Acclaimed Portugese director João Pedro Rodrigues has made three features: O Fantasma (2000), Two Drifters (2005), and To Die Like a Man (2009).
The first film I remember seeing. I was seven. It was a Sunday morning, late in 1973. I was alone in a theater that no longer exists. I remember I couldn’t stop laughing. Mon oncle and Playtime were the films that made me love modern architecture.
The Ozu film that makes me think more of Tati. Is it the music in the beginning? I wish I had seen it when I was seven, but none of Ozu’s films were ever released in Portugal.
The most beautiful film ever made?
The most beautiful melodrama ever made. I can’t help crying when I think about the last scene, on the Island of Sado: in the beach, near a poor shack, the sublime Kinuyo Tanaka, now old and blind, finally reunites with her long-lost son, Zushio. And life goes on; the seaweed picker continues to turn the weeds that dry in the sun.
A middle-aged housewife’s desire, long before Desperate Housewives and so far away from its cynicism. Two desperate and tender films. From Jane Wyman to Brigitte Mira, from Rock Hudson to El Hedi ben Salem, from the United States to Germany, from the fifties to the seventies, a lesson in remaking.
Two films about the brutality of seeing (about cinema?), one directed by France’s answer to Fritz Lang, the other by the British Vincente Minnelli. And on the Franju DVD, there’s a precious extra: the 1949 short documentary Blood of the Beasts, a film that dares to look death in the eyes.
Again, the violence. The discovery of Constance Towers’s shaved head, in the precredits scene, remains one of my strongest fetishist images.
One of the very few westerns, my favorite classical genre, in the Criterion Collection. How to make an almost huis clos in the immensity of Monument Valley? Only Ford had that secret. The apparition of the great John Wayne in the Ford family, as the Ringo Kid, in a beautiful tracking shot, made him a star. Later, Wayne said about Ford: “This made me a star, and I’ll be grateful to him forever. But I don’t think he ever really had any kind of respect for me as an actor until I made Red River for Howard Hawks, ten years later. Even then, I was never quite sure.”
The most sensual of films.
Two films directed by the immense Max Ophuls, born in Sarre, between France and Germany, with the deepest Viennese heart.