2005: 3 movies

posted 2020 February 9

The Meaning of Life 
Writing, directing, production, 
animation and cinematography
by Don Hertzfeldt
Editing by Rebecca Moline
Sound by Don Hertzfeldt and Tim Kehl

   Unbelievable! Thank god for Don Hertzfeldt. This movie starts slow and then ends up taking us to the beginning of time, outside of our solar system, and millenia forward. What are you left with? What ideals still matter to you? What really matters in the grand scope of things? This movie makes it into the Canon because it calls on us to question everything we consider integral reality. 
   I love the line in the credits: "No computers were used in the making of this movie." Worn like a true badge of honor!

The Notorious Bettie Page 
Directed by Mary Harron
Written by Mary Harron & Guinevere Turner
Produced by Pamela Koffler, John Marshall,
Katie Roumel, and Christine Vachon
Music by Mark Suozzo
Cinematography by W. Mott Hupfel III
Editing by Tricia Cooke
Production design by Gideon Ponte
Art direction by Thomas Ambrose
Set decor by Alexandra Mazur
Costume design by John Dunn
Hair-styles by Jerry DeCarlo and Michelle Johnson
Make-up by Nicki Ledermann
Starring Gretchen Mol, Lili Taylor,
Sarah Paulson, and Cara Seymour

   Puts a pit in your stomach. It's physically intriguing but morally probing. It's problematic. It calls into question the male-gaze and lust in society, and it's embodiment in cinema which is often called pornography. Is it just the extreme cases that should be called pornography, and the tamer ones "artful appreciation"? This movie is great because it not only is a document of a time when we were asking these questions, and figuring out where to draw the line of acceptability, but it also shows that we still have some wrangling to do with these questions. It makes an argument for an ideal, that we should be able to admire the real and natural world, but that we should do so in a respectful and consentual way, and that we should also be vigilant and pro-active in preventing unintended harm that may come from our admiration. In this case, one way of addressing the death of a young man from self-asphyxiation could be more education about sex, more emphasis on parenting, and the general uplift of people's living quality and engagement with each other. Scuttling away the pertinent issues and hiding from reality seem to be the bad guys in this movie.  The fact that the life-story of one person can get us involved in problem-solving in a still urgently important matter that affects our population makes this an interactive and palpably important movie.

Written, directed, produced,
and edited by Till Nowak
Music by Andreas Hornschuh and Matthias Hornschuh

   Stunning short animated movie that gets the imagination, speculation, and conversation going. Some viewers say it's an environmentalist's movie espousing na├»ve, simplistic views on how to fix the problems they see. But I see a different meaning, and I think this meaning hits us, if not directly, then at least subconsciously, that we, each of us, has received this same delivery that the character in the movie receives. We all have a way of connecting to and impacting our world in giant ways. One example of that is the internet. Now, it's true that the sick and twisted people are more enabled to do something cruel in a giant way, and the pro-art people more enabled to do something pro-art, the pro-money-making people more enabled to make money. But this is a movie demonstrating that. And it does so by demonstrating something positive and universal. It depicts a gardener doing something pro-plants. In other words, it's a movie illustrating the tremendous power we each have. In this way, it's a democratic movie, a realist movie, and an inspirational movie. To achieve all this with only one character, no dialogue, and in under 10 minutes is a feat of cinema. Hats off.

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