The famously elegant Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren portray two desperately lonely neighbors who forge an unlikely connection the day Mussolini welcomed Hitler to Rome. Loren plays a housewife married to a devoted fascist, and Mastroianni a gay radio broadcaster. By subverting our perceptions of these two icons, Scola shows the futility of romantic ideals, but he maintains that real human connection can break through the groupthink that shunts “undesirables” aside.
Johnnie To’s judo tribute to Kurosawa is fairly quiet and reflective for a contemporary martial arts film, and he withholds conventional exposition. He instead relies on his charismatic performers and beautiful cinematography to pull us in, showing how well-matched fighters (and musicians) achieve a kind of romance.
On an early-pandemic group text thread, Arye Gross shared a video compilation of Bresson’s Hands. As a relative Bresson novice, I’m finally catching up with a movie that carries so much of its tension in images of hands. In his story of a young man who goes from amateur to professional thief, Bresson encouraged affectless performances from his nonactors, leaving room for his pictures to convey incredible weight and feeling.
The Bri-terion Collection
I’m loving the Criterion Channel streaming service, so every week I’m going to share my favorite new find.