Movie Diary 5/30/2017

Searchers (Zacharias Kunuk, 2016). The director of the great Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) returns to the ice, with a story that recalls The Searchers – not as a repudiation, but as a variation. The film is both brutal and sweeping, and never less than intriguing as a view from inside an indigenous culture. (screens at SIFF)

Finding Kukan (Robin Lung, 2016). A right-on piece of film history, in which the filmmaker tracks down the facts behind the makers of a 1941 documentary called Kukan: The Battle Cry of China (it won a special Oscar that year). That film does not survive in complete form, though the surviving footage looks remarkable. This project uncovers the story of Li Ling-Ai, a saucy mid-century personality who was the de facto (if uncredited) producer of Kukan. (screens at SIFF)

Crazy Mama (Jonathan Demme, 1975). A cheaply-made exploitation picture for Roger Corman’s company, and yet Demme’s eye for American life and people is a lot like it would be in his greatest movies to come. This is a thoroughly and energetically loopy movie.


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