Monday, November 09, 2009

Movie marathons at the Cinematheque

Ambitious cinephiles of Vancouver should be aware of two movie marathons upcoming at the Cinematheque. I wrote about The Human Condition here, though really I'd recommend Glenn Erickson's review over mine, since it's much more thorough; I still haven't made it through the second two films. The Human Condition is ten hours long and will screen over the whole of Remembrance Day, suiting its anti-war, anti-military themes. (People interested in an equally exceptional but not so daunting film experience that day are also directed to Terence Malick's The Thin Red Line at the Vancity, one of the most poetic and philosophical films ever made about war and surely one of the greatest works of cinema of the 1990's, playing in a 35mm print). People interested in the other side of the Japanese experience of WWII are directed to the James Clavell version of the Japanese internment in BC (!), The Sweet And The Bitter, presented by Michael Turner, at the Cinematheque on December 10th.

A very different kind of cinematic marathon will occur on Sunday the 15th, with Matthew Barney's whole Cremaster cycle playing (official site here). Having seen none of the Cremaster films, I am a tad skeptical: critical response to Cremaster seems to polarize. Christopher Null of - chosen as a random sample of a negative review off Rottentomatoes - calls Barney's work "pretentious nonsense, taken to its embarassing extreme in an attempt to pose as a legitimate movie;" Anton Bitel of Movie Gazette - who gives an overview of the whole cycle - calls the Cremaster movies a thing of "rare beauty and great wonder, making a unique viewing experience that is not easily forgotten" (though he also counsels patience). I am entirely uncertain what my response will be; the stills I've seen certainly seem striking, but I am not always a particularly patient viewer... Sunday seems like a good day to try it on.

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