Gone with the Wind and The Grand Illusion

The Grand Illusion – dir. Jean Renoir – 6.7 – Expect a long review shortly  but I did enjoy The Grand Illusion but I need to spend a little more time with it before it can be fully recommended.

Gone with the Wind – dir. Victor Fleming – 7.5 – A couple of years ago Gone with the Wind would have been the longest film I had ever watched. It is a mammoth film that we had to break into two days due to poor planning on our start time. I doubt there is anything that I can say that has not been said before. I find Gone with the Wind is a very pleasurable film experience. There are some flaws throughout which forced a viewer to watch the film with eyes of America in 1939. The film does a very bad job with the representation of slavery and in many cases glamorizes the “sacrifices” that the south had to make after the Civil War. That said it is important to look at the character of Scarlet O’Hara who gave some people their first look at a strong and independent woman in a glamorous Hollywood film.

So where do you draw the line? Parity has been very important to me since I have starting actively reviewing films. When there are so many movies which treat women as something no more important than a coat rack it seems important to penalize films for this. Just as importantly, however, is how diverse the film is, Gone with the Wind is fairly diverse and if the filmmakers took the time to fully realize these characters on a historical level I could easily see myself giving the film a 10 in this category; a score that I have never given. Instead I gave the film a 6.

It is also important to note that the photography itself is magnificent, especially the vivid Technicolor. From start to finish there is always a splash of color at which you could marvel and you would be hard pressed to find such a vividly colored film of the same era. Gone with the Wind earns a high recommendation.

To The Wonder – dir. Terrence Malick – 5.9 – It had to happen, I knew it would but I don’t think that I was ready for it. To The Wonder is a broken love story and the lowest ranked Terrence Malick film that I have watched. There is little point in going into a story which seems to come and go freely, never caring much for the viewer.

The film really suffers from questionable editing. While the performances were fine the actors didn’t have much to go off of from the director so I cannot hold it against them. If you like beautiful photography you will enjoy the image of the film but you are probably better off watching something else.

A Night to Remember – dir. Roy Ward Baker – 7.0 – Watching A Night to Remember for the first time I was constantly comparing it to Titanic and by the end I think I would prefer watching Baker’s film over the big blockbuster tent-pole flick. I am planning a much more comprehensive write up soon, but the short answer is that A Night to Remember is a very, very strong film.

Night Will Fall – dir. Andre Singer – 6.1 – Night Will Fall delivers one of the most vicious gut-punches that I have experienced in a while. Night Will Fall is a documentary about a documentary which was filmed and constructed at the end of World War Two and features raw footage of the Nazi death camps. This film is direly important and deserves everyone’s attention in the same vein as Shoah. It is a very difficult to stomach film as you will see the broken bodies of Jews who, in most cases, appear to have been starved to death. These are images that will never be unseen. Night Will Fall is a depressingly honest film that struggles with a balance between telling the story of the original documentary and just giving evidence against the Nazi party. I want to have everyone sit down and watch the film but I don’t think that I can.

The Game – dir. David Fincher – 7.3 –  Boy, oh boy, I enjoy David Fincher films. He really gets me. The Game is a fable about too much money having a negative effect on ones humanity. It is a tale as old as time which The Game sits on its ear and then stomping. The Game is a high adrenaline mystery that only loses a little on re-watches.