Good Morning: The Familiar Wonders of Life

Cinema is good because cinema is true. What Yasujiro Ozu’s Good Morning does is it transcends a structure into a realm comprising of all too familiar moments of life. It presents to us a story, with a beginning and an end, firmly rooted in an introspective context.

I say “a beginning and an end” because it follows a line of thought until it follows through it. The film holds a spotlight thrown over the lives of the movie’s characters. With Isamu, Minoru, Setsuko and their relations that ground one as much as it uplifts the other.

The film is Yasujiro Ozu’s perspective of form over language. He wants you to lean in toward the film and not the other way around. And to reciprocate, the film feels luminously free-spirited and boundless. It’s a persistent film with subtle yet isolated characters. The film consists of many cues that are effective at delivering a message. Like the boys pressing each other’s foreheads to fart, the little boy saying “I love you” before leaving the house, the wives bitching about each other in a rather detached and forlorn manner or the husbands struggling to cope with retirement and authority.

It’s a wholesome film exhibiting exquisite personality. To watch it is to appreciate a film in its purest and subliminal form. This is a start. Discovering Yasujiro Ozu’s intricate, transcendental, and influential storytelling technique. I look forward to all his films, especially Tokyo Story.

Annie Hall: A Believable Love Story

An idiosyncratic and amusing film about the enigma that is love, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall is a revelation. It sort of feels like a fast-paced film – in terms of transitions – but takes its time to unravel – in terms of dialogue – to bring out the best of Alvy (Woody Allen) and Annie (Diane Keaton).

The beauty of the film rests in its unconventionality. And this motif seeps through and through in every aspect of the film. Making it one of the purest films I’ve ever seen. The pace is held in perfect balance with the vibe of the film. It’s funny, tragic, and unpredictable. Even though seen together, Alvy and Annie have distinct personalities that shine individually on screen.

Such a distinction is hard to present in a love story. At one time, you’re left to wonder what you’re actually exploring in the film. Is it Alvy? Is it Annie Hall? Or is their relationship? The film works a certain way in the first act and then suddenly shifts gear into the second act to make sense of the first one. It couldn’t have been a genius without such a structure.

Annie Hall is a story about everyone you meet. To watch it is to fall in love with the idea of love. And, in the same breath, question compatibility, affection, and pleasure – which sooner or later we imagine being the measure of our lives.

The Florida Project: A Misplaced Parenthood

To transcend from the monumental details that could possibly shape a child’s life and land on a ground that’s most dense and affected by the microscopic living of life is this film’s beauty. It doesn’t define a “way of living” nor does it set any limitations against it. What makes Sean Baker’s The Florida Project work is its crispness and audacity.

Every character’s consciousness is deeply imbued by their capacity for understanding and sentiment. Leaving no scope for knee-jerk reactions or spontaneity. Rather, the lives of Moonee, Bobby, and Halley interweave in such a way that it seems unfiltered, brave, and yet hidden in plain sight.

It’s easier to regard this film as an account of a young mother’s struggle or frustration; mirroring that of a child’s or Bobby’s (William Dafoe). But that’s not it. Sean Baker has transcribed a film as if from a foreign language into a film with emphatic complexity.

It’s a film about perspective and the actor that holds the torch, from beginning to end, is Moonee played by Brooklynn Prince. An enigmatic and impressive soul who, at a time in the film, stood in front of a fallen tree and still marveled at its ability to grow when still bent.

The striking motels and the Magic Castle play coyly with the vibe of the film. Which not only recognizes this film as a masterpiece but also realizes the intensity of human relationships and how they’re never forgotten even when misplaced.

To watch it is to observe the slow descent of a life measured in seconds and not years. And to honor and guard it unflinchingly on one’s shoulders as if it’s not responsibility but the world’s greatest treasure.

Whiplash: The Philosopher’s Misery

Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is a powerful movie. Period. It’s the eye of the storm and the destruction that it causes. It’s the unmaking of a character and his making. Done in an unflinchingly brutal manner, the movie portrays a natural impulse, an inner voice, that exists inside each one of us. I see Fletcher as an embodiment of that voice – that tells us that we’re not good enough; that we need to try harder, work harder, come the closest we can to perfection. Because being anything of “enough” is simply unacceptable.

The movie cradles the relationship between Andrew and Fletcher in more ways than one. Each time Andrew and Fletcher step into a frame, it feels as if you’ve stepped into another world. It’s the perfect crime that the director, Damien Chazelle, has created for them. And it remains breathtakingly accurate inside and out. To watch it is to feel the ethos of personal upheaval and the destruction of the self crack the surface of the earth.

Does what goes on inside an artist’s mind ever fully requited? As if hope has finally crawled into the body of fear and bled it to death. Whiplash has invented such a malignant breed. With soul-crushing acting, the movie weaves itself into a fabric so real and impassioned and unreasonable that it shows every bit of skin.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight: Returning Home

This film has the gift of nuance and the fact that it lacks a dramatic edge makes it a film that is told the way it should be lived. A life brimming with the ghosts of the protagonist’s past seeping through his present. This consciousness, of the protagonist’s relationship with the great love of his life, is painted so vividly. That from the start of the film, the motif exists in perfect reflection with the end. It feels so close to the heart as if the fear of taking your eyes off the screen and missing even a single second would drown you.

Nobuhiro Suwa discovers childish wonder, melancholy, and serenity and holds each in balance. It’s in keeping with the cinematography, the dialogue, and the subplots. The significance of each character is felt rather than just seen through the life of another. Jean-Pierre Leaud remains true to his atmosphere effortlessly till the end. He emanates such fluidity in this role, an actor questioning the role of death and his playing it.

To watch it is to understand the truth in simplicity and the simplicity in truth. It’s about returning to what feels real, love, and home. And walking away from it as if you’re a process of nature; a passing cloud out of many – to let the light through. 

I believe that this isn’t my only review of the film. It comprises of many petals, just like a flower. I’d like to not pick them all at once.