Ingmar Bergman 'Persona'
Ingmar Bergman is an artist. I have never seen anything remotely similar to his film 'Persona.' There are flavors of this film in the work of other filmmakers today. However, that being said, Bergman's film 'Persona' is entirely itself. When you work in Hollywood and spend every penny of your budget implementing some new technique to give some other person a job, seeing a film that's utterly driven by the artist's vision is refreshing. Persona is raw.
I think the only other film I've seen that may have some similarities to this film is Jim Jarusch's film with Johnny Depp (I can't remember the name). The black and white images use value and light so well. Bergman paints together clips and images in ways that are so precise, so well articulated. The montage at the beginning of the film fit together much like a Jim Henson short film.
I would call this an 'Art' film, and it possesses some of the pretentious qualities that art house films have today. But as a whole, the piece suits a particular vision, one that I've never really seen before. It's a flavor or a color that I have yet to feel. I felt very similar watching the film 'Solaris.'
Anyways, this is streaming on Netflix. If you have the time, watch it.
Mike Mills 'Beginners'
After seeing this film, there's no question why Christopher Plummer won an Oscar for the role.
I saw the film after watching an interview with Gary Oldman. He was asked what directors or films he's seen lately that have impressed him in some way. He seemed to gravitate to this film. I can totally understand why.
The film was written and directed by artist Mike Mills. It follows Ewan Mcgregor's character as he falls in and out of love with an actress, while at the same time dealing with his dying father. Oldman described the film as having 'an early Woody Allen feel.' I would agree, except that at the same time it was articulated uniquely. The director's job is to make an audience feel something at a particular point in the film through visuals, writing, acting, etc. Mike Mills and Ewan Mcgregor created a character that you can totally sympathize with, and when he breaks at the climax, you get the feeling that you have truly experienced something powerful.
Final Grade: A+