stvs.tv/movie-diary/

2021

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings 1976

Still from The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings

牛皮 Oxhide (2005)

2046 2004

If possible, I pick images for this diary that’re evocative of the movie as a whole. Here, I just really liked the juxtaposition with the Chungking Express frame below, and how it emphasizes the doubling inherent to 2046’s characters.

Still from 2046

重慶森林 Chungking Express (1994)

Watched the 2021 restoration (with the weird credits) in theater.

All I wanted was to hear California Dreamin’ played at too loud a volume. Too bad it was balanced to be reasonable.

Still from Chungking Express

Buyer Walker Rover (Yiwu) Aka. There then 2019

Still from Buyer Walker Rover (Yiwu) Aka. There then

Drop Dead Gorgeous 1999

Still from Drop Dead Gorgeous

Never Rarely Sometimes Always 2020

Still from Never Rarely Sometimes Always

縱橫四海 Once a Thief (1991)

Woo is haunted by A Better Tomorrow’s Mark. Revived, then referred to as a known fictional character, and now found rolling across a kitchen on a skateboard. Mark is too fun of a character to not see his echoes everywhere.

Still from Once a Thief

Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage 2019

Still from Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage

@In the Mood for Love 2001

How do I watch this movie of Tony and Maggie cooking and dancing?

花樣的年華 Years Like Flowers (2001)

花樣年華 In the Mood for Love (2000)

Watched the 2012 Criterion version

Still from In the Mood for Love

T 2019

So good I had to watch it a second time. I sometimes get discouraged after watching several middling shorts, wondering if I’ll find something as good as my favorite feature length works. This is does that.

Still from T

T 2019

Still from T

喋血街頭 Bullet in the Head (1990)

Still from Bullet in the Head

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 2021

Black Panther had years of revision and redefinition to elevate it out of “a white fantasy of blackness”. Shang-chi as a character is much earlier in that journey out of yellow peril exploitation.

Still from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

1968 < 2018 > 2068 2018

Blue Collar 1978

Still from Blue Collar

Blue Velvet 1986

Still from Blue Velvet

The Card Counter 2021

Still from The Card Counter

シン・エヴァンゲリオン劇場版:|| Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time (2021)

On a literal narrative level, this whole series is Kabbalistic word salad and is not really deserving of deep inspection. Where the series is special is its revisions, and how the differences between them help triangulate Anno’s mental and emotional state during their creation. It gives us the opportunity to hold some things constant, to permit a glance into his heart in a way lots of singular pieces of art can’t.

Still from Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:Q Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (2012)

Still from Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:破 Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (2009)

There’s an noteworthy transmedia trick going on here. This movie is quite light on characterization, possibly due to the assumption that the TV show has already done the work of defining the characters, and the Rebuild movies can just focus on what’s distinct. Similar to the way Marvel movies can avoid introducing characters/stories because the viewer is assumed to already know, or to imbue it with prestige for dedicated fans who seek it out.

Still from Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance

スパイの妻 Wife of a Spy (2020)

Still from Wife of a Spy

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls 1970

Still from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

ロビンソンの庭 Robinson's Garden (1987)

Still from Robinson's Garden

Thief 1981

Saw it on 35mm. Thought throughout: “this is really blue”. Got home and stumbled upon the hubbub around restoration broadly and the allegedly revisionist coloring of the latest release. I guess they’re wrong?

Still from Thief

彼女来来 Mari and Mari (2021)

Still from Mari and Mari

ZONA 2021

Candyman 2021

Works best as a story of an artist summoning a spirit to enact vengeance upon a vicious art world. It never actually tells that story, but one can squint and see it for a brief moment.

Still from Candyman

Manhatta 1921

An idea I’ve been thinking about for a while is the notion that while we may think of places “in the wide”, our experience of them, by virtue of scale, is wholly dominated by details, and the best avenue for evoking a location is not in a wide shot that captures, say, the whole skyline, but by an assemblage of specific views that in sum capture that place’s essence (potentially without even containing its landmarks).

All that to say, this resonated in a similar way as The Joy of Life.

Still from Manhatta

Reflective Notes (Reconfiguration) 2021

サマーフィルムにのって It's a Summer Film! (2021)

Still from It's a Summer Film!

二重のまち/交代地のうたを編む Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions (2021)

I was first introduced to Rikuzentakata in Kamome when NBC aired it during the Olympics. While that story had a great hook, hearing directly from the survivors in this felt far more pressing.

Relatedly, the documentary explores the limits of telling a story on behalf of another, and the way that our retellings (or our recollections) of stories are malleable. The intertwined fiction gestures towards the idea that fiction can accurately convey the emotional truth of a story in a way that conveying a comprehensive factual truth might be infeasible.

School Radio to Major Tom 2021

Still from School Radio to Major Tom

夢みるように眠りたい To Sleep So as to Dream (1986)

Still from To Sleep So as to Dream

ヒルコ/妖怪ハンター Hiruko the Goblin (1991)

The action felt stuck in the past perfect. A tool had been invented. A discovery had been made. A child had been killed. We rarely witness events, instead just seeing their consequences. Presumably there’s something interesting happening just off screen.

Still from Hiruko the Goblin

Perpetual Spawning 2018

全員切腹 Go Seppuku Yourselves (2021)

いとみち Ito (2021)

Still from Ito

June 4, 2020 2021

義膽群英 Just Heroes (1989)

Having characters in your film talk about being fans of the movie you made 3 years ago is a bold move.

Still from Just Heroes

Unfriended 2015

Still from Unfriended

Old 2021

Still from Old

龍虎風雲 City on Fire (1987)

Still from City on Fire

Friday the 13th 1980

Watched as part of a horror film club

Still from Friday the 13th

Hella Trees 2020

CatCam 2012

The Green Knight 2021

Still from The Green Knight

花筐 Hanagatami (2017)

Still from Hanagatami

Lu tempu di li pisci spata The Age of Swordfish (1955)

Still from The Age of Swordfish

夜は短し歩けよ乙女 Night Is Short, Walk On Girl (2017)

Rewatched as part of a film club.

Kind of fortuitous to watch it so soon after Seven Weeks, given both films’ fixation on the manifestation of connections betwen people, and the power of personal histories embedded in used books.

Still from Night Is Short, Walk On Girl

野のなななのか Seven Weeks (2014)

Still from Seven Weeks

Kamome 2020

TOKYO! Tokyo! (2008)

Could have done without Carax’s segment. Rewatched Gondry’s segment multiple times because it was that good.

あたしがあたしの好きな事をやって自分の存在を定義できるじゃないの?

I actually loved Hiroko’s stance on ambition vs hobby, and the ending reads as a different kind of tragedy to me than what was intended.

Still from Tokyo!

Les Diaboliques Diabolique (1955)

Watched as part of a horror film club

Still from Diabolique

Frogs 1972

Still from Frogs

It's Such a Beautiful Day 2012

Didn’t finish. I tried three times, but I couldn’t get through it. Whatever poignancy exists at the end, which I’ve read plenty about, couldn’t motivate me enough to plod through the early-2000s-internet-esque mean spirited & non sequitur laden humor that’s layered on top of everything.

Still from It's Such a Beautiful Day

喋血雙雄 The Killer (1989)

Still from The Killer

魔女の宅急便 Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

Still from Kiki's Delivery Service

Les Sorcières de l’Orient The Witches of the Orient (2021)

Still from The Witches of the Orient

この空の花 長岡花火物語 Casting Blossoms to the Sky (2012)

Obayashi’s didactic approach works well for me, as does his situating of the fiction as a thread through multiple specific moments of history. The blurring of those boundaries, as when an actress’s photo is placed inside a real war memorial, can be discomforting in moments, but I have enough faith in Obayashi’s compassion for these people’s stories to tell them faithfully.

The video quality of the Japan Society stream tanked when trying to compress the play scenes, reminding me of what we’ve lost with today’s streaming technology.

Still from Casting Blossoms to the Sky

五毒 The Five Venoms (1978)

Still from The Five Venoms

The Ox-Bow Incident 1943

Still from The Ox-Bow Incident

音楽 On-Gaku: Our Sound (2020)

Rewatched in theaters to better spend some time with it as pure showcase of animation. Glad I saw The Tale of Princess Kaguya first, since the running away scene might have hit a little less hard if I’d seen the same kind of technique (used less powerfully) here.

Still from On-Gaku: Our Sound

The Virgin Suicides 1999

Still from The Virgin Suicides

Lick the Star 1998

Preshow short before The Virgin Suicides.

Still from Lick the Star

Lake Mungo 2009

The first movie that scared me in years.

The cinematographer shared some fun details about the film.

Still from Lake Mungo

Independence Day 1996

Still from Independence Day

Multiple Maniacs 1970

Still from Multiple Maniacs

Mating Games 2017

Mr. Yellow Sweatshirt 2017

Ping-Pong 1974

Subject to Review 2019

Still from Subject to Review

The Doom Generation 1995

Watched in 35mm from someone’s personal collection. Shown at the Balboa Theater.

Still from The Doom Generation

英雄本色2 A Better Tomorrow II (1987)

Still from A Better Tomorrow II

Perfect Fifths 2020

Censor 2021

Still from Censor

野火 Fires on the Plain (2014)

Interesting in its contrast to the 1959 version. The more subjective camera here ends up lessening the impact of a number of significant moments, such as the strafing scene.

Tony Rayns described the 1959 version as free of ideology, which is nonsense. Rather, it used an objective, austere, clean image to precisely depict the debasement of humanity in war. This version loses that with its change in visual language.

Still from Fires on the Plain

皇家師姐 Yes, Madam! (1985)

Still from Yes, Madam!

野火 Fires on the Plain (1959)

Still from Fires on the Plain

No Maps on My Taps 1979

Still from No Maps on My Taps

ゆきゆきて、神軍 The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987)

Still from The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On

I ran from it and was still in it 2021

The Crazies 1973

Still from The Crazies

The Fall 2019

Still from The Fall

Soul 2020

Watched for a film club

Still from Soul

News from Home 1977

Watched on what would have been Akerman’s 71st birthday. I’d read so much about it in reference to Jenni Olson’s work, but found it significantly different, especially in the portrayal of motion. Basically every shot in the subway was breathtaking.

Still from News from Home

Dawn of the Dead 1978

Watched for a horror film club.

I’d heard a fair amount about the critique of consumerism in the film, but that didn’t really land. Instead, especially after the intervening 40+ years of disaster and post-apocalyptic media, I saw a lot in here about the seductive narrative of the apocalypse. The group is never really happier than when they’re striving for their basic needs. Never unhappier than when those needs are met and the hard work of living resumes.

Still from Dawn of the Dead

英雄本色 A Better Tomorrow (1986)

A startling stylistic leap from Heroes Shed No Tears. I expected to see a more gradual discovery of style.

Still from A Better Tomorrow

Fairy Tales 2015

극장전 Tale of Cinema (2005)

Still from Tale of Cinema

リンダ リンダ リンダ Linda Linda Linda (2005)

Still from Linda Linda Linda

三枪拍案惊奇 A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009)

A reimagining of Blood Simple.

The closing shot captures my problems with this. Adherence to individual shots and scenes, but deviating in so much of the connective tissue that it’s lost all thematic coherence.

Still from A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

The Last Angel of History 1996

Still from The Last Angel of History

Blood Simple 1984

Still from Blood Simple

The Story of a Three-Day Pass 1968

I hadn’t been to a theater in 14 months. Exiting the Roxie was such a time warp that I was halfway home before I realized I was walking to the apartment I’d moved out of a year ago.

As for the movie, it was exciting seeing the likely inspiration for Spike Lee’s double dolly shot.

Still from The Story of a Three-Day Pass

英雄無淚 Heroes Shed No Tears (1986)

Still from Heroes Shed No Tears

海上浮城 Dead Pigs (2018)

Still from Dead Pigs

April 2020 Paris 2020

Death Proof 2007

Still from Death Proof

Meek's Cutoff 2010

Still from Meek's Cutoff

菊とギロチン The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine (2018)

Still from The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine

The Thing 1982

Still from The Thing

In Nomine Patris 2019

Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore 1998

Still from Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore

Releasing Human Energies 2012

To the Happy Few 2003

Girls on Film 2006

The Wild Bunch 1969

Rewatched for the first time as an adult; this time through the lens of John Woo.

Was disappointed with the handling of codes and principles. There’s clearly tension around duty, obligation, and betrayal, but the main characters have a non-self-aware inconsistency in their application of those principles that it’s hard to take the transformation at the end seriously.

The editing in the action sequences is stunning, rapidly stiching together multiple parallel sequences of simultaneous action. Best exemplified by the onset and conclusion of multiple gun fights in the time it takes a body to fall from a roof.

Still from The Wild Bunch

八彩林亞珍 Plain Jane to the Rescue (1982)

The slapstick stuff doesn’t do much for me, but there’s a comedy of desperation throughout that’s biting and quite good. The tunnel scene alone, of people recognizing their power having stopped the machine of the city, and extracting mahjongg/pop concerts/free tunnel tolls for life is a particularly fun power fantasy to see on screen.

Still from Plain Jane to the Rescue

575 Castro St. 2009

Still from 575 Castro St.

Curve 2016

Still from Curve

Rush Hour 1998

Still from Rush Hour

Minari 2020

Still from Minari

This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection 2019

Still from This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

摩登天師 To Hell with the Devil (1982)

Still from To Hell with the Devil

Sergeant Rutledge 1960

Still from Sergeant Rutledge

Sound of Metal 2020

Rewatched for a film club

Still from Sound of Metal

重慶森林 Chungking Express (1994)

Rewatched with commentary by Tony Rayns, which I don’t recommend

Still from Chungking Express

Salt of the Earth 1954

Still from Salt of the Earth

重慶森林 Chungking Express (1994)

2008 Criterion version

Still from Chungking Express

Space Is the Place 1974

Still from Space Is the Place

錢作怪 From Riches to Rags (1980)

Has exactly two good jokes in it, and they’re subtle enough that they might not have even been intentional.

Still from From Riches to Rags

来访 Visit (2020)

Still from Visit

Wendy and Lucy 2008

Still from Wendy and Lucy

空山靈雨 Raining in the Mountain (1979)

Still from Raining in the Mountain

Shutter Island 2010

Still from Shutter Island

豪俠 Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)

Still from Last Hurrah for Chivalry

Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears 2020

Still from Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

Bamboozled 2000

Rewatched with commentary by Spike Lee

Still from Bamboozled

Bamboozled 2000

The pre-credits montage is one of the most affecting few minutes of a film I’ve seen. Even without the preceding two hours, it’s a hell of an indictment of (then) 100 years of film history. With it, it’s also an empathetic remembrance of the black performers and talents featured in it.

I’d rather play a maid […] than be a maid
— Hattie McDaniel
Still from Bamboozled

Der fliegende Koffer The Flying Koffer (1921)

Still from The Flying Koffer

Old Joy 2007

Still from Old Joy

National Treasure 2004

Still from National Treasure

馬永貞 The Boxer from Shantung (1972)

Still from The Boxer from Shantung

獨臂刀王 Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969)

Still from Return of the One-Armed Swordsman

Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary 2019

Still from Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary

Galaxy Quest 1999

Still from Galaxy Quest

Music Palace 2005

阮玲玉 Center Stage (1991)

Still from Center Stage

報仇 Vengeance! (1970)

This isn’t a martial arts movie, it’s a stabbing movie. The fight scenes are scrappy and scummy in a way that feels at least a decade ahead of its time, if not more.

Still from Vengeance!

반칙왕 The Foul King (2000)

Still from The Foul King

少林門 Hand of Death (1976)

Still from Hand of Death

친절한 금자씨 Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

Still from Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

조용한 가족 The Quiet Family (1998)

Still from The Quiet Family

La nuit des rois Night of the Kings (2021)

Still from Night of the Kings

Riot in Cell Block 11 1954

Rewatched with commentary by Matthew H. Bernstein

Still from Riot in Cell Block 11

Riot in Cell Block 11 1954

Still from Riot in Cell Block 11

The Lost Okoroshi 2019

I missed this at TIFF in 2019, so was glad to see Netflix had picked it up.

Still from The Lost Okoroshi

帝女花 Princess Chang-Ping (1976)

Still from Princess Chang-Ping

鈴木家の嘘 Lying to Mom (2018)

Still from Lying to Mom

2つ目の窓 Still the Water (2014)

Still from Still the Water

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai 1999

My father and I watched this a long while ago, closer to its release. Rewatched again with my father, partly in celebration of my parents getting their COVID vaccine.

Still from Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

空気人形 Air Doll (2009)

Still from Air Doll

百万円と苦虫女 One Million Yen Girl (2008)

Still from One Million Yen Girl

告白 Confessions (2010)

Still from Confessions

エッシャー通りの赤いポスト Red Post on Escher Street (2020)

It was nice returning to Sono’s work after a year long break.

While this is getting a lot of comparisons to Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, I think the more interesting comparison is to Bad Film. In 2012, when it was finally released, it already represented the same gesture to a past film-making life that the character Kobayashi is seeking. The final minutes of this, too, echo the activities of Tokyo GAGAGA, the anarchist art collective Sono belonged to who served as Bad Film’s cast.

Still from Red Post on Escher Street

さくらん Sakuran (2006)

Still from Sakuran

ゆれる Sway (2006)

Still from Sway

Cinderella 1997

Still from Cinderella

アカルイミライ Bright Future (2003)

Still from Bright Future

バーバー吉野 Yoshino's Barber Shop (2004)

Still from Yoshino's Barber Shop

ジョゼと虎と魚たち Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (2003)

Still from Josee, the Tiger and the Fish

たそがれ清兵衛 The Twilight Samurai (2002)

Still from The Twilight Samurai

Mamma Mia! 2008

Still from Mamma Mia!

ハッシュ! Hush! (2001)

There’s a scene where a character ignores, and then gently apologizes to his partner for not listening. I can’t easily recall a film that displays the routine frictions between partners like this. It lends a genuine foundation to their relationship that so many on-screen romances lack.

Still from Hush!

The Chicken 2020

モリのいる場所 Mori, The Artist's Habitat (2018)

Still from Mori, The Artist's Habitat

Streetwise 1984

Still from Streetwise

合氣道 Hapkido (1972)

Still from Hapkido

Barbarella 1968

Still from Barbarella

女子跆拳群英會 The Dragon Tamers (1975)

Watched with pretty janky subtitles. Rarely incomprehensible, one could always feels the texture of Mandarin grammar beneath the English words. When so much of modern media is made easy to access, there was something nostalgic and exhilirating about watching something endearingly bootlegged.

Still from The Dragon Tamers

L'Année dernière à Marienbad Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

Still from Last Year at Marienbad

Passenger 57 1992

Still from Passenger 57

獨臂刀 The One-Armed Swordsman (1967)

Still from The One-Armed Swordsman

鐵漢柔情 The Young Dragons (1975)

Still from The Young Dragons

City of Gold 1957

This short doc was mentioned in Dawson City: Frozen Time. It was nice to see more time dedicated to Hegg’s photos.

Still from City of Gold

Dawson City: Frozen Time 2017

Still from Dawson City: Frozen Time