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Keep The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Alive

All the hubbub yesterday about funding the Veronica Mars movie made us think that we should make a plug for the effort to restore and digitize the classic French movie musical by Jacques Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It's the 50th anniversary of the film this year and Demy's family (lead by the awesome director Agnès Varda) is trying to raise a modest 25k Euros to finish paying for the process of restoring it to its original splendor for a debut screening at the Cannes Film Festival in May (and for all posterity). If you've never seen the movie, it's full of colors, awesome wallpapers, a 20-year old Catherine Deneuve in her first major role, sung dialog all the way...

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Film Diary: Wings

Film Diary: Krylya, 1966, directed by Larisa Shepitko Russian director Larisa Shepitko's career was cut way too short when she was killed in a car accident at age 41, but thankfully we have access to her two major works through Criterion's Eclipse Series. Wings is her first feature after graduating from the All-Russian State Institute for Cinematography and it is already a mature, quietly stunning film. The combination of a memorable performance by Maya Bulgakova as the main character, universally human moments, and beautiful compositions makes this film stand its ground with its contemporaries and mourn for all that could have been for this remarkable director. I highly recommend both Wings and The Ascent.

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Film Diary: Netflix instant watch gems, Part 1

A lot of people these days have Netflix instant and it seems like they're always searching for some good movies to watch on it as it's mostly a way to watch old episodes of Cheers (at least for me). I dug around and thought I'd make a list of art movies I enjoyed that maybe you haven't watched yet (and a few that are well known that you should return to). I never studied film and really am just a person who loves movies and loves to talk about movies and so these are not professional recommendations if-you-will, but just a movie-lover's picks. With that, I say "enjoy" (hopefully)! **note: I am not endorsing Netflix in any way as there...

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Film Diary: Loves of a Blonde

Film Diary: Lásky jedné plavovlásky, 1965, directed by Milos Forman I've always known about Milos Forman from his more Hollywood fare, but had never seen any of his earlier Czech work. I really loved this film for its beautiful shots, wonderful simplicity, and resilient humanity. His protagonist Andula was played by his former sister-in-law Hana Brejchová in her first film and he captures her unconventional beauty in such artful ways. The camera loves her, but he also lets his eye linger on even the least consequential of characters. I particularly liked this small moment... There are so many great compositions... It's not an epic movie, but it captures a small-town girl's story with situations that are sadly comical and ultimately...

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Film Diary: Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?

Film Diary: Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?, 1966, directed by William Klein. This DVD was another random library pick we added to our pile of movies to watch, but after seeing a Louis Malle film that William Klein worked on (Zazie dans le métro) which was so visually interesting, we pushed it up in our queue. Turns out he was a famous photographer for Vogue and for his directorial debut, things start off like a somewhat surreal fashion documentary... The movie seems to be referred to as a spoof on the fashion industry, but its scope is broader than that. While it satirizes fashion, politics, reality television, and pop culture, it also questions what makes art, identity, and self. It doesn't...

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