Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Favorite Films

We talk about these things, sometimes: the movies we love.

I'm sitting on my couch, and just over the screen of the laptop is my little collection of DVDs, and I think it's worth mentioning the couple films I watch regularly, over and over again, whenever such a mood strikes.

In no particular order:

#) Howl's Moving Castle - the perfect blend of all that is good about Anime fantasy with all that is good about Western fantasy. Jesus but this film is just beautiful to behold. I often watch it dubbed into French, because I think the sound of French - a language I don't speak - enhances the romantic gorgeousness of the film, the dresses and set pieces and magic spells.



#)The New World - A moving masterpiece of metaphor and space, like an epic poem of this country's foundation turned into a visual/audible dreamscape. It's like an entire movie about the song of birds, wind in the trees, the quiet yearnings of a landscape operating through thoroughly human people in love. Alas, the trailer is terrible and wrong. Here's a scene about John Smith's return from edenic captivity among the natives, into the hard life of a leader of the colonists.



#) The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou - If the "manchild" is a major theme of American cinema, I think this is the film that most captures that spirit and the art of that spirit, to me. The boy who would never grow up, who has created this marvelous imaginary world where he can sail the seas with his friends forever encounters middle age, failure, and the death of people he loves. It reminds me a lot of this MGMT fanmade video where "Time to Pretend" is juxtaposed with beautiful scenes of nature's majesty, terror, and huge fucking size. The power and strangeness and beauty of life writ large against the backdrop of the sea.



#) Labyrinth - In a parallel universe, Brian Froud and Jim Henson never stopped collaborating on gorgeous, amazing, strange films. I have the Dark Crystal, too, but I watch Labyrinth more because it is a tad more accessible. The Dark Crystal is also really sad, and gave me many, many nightmares about the apocalypse of the gelflings at the hands of the skeksis when I was a child. I guess I could put either one here, but today I'm in a Labyrinth mood, because I was inspired to write a mosaic novel about labyrinth-style-spaces and I am thinking about when I will hear back from that guy about it...



I've got a few more films I watch a lot, though not quite as much as these few. The Dark Crystal, Pan's Labyrinth, Mirrormask, Princess Mononoke, Cowboy Bebop, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, etc., etc.

My favorite movies of this last year were, in no particular order, "Julie & Julia", "Up!", and "The Fantastic Mr Fox".

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