June 14, 2004

Le corbeau by Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1942 ; the Criterion Collection

great idea about an anonymous poison pen letter writer setting a small town on fire by revealing all the little secrets of its inhabitants to everyone. but the film, as mean and nasty as it can be, meanders too much, and it also gives us too many reasons to suspect every single person in the film of being 'le corbeau' so that when the identity and motivation of 'le corbeau' is finally revealed i was not surprised by any means. too bad. great dialogue, though. snarky wit that had me laughing my ass off at a few points. i'm definitely gonna look up Clouzot's other titles on Criterion but i was a bit disappointed by this one. i'm the one to blame because i had built up this film to such a high standard in my mind, though. the transfer is alright; nice black and white with some shimmers and jump cuts. the audio, though, is horrible. the hisses are bearable but it's the metallic alien noises in the background that disturbed me. they were not part of the original sound design, that's for sure. but there's one extra that's worth the price if you liked the film - a Bertrand Tavernier interview about Le corbeau and the political context France was under at the time with the Nazi occupation. incredibly fascinating.

Hearts and Minds by Peter Davis, 1974 ; the Criterion Collection

this is the Oscar-winning Vietnam war documentary. see this with Fog of War and i think you're set. what a sobering, compelling, and truly scary film this is. there's no posturing or pretense. no Michael Moore (even though i do kinda like him) to hit you over the head with the horrible nature of war. this is what it is; the portrait of a mistake. i don't need to tell you that the film also has a very timely feel these days. you all need to rent this film. a sobering look at the true nature of war, and its grave consequences. no sentimentality, no false pretense. Peter Davis just lets the camera roll and he rarely veers off the path of asking 'why?'. it's a momentous film, that's what it is.

Posted by Sam | 8:49 AM |