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Faded Films: Aesthetics and Ambience

I remember going to see Avatar with my family on New Years Eve (I was really cool in high school!) and thinking what the fuck? Seriously do you remember the fanfare that surrounded that movie? And then at the end of the day it was just some Pocahontas-white-savior shit. It was wild too because everyone kept talking about how beautiful it was but I think I would have preferred to see live action smurfs learn about non-asexual reproduction for four hours. Avator was a dud but, really smooth segway, these movies are not. Since the return of Twin Peaks I’ve become really obsessive about movie aesthetics. How the look and set of a movie becomes more important than the plot of the movie itself. Blue Velvet to me is more about the feeling associated with close up dung beetles, mauve carpets and velvet curtains than it is about anything else. These movies similarly create *ambience*


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You may have heard that Suspiria is currently being remade, I don’t really like the idea of it. This was a ’70’s Italian horror film set at a German ballet school scored by experimental heavy metal rock. Buuut Tilda Swinton is attached to the project which makes me feel slightly better although better people have made worse mistakes. Anyhow the movie gained it’s cult following almost entirely because of it’s set design and cinematography. At it’s core it’s a horror flick with little innovation in that regard, however it is one of those movies that you can and should watch on mute.

Une Femme Est Une Femme

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Okay I think I’ve written about this five or six times but!!! I’ve got a routine kids. This movie was my gateway into pretentiousness — it’s very hard to say “I love 60’s new wave French cinema” without sounding like a tit. Anna Karina spends the movie stripping, pouting and crying. This was one of cinema and Godard’s first trials with ignoring mis en scene and the pay off is tremendous.

A Single Man

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Initially I watched A Single Man because I have big ol’ middle school crush on Jon Kortajerena (who gets about five minutes of screen time). Surprisingly though Tom Ford is a wildly talented filmmaker. It starts out pretty bleak and it’s one of those movies that can become really painful if you ruminate in it for too long.

Holy Mountain

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Somewhere in the back of my mind is some useless anecdote about this movie — one of the Beatles pulled out of it or maybe hundreds of beetles died in it, who knows. Holy Mountain is bizarre, cerebral, grotesque and sometimes hard to watch — all aesthetic staples of Alejendro Jodorowsky (who also used this movie to prove himself a renaissance man by directing, acting and set designing among a million other things).

Holy Mountain is playing at Nitehawk June 23rd and 24th as part of it’s Midnite Movies series. 

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