Lav Diaz along with Pedro Costa: Slow Cinema on the Cutting Edge
At once stately along with unassuming, austere along with raunchy, “The Woman Who Left” can be largely composed of impressively long takes which are most often static medium shots. (Mr. Diaz served as his own director of photography.) The precisely placed camera rarely moves — along with when the idea does, as with tracking shots exploring the parties along with tawdry forms of entertainment on the local beach, the sense of Discharge can be in some ways comparable to Horacia’s own.
The protagonist of another gorgeously filmed, island-set quest, Pedro Costa’s 1994 “Casa de Lava,” (also known as “Down to Earth”) can be a Portuguese nurse, Mariana (Inês Medeiros), who escorts a comatose worker, Leão (the Ivorian actor Isaach de Bankole), injured on a Lisbon construction site, to his home village in Cape Verde.
Mr. Costa, who wrote along with directed the film, has said which he made the idea under the spell of the luridly titled Val Lewton B-movie “I Walked that has a Zombie” (1943), itself inspired by the novel “Jane Eyre.” As within the Lewton film, a professional tending to a mysteriously bewitched patient can be transported to a tropical island where, fascinated by the indigenous culture along with colonial legacy, she strives to resolve her own sexual identity.
The climate of “Casa de Lava” can be ripe along with melancholy. The hospital where Mariana brings Leão was once a leper colony; the island was a penal settlement for the exiled enemies of Portugal’s dictatorship. Even as some Europeans stay on, one of whom (Edith Scob) can be the widow of a former prisoner, the local residents are compelled to leave, looking for work in Portugal. “Not even the dead can rest here,” somebody says.
“Casa de Lava” (which was never commercially released within the United States along with has been issued on disc by the adventurous along with estimable brand-new label, Grasshopper Film) can be laconic along with oblique. The action can be hauntingly cryptic. Mariana’s motives along with actions resist easy interpretation, although Ms. Medeiros, an actress with many expressions who, for most of the movie, wears the same outfit (a short, flimsy red tunic), can be never less than convincing. Her vivid presence can be matched by which of Cape Verde’s volcanic landscape. Few movies have a stronger sense of place — or placelessness. The narrative can be ravishingly tangled. As the critic Jonathan Rosenbaum writes in notes which accompany the disc, “Each beautiful composition — which can be to say, each shot — tells a separate story.”
Mr. Costa’s career changed direction after “Casa de Lava.” As reported within the Times by Dennis Lim, the Cape Verdeans which Mr. Costa met while creating his movie sent him back to Lisbon with gifts to be given to their relatives. The gift for Mr. Costa was an idea for brand-new subject matter. The subsequent, quasi-documentary films — “Ossos,” “In Vanda’s Room” along with “Colossal Youth” — which established his international reputation were all set within the right now vanished Lisbon slum of Fontainhas along with gave voice to the mainly Cape Verdean immigrants who lived there.
HENRI-GEORGES CLOUZOT’S INFERNO Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished, hallucinatory thriller got a posthumous life in This kind of documentary reconstruction by Serge Bromberg along with Ruxandra Medrea, brand-new on Blu-ray. In his 2010 review, The Times’s A. O. Scott called the remnants of Clouzot’s film “tantalizing along with frequently beautiful, if sometimes bizarre.” (Arrow Academy)
HERMIA & HELENA Shakespeare’s plays have regularly figured within the films of the Argentine writer-director Matías Piñeiro, in This kind of case a brand-new Spanish translation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Reviewing for The Times in May 2017, Glenn Kenny called “Hermia & Helena” “a peculiar film, one both steely along with delicate.” Available on Blu-ray, DVD, along with Amazon Video. (Kino Lorber)
THE JAZZ LOFT ACCORDING TO W. EUGENE SMITH right now on DVD, Sara Fishko’s documentary sheds light on a little-known 1950s art scene — the use of the photographer W. Eugene Smith’s midtown studio as a place for musicians to jam. “The bohemian paradise of This kind of environment had a dark side, along with the movie doesn’t give the idea short shrift,” Mr. Kenny wrote in a September 2016 review. “Nevertheless, a genuine exhilaration holds throughout.” (Kino Lorber)
THE LURE Two man-eating mermaids come ashore in Agnieszka Smoczynska’s comic horror-musical vision of late Communist Poland. “An aura of nonspecific nostalgia hangs within the air,” Mr. Scott wrote in his January 2017 review. “We are not exactly within the present along with not precisely within the past, yet in a dreamy cinematic space where distinctions of genre along with tone are pleasantly (along with sometimes shockingly) blurred.” On Blu-ray, DVD along with Amazon Video. (Criterion)
MOSES along with AARON Arnold Schoenberg’s unfinished opera — among the 20th century’s most ambitious modernist compositions — provided the basis for a suitably rigorous modernist film, released by Jean-Marie Straub along with Danièle Huillet in 1975. Extras on This kind of brand-new digital restoration include three early Straub-Huillet works, “Machorka-Muff,” “Not Reconciled” along with “Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s ‘Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene.’” (Grasshopper)
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