Films 13 through 31
Chiefly splendid

My stamina is fraying, my body is aching (sitting is the cruelest pose), but the view, why, the view is still glorious. Eight days in and favourites have already been found.

Found in the lyricism of Pietro Marcello’s Lost and Beautiful (Bella e perduta) as I wandered about the ruins of a Bourbon palace of the kings of Naples with a buffalo calf named Sarchiapone. In every grass roll as Scarlatti and Donizetti played. In the Land of Fires reflected in those large black eyes. Found, when wearing Pulcinella’s mask, Sarchiapone's voice was heard. Found, in possession of a soul; never doubted it. All “are equal, determined and stubborn,” (Marcello) but for some of us, our destiny is not in our control. Some of us, like the 'useless' male calf and Pulcinella, must put our faith in a world “too busy to stop and explain itself.”

“Despite everything, I’m proud of being a buffalo. In a world that denies we have a soul, being a buffalo is an art.” —Sarchiapone

Found in Ceyda Torun's fine felines of Istanbul — Rat Catcher, Deniz, Duman, Gamsiz et al. — and the people who are happy to brush along beside them in Kedi. In both films, how I view my own relationship with animals. It is not one of dominance. It is not one that expects a ‘return for investment.’

From the way every little thing can be viewed in the inspiring Don’t Blink: Robert Frank, and the real-time feel of Cristi Puiu’s humorous, pained family gathering Sieranevada to the utterly beautiful, black and white love tale of Juho Kuosmanen’s The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (replete with a closing promenade of the real Olli and Raija), at this stage and always, any kind of top ten is going to be a list I will not be able to make.

Yes, this featherweight (dreamer) may be fatigued, but it has been (and continues to be) glorious.

Until next time, letting it all seep in, like Yoshiko advises (Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After the Storm), while longing for a sunflower brain-rinse (Mikio Naruse’s Sound of the Mountain).


Image credit: Still from Laura Israel’s film, Don't Blink: Robert Frank (2016)