Thursday, August 31, 2006

A wonderful Boston artist I just discovered

We visited the Peabody Essex Museum to see its exhibit on Summer in New England (closing this week). While there, we discovered a Boston artist we had never heard of -- Allen Rohan Crite (around 96 years old and still living in Boston). Only three paintings were shown -- so I looked for more online:

About the artist:

Watched this week, August 28 - September 3, 2006

Zoluschka / Cinderella (Nadezhda Kosheverova & Mikhail Shapiro, 1947) thanks to Galina

Amazingly Yanina Zhejmo, the young-looking heroine of this film was in her late 30s when this was made (she was a veteran of the silent era). (She and both directors seem to have been colleagues/proteges of Kozintsev and Trauberg). Not quite a full musical, but with a few songs -- this is a very nice, lighthearted adaptation of Cinderella.

Okaasan / Mother (Mikio Naruse, 1952)

Sadness and joy alternate in this story of a hard-working mother (played by the great Kinuyo Tanaka), as seen through the eyes of one of her daughters (Kyoko Kagawa).

Uwasa no onna / literally Woman of Gossip (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)

My second most favorite Mizoguchi film of the year (after "Crucified Lovers" and ahead of "Sansho). The most obscure of Mizoguchi's films of the 50s -- without even a standard English title (but usually clunkily mis-called "Woman of the Rumor". Kinuyo Tanaka is the proprietress of a rather low-grade (but prosperous) geisha house. Her daughter (Yoshiko Kuga) returns home from music school in Tokyo, after having attempted suicide due to the break of a romance (as it turns out -- her fiance dumped her after learning of her mother's profession). On her return, a youngish doctor who is the object of the mother's affection begins to cast his eyes on the daughter (who is unaware of the romantic affairs of her mother). When one of the young geishas get sick, the daughter takes charge of nursing her -- surprising the other employees (who felt she was stuck-up). Some interesting (possible) echoes of Shaw's "Mrs. Warren's Profession".

You jian A Lang / All About Ah-Long (Johnnie To, 1989)

CHOW Yun-fat is a single father with a young son (WONG Kwan-yuen). He currently works as a sanitation worker, but formerly was a motorcycle racing champion. The boy's mother (Syvia Chang), who was spirited off to America by her own rather ferocious mother immediately after the boy was born, has now returned to Hong Kong -- as an advertising executive -- working on a children's clothing campaign. A mutual friend (NG Man-tat) introduces the boy -- as a model (without revealing the boy's relationship to her). Yes, this is melodramtic -- but CYF and Sylvia Chang are excellent (and so are the other cast members).

Les raquetteurs / The Snowshoers (Michel Brault & Gilles Groulx,1958)
Le cheval de Troie de l'esthétique / The Trojan Horse of Esthetics (Gilles Noel, 2005)

Brault's first major project -- about an international snowshoe competition in Sherbrooke Quebec -- is a visual and aural treat. Noel's film is a series of six meditations by Brault on his career (and that of his childhood friend -- the late director Claude Jutra).