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Reel Forecast: Director retrospectives of Terrence Malick and Carlos Saura, controversial Nanking epic City of Life and Death

Posted by Andrés / June 24, 2011

20110623_reelforecast.jpgThe Tree of Life is only writer/director Terrence Malick's fifth feature-length film in almost forty years, resulting in one of Cinema du Parc's smallest retrospectives in recent memory. Malick has superimposed his measured filmmaking schedule onto the films themselves, to the delight of many and the chagrin of some. Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The New World are more poetic rumination than epic entertainment. With an eye for pictorial landscape, the uncertainties of human thought and a hesitant hand in the editing process, each film is a lengthy and beautiful portrait of a time past. This weekend, you can watch (almost) all of Malick's films in 35mm prints, as they were meant to be viewed. His first feature, Badlands, will be digitally projected. (more info)

20110623_reelforecast2.jpgAlso screening at Cinema du Parc is Lu Chuan's City of Life and Death, originally titled Nanking! Nanking!. Taking a page from Spielberg's Schindler's List, the film was shot entirely in black-and-white; likely an attempt to dull the violence of the massacre on screen. Funded and supported by the Chinese government, the film came under intense public scrutiny upon its release for its realistic portrayal of the slaughter, as well as its focus on the moral quandary of a Japanese officer taking part in the brutality. The result was the Chinese government backtracked on its initial enthusiastic support, and the film has been mostly relegated to the international festival circuit. Reception has been positive. Those who can stomach such films are recommended to check this one out. The screening starts Friday and runs all week. (more info)

20110623_reelforecast3.jpgThe rainy weather for the next two days may lend itself to viewing a Malick film or the above Nanking epic, but if the sun happens to break through and you feel like celebrating, the Cinemathèque québécoise is the place to be. Starting Saturday is a retrospective of Carlos Saura's films. This Spanish director specializes in dramatic musicals set to the seductive and passionate sounds of flamenco. With limited interference from production "stuff", the actors/dancers are the direct focus, nearly making love with you through the screen. His Flamenco Trilogy (Bodas de sangre, Carmen and El amor brujo) is considered the launching point of his career and are the first films to screen. (more info)

As usual, you can check out a listing of all mainstream screenings at Cinema Montreal, but do you really want to see Transformers 3 or Cars 2? They may be "safe" bets (my friend has vowed never to accept another one of my movie recommendations after I mentioned Malick's Days of Heaven), but what's the point if you've seen it all before?

Images courtesy respective production companies.


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