52 Films By Women – February 2016


#52FilmsByWomen

February is over and #52FilmsByWomen continues. But admittedly I have been slacking a bit. Even though there’s one more day of February this year I have only watched three eligible films. Well seven rather, but five of those were ten minute Lotte Reiniger shorts. I’m counting those as one because it feels that watching only shorts is just cheating or at least taking the easy way out. So after two months I’m at 7/52. It’s not bad, but if I keep this pace I won’t reach 52 before the end of the year.

Prior posts

Watched

What is next? I guess much of the same stuff as last month. For those interested MUBI is currently showing The Hitch-Hiker, another Ida Lupino film, in my region and will be for most of March. It is also showing Summertime for another two or three weeks. Maybe I’ll do another round of Lotte Reiniger shorts.

 

The Bigamist CoverOriginal title: The Bigamist
 
Year: 1953
Directors: Ida Lupino
Duration: 80 min.
Genres: Drama

As I mentioned in the previous post on the subject, finding films is not always easy. But if all else fails you can always use the public domain. A lot of films are in there, so naturally a few of them are directed by women too. Ida Lupino is one of those directors and among the very first to release a string of quality films. This one deals with the social issue of bigamy. A man and his wife file for adoption, but what will the adoption agent find during his investigation of the couple? I think in this case the subject is actually more interesting than the direction. It does not jump to condemn the man for what he’s done. It actually leaves that to the viewer, if they want to. But all in all the film was a little lackluster. The subject is fairly interesting, but nothing really stands out. I found Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker much more fun to watch and a better film too.

Shorts CoverOriginal title: Shorts
 
Year: 1922-1954
Directors: Lotte Reiniger
Duration: each about 10 min.
Genres: Fantasy

So the DVD with Lotte Reiniger fairytale shorts arrived. I started to watch them in chronological order as they are presented on the disc. The first one is simply Cinderella. It’s a little hard to follow, but it’s alright I guess, especially for 1922 standards. Unfortunately there is no music score to go with the first two shorts so it’s completely silent. The third one has basic music and is narrated in English. It’s the tale of the Golden Goose. This one looks a bit better than the prior two, but unfortunately the narration isn’t very good. The next two are tales of Aladdin – revisiting themes from Prince Achmed – and The Frog Prince. These five make up for almost an hour of film, which I think is fair to treat as one feature length film. If you liked Prince Achmed some of these shorts might be fun to watch, but none of them so far have come close in overall quality.

The weirdest one of the five is easily the second story of the lot, the tale of Ping Pong, some Chinese looking dude. I’ll go ahead and spoil the whole thing (oh noes). It starts off with Ping Pong getting a letter from the emperor for some reason or other. Then he makes an utterly stupid remark to a local fisherman, eats a piece of fish and dies. He is then tossed on the roof of a building before being tossed off again, someone smashes a bottle on his head, another dude starts jumping on him and eventually news of his death reaches the emperor living three houses down the block. The murderer is about to be hanged without any sort of trial, but all of a sudden everyone who hurt dead Ping Pong start admitting to killing him. When everyone is properly confused a fly flies by Ping Pong, who spontaneously undies, coughs out a piece of fish and just before he starts making out with the emperor the movie ends. Whuuut?

Indie Game: The Movie CoverOriginal title: Indie Game: The Movie
 
Year: 2012
Director: Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky
Duration: 94 min.
Genres: Documentary

I hope you’ve recovered a bit from that Ping Pong adventure because this documentary takes on a more serious approach, albeit a pretty one-sided one. The makers look at the craft of making indie games, so this will most definitely not be a documentary for everyone. It follows the development of two games over the course of a year or so. The games are called Fez and Super Meat Boy. They also talk with the creator of the game Braid. The latter is at that point the best selling indie game out there, while the two others are just trying to get their game made. The documentary focusses a lot on stating how much they don’t care about money and just want to create their brain child. It never really criticises the way in which they live or work, but one shouldn’t expect that. In true indie style, this documentary was entirely crowd funded so it’d be a bit weird to go all negative.

Indie Game shows the programmers in their natural habitat, at a computer, or on rare occasion out in the real world uncomfortably promoting their game. Looking at the creative process of making a game was great, but some messed up stuff was being said by one of the developers especially. While on one hand this documentary confirms the idea ‘normal’ people have about programmers being socially inept creatures, it still provides a great insight into the creative process of turning your own idea into a game. To lovers of indie games I would definitely recommend this one. To all the other people, stick to watching the preposterous adventures of Ping Pong.

 

Lists!

The list. Bigger, longer and uncut. Or should my slacking have made me call it The Big Short instead?

short: At Land:7.7 Stars (7.7 / 10)
shorts: Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tales 1-5:6.2 Stars (6.2 / 10)
Indie Game: The Movie:7.2 Stars (7.2 / 10)
Longing for the Rain:6.0 Stars (6.0 / 10)
The Bigamist:6.5 Stars (6.5 / 10)
Three Cases of Murder (1st segment):7.5 Stars (7.5 / 10)
Wings:8.1 Stars (8.1 / 10)

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