Movie Diary 10/20/2013

The Devil’s Own (1966, Cyril Frankel) and The Seventh Victim (1943, Mark Robson). Accidental pairing of these two movies about enthusiasts of the black arts. The Val Lewton-produced Seventh Victim is a favorite, and the Nigel Kneale-penned Devil’s Own a first-time viewing. The latter is greatly satisfying – 70 minutes of slow build, as traumatized Joan Fontaine arrives in a small town to be a schoolmarm, slowly becoming aware that there is something odd going on in town. Then the finale is absolute batshit crazy.

The Last Time I Saw Macao (João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata, 2012.) At times this seems like a cousin to fellow Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes’ Tabu, especially in its playing around with what we expect from storytelling. But it stands very well on its own mysterious terms. (full review 10/25)

I Used to Be Darker (Matthew Porterfield, 2013). Small-scale domestic study, well managed and tied together with musical performances, which are as low-key as the rest. Evocative use of the long take to draw out the emotional register of the situation. (full review 10/25)

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