MMC! is now down to the last 10 films in the Tora-san franchise and finds itself within a strong, late section of the series which includes Tora-san Plays Daddy and Tora-san Goes North (which co-stars the iconic Toshiro Mifune as a rural veterinarian). With a couple of movie friends interested in exploring Andrei Tarkovsky for the first time, MMC! returned to Ivan’s Childhood, a beautifully composed war film of an uncharacteristically manageable length. Cult cinema stood tallest among these last ten films I’ve watched. The ninja-fighting, Turksploitation gem Death Warrior was glorious nonsense, while the Mexploitation double shot of Intrépidos Punks and Revenge of the Punks pitted evil bikers and Bronson-esque cops into sleazy, violent, insanely costumed conflicts.
- Tora-san Plays Daddy (Yoji Yamada, 1987)
- Revenge of the Punks (Damián Acosta Esparza, 1991)
- Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962)
- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (Adam Marcus, 1993)
- Violence Jack: Hell’s Wind (Takuya Wada, 1990)
- About Endlessness (Roy Andersson, 2019)
- Chronicle of a Summer (Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch, 1961)
- Death Warrior (Cüneyt Arkin and Çetin Inanç, 1984)
- Being Two Isn’t Easy (Kon Ichikawa, 1962)
- Intrépidos Punks (Francisco Guerrero, 1988)
As an aside, MMC! is currently in the midst of watching Warner Bros.’s “Censored Eleven,” a group of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons banned from syndication in 1968 for their racist stereotypes of primarily Africans and African Americans. The Censored Eleven had long been on MMC!’s radar and it was hoped that the talent and inventiveness of these creators (Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, and Rudolf Ising) would provide a degree of creativity that would push back against any questionable portrayals. With only three shorts left, MMC! is sad to say that the vast majority of these shorts offer little in the way of gags or material not already presented in better cartoons and that the characterizations contained in these shorts are far worse than “questionable.” Thus far, only Bob Clampett’s Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943) has distinguished itself, though its content remains often lamentable.
(And, for the curious, Chronicle of a Summer was screened as a bit of research for our next imagined Criterion title!)