Category Archives: Film Ruminations

[short] Diaristic Fragments on Japanese New Wave Film: Nagisa Ôshima’s Empire of Passion (1978), Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide (1969), Shûji Terayama’s Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974), and Shôhei Imamura’s The Pornographers (1966)

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(Still from The Pornographers (1966), dir. Shôhei Imamura)

In the beginning the “Other Suspect Ruminations” part of my site’s title referred to my filmic obsessions. It’s been five years since I’ve posted along those lines. As diligent readers might be able to tell, I am fascinated by the general historical context (and earlier) of the SF decades I enjoy the most—from the Czech New Wave to the Japanese New Wave, from 60s/70s political jazz to the surrealists.

Until a few months ago my experience with Japanese New Wave film was limited to Hiroshi Teshigahara’s collaborations with the Japanese author (of SF and literature) Kôbô Abe—The Woman in the Dunes (1964), The Face of Another (1966) and Pitfall (1962)—and a few surreal Seijun Suzuki yakuza flics including Branded to Kill (1967) and Tokyo Drifter (1966) and Masahiro Shinoda’s hyper-stylized Pale Flower (1964). I highly recommend all of the above, especially The Face of Another (1966) if you’re interested in Japanese New Wave’s take on science fiction.

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(A tantalizing scene from The Face of Another)

Recently my horizons have expanded. I am in no way a scholar of Japan or claim to be knowledgeable about Japanese culture, however, the narrative experimentation Continue reading [short] Diaristic Fragments on Japanese New Wave Film: Nagisa Ôshima’s Empire of Passion (1978), Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide (1969), Shûji Terayama’s Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974), and Shôhei Imamura’s The Pornographers (1966)

(mini) Film Ruminations: The Tree of Life (2011), Super 8 (2011), A Serious Man (2010), etc.

I do not write reviews for the majority of films I watch.  My reasons are somewhat nebulous considering it’s the summer and I certainly have time.  I see my blog more as a way to re-examine and bring to the forefront sci-fi books and films generally more esoteric and infrequently reviewed.  But certain winds shift direction for brief windows of time.  So here we go, a rundown of the more popular films I’ve seen in theater or re-watched recently.

The Tree of Life (2011), dir. Terrence Malick, rating 7.75/10 (Good)

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Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011) juxtaposes extensive sequences Continue reading (mini) Film Ruminations: The Tree of Life (2011), Super 8 (2011), A Serious Man (2010), etc.

A Film Rumination: The Man Who Changed His Mind (variant titles: The Man Who Lived Again, Brainsnatcher, Dr. Maniac), Robert Stevenson (1936)

7/10 (Good)

Boris Karloff!  Mind transplants! Headstrong female scientists! 30s sci-fi horror! A watchable yet seldom seen film! What’s not to like?

The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936) is the second Robert Stevenson (later of Disney fame), Anna Lee, and John Loder feature I’ve seen — the first, Non-Stop New York (1937) wasn’t nearly as Continue reading A Film Rumination: The Man Who Changed His Mind (variant titles: The Man Who Lived Again, Brainsnatcher, Dr. Maniac), Robert Stevenson (1936)

A Film Rumination: Non-Stop New York, Robert Stevenson (1937)

5/10 (Bad/Average)

This “lost” (for good reason) little film is vaguely watchable for one aspect alone — a massive futuristic art-deco transatlantic plane which can fly from London to New York in 18 hours!  Non-Stop New York (1937) is an early film from illustrious director Robert Stevenson (Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Love Bug, Continue reading A Film Rumination: Non-Stop New York, Robert Stevenson (1937)

A Film Rumination: He Who Must Die (Celui Qui Doit Mourir), Jules Dassin (1957)

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7.5/10 (Good)

American director Jules Dassin — famous for his 40s and 50s film noir works Brute Force, Rififi, Night and the City, The Naked City — departs from his normal stomping ground with an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzaki’s 1948 novel The Greek Passion.  Dassin left the US for France because of his Communist affiliations — hence, the film is in Continue reading A Film Rumination: He Who Must Die (Celui Qui Doit Mourir), Jules Dassin (1957)

A Film Rumination: Transatlantic Tunnel (variant title: The Tunnel), Maurice Elvey (1935)

6.5/10 (Average)

Maurice Elvey’s Transatlantic Tunnel (1935) inhabits the forlorn ranks of seldom seen early science fiction films.  Is it a masterpiece of the genre?  No.  Is it worth watching for fans of early sci-fi?  Definitely!  The production value is remarkable (which surprised me) and a few scenes remain to this day awe-inspiring Continue reading A Film Rumination: Transatlantic Tunnel (variant title: The Tunnel), Maurice Elvey (1935)

A Film Rumination: Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl, Manoel de Oliveira (2009)

7.5/10 (Good)

The Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira is the oldest filmaker still making films — he’s 102 at the moment!  Even more surprising is the fact that his most productive years have come since the 1990s (often two films a year).  Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (2009) is the first of his I’ve seen and won’t be my last.  Despite the fact that Eccentricities has its fair share of flaws it is a gorgeous and timeless tale Continue reading A Film Rumination: Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl, Manoel de Oliveira (2009)