AEC


film (b)log by
ariel esteban cayer


index

portfolio


Maborosi (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 1995)

Maborosi (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 1995)

Hana-bi (Takeshi Kitano, 1997)
Hands down one of the best, most moving films I’ve seen in a long time, Hana-bi is as succesful as a brutal, revisionist yakuza film as it at providing a melancholy, autobiographically-tinged mid-career meditation on violence, mortality and the creative process within the confines of genre — Kitano exploring the stagnation and stillness of the yakuza cycle he’s so well known for. A cycle that, here, feels so ideologically bankrupt and exhausted that it can only be explored through the beautifully contemplative mise-en scène the director flirts with and that evokes, in turn, the style of masters such as Ozu and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. 
Kitano provides provides all the gorgeous paintings seen in the film (example above; paintings which he produced, like the film’s character, in convalescence from his infamous motorcycle accident) and Joe Isaishi scores the film with vibrant, incredibly nineties-sounding music, brilliantly underscoring the conjunction of violence and emotion in a way that allows Kitano to transcend the genre with not-quite-unexpected, dead-pan gravitas.

Hana-bi (Takeshi Kitano, 1997)

Hands down one of the best, most moving films I’ve seen in a long time, Hana-bi is as succesful as a brutal, revisionist yakuza film as it at providing a melancholy, autobiographically-tinged mid-career meditation on violence, mortality and the creative process within the confines of genre — Kitano exploring the stagnation and stillness of the yakuza cycle he’s so well known for. A cycle that, here, feels so ideologically bankrupt and exhausted that it can only be explored through the beautifully contemplative mise-en scène the director flirts with and that evokes, in turn, the style of masters such as Ozu and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. 

Kitano provides provides all the gorgeous paintings seen in the film (example above; paintings which he produced, like the film’s character, in convalescence from his infamous motorcycle accident) and Joe Isaishi scores the film with vibrant, incredibly nineties-sounding music, brilliantly underscoring the conjunction of violence and emotion in a way that allows Kitano to transcend the genre with not-quite-unexpected, dead-pan gravitas.

Yes Sir! Madame… (Robert Morin, 1994)

Yes Sir! Madame… (Robert Morin, 1994)

Smoke Signals (Chris Eyre, 1998)
”[…] Coming out at the tail-end of a certain resurgence of American independent cinema, Smoke Signals is, like many films of the period, an admirably “well-read” piece of filmmaking, reflexive of tropes and imagery having come before it. Particularly engaging because of the manner it proudly wears its varied cinematic influences on its sleeve like familiar codes for the audience to recognize and embrace, Chris Eyre crafts a Native cinematic vision that is almost as non-Native in form as it is with its content. Indeed, because it is conventionally and economically shot, the film follows the structure and model of most mainstream (Hollywood, or otherwise) films. While one can only speculate on Eyre’s influences and formative film viewing experiences, Smoke Signals does manageto recall a few other key works of non-Native American cinema. Recalling per example fellow satirist Spike Lee (circa 1989’s Do the Right Thing), Eyre’s use of humor and his handling of ethnic relations in not without a considerable amount of self-parodying, exaggeration and an inch of heavy-handedness. More subtly perhaps, Eyre also overtly appropriates (and embodies) the (arguably White American) road movie genre as popularized by such late-60s films as Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Easy Rider (1969), while inserting distinct Western imagery (and related jokes) in multiple scenes. At first glance, there might be nothing specifically indigenous to Eyre’s filmmaking, yet if slightly disappointing in form, Chris Eyre’s use of a normative style to communicate a resolutely Native perspective is an admirable exercise in reappropriation; the interconnected genres of the road movie and the Western (both taking place in and glorifying the open road, so to speak) as given back to the Native filmmaker. […]” 
Turning school assignments into blog material, pardon me.

Smoke Signals (Chris Eyre, 1998)

”[…] Coming out at the tail-end of a certain resurgence of American independent cinema, Smoke Signals is, like many films of the period, an admirably “well-read” piece of filmmaking, reflexive of tropes and imagery having come before it. Particularly engaging because of the manner it proudly wears its varied cinematic influences on its sleeve like familiar codes for the audience to recognize and embrace, Chris Eyre crafts a Native cinematic vision that is almost as non-Native in form as it is with its content. Indeed, because it is conventionally and economically shot, the film follows the structure and model of most mainstream (Hollywood, or otherwise) films. While one can only speculate on Eyre’s influences and formative film viewing experiences, Smoke Signals does manageto recall a few other key works of non-Native American cinema. Recalling per example fellow satirist Spike Lee (circa 1989’s Do the Right Thing), Eyre’s use of humor and his handling of ethnic relations in not without a considerable amount of self-parodying, exaggeration and an inch of heavy-handedness. More subtly perhaps, Eyre also overtly appropriates (and embodies) the (arguably White American) road movie genre as popularized by such late-60s films as Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Easy Rider (1969), while inserting distinct Western imagery (and related jokes) in multiple scenes. At first glance, there might be nothing specifically indigenous to Eyre’s filmmaking, yet if slightly disappointing in form, Chris Eyre’s use of a normative style to communicate a resolutely Native perspective is an admirable exercise in reappropriation; the interconnected genres of the road movie and the Western (both taking place in and glorifying the open road, so to speak) as given back to the Native filmmaker. […]”

Turning school assignments into blog material, pardon me.

Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondô, 1995)

“Kondô nous montre avec Whisper of the Heart qu’il excelle tout autant dans l’observation des mœurs, la romance de cours d’école (entre Shizuku et Amasawa, ainsi qu’entre compagnons scolaires) et le coming of age classique que dans l’évocation subtile d’un réalisme magique et d’une fantaisie planant sous la surface du quotidien; une impression découlant peut-être plus de ce que Ghibli nous a habitués à anticiper, mais également d’une brillante manipulation de l’atmosphère de ses lieux, juxtaposant ville occupée et village étrangement vide, jouant avec la lumière passant par les fenêtres, la beauté inhérente aux métiers d’arts, et ainsi de suite. Simplement, Whisper of the Heart, comme la plupart des Ghibli mieux connus et leurs oh-combien-délicieuse manipulations, convainc rapidement, inspire et étonne tout à la fois – unique indice de la direction dans laquelle le studio aurait pu évoluer dans les mains d’un disciple fort accompli, et qu’on se doit de célébrer précisément parce qu’il n’y donnera jamais de suite.” [via Panorama-cinéma]

Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondô, 1995)

Kondô nous montre avec Whisper of the Heart qu’il excelle tout autant dans l’observation des mœurs, la romance de cours d’école (entre Shizuku et Amasawa, ainsi qu’entre compagnons scolaires) et le coming of age classique que dans l’évocation subtile d’un réalisme magique et d’une fantaisie planant sous la surface du quotidien; une impression découlant peut-être plus de ce que Ghibli nous a habitués à anticiper, mais également d’une brillante manipulation de l’atmosphère de ses lieux, juxtaposant ville occupée et village étrangement vide, jouant avec la lumière passant par les fenêtres, la beauté inhérente aux métiers d’arts, et ainsi de suite. Simplement, Whisper of the Heart, comme la plupart des Ghibli mieux connus et leurs oh-combien-délicieuse manipulations, convainc rapidement, inspire et étonne tout à la fois – unique indice de la direction dans laquelle le studio aurait pu évoluer dans les mains d’un disciple fort accompli, et qu’on se doit de célébrer précisément parce qu’il n’y donnera jamais de suite.” [via Panorama-cinéma]

The Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan, 1997)

The Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan, 1997)

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (Alanis Obomsawin, 1993)

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (Alanis Obomsawin, 1993)

Crash (David Cronenberg, 1996)

Crash (David Cronenberg, 1996)

Carnosaur (Adam Simon & Darren Moloney, 1993)

Carnosaur (Adam Simon & Darren Moloney, 1993)

Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)

Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)

Charisma (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1999)

Charisma (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1999)

One Piece, ch. 101 “Reverse Mountain” (1999) by Eiichiro Oda

One Piece, ch. 101 “Reverse Mountain” (1999) by Eiichiro Oda

One Piece, chapter 029: “Hill Road” (1998) by Eiichiro Oda

One Piece, chapter 029: “Hill Road” (1998) by Eiichiro Oda

Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven, 1992)

Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven, 1992)