Considering the last ten films I’ve watched, top marks obviously go to the Frederick Wiseman’s punishing and frustrating portrait of a New York welfare office and John Waters’ staggeringly grotesque and transgressive tribute to bad taste. The recent demise of Charles Grodin led to a screening of his impressive TV special on Simon and Garfunkle, which in turn led to a screening of The Harmony Game, an informative and entertaining dive into the making of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Tokyo Paralympics was my first screening from the Toronto Japanese Film Festival which runs until the 27th and is an easy recommendation for those looking beyond the Criterion Collection’s 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912-2012 box set.
- Welfare (Frederick Wiseman, 1975)
- Pink Flamingos (John Waters, 1972)
- The Dion Brothers (Jack Starrett, 1974)
- The Woman Chaser (Robinson Devor, 1999)
- Tokyo Paralympics: Festival of Love and Glory (Kimio Watanabe, 1965)
- The Harmony Game (Jennifer Lebeau, 2011)
- The Return of the Prodigal Son (Youssef Chahine, 1976)
- Simon and Garfunkel: Songs of America (Charles Grodin, 1969)
- Friday the13th: A New Beginning (Danny Steinmann, 1985)
- Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vàzquez, 2015)
The Dion Brothers and The Woman Chaser were screened as part of Justin Decloux’s Summer Movie Mind Melter Marathon which ran online on June 5th and 6th. Over this year, MMC! has become a real fan of Toronto-based Decloux, his The Important Cinema Club podcast (co-hosted with Will Sloan), and his Gold Ninja Video Blu-ray line and I’ve been interested to check out one of his 24-hour movie marathons. The Summer Movie Mind Melter was a banger from what I was able to catch. The Dion Brothers was a seventies sleeper classic featuring Stacy Keach and a brilliant set-piece climax. The Woman Chaser was a wonderfully Coen Brothers-esque adaptation of a Charles Willeford novel, starred Patrick Warburton as an über-confident used car salesman looking to break into movie-making, and resembled “a Guy Maddin script directed by Orson Welles” (to use Decloux’s own description). My next few days will be spent trying to revisit some of titles that I missed: Empress of Darkness (Nick DiLiberto, 2020); Exit (Lee Sang-geun, 2019); The Nobodies (Jay Burleson, 2018); Broken Path (Koichi Sakamoto, 2008); Kaithi (Lokesh Kanagaraj, 2019) (JC: “An Indian smash hit that mixes CON-AIR and WAGES OF FEAR into one stylish package.”); and Heavenly Bodies (Lawrence Dane, 1984) (JC: “The DRUNKEN MASTER II of Dance Exercise Competition films.”). Thanks Justin!