Directed by Ingmar BergmanSweden | 1963
The Silence doesn’t have a narrative form so much as an obscure musical pattern, which at a concise 92 minutes feels like a winding slow-burn towards a pensive climax. Bergman maps out the separate journeys of the three characters in this foreign land of “Tivoli”, a fictional town where the inhabitants speak an inscrutable language and go about their daily activities with mechanical precision. It’s logical to assume that the journey of each character is meant to intersect in some way, at least metaphorically, but Bergman keeps them self-contained, providing no recognizable motif with which to connect them. Instead, they’re arranged in counterpoint to one another in an almost free-associative manner.
Directed by Carlos SauraSpain | 1976
In a manner even more forward and direct than in Tarkovsky’s Mirror, a film which shares much with Cria Cuervos, Saura lets family history dissolve along with the vagaries of time and space. Though his editing appears to induce linearity, albeit with a somewhat suggestive and uncanny chronology, the sequences in Cria Cuervos – the aforementioned included – often seamlessly blend reality with distortions of it as filtered through the distressed mind of the dark-eyed protagonist. For instance, Chaplin’s offhand entrance into the kitchen belies the fact, learned only minutes later, that she is actually a ghost.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Ishirô HondaJapan, United States | 1990
Kurosawa is very meditative here. I rather like it, but many will disagree. Dreams surely ranks among his most tedious efforts, but if you can manage to focus your attention for the full two hours I think you’ll find it rewarding. Not every moment of each of the eight stories is of visual interest, but collectively this film stands as a dense tableaux of images with salient staging and perhaps the most striking scenery ever photographed by the sensei of cinema.
Directed by Nobuhiko ObayashiJapan | 1977
There is hardly a dull moment in this film. Even outside of the carnage, every scene is dense with multiple exposures, mattes and other techniques, occurring with headache-inducing frequency. And even when this trickery is toned down in fleeting moments, single frames exude so much visual information that the viewer is forced to consider what it is they’re really experiencing. For all its weirdness, Hausu is foremost an art film, one that breaks apart and reassembles the elements of so many campy, low-budget movies to its own ends.
Directed by Akira KurosawaJapan | 1951
There certainly is an impressive tonal note sustained throughout the project, even as the edits sometimes pile on so fast as to reduce the narrative to near tatters. It is surely this quality that has lead some to classify the film as one of Kurosawa’s finest. If you can ignore the narrative lapses and unsure progression of the drama then the atmosphere the film evokes may well carry you through…
Directed by F.W. MurnauGermany | 1924
The porter is a man who has put his soul into objects, foremost among them the pristine uniform with gleaming buttons that he worships, divesting himself of any sort of pride or exuberance that isn’t invested in the article. As a result, the loss of his position is not so much an insult to his abilities as a man or one of pecuniary concern, but it means the relinquishment of his most prized possession… into which he has transmitigated his soul.