The Wild Boys, Bertrand Mandico’s feverish and gleefully overstuffed debut feature, is many things at once, and not all of those things make immediate sense together. It’s a highly theatrical coming-of-age story set on the high seas, featuring boys played by women becoming men who become women.
With several months still to go, and no shortage of forthcoming releases, there’s already been talk about 2018 as The Year of Documentaries. Heather Lenz’s Kusama: Infinity probably won’t top too many year-end lists of these, but it merits inclusion: a solid, empathetic look at an artist whose body of work deserves the attention it’s finally receiving.
Peter Greenaway has long been an arthouse staple, his background in painting evident in nearly every carefully considered frame. His cockeyed narratives (along with their ubiquity of actual cocks) have made him celebrated and divisive in equal measure, and Eisenstein in Guanajuato is arguably the British auteur at his most divisive, and definitely his most breathless.
The nice thing about unique and distinctive voices (or those voices that you know, from general hubbub, must be unique and distinctive), across mediums and across genres, is that when you finally get around to experiencing them, they very rarely are anything like you assumed.
A few highlights from our movie-watching week.
Pierre Etaix was nearly left out of cinema history, thanks to a long-ago disastrous contract dispute, but has steadily clawed his way back from the margins — with some help from Criterion, not to mention the legions of fans and admirers who petitioned to end the decades of legal wrangling over his films’ distribution.
One of the most insistent and silly tropes in coming-of-age films is the Preternaturally Articulate Child, the little tyke who functions in the narrative as, essentially, a grown-up trapped in a small body. Sometimes — particularly in that heady period of the late ’80s that gave us Like Father, Like Son, Vice Versa, and Big, among others — we compensate for this awareness with literal body-switch stories, but more often we just put alarmingly adult phrases and observations in the mouths of kids.
Enjoying, enjoy, enjoys; particularly the past tense, enjoyed. The first instinct when leaving a movie theater with someone else: “Well, I really enjoyed that. Did you enjoy it?” Over dinner with friends that night: “Oh, we saw that movie earlier today — we really enjoyed it.” Or on Facebook: “Just saw this!
As November staggers to its close, amid an endless avalanche of horrific revelations about terrible men and also whatever calamitous idiocy the U.S. President committed while I was literally writing this sentence, some things are still good. Twin Peaks! Everyone likes Twin Peaks.
The tagline for The Big Heat —“A hard cop and a safe dame!”—is, to quote Otto, “flagrant false advertising.”
Combined with the poster, it promises a classic noir clash between a sultry dame and a hard-boiled detective. In reality, the two of them (Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame) barely share three scenes with one another.