Inception, Wild Grass, I Am Love @ InRO

Over at In Review Online, I dug myself into a bit of a hole with tough reviewing choices, picking a trifecta of beguiling, complex, and strange works that each demand multiple viewings.

It took two screenings to come to grips with Inception, but the film remains a fascinating and dynamic piece of Hollywood filmmaking that in terms of ambition, probably won’t be matched all year. On the Art Film front, I entered Alain Resnais’ enigmatic dream world in Wild Grass and Luca Guadagnino’s luminous emotional architecture in I Am Love, both difficult visions in their own right.

– Also at InRO, check out this piece about upcoming mainstream and film festival films (2010) in a feature called “You Can’t Stop What’s Coming.” I wrote the blurbs on Malick’s Tree of Life, the Coens’ True Grit, Eastwood’s Hereafter, Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, Carpenter’s The Ward, and Chung’s Lucky Life. It’s a nice cheat sheet for you cinephiles anticipating the rest of the year.

Last Year At Marienbad (Resnais, 1961)

Marienbad

Any serious analysis of Last Year At Marienbad must come after multiple viewings, and since this is my first I can only provide incomplete and rambling thoughts on this strange, hypnotic masterpiece. The tracking shot has never been more mystifying and enigmatic, point of view often becomes purposefully strained and muddled, while the background artifacts take on deeper meaning as they begin to signify the emotional angst of the characters. The way shadows say more than light has never been duplicated in my mind, and this motif goes a long way toward showing Resnais’ early obsession with the fragmentation of time and space. One for the ages, but important in so many different ways for many different people.