All you need to know about June is that I started David Lynch, and that the two best films of 2016 were released.
In order of viewing:
- Cemetery of Splendour
- The Lobster
- Blue Velvet
- The Elephant Man
- Fort Buchanan
- The Neon Demon
- The Neon Demon
- The Neon Demon
The standout here is that I saw The Neon Demon three times even after a botched attempt to see the film opening night. Elliott and I sat in Campbell 16 for almost 90 minutes hoping they could figure out whatever problem was caused by a severe thunder storm. We left with lots of regret but we caught the film both Friday and Saturday of it’s opening weekend. I followed up with another viewing that Tuesday. The film flopped and I doubted that it would be around longer than a week (it did not).
This list is quite incredible with Dune and The Lobster being the only films I wouldn’t necessarily recommend. I also don’t see a world in which I get back to watching the volume of film that I was earlier this year.
Best to worst:
- Blue Velvet – 5
- Eraserhead – 5
- Cemetery of Splendour – 5
- The Neon Demon – 5
- The Elephant Man – 5
- Fort Buchanan – 4
- The Lobster – 4
- Dune – 2
I’ll of course be talking about Lynch’s entire body of feature films (I’m skipping Twin Peaks and there is no way to get through all his short film) in another posts, but I do have to say that I was floored by his work. I thought Lynch was one of those directors that bro film buffs like to say is remarkable, but I wasn’t sure if there was any validity to those thoughts. Holy shit, was I wrong.
Elliott told me to watch Blue Velvet, because he finds that it is a film that truly baffles him. I had no idea what I was getting into. I’ve never seen anything like the way Lynch handles characters and dialogue. I then dove into his early work. Eraserhead is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It made me feel physically ill. It’s bizarre world allowed for introspection that I couldn’t imagine from a film with almost no traditional narrative.
I’m definitely not smart enough to even begin to talk about Lynch, but I will give it a try soon.
I almost forgot, Dune sucks.
Cemetery of Splendour had a two day run at The Moxie, and Elliott said we should go without knowing anything about the film. It was released overseas in 2015, but only made it stateside this year. I’m ashamed for not knowing Apichatpong Weerasethakul as a director. This film is absolutely incredible. It was a great film to lead into watching Lynch, now that I think about it. Patient and dreamlike, the narrative plods along in the same slow and steady way as industry encroaches on simpler life. We don’t get any camera movement until at least an hour into the film, and it gives me chills just thinking about it now. The lack of music until key moments in the film also add to the crushing weight that the film is able to manipulate. This is one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and by far the best film of 2016.
I worked through most of Nicolas Winding Refn last year. Drive is a perfect example of fusing pop sensibility, action movie feel, and a deep compassion for those on screen. The Neon Demon turns these ideas to eleven, instead invoking horror/suspense instead of more contemporary action. This movie speaks to so many things I have been working through for myself this year. Truth, what role pop culture plays in our world, aesthetics, beauty, and more spend time being worked through. The whole time we treated to the sheer joy of watching some of the most beautiful imagery I have ever seen in film. The soundtrack is equally thrilling. I would have seen the film more, but it only lasted a week in Springfield. This is going to be one of those films that I will always remember. Seeing a film like The Neon Demon in a main stream movie theater, makes me feel lucky.
Fort Buchanan is a short film that plays with all the depth of a feature length. The movie looks at sex, love, and leading a life while your spouse is in the army. It’s a film about trying to figure out life in your twenties, and the fact that you very well might not figure out anything. Absolutely worth spending 60 minutes with.
The indy darling The Lobster had at least a 4 week run at The Moxie. The film does have a perfect ending and is a completely enjoyable ride. It’s hard not to think that the cynicism that makes up the backbone of the film is too much. It’s supposedly a dystopian look at the future of dating and love, but it plays out like a film by that nice guy who always bitches about girls not finding him interesting. It’s funny at times and absolutely gorgeous, but it fails at standing for any of the ideas it coldly tosses on the table.
Not a lot of film was consumed in June, but that didn’t stop it from being my favorite month so far.