Sunday, August 13, 2023

Nightcap 8/13/23 How am I covering CineQuest?, Hong Sangsoo again and again-- again, Babylon, random notes

The plan was to not cover anything except things I repost and things that I just happened upon between the end of NYAFF, Fantasia and Japan Cuts and the New York Film Festival ... and then things happened. Specifically offers dropped for Locarno, perhaps Venice and Cinequest. The Lacarno  and Venice films I understand (I wanted to see films playing outside the US that I would have to wait on) but Cinequest just sort of happened. I suddenly ended up with a bunch films and my planned cinematic vacation went away.

This isn't to sell Cinequest short, it's actually a great fest and if I wasn't broken I would have jumped at the chance to cover it , but I needed time off. 

I guess not.

The fest is running August 15 until the end of the month. If you are in LA you need to go. 

Why? It's running a lot of great films. I know we've previously covered a bunch of the films previously:


And I have several others coming including the short MERMAID which reduced me to a sobbing mess in my office

Buy tickets and go.

For tickets and more information go here>


The New York Film Festival announced their main slate films and for the first time in a long time there are a bunch of main slate films I’m looking forward to. There are films from Wim Wenders, RyĆ»suke Hamaguchi, Yorgos Lanthimos, Marco Bellocchio, Bertrand Bonello and others. For the first time I am excited out of the box.

What has irked the hell out of me is yet again Hong Sangsoo has two films playing at the festival.


For the 3rd time in a row there are two films from Sang soo playing NYFF in the main slate.

I know the programmers have a thing for Sangsoo, but a festival that should be highlighting the best of world cinema taking two slots away from deserving filmmakers is ludicrous. No filmmaker is making two deserving films every year.

Hell no filmmaker is making one film deserving every year. I used to get upset that it used to seem that every time Godard turned out a film NYFF would screen it,  but that wasn’t so (Addendum Godard had 25 films in 60 film festivals). Occasionally they didn’t run one of his films. But that’s not the case with Sangsoo, who seems to get two slots every year. Actually in the last 14 years that I have been doing Unseen Films  they have run 13 of his films.  Because of the double ups they have run 18 films in the last 19 years. 

Forgive me, but it isn’t right.

This is nothing against Sangsoo. I do like many of his films (Though let’s be real that the vast majority of them are a variation on the same plot with the same actors with the result that you could cut clips from the films together and make new ones and no one would ever know) but he should not be representing world cinema – or even Korean cinema – every year since there are other voices needing to be heard.


I finally saw the monster that is BABYLON.

I could see it being hailed, on a technical level, as one of the greatest films ever made. Narratively and emotionally it's a complete mess, much like the party that opens up the film.

Part of the problem for me is that the film is so full of ideas, many of them borrowed that there isn't anything we haven't seen before, I've been here before several times before, however not with this much sense of crazed over the top insanity.

Yes the film is vibrant and alive but so is the driver of a car before it crashes through a guardrail and goes over a cliff.

BABYLON is  a big beautiful horrific road accident you can't look away from.


If you can get EXPLOITATION NATION #8 (check Amazon or stores like Forbidden Planet in NYC) do so. The magazine has a killer interview with Terry Gilliam as well as an appreciation of THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE which I think will put it into perspective for anyone who didn't like the film
Speaking of Exploitation Nation I recently picked up a bunch of back issues at New York’s Forbidden Planet and I’ve been going through them over the last few weeks and enjoying myself.

A mix of reviews and interviews the magazine is one of the more entertaining and informative one’s I’ve run across.  While I’ve skipped some of the interviews of people I am not familiar with (owing to the excellent interviews going a bit too deep about films I’ve not seen) I’ve read everything from cover to cover.

I highly recommend the magazine if you want something that is going to broaden your cinematic horizons.

I’ve also been dabbling reading some issues of the UK fanzine Necronomicon. An old school homemade fanzine the film is march through the horror viewing habits of editor Necro Neil who mixes new films with revisits of old favorites. He also compares his thoughts with those of his parents who used to run a video store and logged and rated every film they ever saw. Its frequently nostalgic read. It’s not high art but more like talking to your best friend about schlocky horror films at a pub.
The Gal Gadot lead HEART OF STONE  has hit Netflix. Its an effort to give her a series of her own, but it's never going to happen. Playing like a mediocre TV series that went no where which is being marathoned minus the first two episodes its all cliche and disposable. We've been here before so with no characters that stand out there is no reason to watch it. I let it play while I did other things.
If Netflix hadn't picked it up it would have sunk into oblivion.

No comments:

Post a Comment