My TCM Film Festival experience is best summed up in one word – sublime. In the three years I have attended the festival, I can say that without question this was the most enjoyable experience cinematically.
In total, I saw about ten (10) films — all enjoyable in their own way, but without question there were some that stood above the rest.
In this post, I will provide a quick recap and/or reaction to five films, and in subsequent days, I will spotlight three particular films of note: Cinema Paradiso, The Kid, and The Passion of Joan of Arc.
But for now, let’s get on with the business of me sharing a few thoughts on some of the other highlights from TCMFF 2016:
One Potato, Two Potato: Introduced by film historian Donald Bogle and the film’s director Larry Peerce, this movie from 1964 is an examination of an interracial relationship and its consequences. I had seen this before but really wanted to catch it on the big screen.
I loved the backstory that Peerce provided the audience, from the limited budget and the challenges they had shooting and distributing the film.
Los Tallos Amargos: Who knew there was a film factory down Argentine way, cranking out some pretty good film noir? Thought to be a “lost film,” this gem from 1956 is a restoration made possible by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding from the Film Noir Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Reporter (Carlos Cores) and a Hungarian ex-pat (Vassili Lambrinos) come up with a scheme that they are sure will make them rich. Well, it works until it doesn’t – soon suspicions arise leading down a path that possibly has no return.
He Ran All the Way: I decision to watch this film noir from 1951 was inspired by a podcast I had listened to weeks prior – Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This is currently in the season of discussing Hollywood during the era of the HUAC Hearings and The Blacklist. This particular episode from March 14th, talked about John Garfield and his run-in with the Hollywood establish as well as government officials who were hell-bent on rooting out the “red menace” from Hollywood. It was a great episode and I suggest you give it a listen.
One of the films discussed in this ‘cast was Garfield’s final film, He Ran All the Way, which see Garfield portray a petty thief who takes a family hostage. The screening was introduced by director John Berry’s son, Dennis, this film read as a Who’s Who for the infamous Hollywood Blacklist. Not only was Barry forced into exile for alleged communist ties, but the co-screenwriters, Dalton Trumbo (uncredited) and Hugo Butler were also victims of the paranoia sweeping Hollywood.
Also in attendance for the screening was 101-year-old Norman Lloyd, who had a small role in the film.
Overall, it is a pretty solid picture – with a palpable sense of urgency in the performances, especially that of Garfield, who of course in the film and sadly outside the film was a man on borrowed time.
Band of Outsiders (Bande à part): Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 film starring paramour Anna Karina (who introduced the film with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz) was once described as “Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka.” In this film, Karina plays a student conspires with a couple of n’er do wells (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) to steal a stash hidden in her aunt’s house.
The Fallen Idol: Director Carol Reed’s 1948 adaptation of Graham Greene’s short story “The Basement Room,” The Fallen Idol is an adult story, filled with suspense and a bit of levity, all seen through the eyes of a child (Robert Henrey, who was there for a post-screening discussion). It was quite a treat for an early Sunday morning.