I went to see two films at the BFI the past few weeks, both well worth seeing at the cinema rather than on dvd.
Night of the Hunter for Sarah’s birthday. It’s one of those films I’d never seen all the way through, just a half hour here and there on daytime tv over the years. It turned out some of the events happen in a different order than I thought. Robert Mitchum is a creepy Deep South preacher with HATE and LOVE tattooed on his knuckles with a taste for marrying widows and later killing them. He’s trying to extract the secret of where some money is hidden from his latest step-children, who run away and hide out with a kindly old widow played by Lilian Gish. The main thing about the film is the fantastic framing of shots and the supremely creepy atmosphere. I especially loved this river sequence.
I also saw Last Year at Marienbad by myself. I was passing by and they had a few last minute tickets left. I texted a few people, but no-one was free to come and see it right then, so I thought fuck it, and saw it by myself. Either I am a grown-up now, or deeply sad. I’ve got the DVD of the film anyway, but I wanted to see it at the cinema. Not much happens in the film. It’s not one for the impatient. Basically a man keeps bumping into a woman at a grand baroque hotel, and he tries to convince her that last year they had a passionate affair and planned to run away together, but she needed a year to decide whether to leave her husband. You see the same events with multiple different nuances, one minute it seems like the man is mistaken, the next the woman remembers. At one time it seems like her husband shoots him, another like the man assaulted the woman, but then it’s reversed, but without jump-cuts or anything like that. Sometimes characters’ voices discussing previous events change the representation of the event. It does have a “proper” ending though. It’s a hard film to explain, but it’s worth the patience. There are so many different theories people have come up with for what’s really happening.