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2023

Infinity Pool 2023

Still from Infinity Pool

Cornbread, Earl and Me 1975

Weird tensions present here, where the police are candidly presented as engaging in blackmail, framing, and a broader cover-up in order to protect their own, BUT ALSO the cops learn a lesson in the end.

There’s also an emphasis on Cornbread being “one of the good ones” in a way that I ascribe, perhaps naively, to the time. Would Cornbread’s life have been worth less if he was in fact “unemployed”, as the coroner insists on calling him, despite being a student? Though perhaps it’s a demonstration that even the most unimpeachable are still as likely to be smeared by those in power.

Still from Cornbread, Earl and Me

The Killing Floor 1984

Still from The Killing Floor

살인의 추억 Memories of Murder (2003)

Still from Memories of Murder

タンポポ Tampopo (1985)

Still from Tampopo

Possessor Uncut 2020

Still from Possessor Uncut

Skinamarink 2023

As a sequence of (largely) still images, this is quite lovely. There’s an hourglass-like composition that the film returns to often that I thought powerful, and the legos photograph well. This captures the shifting, uncertain form that items take late at night in the dark.

As an object of thematic or narrative meaning, it didn’t work for me. The ideas never cohere into much. They’re also too few in number and depth to carry 100 minutes.

Even so, I would have respected this as a piece of visual art if not for the jump scares. They cheapen the quiet tension, and reveal how bereft of real horror the film is.

Still from Skinamarink

Cooley High 1975

Still from Cooley High

Low Tide: DLC 2022

Pusong Bato Stone Heart (2014)

Spencer Bell, Nobody Knows My Name 2021

Thomasine & Bushrod 1974

Still from Thomasine & Bushrod

Intermittent Delight 2007

Tea 4 Two 2006

離騷幻覺-序 Dragon's Delusion : Preface (2020)

The Spook Who Sat by the Door 1973

Didacticism gets a bad rap. There’s something nice about watching this, and being knowingly preached at. I am the choir and I love it! What hurts, if anything, is that it’s been 50 years, and so much of the messaging in activist/revolutionary corners is the same, because so many of these problems have gotten worse.

It’s alien seeing police equipped with less for a riot than I now see for a protest. To imagine a world where I’m not on multiple continuous feed cameras at all times when in a public space.

Still from The Spook Who Sat by the Door

Aftersun 2022

Still from Aftersun

Mass of Images 1978

Dindo 2014

Ajube Kete 2005

Cotton Comes to Harlem 1970

Still from Cotton Comes to Harlem

Shots in the Dark with David Godlis 2020

Super Fly 1972

Interesting to compare to Shaft, which has far more interest in solidarity and collective action. This is brutally individualistic.

The best part was easily the montage (cinematically) of montage (photographically). Of course Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack is astounding in isolation, but even more as the voice of the film’s narrator.

Still from Super Fly

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One 1968

There are some (like Justin Simien) who seem eager to ascribe a mastermind-like brilliance to Greaves that I think is unfounded. This film seems to show more than anything the role of serendipity in making great art. And rather than detracting from his accomplishments, Greaves’s manufacturing of serendipity, of making it to see what it is, is exhilirating to watch unfold. The emergent qualities of the film are the message, and a reading of overriding intent undercuts the revolutionary aspirations of documenting organic self-organization in miniature.

Still from Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

Shaft 1971

Still from Shaft

Bus Nut 2014

Is That Black Enough for You?!? 2022

Watched in preparation for Spike Lee’s Artist of the Year run, mostly to set context for the late 60s and through the 70s.

Still from Is That Black Enough for You?!?