UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD (dir. Wim Wenders, 1991, Germany, France, Australia, United States, Spine #1007).
Epic not just in its five-hour length, Wim Wenders’s near-future near-apocalypse vibe of a movie tracks the wanderings of Solveig Dommartin’s Parisian malcontent as she pushes out into the world away from a suffocatingly doting Sam Neill. When a carful of cash falls in her lap, she takes chase after William Hurt’s enigmatic hitchhiker, willing to follow him to the ends of the earth. The mood is mesmerizing, featuring eerily prescient technological predictions and a truly killer soundtrack made up of original recordings from (among others) Patti Smith, David Byrne, Julee Cruise, Lou Reed, and Nick Cave.
Bruce Greenwood plays an auditor processing his daughter’s murder through his emotional conversations with Mia Kirshner’s exotic dancer during private dances. Atom Egoyan’s film is more a tangled reflection on grief and compulsion than a conventional erotic thriller (and more concerned with why we seek eroticism than with being erotic). He examines a lonely ritual with compassion: the often futile attempt to use even the proximity of sex to heal a wound.
Dreyer uses deceptively simple cinematography, editing, and production design to bring the words of Söderburgh’s play to the forefront in this story of a woman who plans to leave her bureaucrat husband for the passionate love of a young concert pianist. Often framed in doorways, Nina Pens Rode’s Gertrud stands at a threshold, where she can determine who, if anyone, deserves her devotion.
A toupéed Charles Boyer-wannabe and a frustrated nurse fall for each other as he tries to seduce and rob her. They run off together, looking for other vulnerable widows to scam, but their jealous rages leave a trail of bodies in their wake. By leaning into the couple’s deranged vanity even as the death toll rises, director Arturo Ripstein turns a real-life serial killer story into a black comedy until they finally reach such monstrous territory that you’re horrified you ever laughed.
I want to return to this idea of a successful painter
because I find it… it doesn’t make sense, in my opinion,
because a painter is never successful. Nobody is ever successful.
He must always think that he still has something else to do,
something else to discover.
Paulin Soumanou Vieyra’s beautifully intimate documentary on the art, development, process, and values of the great Senegalese modernist painter Iba N’Diaye.
The Bri-terion Collection
I’m loving the Criterion Channel streaming service, so every week I’m going to share my favorite new find.