Sunday, April 28, 2019

This Week in Tickets: 15 April 2019 - 21 April 2019

Yeah, it's been a whole week. Been busy.

This Week in Tickets

I think I get to one film at Belmont World Film a year, and this year it's Asako I & II, an interesting movie from Japan, although one where the presenter's description of itas a weird movie had me wondering which of us had the proper standards of what constitutes a weird Japanese movie.

That label kind of applies, a bit, to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the first big movie that's the work of Hayao Miyazaki, auteur, and it's kind of terrific. I really should have seen it before now,but I think I've purchased two copies on disc and not really made it all the way to the end of either because I tended to start watching it at a bad time. 35mm matinee fixes that. It was also just a quick bus ride to Assembly Row to catch the new Hellboy, which was rather less impressive. It let me minimize the time dealing with the buses replacing the Red Line, too.

Apparently they don't shut the subway down for Easter, though, so I was able to take the train to Kendall Square Sunday evening to put together a double feature of Little Woods & Wild Nights with Emily. Neither is a great film, but I wonder if that's because I'm not as accustomed to the focuses that these two female-directed and -centered movies choose, or as immediately connected. Can't hurt to watch more, though, to try and help adjust my perspective a little.

I'm currently filling in IFFBoston stuff on my Letterboxd page, as there's no way I'm going to get any of that reviewed in something close to real time.

Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 20 April 2019 in the Harvard Film Archive (weekend matinee, 35mm)

Does it count as a rewatch if I've put the disc in the player two or three times and then nodded off before it was done? I swear, I've chosen the worst times to try and watch this movie before jumping all over the HFA's subtitled 35mm matinee.

Obviously, I should have seen this sooner; it's a downright terrific movie which establishes its science-fiction bona fides from the opening frames and is grounded in Miyazaki's particular environmental take on the genre throughout. Miyazaki draws no line between world-building and adventure, and sketches out a larger world casually, without ever losing his focus on the title character and her village, even as every step forward implies a bigger world, larger stakes, and a sense of the apocalyptic. You see, from the start, the conflict between Miyazaki's dreams of amazing airships and an environmentally conscious world.

It's obviously an early work - the animation is a little rough at points, the villains are sometimes a little too casually sketched, and there were more than a few comments from the audience about how much of Nausicaä's bottom we were seeing (it didn't exactly look like the sort of post-apocalyptic future where the means to manufacture tights has survived). It's almost never less than intriguing, though, and I likely would have been astounded if it had played Portland, ME/been a thing my parents would have brought me to when I was 11. It still seems like an insane practically out-of-nowhere achievement, and I'm mildly curious to know whether a shot early in the movie of Nausicaä walking to the forest from her glider inspired an iconic image from Akira, vice versa, or if they were pulling from the same source.

Asako I & II
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Hellboy '19
Little Woods
Wild Nights with Emily

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