Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2015 - Trevor Berrett ""

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Film Discoveries of 2015 - Trevor Berrett

Trevor created and edits The Mookse and the Gripes, a website dedicated to world books and literature. He is also a co-host on The Mookse and the Gripes Podcast and The Eclipse Viewer Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter (@mookse).
5. The House of Mystery, by Alexandre Volkoff (1921-1923). The youngest Charles Vanel I've ever seen, and he's exceptional as the villain in this lengthy (383 minutes!) serial feature. The film is beautiful, employing dark visuals that bolster the plot perfectly.

4. That Night's Wife, by Yasujiro Ozu (1930). The film may not hold together perfectly as a realistic crime drama, but its claustrophobic exploration of parental desperation, played out in a painful nightmare of a night, is powerful.

3. Day for Night, by Francois Truffaut (1973). Though I’d never seen it before sitting down to watch the new Criterion Collection release — indeed had never given it much thought, falling, as it does, after Truffaut’s auspicious years as an instigator and purveyor of the French New Wave — Fran├žois Truffaut’s delightful and pensive thirteenth feature, Day for Night, may be my favorite work by the French master.

2. Army, by Keisuke Kinoshita (1944). Chishu Ryu and Kinuyo Tanaka play the parents of a boy who does not match the wartime standards for manliness in this World War II drama. They voice their concerns and, suitably, the boy is shipped off to battle, proud. But it's what isn't said that makes this film so incredible. Needing his subversive film to pass the censors, Kinoshita scripted the right words but his actors and direction belie the script. The film's ending, which is a testament to Tanaka's greatness, is one of the most powerful endings I've ever seen.

1. The Apu Trilogy, by Satyajit Ray (Pather Panchali, 1955; Aparajito, 1956; Apur Sansar, 1959). Is it cheating to put three films in the top spot? I cannot help it. I do not know which of the three films is my favorite of the trilogy. Each ise special. Only recently coming to know them, I am unsure how my relationship with them will develop, but they are already so important to me personally. Ray’s work has already affected my outlook on life and on those around me as he uses his camera to show reverence for time and for our inner lives — to our dreams, our hopes, our agony, our persistence. Though deeply rooted in Bengali culture, the three films are universally human.

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