We spend a lot of time this week talking about Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love, and on the one hand I feel a bit bad in seeing one Chinese language film and talking about it a lot in comparison to one of the only other Chinese language films the Collection has given us, but on the other Edward Yang’s Yi Yi came out the same year and is Love’s equal in nearly every way and Love is a masterpiece. They are, rightfully, listed as two of the top (often two of the top three) films of the 21st century, and I think objectively they are at the top of the best films outside that century as well. Yi Yi is just amazing (with the possible exception of one artisitc choice I just don’t like, but I don’t know if it’s objectively bad).
We properly finish the Five Films box set with Charles Kiselyak's 2000 video eulogy to John Cassavettes. A Constant Forge finds Cassevettes' friends and creative squad telling anecdotes about the man and his process. The biggest lesson: we've been pronouncing Gena Rowlands' name wrong for the past month.
The debut film of David Gordon Green, 2000's George Washington is not about the first president of the United States (or the second, or the eighth). Instead it's the depressing tale of depressing kids in a depressing town in North Carolina. Then a tragically depressing thing happens and everyone is more depressing. It's almost Dickensian, except that it doesn't have an expressly happy ending and their are no villains at all, let alone ones whose names sound especially villainous. But anyway, it's amazing.
Green would go on to direct Pineapple Express and Your Highness, which shouldn't reflect on this film. And doesn't at all. But that's fun, innit?
Stephen Soderbergh not only directed his 2000 drug drama Traffic, but stepped behind the camera as well in order "to get as close to the movie" as possible. That is a weird metaphysical way of describing it, but sure. The film itself, based in part on the Channel 4 series Traffik, paints a sprawling portrait of the US drug trade as it stood -- and in many ways still stands -- at the turn of the century. Other films may do better to condemn the failure of the War on Drugs, but Soderbergh manages to drive home that the current angle just doesn't work.
Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love. Such a beautiful and poetic film. Released in 2000, a scant three years after the British returned rule to China, a time of many questions and possibilities, the film tells the store of a love parallelogram that for better, or usually worse, can't quite come together. There's little to say here except watch it? And give us a listen.
It's Spine 100!
To celebrate the milestone Criterion threw us a bone: The Beastie Boys Video Anthology, a collection of videos from the hip-hop trios first two decades. It's also basically the only DVD in history to actually utilize that "Alternative Angle" button on your DVD remote. Yeah, it's fancy and fun.
We also spend some time this week looking back at our first 100 episodes. Thanks for listening!