Movies reviewed this week: Lola, Blue My Mind, The Tune, and First Love.
6/7/2022: Lola (1961): ****
So very Demy that it’s almost Technicolor despite being filmed in black and white. He’s just that lush.
I’m not ever going to get tired of his overlapping, lightly intersecting plot lines and his pure belief in the power of bittersweet love. I adore the older woman who runs a cafe — Yvonne in Young Girls of Rochefort, Claire here. I’ve seen enough Demy this year to know that he doesn’t always repeat the same tropes, but he does like what he likes.
My initial reaction was that this was a movie about the power of coincidence, like Three Colors: Red. But it’s not, actually. It’s about how love and life always exists in parallels — there’s no randomness here, it’s more inevitability. And when you consider it in context with what we know about Roland and Lola’s futures, the inevitability becomes clearer. Again, it’s bittersweet. Demy believes that love is worth the effort, but also often doomed.
6/8/2022: Blue My Mind (2017): ***1/2
Lovely quiet lonely coming of age movie, with mermaids. I don’t think it’s a horror movie except in the way that coming of age movies are always horror movies. If we want to turn away from the screen when we see teenagers making poor choices, or caught in very bad situations, well, that’s probably a sign of our humanity.
(Content: drinking, drugs, sex, some non-consensual sex. The movie does in fact have scenes that are hard to watch.)
The metaphor is easy to read, made more so by a doctor’s discussion of puberty and bodily changes early on. It’s gratifying that by that time we’re well aware that yes! The doctor doesn’t actually understand what’s going on. I’ll be interested to see what Lisa Brühlmann winds up doing with less obvious thematic parallels later in her career, but nonetheless, she does really well with this.
Luna Wedler is really good in the lead. Fragile when needed, strong most of the time. The movie wouldn’t work without that inner core of certainty, even when her world is rearranging itself around her.
The last dreamlike 15 minutes are beautiful.
6/11/2022: The Tune (1992): ***
Visually amazing and deeply inventive, which is what you’d expect from Bill Plympton. I can’t say it hangs together as a story; really this is just an excuse for a bunch of fun musical numbers. The music is good and varied and the animation is superb, though.
MVP: Dance All Day, a pitch perfect surf tune.
6/11/2022: First Love (2019): ****
First Love is Miike in his perfect genre director mode, not his transgressive mode. It’s bloody, sure, and there’s a severed head in the first few minutes, but it’s not pushing boundaries. Which is fine, because the man has made over 100 movies and he cares about his craft. What I’m saying is that he’s made enough movies to have gotten in a fair bit of practice.
The humor is great. (That drunken nurse was amazing.) The action is fantastic, particularly that final fight scene between so many factions that I almost lost track. The overhead car chase shot was both cartoonish and lovely.
This might be the ideal first Miike movie for those who’ve steered clear because, you know, when he’s transgressive he’s really transgressive.