AEC


film (b)log by
ariel esteban cayer


index

portfolio


Du rififi chez les hommes (Jules Dassin, 1955)

Du rififi chez les hommes (Jules Dassin, 1955)

Look Back in Anger (Tony Richardson, 1959)

Look Back in Anger (Tony Richardson, 1959)

Crazed Fruit (Kō Nakahira, 1956)

Crazed Fruit (Kō Nakahira, 1956)

King Creole (Michael Curtiz, 1958)

King Creole (Michael Curtiz, 1958)

The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)

The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)

Et Dieu…créa la femme (Roger Vadim, 1956)

Et Dieu…créa la femme (Roger Vadim, 1956)

Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)

Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)

Fear and Desire (Stanley Kubrick, 1953)
Playing out much like an extended, sub-par Twilight Zone episode, Fear and Desire is distinctly economic in appearance, complete with inner monologue voice-over, a vague, non-descript allegorical bubble war as a setting and a twist involving doppelgangers as a conclusion. Not entirely disappointing and offering a few interesting instances of (mostly interior) framing, Kubrick’s first film is still very much an early experiment; curious but far from something like Killer’s Kiss (1955) or The Killing (1956), the two spontaneous yet assured noir tour-de-forces he would be making only 2 to 3 years later. 

Fear and Desire (Stanley Kubrick, 1953)

Playing out much like an extended, sub-par Twilight Zone episode, Fear and Desire is distinctly economic in appearance, complete with inner monologue voice-over, a vague, non-descript allegorical bubble war as a setting and a twist involving doppelgangers as a conclusion. Not entirely disappointing and offering a few interesting instances of (mostly interior) framing, Kubrick’s first film is still very much an early experiment; curious but far from something like Killer’s Kiss (1955) or The Killing (1956), the two spontaneous yet assured noir tour-de-forces he would be making only 2 to 3 years later. 

Killer’s Kiss (Stanley Kubrick, 1955)

Killer’s Kiss (Stanley Kubrick, 1955)

The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)

The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)

A Town of Love and Hope (Nagisa Oshima, 1959)

A Town of Love and Hope (Nagisa Oshima, 1959)

Tomorrow’s Sun (short; Nagisa Oshima, 1959)
Before fake trailers were even a thing, Oshima’s debut short film serves, in retrospect, as a biting parody of then-popular film genres; combining excerpts from a would-be taiyozoku beach romp, an American-styled musical (above), a run-of-the-mill gangster film, a cheesy romance, an operatic jidaigeki and a contemporary drama into a rollicking faux 7 minute trailer — which also served as Oshima’s demo reel to Shochiku, following many years serving as an assistant director. Segments are ingeniously linked by a young woman - the narrator - carrying a red umbrella, and if uncharacteristically upbeat, it is a clear, early example of Oshima’s striking inventivity, as well as his keen sense for framing and relentlessly dynamic editing. More on Oshima in the coming weeks… 

Tomorrow’s Sun (short; Nagisa Oshima, 1959)

Before fake trailers were even a thing, Oshima’s debut short film serves, in retrospect, as a biting parody of then-popular film genres; combining excerpts from a would-be taiyozoku beach romp, an American-styled musical (above), a run-of-the-mill gangster film, a cheesy romance, an operatic jidaigeki and a contemporary drama into a rollicking faux 7 minute trailer — which also served as Oshima’s demo reel to Shochiku, following many years serving as an assistant director. Segments are ingeniously linked by a young woman - the narrator - carrying a red umbrella, and if uncharacteristically upbeat, it is a clear, early example of Oshima’s striking inventivity, as well as his keen sense for framing and relentlessly dynamic editing. More on Oshima in the coming weeks… 

Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)
Aldrich’s famously influential adaptation of Mickey Spillane’s 6th Mike Hammer novel is a textbook example of hard-boiled noir done right; a film, ironically enough, that finds meaning in shades of grey and blinding light. Aldrich thrusts Ralph Meeker’s Hammer into a world of shady dealings, impeccable grey-on-grey suits, shadows in brightly lit rooms, all of which culminate in a brilliant, explosive evocation of Cold War-era paranoia; a portrait of America seemingly caught in a bubble of distrust, angst and the imminent clashing of the “future,” hinted at in Hammer’s ludicrous answering machine and beautifully embodied by the film’s famous and unforgettable twist/”whatsit” — which would go on to be referenced in both Alex Cox’s Repo Man (1984), Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), as well as in the climactic sequence of Raiders of  the Lost Ark (1981).

Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)

Aldrich’s famously influential adaptation of Mickey Spillane’s 6th Mike Hammer novel is a textbook example of hard-boiled noir done right; a film, ironically enough, that finds meaning in shades of grey and blinding light. Aldrich thrusts Ralph Meeker’s Hammer into a world of shady dealings, impeccable grey-on-grey suits, shadows in brightly lit rooms, all of which culminate in a brilliant, explosive evocation of Cold War-era paranoia; a portrait of America seemingly caught in a bubble of distrust, angst and the imminent clashing of the “future,” hinted at in Hammer’s ludicrous answering machine and beautifully embodied by the film’s famous and unforgettable twist/”whatsit” — which would go on to be referenced in both Alex Cox’s Repo Man (1984), Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), as well as in the climactic sequence of Raiders of  the Lost Ark (1981).