Skip to main content

SIFF 2009, Day 23

June 13, 2009

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) Dir. Sergio Leone

From Blogger
Every year, SIFF shows a few newly restored archival prints and I never attend these. I don't know why, but when I saw Once Upon a Time in the West had a screening, I had to see it on the big screen. Like a lot of people my age, I once claimed to not like westerns, but my reason was a little different then most. I was raised on westerns. My mother used to watch movies non-stop when I was a kid, burning through VCRs. And most of the movies were westerns. She even used to write fan fiction that was western in setting. So when I would say, "I HATE westerns", what I meant was that I was sick and tired of old episodes of Rawhide, Roy Rogers, and most of the John Wayne library. Just like any genre, there are amazing Westerns out there and most of my favorites are Sergio Leone's films.

What I find strange, is that I had never seen Once Upon a Time in the West as a child. Which is really a shame, because it means that my mother isn't a fan of this film. I noticed something during this viewing. This film has clear cut heroes and villians. I didn't think that happened in Leone's films. And not only are there good guys and bad guys, but Harmonica (Charles Bronson) wears white and Frank (Henry Fonda) wears black.

The other thing that I really enjoyed about Once Upon a Time in the West as I had forgotten how funny the opening is, specifically Jack Elam waiting for the train. It's just a great scene, watching a group of gunslingin' thugs wait. And you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueeDdrBnV2M

The Clone Returns Home (2008) Dir. Kanji Nakajima

From Blogger

The other movie we saw was the Japanese science fiction, The Clone Returns Home. This could have been a great film. It looked amazing, shrouded in white for much of the film, I was reminded of Macintosh advertisements. And the ideas embodied in the story are quite profound, asking us to think about questions of life and death and the nature of the soul.

Set in a near future, human cloning has been perfected allowing for the recently deceased astronaut Kohei (Mitsuhiro Oikawa) to be cloned and his memories to be implanted. This clone however is defective and has only the haunting memories of his childhood, when his twin brother died. The clone attempt to return to his childhood home and along the way, finds the body of Kohei in an astronaut suit. He mistakes him for the body of his brother and he continues on his journey carrying the body.

As I said, the imagry is incredible, but there is something lacking in the storytelling. Maybe director Kanji Nakajima relies too heavily on the imagry for the storytelling, because while the elements are there to explore the nature of the soul, it doesn't provide a compelling enough narrative to keep the audience involved. In otherwords, The Clone Returns Home was slow and didn't manage to go much of anywhere.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Horror?

From Blogger I apparently have no clue what a horror movie is. Or at least, when the challenge rolls around and I take the leap and attempt to watch 31 horror movies, I suddenly feel as if I have no idea what that means. There are times when it is obvious that a movie is horror; Friday the 13th, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre . Once I dive into the challenge, I begin to question whether the movies I'm seeing really count. This year, I've seen Buried, Carrie, Clean, Shaven, Nosferatu (1922), Scanners, Sisters , and I sell the Dead . Nate protested Sisters, saying DePalma's movie about a pair of disturbed Siamese twins isn't a horror movie. And he has a point, but how is one supposed to choose movies without having seen them before to really know whether they are horror? Especially since I'm only using the challenge to catch up on movies that I should see because they are classics and to re-watch a few others that need to be revisited. But picking the

My attempt at Filmspotting's Top 5 List

I just finished listening to Filmspotting podcast, episode #296, and I've been inspired to begin a small project. My concept of great cinema has changed now that I live in a place with so many choices. When I lived in Anchorage, I primarily saw movies at the local Art House, Capri Cinema. Rand, being an out gay man, tended to show a lot of GLBT cinema as well as the better known independent/art house films. The years I lived in Columbia, I watched more mainstream film and really, just about everything that came to town that sounded at all interesting. But in Seattle, the choices are overwhelming by comparison. Sometimes I'll see a classic film, or a film with a lot of buzz, and there are a lot of foreign language films, because of the wide variety of cinema I have access to, I am now a very devoted fan of Asian cinema. The filmmakers in Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan, Thailand are incredible. And this isn't at all limited to the genre films that have made Asian film

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhastan

Right after seeing Sacha Baron Cohen's film, Borat, I was disappointed. I didn't laugh nearly as hard as I had hoped and it wasn't quite as outrageous as I had expected. But in retrospect, I have to admit the comic brilliance of Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen has adeptly created a film about a fictional man, Borat, from a fictionalized Kazakhastan and used this creation to show the hipocracy of America. Using tactics pioneered by reality television shows, Borat travels across America on a quest to find his true love, Pamela Anderson. On this journey, he meets numerous people who share their thoughts about a multitude of things, exposing the way some Americans really believe about race, class, homosexuality and the other sex. It is a very interesting film. Sure, it gets laughs from ambushing Pamela Anderson with a wedding bag, traveling with a bear, and a bit of naked wrestling, but this film is also very smart in its sly portrayal of the wealth of prejudices that are ali