Movie Diary 4/18/2018

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Mouly Surya, 2017). This “indonesian feminist Western” does indeed follow the outline of a classic frontier-justice scenario. It’s slow and scenic, and within a few moments you get the distinct feeling that somebody around here knows how to make movies.

A Kid for Two Farthings (Carol Reed, 1955). In some ways this looks like Reed’s Powell-Pressburger film, a wildly colorful, slightly unreal view of a low-rent community of London street hawkers. The connecting element is a boy (Jonathan Ashmore) who believes his pet baby goat is a unicorn that will grant wishes to the folks around him, all of whom have their modest needs. Celia Johnson plays the boy’s mother, pining for a husband in Africa; Diana Dors is a garment worker waiting for her bodybuilder fiancé (Joe Robinson) to make some money in wrestling so they can marry; David Kossoff as the wise Jewish trouser-presser; Primo Carnera as a blowhard wrestling champ. In Wolf Mankowitz’s screenplay (from his novel) there is much that is touching; Reed’s approach serves that sentiment, but also creates an intriguing tapestry, not just visually but also sonically, as the jumble of voices and noises in this clamorous neighborhood is almost constantly in the background.

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