Here the latest films my explorations in cinema have led me to:
Overall, I did not much care 8 1/2 from 1963. The story centers around a director who is directing a film, but doesn’t know quite what he wants. This premise, in and of itself, is perhaps only interesting to artists who pride themselves on being intellectual, but rather hate the thought of having to think much. The “modern art” mentality. But themelessness is not an actual theme. This film was not intellectual; it was stupid and lazy. What does a plotless film end up as? In this case, a collection of pointless dream sequences, often based on the director’s memories, but otherwise worth nothing to the audience unless such sequences can, in their pointlessness, remind an audience member of some element of his own imagination that he can inflate and find something to be interested in, and perhaps trick himself into thinking that the director’s unique vision had anything to do with the phenomena. The wise know better. Personally, I’d rather spend my time watching the work of a director who actually has something to say. Saying “I have nothing to say” is not worth the time spent saying it.
Jean de Florette and its sequel Manon of the Spring from 1986 were much more to my tastes. Taking place on a couple of farms in old France, a hunchback moves in and his evil neighbors secretly block his water source in an effort to get him to want to move away so they can have his land for themselves. Water is vital for farmers, you know, and they didn’t have indoor plumbing back then. Tragedy ensues, and the storyline remains interesting to the final scene. Great acting, great story, great use of music. Really enjoyed it.