Suddenly, Last June

NOTE: Before we dive deep into June’s many movies, I’d like to bring to your attention the beautiful romantic photography by Nishe – there’s an exquisite delicateness to her work that is truly remarkable.

Though slow on the blog, June was rich in great movies – so many that I had to cut this list in order to maintain the post’s readability. So with that in mind, note that Repulsion and La Cage Dorée, though absolute favourites, aren’t featured below because I talked about them recently. You can find all the movies I saw in June in my Letterboxd diary.

Another brief thought on The Pianist, a film I’ve seen before, and was caught right in the middle of the watching of three movies branded as Great Films. It’s an intimidating class that always instills huge and sometimes erroneous expectations, and never fails to fill me with the fear of not liking them. It does happen sometimes, but fortunately that was not the case with these. Let’s start with the chilling Schindler’s List


SCHINDLER’S LIST
Directed by STEVEN SPIELBERG, in 1993
Starring LIAM NEESONRALPH FIENNES and BEN KINGSLEY

Keeping with the Holocaust theme while I still had the guts for it, Schindler’s List seemed like the adequate film to follow The Pianist. They’re two sides of the same coin, the latter told from the perspective of a jew, the former from the eyes of a german. Both powerful and moving, but while Polanski’s speaks of desolation, Spielberg’s dwells in madness and heroic efforts. From an aesthetic point of view, Schindler is the one that goes further – a striking black and white cinematography that resembles the documentaries I grew up watching.

I don’t think I’ve ever been this disgusted by a Ralph Fiennes character.

APOCALYPSE NOW
Directed by FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, in 1979

Starring MARTIN SHEENROBERT DUVALL and MARLON BRANDO

A quiet and cloudy Sunday afternoon provided the perfect setting for watching the three hour and a half giant Apocalypse Now Redux. Surprisingly artistic and with mind-blowing use of music and sound, you’re bound to descend into near-madness as the action slowly flows upstream, deeper and deeper into the jungle. You go through it all with the main character: the initial riveting surprise and distrust, the shock of the indifference of death, the fear of the insanity around you, the fatigue, the apathy, and the surprising thrill of the last minutes. It’s every bit as grand as they say.

 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Directed by WES ANDERSON, in 2014
Starring RALPH FIENNES, TONY REVOLORI, JEFF GOLDBLUM, etc. etc…

Perhaps it can’t be said that I’m a true Wes Anderson fan. His aesthetic, his character’s quirks, the creative writing – all of that I enjoy immensely. But all his achievements in these fields make me acutely aware that I’m watching a film, and more often than not completely prevent me from any emotional investment. I smile and I laugh, but it doesn’t go any further than that – I am in awe, but not in love. The visuals dazzle me, but the characters are close to indifferent to me, remembered only by their costume and make-up, by the endearing weirdness in all of them. If this is the way it’s supposed to be I can’t say, but what I know is that it does not stop me from adoring Anderson’s films.

So if you can feel them, I envy you.

MR. MORGAN’S LAST LOVE
Directed by SANDRA NETTELBECK, in 2013
Starring MICHAEL CAINE, CLÉMENCE POÉSY, and JUSTIN KIRK

I’ve mentioned this little movie in a recent episode of our podcast, and I would like to write about it some time, just like Last Night, so I’ll keep this short.  They are similar in their delicate portrayals of human relationships, even though the nature is quite different: instead of having a romantic couple at the center, Mr. Morgan’s Last Love depicts the blossoming of a friendship between a widower and a young french woman who has lost her father. They find solace in each other, but there’s an underlying darkness that is bound to reveal itself as the film reaches its final stages. It’s a true bittersweet tale that will move those of you who recognise the beauty in it.

If you’re german or french (or can read as such) and are intrigued, then you’re lucky – the source novel is only available in these two languages. Fingers crossed for an english translation! 

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Directed by BRYAN SINGER, in 2014
Starring HUGH JACKMANJAMES McAVOY, and MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Quite a change of pace, I know, but the latest instalment of the X-Men franchise deserves a spot in here as well. I can guarantee with some certainty that this isn’t, and won’t become, one of my favourite movies. Why is that? Watching this was incredible, I loved every minute, my jaw dropped ten thousand times, I was crying and geeking all over it. Every actor in it was at their best, the story spoke to me as X-Men usually does, I didn’t even mind some of the taste-offensive CGI. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, my eyes filled with wonder and emotions. So why wouldn’t I have it in all my Top lists? Such a snob. 

the tv shows of June

Last month british drama series The Fall and Luther were pretty much all I saw. I’d highly recommend both to anyone who enjoys crime thrillers with a british touch, whether about psychopath profiling (The Fall), or a passionate detective who’s always in trouble and cultivates strange relationships (Luther). More on both in July, most likely. Last week marked the return of True Blood, and so far it’s looking surprisingly normal – this just might grow into a good season.

the books of June

I never thought the ending of Life of Pi would get to me again, but it did. The movie stays pretty faithful to the novel, and I’m glad to say that the latter completely stands on its own in a reading-after-watching exercise. The words truly come alive, I couldn’t put it down.

The second is a collection of short stories by portuguese writer Florbela Espanca, As Máscaras do Destino. One of the stories, O Sobrenatural, was my chosen tale for the Once Upon a Dream podcast episode. There’s no english translation that I’m aware of, but if you know the language, is a wonderfully disturbing read.

The movie of June was Funny Games. Fun fact: Bringing Up Baby was on TV at one point.
Look, it’s Cary Grant! #everythingisconnected
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16 Comments

  1. Brittani
    July 1, 2014 / 7:40 PM

    I’ve never heard of Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, but it sounds really interesting! I’m going to have to search for that.

    • July 2, 2014 / 10:31 AM

      I think it’s one of those movies that went by unnoticed last year. Let me know if you like it 🙂

  2. July 2, 2014 / 6:02 AM

    Schindler’s List was an amazing film; I ended up crying in the end. I have yet to see The Pianist, but have you seen The Boy in Stripped Pajamas? It’s another Holocaust film, this time in the eyes of children. I’ve been putting aside watching The Fall and Luther, should really get back to that.

    • July 2, 2014 / 10:42 AM

      It’s very powerful. The worst moment for me was when they messed with the woman’s train. I have seen it yes — I remember being very moved by it, but I can’t remember the ending, so I’ll have to re-watch it one day.

      On a brighter note, yes you should give those shows a chance! And with only five episodes of The Fall and fourteen of Luther, it takes no time at all.

  3. July 2, 2014 / 11:54 AM

    Oo I really liked this post. Will definitely be adding ‘The Fall’ and ‘Mr. Morgan’s Last Love’ to my never-ending list of things to see 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • July 2, 2014 / 5:27 PM

      Oh that makes me happy — do let me know what you think of The Fall and Mr. Morgan’s Last Love! Thanks for stopping by 😀

  4. Caitlin Quinlan
    July 2, 2014 / 1:07 PM

    I know exactly what you mean about Wes Anderson’s films – I think his older work is much better for that emotional attachment you’re looking for (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums etc) but his more recent films almost suggest that the aesthetic he is famous for has taken over a little too much. Having said that, I still really liked The Grand Budapest Hotel but like you said there was no emotional connection.
    Glad you liked X Men! And I’m now definitely looking forward to seeing Apocalypse Now which is on my Blindspot list 🙂

    • July 2, 2014 / 5:33 PM

      It’s a bit sad really, but then his recent stories don’t seem to beg for any emotional investment do they? I mean, we don’t feel it, but then it doesn’t look like they demand emotion. I need to see The Royal Tenenbaums, it looks really funny.

      That’s so great, can’t wait to read your thoughts on it!

  5. July 2, 2014 / 7:56 PM

    Glad you liked Luther! The relationship between him and Alice is one of my favorite of all time, they are so uniquely messed up and complete each other so well. Ruth Wilson just killed it in the role and Idris is incredible.

    I really need to check out The Fall!

    • July 2, 2014 / 9:54 PM

      It’s a very, very interesting relationship, totally agree! They were both so good. Seeing him in that role finally got me to see Pacific Rim — a film that I completely rejected seeing in the theatre when it came out because it’s really not my style (I might regret that decision after watching it tonight). I liked Mary too, I thought they had a sweet dynamic.

      You really should, you might like it! It’s not as thrilling as Luther, it’s slower, but there’s some thriller tension, psychological profiling of the killer, etc etc. Gillian Anderson is perfect, naturally, and Jamie Dornan really surprised me.

  6. July 4, 2014 / 4:04 AM

    I totally agree with how you captured Wes Anderson’s movies. The Darjeeling Limited was one of my favorites, and even though I thought it was a quirky fun adventure, there was a part of me that was separated from it; and it happened again with Grand Budapest. But, like you, there’s still a big part of me that enjoys his work.

    Oooh, Schindler’s List. That’s on my Blindspot list for this year. I’m a history buff of World War II so I’m familiar with it, but nothing will soften what the movie and the reality of that era.

    • July 4, 2014 / 10:21 PM

      Maybe that’s just the way it goes with Wes Anderson films :/

      I find that period extremely interesting as well, so I’m always curious to see films and documentaries on it. But of course they’re never entertaining per se. Anyway, it’s a really good movie. I’ll keep an eye out for your post on Schindler’s List.

  7. karamelkinema
    July 11, 2014 / 3:47 PM

    My to watch TV list kept growing and i might just need to add The Fall to the list 🙂

    • July 12, 2014 / 9:42 AM

      I think you do need to add it! Mine is huge, too 😛

  8. Josh
    December 2, 2014 / 6:42 PM

    Apocalypse Now and Schindler’s List are brilliant, and The Grand Budapest Hotel continues to grow on me after two viewings. Glad you liked Mr. Morgan’s Last Love. I thought that was a nice little overlooked movie, and I LOVED Justin Kirk’s performance as Michael Caine’s son.

    • December 4, 2014 / 11:47 AM

      Gosh I loved him too, his tone was spot on. I love this type of film, I wish they got more attention.

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