This was a busy week for me, so I only got to watch four films. However, two of the films now rank among my favourite films of all time. One of them is a classic Kurosawa drama about life and its inherent tragedy, and the other has a talking bear.
Monday January 11th – Sunday January 17th
Directed by Paul King
The only metric by which we measure a film should be its own. That is to say, we must recognize a film’s goals and judge it only by how well it accomplishes these goals. This eliminates the awkward arguments that develop when you try to compare The Godfather to, say, Babe 2: Pig in the City. Therefore, I hope you understand when I say that Paddington is a perfect film. It not only achieves its goals of being a fun, family film, but also that of being a meaningful parable about the immigrant experience. I guess I have a thing for talking animals.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
A very simple drama told in three distinct parts, all of which subvert our expectations for such a narrative. By film’s end, we realize all these decisions have been subtly coalescing for maximum impact. For it is when we see long suffering Watanabe swinging contently in the snow, we feel the true tragedy of his passing. A beautiful film that also tackles the inhumanity of bureaucracy. A masterpiece from a master.
North By Northwest (1959)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Speaking of masters, here Hitchcock shows the depth of his talents by experimenting behind the camera, but in the editing bay as well. A technical marvel that explores themes familiar to the father of modern cinema, with shot compositions that have ingrained themselves in the very language of film. Plus, you gotta love the sly wit of that final shot.
Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Did you enjoy the first movie? Well, here it is for a third time! Once more into the fray, dear Chris! Gather your seven colourful compatriots. Fall for the locals and renounce your initial, selfish reasons for helping. Suffer great losses in the inevitably suicidal mission. Still quite fun though.