Viridiana

Luis Bunuel attacks the Catholic church by attacking the concept of personal charity?

Listen, Bunuel is a complicated guy, but this is not a mistake that is unique to him so I need to say this outside the podcast (and, repeatedly, inside the podcast): he is right, personal charity will not change systematic problems that stem from economic inequality. Systematic issues require systematic changes. But you know what? You still need to help people in the moment.
So support organizations that seek to get people off the street. But also, buy a sandwich for that guy on the freeway exit ramp, give that lady downtown some gloves. And, best of all, promote policy changes that will eliminate the need for those social charities and actually raise up the destitute.
We can do it all. If we want to.

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A Woman is a Woman

1961's A Woman is a Woman is Jean-Luc Godard's first film shot in color or Cinemascope, a fact that may be more impressive if it weren't only the third film ever of a man who has made, well, a ton of movies. Still he didn't dive right in with the color (or the Cinemascope): three films later he'd go for color and wide-aspect again with Contempt, but right after that he's back to black and white and 4:3 with Band of Outsiders.

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Through a Glass Darkly

1961, and specifically the film Through a Glass Darkly, marked a number of changes for Ingmar Bergman: it's the first time he starts to shoot on the island of Fårö, his first time working with the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist, and, perhaps most strikingly, a brief flirtation with making philosophically straightforward film. This film and the next -- Winter Light which we'll talk about next week as we continue through the boxset Three Films by Ingmar Bergman -- are possibly the most easy to understand of Bergman's whole catalog, among the few where the filmmaker himself is doing most of the work for interpretation. This does not make them less depressing, but it does make it a good starting point for introducing yourself to the films of Ingmar Bergman.

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Il Posto

Though he was working a decade after the movement "ended" Ermanno Olmi's films have all the hallmarks of Italian neorealism even though he claims his film style is a response to (and rejection of) Italian neorealism. That is absurd on it's face, but not the same type of absurd as Il Posto. Olmi's 1961 film is a coming of age tale that the director claims is semi-autobiographical, though we've heard that before. True to life or not, Il Posto is true-to-life with all the hilarity and disappointment that comes with life.

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By Brahkage: An Anthology, Volume 1

This week's episode is a long one solely for the plethora and variety of material we're tasked with talking about. Stan Brahkage was an experimental filmmaker and a long-time film professor at the University of Colorado, who principally focused on non-narrative film. By Brakhage covers work from six decades of his career. With over four hours of material in 26 pieces ranging from 9 seconds to 74 minutes long, there's a lot to digest: a lot to love and some, well, not to.

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Yojimbo

Akira Kurosawa's 1961 period drama Yojimbo is one of the most influential films in history, not to mention the most ripped-off. It's most famous unofficial remake is arguably as well known as Yojimbo itself: Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars. I'll forgive the rip-off since Leone made a pretty impressive film but we won't talk too much about that.

Being our resident Kurosawa-obsessive, Donovan Hill returns to us once again and will be with us next week as well for Kurosawa's related follow-up film Sanjuro. Toshiro Mifune stars, and I never get tired of seeing him.