Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Roberto Rossellini Retrospective

Museum of Modern Art in New York is holding a full-scale retrospective of the films of Italian director Roberto Rossellini starting from today. Of all his films, I have seen only Open City. I have been looking forward to watching his other films, specially the ones he made with Ingrid Bergman, ever since I saw the Martin Scorsese's documentary about the history of Italian cinema My Voyage to Italy. Scorsese devotes more than half of the documentary just to the films of Rossellini. I had written about the documentary here. If I can get over my melancholy and listlessness (sigh!) I will try to be there this Saturday for Stromboli and Voyage to Italy at least. More details on the MoMA website. Also more details in this excellent post on House Next Door.

By my usual standards I have been watching very few movies these days. Have been busy with Susan Sontag, Thomas Bernhard and WG Sebald (I have already added all three in my favourite authors list on my profile!) and in general feeling tired and totally disinterested in going out in general. Though I wanted to write about Two movies which I saw sometime back which provoked some extreme reactions in me, one very good and the other very bad.

First the good one. Carl Dreyer's Day of Wrath is a brilliant masterpiece, one of the best that I have seen in quite some time. The way he blends an eerie narrative about witchcraft, religious persecution and sexual and emotional self-expression together with his stark and austere visual style, is absolutely masterly and has to be seen to be believed. I was extremly impressed by it, even more than his other famous film The Passion of Joan of Arc, which is the only other film by him that I had seen before. Very highly recommended. Some details about the film here. Though really, you shouldn't be reading it if you haven't seen it, rather you should be running to your nearest DVD library.

Now the bad one. The French film L'Humanite directed by philosophy professor turned filmmaker Bruno Dumont is a vile, repugnant and deeply offensive piece of crap. This film really really rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know what was there exactly which provoked such violent reaction in me but not only I finished the whole film but also saw Dumont's interview which only multiplied my pissedoffness. IMDB link here. See it if you are curious. Contains some extremely graphic sex scenes.

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