, if not quite as exciting and exotic as they were two days later at the Washington Coliseum — George’s stiffness, due to his recovery from a brief illness, is unmistakable, and Paul’s camera-mugging prevents him from ever getting lost in the ruckus of it all. Plus why the hell “Till There Was You”?

Recent Blu-ray releases:
The Complete Films of Agnes Varda (Criterion): I sent my lengthy review of this set to my newsletter subscribers (email me for details) but I will most likely present it here as part of my forthcoming DVD review archive. I’ve yet to decide on the format for that but it will likely be similar to the structure of the Movie Guide. Again, if you’d like to read my expansive thoughts on Varda’s work in the meantime, just contact me and I’ll hook you up. (The newsletter is free. There’s still nobody on god’s green earth who would pay to read my bullshit.)
Love Me Tonight (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): It’s such a thrill to see this on Blu-ray, one of my most anticipated recent releases (which sat around for months while I rooted through Varda’s stuff), that I can almost forgive Miles Kreuger’s surprisingly static audio commentary. Kreuger knew Rouben Mamoulian and Richard Rodgers both personally, but while he occasionally lets slip an interesting anecdote, for the most part he simply narrates the film, which is the dullest response to it I can imagine. It seriously irks me when commentators go quiet over sequences because they want them to play uninterrupted, thus defeating the entire purpose of a scholarly commentary. As with so many classic studio films, this is likely the best treatment Mamoulian’s exuberant musical will ever get, so I’m still grateful.
Dementia (BFI): Never imagined that an HD transfer of this film would ever come into existence, and I was even fairly pleased with the old Kino DVD, but this new restoration goes all out and adds a fine, typically perceptive Kat Ellinger commentary track. (Some don’t like her voice. I could listen to it all day. So much so that I wish I liked more of the sorts of films she tends to talk/write about!) The booklet and artwork are rather disappointing, and it’s a little annoying that the alternate Daughter of Horror cut is presented in standard-def, but I am unlikely to watch that version very often anyway. BFI is good at adding a certain unexpected variety of supplement to their releases, and with very little film-specific material available, they add an experimental short from 1958 by 19 year-old filmmaker Nazli Nour, which unfortunately looks and feels like something a 19 year-old would conjure up, although it’s great that the thing has been unearthed in some context.
Adaptation (Shout! Factory): I had the Sony “Superbit” version of this DVD on my shelf for the better part of twenty years, known for its inclusion of a cryptic post-it claiming that the supplemental features were “coming soon.” Spike Jonze has always been coy about adding context to his films or even granting interviews without some variety of ironic detachment; on the old Being John Malkovich DVD and apparently the more recent Criterion edition, most of the extras are basically satirical jabs at the very notion of extras. But Shout! does unearth something here. As I wrote on Letterboxd: “Don’t dodge the new Blu-ray’s lone extra, a ‘vintage featurette’ which actually consists of two incomprehensible fast-cut minutes of Jonze and Lance Acord shooting the alligator attack sequence while irritating music drones in the background. A gem!” Movie looks good.
Parasite (Criterion): When not distracted by the feeling of nostalgia for the pre-pandemic glory days of late 2019 and early 2020 when we were still regularly going to the movies and this movie won Best Picture and everything seemed like it was about to get really really cool and interesting, I was thoroughly immersed in the package of supplements put together for this film. Bong Joon-ho figures prominently in most of them, but there’s very little overlap in information across all the different interviews and presentations, and the English language commentary in particular is deeply informative and offers a good sense of how strong and deep Bong’s awareness of film history really is. Plus you get one of the more coherent perspectives I’ve seen on how a modern film on this scale is put together. The black & white version of the film is also included; I watched but probably won’t again, but I’m sort of glad to have seen it. And I’m even more glad this extraordinary film, such a phenomenon all around the world, has gotten this kind of treatment from the best label in the business — even if I do slightly feel as if the contents could’ve been slightly more scholarly at times, they mostly strike an ideal balance.
How You Live Your Story: Selected Works by Kevin Jerome Everson (Second Run): An atmospheric collection of films from this experimental artist. They resemble installation works more than films but have a tremendous lived-in quality, focusing on the lives of working class Black folks, mostly in America but occasionally elsewhere. At his best Everson’s camera captures remarkable moments, something akin to the early Edison and Lumiere actualities, except with people typically treated as invisible. From a fireworks display seen from the perspective of two young men to a series of military training exercises to the miracles of camera placement and accidental rhythm in Erie, these films are almost uniformly beautiful and surprisingly affirmative and optimistic in their cumulative effect, despite their unflinching views toward economic anxiety.

I’m now a couple of discs into Essential Fellini, another mammoth Criterion set. Stay tuned for more on that one, probably a couple of capsule digests from now!

***

Thirty new and/or revised capsules follow!

Locke (2013, Steven Knight) [r]
It’s so egregious a White Man’s Burden movie that it manages to feel like a quaint time capsule after just eight years, but this Tom Hardy car phone soliloquy in which he’s the only living thing that appears — about a man racing across England trying to arrange the pouring of concrete, confess infidelity to his wife and rush to an illegitimate baby’s delivery all simultaneously — is still formally intriguing and narratively gripping enough to overlook most of its bone-dry theatricality and its script’s inefficiencies. Great fun, especially if you’re into process and crisis control, but likely won’t retain its excitement on a second viewing.

Michael (2011, Markus Schleinzer)
Well-acted and interesting, but the modern blasé indie ironic detachment thing is an awkward fit with the story of a pedophile with a kid locked up in his basement, especially the attempted black comic moments. It’s at least markedly superior to the American interpretation of the same situation, Room. Its best feature is that its protagonist is never made sympathetic — we watch his life only out of morbid curiosity and a certain thirst for his downfall — and his victim never totally surrenders to powerlessness.

Agnès de ci de la Varda (2011, Agnès Varda) [hr]
This miniseries (English title: From Here to There) encompasses 235 minutes of Varda delving and essaying her way through various travels, visits with artists, curious interactions with people and acts of creation; if any of her guided tours of the universe ever appealed to you, this is the bounty you seek. Each of the five 45-minute episodes — they share a quick introductory sequence, but otherwise are clearly an arbitrary breaking up of a larger whole — serves its purpose in that it leaves you feeling as though you too have traveled to unlikely places with an atypically inquisitive eye.

The Beaches of Agnès (2008, Agnès Varda) [r]
Varda’s attempt at telling her own story runs into a major brick wall: she has no real curiosity or insight about herself comparable to that which she feels and displays for others. But in fairness, the one scene in which her guard appears to be completely down — flowers for all of her dead loved ones — is so devastating and sad that if the rest of the film came even close to its despair it would be nearly impossible to watch.

The Father (2020, Florian Zeller) [r]
I keep wondering if the formal conceit here (you have dementia! what would you do if this happened to you?) is an act of empathy or reprehensible bad taste, but on the whole it’s more interesting and insightful than most filmed treatments of the subject. Anthony Hopkins as the fracturing title figure is fine and Olivia Colman is inevitably terrific, hers being by far the trickier part.

Quo vadis, Aida? (2020, Jasmila Zbanic) [r]
It’s hard to object to any formal aspect of this assaultive drama about a UN translator trying to protect her family during the 1995 Bosnian War; it strikes a well-earned note of outrage and lament. But if it seems cynical to draw lines to other films about chaos and massacre, since it implies that you as an audience member view these tragedies interchangeably, perhaps it’s worth asking whether the repeated tackling of these large-scale murders while striking essentially the same notes portrays to us the limits of cinema as a tool for conveying all this loss, guilt, misery, evil.

Catherine the Great (1934, Paul Czinner) [r]
Though obviously upstaged by Josef von Sternberg’s much more outrageous (and much less historically respectful) masterpiece The Scarlet Empress, released the same year, this breezy British rendering of Catherine’s ascendancy is good trashy fun and similarly playful with the conventions of staid historical biography. Czinner and Georges Périnal’s impressive blocking and cinematography as well as the stunningly elaborate sets help render it fine entertainment, but much of its appeal comes from the excellent performances by Elisabeth Bergner as Catherine and Flora Robson as Empress Elisabeth.

The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934, Paul Czinner): see Catherine the Great

The Private Life of Don Juan (1934, Alexander Korda)
Eye candy of all varieties and Korda’s solid direction are all that rescue this tepid farce from the dustbin. Even though the film’s central joke — that Don Juan resonates more as mythical concept than as a man of flesh and blood — is enhanced by the fact that the legendary cocksman has started to enter a physical decline, making it easy for virile younger counterparts to impersonate him, the egregious miscasting of a run-down Douglas Fairbanks makes the theoretically charming second act and denouement much too obvious. Every time he opens his mouth it’s something of a downer.

Quelques veuves de Noirmoutier (2006, Agnès Varda) [hr]
In the original exhibit, fourteen screens ran simultaneously; in each a widow talked of her late husband’s life and death as well as her own life since his loss. Fourteen corresponding chairs were positioned in the room with headphones, so that you established a kinship with “your” widow while being conscious of the others. Varda was dissatisfied with this more conventional consecutive edit of the interviews, but it’s one of her most probing and humanistic works. As an interviewer and an editor, she is unflinching toward matters of loss and uncovers a breathtaking spectrum of human experience from this small slice of geographic and emotional space.

Varda by Agnès (2019, Agnès Varda) [r]
Varda’s final film is a somewhat redundant victory lap, positioned as a teaching session delving into her philosophies of filmmaking and artistry. It’s pleasant and touching, but you learn more by watching the films that are quoted in this one, even though it does smartly reassert how impressive and eclectic a body of work hers really is.

Cabin in the Sky (1943, Vincente Minnelli) [r]
Minnelli’s debut is an MGM musical with an all-Black cast that slightly improves on the stage show (whose songs were all by white writers) by employing Duke Ellington for an electrifying Busby Berkeley nightclub sequence, but in this story of the push-and-pull of sin and salvation, salvation represented by Ethel Waters singing stilted Vernon Duke numbers and sin by Ellington and his band plus Bubbles Sublett’s terrific dancing, who but the most boring person in the universe would choose salvation? Refreshing as it is to see these legends populate a big-budget Freed production, it’s hopelessly out of touch with the lives and language of real people.

Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938, Henry King) [r]
Totally entertaining if facile musical has Alice Faye unendingly charming as a jazz singer, Tyrone Power stoically dull as her longtime lover and occasional bandleader. The dancing is solid, the classic Irving Berlin songs obviously undeniable — and for a Fox production of this style and era it feels pretty fresh even if it doesn’t amount to all that much artistically. There’s a surprising amount of broad-minded cuckoldry in the script; Don Ameche’s character seems to be the most miraculously well-adjusted jilted lover in screen history.

Cinderella (1950, Hamilton Luske/Wilfred Jackson/Clyde Geronimi) [r]
(Revisit; no change.) Disney’s first proper animated feature since Bambi is a slick production, helped along by strong design work and eye-popping Technicolor, but it’s also soulless by the studio’s own standards. The characterizations are facile, the songs meander, the humor is hollow and easy, and three directors with no common vision for the film can’t make it sing. It’s a long way from Snow White, and much more socially regressive.

Dead End (1937, William Wyler) [hr]
Quintessential ’30s social problem melodrama (and forerunner to Do the Right Thing) with shockingly modern politics, calling out gentrification and police, promoting union rights and painting slum life on the Bowery with grit and slime courtesy of Gregg Toland’s camera. Similarly the good-for-nothing teenagers who populate the film are funny without being cute, violent without being brutish. There’s a certain respect for mundane reality that goes into all this, and it even takes time out to mock newspaper sensationalism. Wyler proves himself one of the premier humanists of American film.

Spicebush (2005, Kevin Jerome Everson) [r]
Quiet, modestly scaled and fragmentary art-documentary examining the values of education and work in working class Black communities. Fuses the verite sensibilities of Frederick Wiseman with the casual poetics of Jem Cohen. Everson’s work is hypnotic in both directions even though the film is structurally long-winded and the early 2000s digital video look is inescapably distracting.

The Island of Saint Matthews (2013, Kevin Jerome Everson) [hr]
Maybe Everson’s hypnotic piecing together of memories of a 1973 flood in Westport, Mississippi won’t mean as much to somebody whose own community hasn’t had a similar reckoning with nature, but it’s just as likely that its ethereal dramatization of the give-and-take between humans and water will rankle anyone on a certain wavelength through its fusion of the idyllic and terrible. All the way, there is a sense of human solidarity like nothing a straightforward documentary would capture, even as it’s so quiet and methodical in its sensibility it seems to be carrying you off in its traces of Southern Gothic.

Tonsler Park (2017, Kevin Jerome Everson) [r]
Stark 16mm photography of a polling place in Charlottesville in 2016. Makes its general point profoundly — the people who ensure that the world works as well as it can are universally unheralded, an observation which carries through to a lot of Everson’s shorter pieces — but then keeps doing it for an hour twenty. It’s just hard to take after a certain point.

Summer of Soul (2021, ?uestlove) [hr]
There are material limits to the resolution that can be gleaned from the videotape records of the Harlem Cultural Festival, a multi-week event spanning the summer of 1969, and limits to the immersion one can achieve with this documentary constructed from them thanks to the regular intrusion of (invariably insightful, and well-chosen) interview segments contextualizing the event. Nevertheless it’s a nearly unrelenting joy, especially on a big screen, and sounds miraculous. Highlights include 19 year-old Stevie Wonder’s clavinet solo, and you could go into convulsive joy at the the Sly & the Family Stone performance by itself.

Erie (2010, Kevin Jerome Everson) [hr]
Everson’s finest and most formally ambitious documentary is an exploration not just of a region and its people — the daily tribulations, frustrations and sometimes relief of largely working class Black citizens around Lake Erie — but of the camera and its multiple languages, especially time, movement and distortion. The film consists of a series of long, usually uninterrupted takes tracking multiple kinds of events of both mundane and miraculous variety. Eventually it reframes your eyes and your mind: what you observe, what is important and “interesting” about it, is altered by the stretching and distortion of time.

The Pilgrim (1923, Charles Chaplin) [hr]
Beats the living shit out of Going My Way, and 84 minutes shorter.

Rembrandt (1936, Alexander Korda) [r]
An admirably subtle script and a delicate performance by Charles Laughton as the troubled Dutch painter, but it remains disappointing that none of the rest of Korda’s historical biopics have the subversive comic energy of his first Laughton vehicle The Private Life of Henry VIII.

Ingmar Bergman: Reflections on Life, Death and Love with Erland Josephson (2000, Stefan Brann)
For a while it’s pretty boring listening to these two windbags prattle on about all the things about their lives that aren’t interesting — mostly, their lousiness and selfishness as fathers, husbands and humans — but then the conversation about death near the end floats in and totally rattles. Such eloquence and beautifully philosophical responses from both men, especially Bergman. And this is parroted in all of the writeups of this minimalist documentary, but Malou von Sivers really is a superb interviewer who knows how to get tough, thoughtful conversation going.

The Freshman (1925, Fred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor) [r]
Entirely too much football in this Harold Lloyd comedy, especially when the movie makes fun of the notion of the triumphant underdog story then completely falls for it, but Jobyna Ralston is incredibly cute and charming as Lloyd’s love interest, a setpiece with a tailor following Harold around stitching his clothes at a party is genuinely inspired, and the film has some of the funniest title cards in any silent comedy, occasionally outpacing the slapstick.

Finding Neverland (2004, Marc Forster)
(Revisit; slight downgrade.) Slick, colorless J.M. Barrie biopic (of sorts), with Johnny Depp sleeping through a performance as the well-loved playwright, is generic and pedestrian in that icky Miramax fashion, making rather polite and perfunctory gestures toward tearjerking (admittedly it is somewhat bracing to imagine Kate Winslet being your mom and telling you she’s proud of you). Barrie seems like a pretty shit husband in the film and it’s annoying that all three excellent actresses get absolutely nothing to do except react to him. Awful music score too.

Variety Lights (1950, Federico Fellini & Alberto Lattuada) [r]
A beautifully shot and even more beautifully cast soap opera of the foibles of a vaudeville troupe, centering specifically on the hapless impresario played by Peppino De Filippo and the jealousies and resentments that ensue when an ambitious, good-looking dancer (Carla Del Poggio) joins up. There are some lingering nods toward neorealism but mostly this is a farce, boasting a couple of excellent scenes but struggling with its frivolity and the directors’ perverse fascination with sheer loutishness.

Fellini: I’m a Born Liar (2002, Damian Pettigrew)
A cinephile-targeted tribute to Fellini that flails in too many directions — postmortem reflection, behind-the-scenes documentary, highlight reel, ethereal footage of iconic spaces — to really delve into anything helpfully, at least for the neophyte viewer. Fellini’s own talking head segments date from too far past his prime to feel especially insightful or self-critical, apart from some interesting takes on why total artistic freedom is finally a hindrance. Terence Stamp’s description of the first English language direction he received from Fellini is a truly sublime moment of absurd vulgarity from which I may never fully recover, though.

Mangrove (2020, Steve McQueen) [r]
The first installment in McQueen’s is-it-a-TV-show-or-a-series-of-films hybrid Small Axe is the story of the legal battles facing London’s legendary West Indian Mangrove restaurant. It’s powerfully acted and fascinating, but it’s written and directed in the formalist manner of, well, a TV show. McQueen’s only moment of real audacity comes when he lets Shaun Parkes explode in a solo scene of primal anger two thirds in. Terrific soundtrack of course.

Lovers Rock (2020, Steve McQueen) [hr]
McQueen’s second Small Axe film, about a sweltering night of DJing and dancing, is heartfelt, exuberant and infectious in every conceivable fashion, one of the best films ever made about the pure joy of hearing and responding to music. Everything’s here: the expressions of recognition when the right cue drops. The myriad unspoken dramas that play out within and around a dance floor. The erotic, feverish, intoxicating weight of this kind of a night. It’s about West Indian culture in London but it’s also about, as the dedication says, lovers and rockers. Perhaps no film has ever engendered such an urge to leave, to bust out, to live.

The White Sheik (1952, Federico Fellini) [hr]
Fellini’s first solo feature is a surprisingly hard-edged romance farce, undercutting the sentimentalism promised by its premise: a young newlywed woman sneaks away from her dullard husband during their painstakingly over-planned Rome honeymoon to meet the Z-grade celebrity of her dreams, only to get whisked away longer than she anticipated in a whirlwind that shatters a number of illusions. Fellini parallels the couple’s dual quests — husband trying to save face around his religious family, wife learning the hard way that savage male cruelty is all but universal — and wraps it all up with delicious, almost Buñuelian cynicism.

I Vitelloni (1953, Federico Fellini) [hr]
(Revisit; no change — well, to the grade, anyway.) A lyrical portrait of anti-nostalgia, tracking a group of working class man-children as they bumble in and out of relationships and gradually become more and more of a burden to those around them and, in a sense, to the coastal town in which they live. Timeless and heartbreaking in its depiction of utter stagnation; and there’s absolutely no way can it speak as much to a young person as it does to someone who’s already watched a number of ships sail away.

***

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