Every Friday, we look back at films released 10-100 years ago this week.
Today marks the debut of a new format for Remembering the Movies. As promised, the focus is on the visuals - bigger pictures and posters, and more of them. There will also be some embedded videos instead of links, while extensive quotations, highlighted in red, are replacing my usual write-ups (usually the quotes will be from contemporaneous reviews or published histories; this week, for whatever reason, they are mostly from film blogs). There's one exception to the outside references: each week I will provide a capsule review of one of the films discussed. This week it's the novelty release Just Imagine (1930), which perfectly suits our theme of traveling through time in ten-year increments. Just Imagine is a sci-fi projection of what the world will look like in the remote, distant future (i.e. the year 1980). Meanwhile, the image above comes from Heaven's Gate, the much-maligned and lately championed epic from the actual year 1980. An early Fenimore Cooper adaptation, a buddy/kid comedy, a Bette Davis classic, and an Irish silent join Cimino's folly below. If you want to learn more about any of these movies, click on the hyperlinked title after the entry; it will take you to IMDb for further explorations.
"Like the trigger-happy City of God, Ali Zaoua focuses on a gang of street children and features a cast of largely nonprofessional actors (an exception, Saïd Taghmaoui from Three Kings and The Good Thief, plays the kids' abusive mute ringleader). But where City settled for jumped-up nihilism, Ayouch's film finds quiet hope among its down-and-out preadolescent glue-sniffers. Equal parts Los Olvidados, Pixote, and As I Lay Dying, Ali Zaoua chronicles the efforts of a trio of friends to give their murdered companion (the titular Ali) a decent burial. Ayouch captures the squalid Casablanca settings in breathtaking wide-screen, and his fluid, inquisitive camera subtly exposes the longing and desperation harbored by his characters—and, presumably, his actors. It's an oblique, heartbreaking film that bravely, if precariously, gives lie to the gang's rally cry that "life is a pile of shit.'" - Mark Holcomb, Village Voice
The film is available on Instant Netflix.