IF you’re searching for summer movie options midst the blockbusters SEE a film you’ve never heard of – or a film you’ve heard of, but forgotten was incredibly wonderful BECAUSE facets of light lie buried in my Cinemashrink DVD Trove of gems.
Paper Moon, 1973 (USA)
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Writers: Joe David Brown (story), Alvin Sargent (screenplay)
Cinematographer: Lazlo Kovacs
Starring Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal and Madeline Kahn
If children wise beyond their years hold a special fascination for you…
See an orphan and a conman in Paper Moon vie for honors at who’s getting the best of who – and laugh when they do, in fact, get the best of each other!
Because a girl who’s made up her mind and a grown up man who hasn’t construct a road of hope to the future on a whim and a prayer in 1930’s.
(Tatum would have surely gotten Best Actress nomination in our kid friendly Oscar nominations today.)
Le Havre, 2011 (Finland, France, Germany)
Director: Aki Kaurismaki
Writer: Aki Kaurismaki
Starring: Andre Wilms, Blondin Miguel, Jean-Pierr Darroussin
If you want to get your faith in humankind back on track…
See Le Havre turn one bleak certainty of doom into yet another reasonable probability of triumph
Because a good heart may ring as often as a bad one but good heartedness in action – well illustrated against personal and social odds – is truly welcome.
(I loved this film for all its unlikely but highly credible characters.)
The Spirit of the Beehive, 1973 (Spain)
Writer and Director: Victor Erice
Starring: Ana Torrent, Teresa Gimpera, Fernando Fernan
If you like allegorical tales that take you deep into soulful emotions difficult to capture in words…
See a curious little girl in The Spirit of the Beehive try to understand killing as her family suffers the aftermath of Spain’s civil war
Because why we kill, why we endure and why we care so much for one life, so little for another are essential questions that puzzle us from cradle to grave.
(It was the 1931 Frankenstein film that set this little girl’s search for answers to profound questions into motion, affirming my own belief in the power of film.)
Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Writers: Luigi Pirandello (stories), Taviani Brothers
Starring: Antonio Albanese, Giuseppe Cederna, Luca Zingaretti
If you love Luigi Pirandello and love the Taviani Brothers even more…
See You Laugh to contemplate why life isn’t worth living without being able to fulfill your dreams and why, in its second feature about kidnappings, life in the moment is worth more than life as it should be…
Because big questions are the only ones Pirandello and the Taviani Brothers bother with and they will, I promise, keep conversation going long into the night…
(Spoiler alert. These are disturbing films about matters of great importance exquisitely filmed and drawn from profound stories.)
Man of Aran, 1934 (UK, Ireland)
Written and Directed by Robert Flahtery
Starring Colman ‘Tiger’ King, Maggie Dirrain, Michael Dirrane
Best Foreign Film, National Board of Review, USA
If you, like me, are wowed by visions a film poet who conjures up the genius of William Butler Yeats with black and white imagery,
See Man of Aran lift documentary to the level of myth, capturing the essence of an isolated Irish Islander’s struggle with primeval elements to make a home in hostile but magnificent environs.
Because the film shows one stunning scene after another that makes you gasp with awe. No wonder thousands of people walk the surface of this Irish island Spring and Summer. The magic of human resilience hides here.
(Man of Aran is a documentary of the human spirit. Real woman carrying bundles of seaweed on her back. Real men catching a shark the length of their boat. Real, not simulated waves looming and crashing against craggy cliffs.)
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Writers: Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli
Starring Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti
If you’re not feeling love, you’re not feeling life and need the touch of encouragement to be smart about your choices…
See Facing Windows probe the soul of ambivalence, a passion submerged for lack of single direction but still stirring the heart,
Because the sweet sadness in the eyes, the ayes of recognition between lovers, friends and like spirits of love feel quite savory.
(A full on beautiful film about life in the ‘as is’ condition.)
Directors: Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni
Writers: Byambasuren Davaa, Bathayar Davgadorj, Luigi Falorni
Starring: Janchiv Ayurzana, Chimed Obin, Amgaabazar Gonson & several camels
If you want to be transported to Mongolia, visit its native culture of goat and camel herders and change your sense of time…
See The Story of The Weeping Camel create a compelling family drama as they help a camel mother bond with her unwanted calf…
Because ‘Believe It of Not’ doesn’t do unbelievable realities any better than a mother camel who vibes to a violin! You will be moved.
(Right up there in significance with the 1922 Nanook of the North, the first full length ethnographic film in such an odd corner of earth.)
Director: Eytan Fox
Writer: Gal Uchovsky (screenplay)
Stars: Lior Ashkenazi, Knut Berger, Caroline Peters
If you like your films well done, grown up and personally provocative
See Walk on Water reject the Exodus edict in which sins of the father dictate generations of hatred for sons and daughters who refuse the ways of the father.
Because to break with traditions of revenge and live for the living picks up the task of evolving; a real man’s challenge.
(Great travel film. Visit Tel Aviv and Berlin as if you were there. Experience the contrast and differences for the one who visits, the one who lives as a resident.)
Jeffrey Boan (screenplay), George Lucas (story)
Harrison Ford and Sean Connery
If you truly want to escape the here and now, suspend disbelief and fling yourself into laughing out loud,
See Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade turn the Star Wars quest of a son for his father into a romp from Italy to Jordan, rescuing the Holy Grail from the bad guys and the world from bad guy domination.
Because it’s just such damn good fun to not have to worry about a good ending for the good guys – for a change!
(Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are so fabulous being the fabulous characters they’ve built for the big screen and there are so many references to iconic heroes, you might think Tarantino had a hand in this film.)
Article written by Dr. Jane Alexander Stewart
Newtopia staff writer Jane Alexander Stewart, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who writes essays about mythic themes in film, creates “Myth in Film; Myth in Your Life” seminars for self-exploration and travels a lot. Her film reviews have been published in the San Francisco C.G. Jung Library Journal, Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Los Angeles Journal of Psychological Perspectives. Jane’s popular essay on “The Feminine Hero in The Silence of the Lambs” appears in the anthology, The Soul of Popular Culture, and in The Presence of the Feminine in Film as one of its authors. She’s also presented myth in film programs at Los Angeles County Museum, University of Alabama and C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. A collection of her reviews and other writing can be found at www.CinemaShrink.com.