Movie Diary 5/14/2009

Treeless Mountain (So-yong Kim, 2008). Probably not a movie made for 10 a.m. screenings, but a delicate and intense study of two little girls shunted off to relatives. Always a good sign: the final shot of a movie comes on without a great deal distinguishing it from the dozens of shots that have preceded it, and you instantly know, in some mysterious way, that the final shot of the movie has just begun. (shows at the Seattle International Film Festival on 5/23 and 5/24)

(500) Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009). Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are the casual lovers in this bittersweet number. (shows at SIFF on 6/8 and 6/9)

The Purchase Price (William Wellman, 1932). The physicality of Wellman plus the buoyancy of early Stanwyck: good combination, although the storyline for this pre-Code title is truly bizarre. Babs is a songstress who gives up the wild life by exchanging places with a mail-order bride bound for a North Dakota farm. The climax is a fire in a wheat field, which I’m pretty sure did not inspire Terrence Malick on Days of Heaven.