My private film festival: reflections

For my very first personal film festival, I didn’t have a chance to rewatch Babette’s Feast or see the Frankenstein movies, but I did see Adaptation, Chinatown, and The Third Man. Some of my purely subjective thoughts (true film critics, please, be kind):

Also, I’ve decided not to give starred ratings anymore for the movies I see (or the books I read). I’m finding it increasingly difficult to summarize my reactions that way.

Adaptation. Of the three films, I enjoyed the first two-thirds or so of Adaptation the most, right up until the part where Charlie asks his brother how he’d end the movie. I’m hoping that after that all the melodrama was Donald’s idea and a spoof on the Hollywoodesque films Charlie so disliked. If so, that was very clever, but still painful to watch.

Chinatown. I loved the color palette of this movie. All the brown, cream, tan and black reminded me of a Julia Cameron photograph. I also liked how the blue of the water, a central element in the film, was about the only contrasting color seen. Overall, I was intrigued by the story and appreciated the acting. The chinaman joke near the beginning, though, seemed forced (in fact, as an aside, all references to Chinatown seemed to be dropped into the script instead of an integral part of it). Two things that I couldn’t help but chuckle at: the first shot of Nicholson with his nose bandaged, and Faye Dunaway’s head hitting the steering wheel. Favorite quote: “Well, now. That’s that.”

The Third Man. I personally put this in the same category as Casablanca, Double Indemnity and Citizen Kane–in my I-can-see-why-these-are-great-films-but-I-don’t-have-a-craving-to-watch-them-again category (which is probably due to some kind of celluloid deficiency in me, but I’m just trying to be honest here). I could, however, listen to the soundtrack repeatedly, and I could look at still shots again and again. I also might replay just the scenes with Orson Wells, because his face simply had so many exquisite, minute expressions–fascinating. Oh, and amazing how quickly the little dog jumped from that guy’s right arm to his left.


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