Friday, February 03, 2012

The Wages of Fear

I've missed a few opportunities to write about Vancouver film events lately - hope a few of you got to see Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole last night, or some of the ongoing Tarkovskys (his two final films play the Cinematheque tonight, Nostalghia and The Sacrifice; both were made in exile - in Italy and Sweden, respectively - after Tarkovsky left the Soviet Union. While Nostalghia is one of his more "atypical" films, it makes a great pairing with The Sacrifice, and not just because both films feature Bergman regular Erland Josephson. Actually, The Sacrifice, after Stalker and maybe Ivan's Childhood, would be the film I'd most likely direct Tarkovsky noobs towards; Solaris, despite being the most visible of his films, is actually not so watchable, is the only film of his I've seen that I would count as less than a masterwork).

However, I come not to write of Tarkovsky but to enthuse over the gripping French classic thriller, The Wages of Fear (poster above), also soon to play at the Cinematheque. There was a time when directing people to this film would have been done via a reference to William Friedkin's Sorcerer, which reimagines it - quite cleverly, I think - but that film is not so well-remembered now, so I guess the portal I'll pick will be the presence of director Clouzot's name throughout Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (forgive me if I'm misspelling that incorrectly) - he's one of the filmmakers to feature on the cinema's marquee in that film, I believe in reference to Le Corbeau. Clouzot made several masterful French thrillers - also highly recommend Diabolique - and is a filmmaker who anyone with a taste for films noir should explore. (Diabolique got a particularly shitty and pointless Hollywood remake a few years ago, too - they might as well have just colourized it and dubbed it into English).

I have nothing new to say about any of these films, for those who have already seen them - but for budding Vancouver cinephiles who don't know them, this is a great chance to get out and see'm projected on the screen...

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