As I like the gears of the 19th century factories, steam in Victorian greenhouses, industrial wastelands and airships, well, of course, I loved Steamboy. This anime from Katsuhiro Ôtomo is visually stunning, even if the story is simple, the pace is quick, and I did’t see the two hours pass!
It’s the latest Takeshi Kitano movie, and it is excellent. It’s a period movie telling the traditional story of a blind masseur, who is in fact a sword master.
He attacks a yakuza gang with humour and savageness. Don’t miss the end of the movie…
Avalon is a movie from Mamoru Oshii, it is visually stunning. As a lover of wastelands, I dived into it and loved it. It’s different from any movie I’ve seen before.
I was already a great fan of Oshii before I saw this movie, as Ghost in the shell is one of my favourite anime, and the Patlabor movies are interesting too.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest movie is a treasure. I advise you to go and see it, because it makes you happy and makes you laugh.
Moreover there’s action (a garden dwarf travels around the world), a very good rhythm, a voice-over which works perfectly, very good actors… Everything is good!
Requiem for a dream / Pi
Requiem for a dream is Darren Aronofsky’s second movie. Beware, it is a movie quite hard to bear, but its tone is pitch perfect. This director knows how to match images and music (by Clint Mansell with the Kronos Quartet), to take us so close to the characters that their fall hurts a lot.
Pi was his first movie, shot in black and white, it focuses on a number theorist (Sean Gullette) who searches for patterns in the stock market.
He’s soon trapped between stockbrokers, Jewish who want him to decipher the Kaballah, and his terrible headaches. The mostly techno soundrack is fitting and stands on its own. Watch and listen.
My neighbour Totoro / Spirited away
Ok ok, My neighbour Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) is for 4 years old… It’s not a recent movie, but it’s magical.
Just a simple story, people living an ordinary life, and… their weird but nice neigbours. Hayao Miyazaki’s art is wonderful, the settings are beautiful paintings. And… who wouldn’t dream of meeting a catbus?
I also loved Miyazaki’s latest movie, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi). It is beautiful to watch, magical, with lot of fun and a little violence. It tells the story of a sulking girl’s coming of age when she gets lost in the gods realm without her parents.
Buena Vista Social Club
In 1997, Ry Cooder went to Cuba to record with Cuban musicians, and Wim Wenders went with him to shoot these moments.
This documentary will have you dancing, the music is wonderful and you’ll fall in love with the “abuelos”, the grandfathers musicians.
Besides, you’ll see Cuba through Wenders eyes.
This Wayne Wang movie stars Gong Li, Maggie Cheung and Jeremy Irons.
It’s set in Hong Kong between New Year’s Eve and July ’97. An English journalist deals with his love for a Chinese woman and the fact that he is going to die.
If you can, go and see Tykho Moon, a movie made by Enki Bilal.
It’s about people living on the moon, an hypocondriac dictator looking for Tykho Moon, the man who can make him live longer by giving him cells again.
Enki Bilal has directed another movie called Bunker Palace Hotel, and is a cartoonist, I love his drawings and his movies’ universe is close to what he draws. To discover him, read the Nikopol Trilogy.
Level Five is another movie you might not easily stumble upon. But it’s worth searching. The director is Chris Marker. One of his movies, La Jetée, was the starting point for the 12 Monkeys script.
I made a scale model of one of the settings of the movie Das cabinet des Doctors Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1919), for an exhibition about "a hundred years of cinema settings". This model is now owned by the French Cinemathèque.
I also worked on an exhibition about the French set designer Jacques Saulnier (who works with the director Jacques Resnais).