I haven't made any posts relating to any sort of pop culture in a while, so I thought I'd talk about a few films that I've seen recently. The university library, I am far too late in discovering, has got quite a lot of good DVDs - especially the type of films that become cult classics. A lot of the time they are on a Film Studies syllabus, or they'll be set texts for some Modern Languages course or another (in the three years I've spent on this campus, I've watched a lot of films for classes).
For the second time in this academic year, I'm studying La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995). Far from fed up of it, I am actually finding it is a film that keeps on giving. I am enjoying the fact that because of the different nature of the classes employing it, I get to see it from many different angles. It's one of the most internationally-known French films, and deservedly so.
Then I watched a German film, Aimée & Jaguar (Max Färberböck, 1999). A friend recommended it to me ages ago, but I've only just found a DVD of it. The film itself was good, but I was put off by the shoddy quality. Even when I put it on full screen, it was just a little square nesting in the middle of a black rectangle. Also, the aesthetic was just too "dark". I realise this was probably intentional and maybe my eyes were just tired after a long week, but it ended up really irritating me. If I hadn't been so into the story I would have just given up on it. The film addresses forbidden love on two accounts: love between two women, and love between an Aryan and a Jew. It's based on a book which is based on a true story. From this film I was also reminded how much Berlin is built upon its pre-war past; the Mietkaserne (apartment buildings), shown with their winding, intricate stairways, are still inhabited today and that's something I've always found really beautiful about the city.
Les Amours imaginaires (Xavier Dolan, 2010) does on first sight seem like some hipster film full of white, twenty-something pretty people but that doesn't mean it's not worth watching. If you are a visual sort of person, chances are you will like it. There's one main story I guess, but what I liked were the little interviews with people about their relationships. The focus was on people, people, people and their feelings and in that way it made me feel not so alone because I think feelings are ignored too much. It was good how the female lead did not only dress in an anachronistic way but she also actually seemed to live in the past; she uses a matchbook to light her cigarettes, for example. The soundtrack is great, too, and it truly does augment the mood in certain scenes. 'Pass This On' by The Knife makes you truly sympathise with the characters about how painful unrequited infatuation can be. Also, the line from the Gaston Miron poem 'Je t'écris' that is quoted - 'je t'attends dans la saison de nous deux' - really affected me. As you will see in the screenshots below, the film is really aesthetically stunning. And of course, I also liked hearing French specific to Montreal. Bref, I really enjoyed this.
Aside from that, I've finally just finished all the available episodes of season 5 of Breaking Bad. In a way I'm quite glad we have to wait until the summer for the final episodes because I don't need any more distractions. No TV series has affected me nearly as deeply, except Twin Peaks I suppose. Oh, and the new season of Arrested Development will be out in a couple of months... okay, I take back what I said about distractions.