All films on the main TSP list and all first-time viewings unless otherwise noted -
1. The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988) (8th viewing or so)
2. Xiao cheng zhi chun / Spring in a Small Town (Mu Fei, 1948)
3. Ruggles of Red Gap (Leo McCarey, 1935)
4. Louisiana Story (Robert Flaherty, 1948))
5. In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni / We Spin Around the Night Consumed by the Fire (Guy Debord, 1978) (1001-2000 list)
6. SHORTS 39+25=64 m
Elephant (Alan Clarke, 1989) 39 m
Puissance de la parole / The Power of Speech (Jean-Luc Godard, 1988) 25 m (1001-2000 list)
(Milos Forman, 1979) (1001-2000 list)
Long story short: love the music, like some of the performances, don't much like the film. Something I'd planned on watching for a long time - the rock musicals of the 70s are a blind spot for me, and I love musicals more than most around here I think, so I'm finally slowly going through them, though it will continue to be slow as I'm not liking them for the most part (Saturday Night Fever
is a huge exception). Somebody, probably Rosenbaum, wrote that this hippie musical seems to come from a conservative viewpoint, and while I don't know that I'd agree with that (the "straight" folk in the film aren't presented in much better light than the long-hairs), it certainly isn't very sympathetic to hippie/drug/rock&roll culture. And while I know it's a musical and you have to accept a certain amount of narrative shorthand to fit in all the songs, the character arc for John Savage's Claude just comes off as incredibly stupid to me - only somebody who has never met a conservative white boy from the midwest would believe it.
But Treat Williams is pretty good and shows huge charisma, and it's easy to see why he became something of a star for the decade after this; and I do love the music, especially "Aquarius" and "Good Morning Starshine" even if the 5th Dimension's single version of the former is much better. So very mixed overall.
8. The Man Who Would Be King
(John Huston, 1975) (3rd or 4th viewing)
Every time I see this I think, this is going to be the time it all clicks and I finally admit that it's a GREAT movie and not just a GOOD one. Well, it didn't happen this time. I suppose it's some unease with the way colonialism is dealt with (or not) here, and I guess I just don't like the final act of the film all that much, when it gets more "serious" and dark. The fun parts are so fun that I suppose I just want it to keep going that way. But it is a glorious film for Connery and Caine doing what comes naturally for them.
9. City After Dark
(Ishmael Bernal, 1980) (1001-2000 list)
A big, sprawling, soap-opera-esque saga of several families and their intertwined lives, from the upper-middle-class to the struggling (most of the characters), and a few nights that will change everything in Manila. Ultimately this ends up being about the lies everyone tells to make it - a now-successful woman, wife to a big entrepreneur, turns out to have had a seedy past; several characters are in relationships but sleeping around, often with multiple partners of different genders; a man leaves his blind lover to seek his fortune abroad but it's just an excuse, etc, etc. There are so many lies big and little, so many stories here that it's going to take another viewing to sort it out, but one thing that comes across is the vibrancy of a huge and multifaceted city even though much of it's population is gripped in despair and poverty. There's hope but all the roads are difficult.
10. Tout va bien
(Jean-Luc Godard/Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1972) (1001-2000 list)
Somewhat mixed feelings here; I generally love Godard, even his more experimental, non-narrative and difficult work, and I never find any of his stuff worthless, so there are things to admire here - many references, often funny, usually coy, occasionally overt, to his earlier work, self-abnegating portrayal of the artist in middle age by Yves Montand in a great sequence where he just addresses the camera and suggests that selling out and doing commercials is a more moral choice than making conventional films (perhaps a dig at Truffaut here as well), the conversations between Montand and wife Jane Fonda that recall Le mépris
and Une femme mariée
among others, the bold uses of primary colors, the great couple of very long shots that end the film...but overall, a little bit of a disappointment. The arguments - mostly about union and labor early on, then seguing into art and finally May '68 - come off as fairly prosaic and simply phrased, and the filmmaking is (apparently deliberately) not nearly as exciting or beautiful as in the earlier films. Still very worth seeing for me but probably only for serious Godard lovers when it comes down to it.