🎬 #64 What Makes Me Want To Watch a Film?
This week is a bit different. I’m going to talk about why I want to watch two films I haven’t seen yet. And maybe by telling you what makes me interested in them, you too will be interested. That’s the aim anyway.
For me, it usually starts with the filmmaker, but it can be the mood of the trailer, the feel of the imagery, but most of all it’s probably the concept.
This week’s two films aren’t heavy on concept but they are two films I want to ‘feel,’ I want to soak in their world and dive into a totally different experience, guided by masterful filmmakers.
Happy choosing, happy viewing
FILM ONE: RYAN’S DAUGHTER
1970 Dir David Lean
Lean didn’t make a film for a long time after finishing Ryan’s Daughter. 14 years to be exact. He considered it a failure after its critical and box office response. But having not seen it, I can tell you why I’m drawn to it. Obviously I want to see every Lean film - but I feel from watching the trailer and seeing some imagery that this is his most impressionistic film. The raw, raging landscape of the Irish coast standing in for the tortured romance of the lead characters.
It can be described broadly as an epic romantic drama set in a small Irish village during World War I. The film follows the titular character, Rosy Ryan, as she falls in love with a British officer stationed in the village. Their forbidden affair sets off a chain of events that ultimately leads to…no spoilers.
I’m also Irish, so another big reason why I want to watch it is to see how Lean handles this particular landscape as well as the intricacies of a delicate political situation.
There’s also the ‘Lean View’ - that epic, bold, ‘simple’ approach to storytelling. Tethering location, to action to mood - all adding up to what could be, and what some are calling, his forgotten masterpiece. I’m intrigued to say the least and it’s been sitting on my own watchlist for a while now. I think it’s time to set some hours aside and indulge in some hefty, big, cinema.
TL;DR why should I spend 3 hrs 26 mins of my precious life watching this? Described as a haunting, melancholic romance, with vast Irish vistas and grey skies and greyer ocean, this feels like a passionate, angry, dark picture from one of the greats.
*Available for a small rental fee on Apple, Google Play, YouTube and Amazon in the US, as well as the UK.
Fact: Ryan's Daughter’s cinematography was a big influence for Nolan when he came to make Dunkirk.
FILM TWO: FALLEN ANGELS
1995 Dir Wong Kar-Wai
I have to say that purely seeing the stills from the film is a huge reason it’s on my watchlist. Kar-Wai shot it with a combination of lenses ranging from 6.8 to 9.8 mm - extremely wide angle lenses that give it that distinctive, signature look. Visually, I’m pulled in straight away, add to that the electric light tinted streets of Hong Kong, extremely moody looking lead actors and I’m hooked.
This has been on my list for some time and if you’re looking for a brief synopsis, it can be described as a film that follows the intersecting lives of a hitman, a mute ex-con, and a woman who works as a professional killer. Together, they navigate the seedy underworld of Hong Kong, where love, betrayal, and violence are all intertwined.
Doyle, Kar-Wai’s go to cinematographer, captures the feeling of an underworld, a place that seems as though it only comes alive at night, where the characters stalk and ride through the streets as they go about their lives. You can feel the mood and tone seep through the imagery itself - that combined with Wong Kar-Wai’s bold colours, and sensual camera work leave me wanting to move it to the top of my watchlist.
TL;DR why should I spend 1hrs 39 minutes of my precious life watching this? Take a look at the style, the verve, the colour and action of the above stills and ask yourself, do you want to ride along with interesting characters through Hong Kong’s seedy underbelly?
*Available for for a small rental fee on HBO Max in the US and globally on the internet archive - here.
Fact: Originally planned as the third segment of Chungking Express, Wong Kar-Wai expanded the story into its own film.
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