History Repeats Itself…
After a year of screenings for the New York Film Festival, the Jewish Film Festival, Dance on Camera, Rendez-vous with French Cinema, and with New Directors/New Films about to launch, there is much to recommend. But since the Red Carpet is imminent, I must do my annual Oscar whine about the chasm between how good films really are and whether or not they win, or even become contenders.
It’s all a little like the work of the Philosopher’s Stone – done behind closed doors, often by closed minds, but in reverse, when gold can be turned into dross. I waxed somewhat apoplectic about this two years ago, when The King’s Speech won out over The Social Network. The Social Network was that rarest of rarae aves – a perfect film. https://apollosgirl.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/apollos-girl-3/The King’s Speech, on the other hand, although blessed with a compelling story and an ultra-A-list cast also had a nudge-nudge wink-wink aesthetic, a script overflowing with cliches, flaccid editing, and awkward directing that worked against the story and the cast. Why did it win out over The Social Network? I don’t know!
Well, history repeats itself a little. Although Inside Llewyn Davis has been nominated for, and has won, many awards (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2042568/awards?ref_=tt_ql_op_1 for a complete list), for the Academy Awards it has been nominated only for Cinematography and Sound Mixing. Its obvious rival is American Hustle, which would have left The King’s Speech in the dust. Yes, it’s good. Very good. With a large and accomplished cast, apparently devoid (especially in Christian Bale’s case) of personal vanity.
Before you push me off my soapbox, I have a few concluding remarks: as always, it’s all about tone and rhythm. The tone and rhythm of Hustle are fun for a long time, but its hyper-cartoonish style eventually wears a little thin. Whereas Inside Llewyn Davis, with its brilliant editing and mournful, affectionate tone (it’s the Coen brothers, after all) keeps all its balls in the air right up to the very end. And a delicious end it is, too.
And there’s one more: Tim’s Vermeer has not been included in Oscar’s Best Documentary nominee list. Maybe it’s too smart, too original, or just too good? https://apollosgirl.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/apollos-girl-43/