Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Millennial Mood 1999 - 2002 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 30


Thirtieth chapter in "32 Days of Movies", an audiovisual tour through 366 films
(2015 update: included Vimeo embed after the jump)


View "Chapter 30: The Millennial Mood"


The Millennial Mood

From optimism to despair (which arrives next week), the fleeting mood of the new millennium can sometimes seem longer ago than ten years. Yet we are still living in its aftermath - here are several movies stylized to the nth degree, in a fashion that would come to characterize the new century. The clips tend either towards a candy-colored lightness or (more often, at least in this early stage) a grim, monochrome palette - color photography is more than ever a tool to capture an impression rather than a filter to catch reality.

(continued below, along with NSFW warnings)


The chapter also has a bit of a schizophrenic feel, veering from somewhat trendy American picks - those titles ubiquitous on early 00s college student shelves - to more celebrated world cinema classics from rising continents. That's easy enough to explain - I began collecting DVDs in 2002, and some of these were among the first titles I picked up. Others arrived at my doorstep only a month or two ago, recent discoveries from my recent series exploring 21st century cinema (something I've mostly neglected in my twenties, preferring to dive into cinema history for the classics).

As with the "Sixties Rising" or "New Age" chapters I think there was a sense of charged anticipation in the air at this turn-of-the-decade(/century/millennium), but that energy was to be blocked and stifled in the coming years. That's for tomorrow's chapter to document.


*The clip of Boiler Room was added in 2015, and is not featured in the original upload at the bottom of the page.

NSFW: nudity 5:15 - 5:55; profanity 6:25 - 6:55
Also, huge jump scare at 4:10-4:45, if you are not into that kind of thing!

I have covered today's films here, herehere, here, and here.


Tomorrow: Reality Cinema


Visit the Video Gallery for a complete list of the chapters so far.

5 comments:

Hokahey said...

Joel, I like this chapter a lot. I remember seeing The Virgin Suicides at the movies and being blown away by it. Lots of powerful films here. Also love Unbreakable - Shyamalan's best film, in my opinion. What a labor of love this epic project is. I applaud you.

Joel Bocko said...

Thanks, Hokahey - as I said to Shubhajit sorry for the weather-releated delays in publishing comments (I got your other one too).

Since I decided to use my DVD collection as the basis for this, I worried some picks would see some raised eyebrows (since the early sections of this series SEEM to be pointing toward a canonical approach, even though that's not my overall intention). Unbreakable was one of the foremost - Shymalan is so despised these days, so I'm glad to hear you like it.

I gave up on him after The Village and everything I've heard of his work since hasn't been encouraging, but I think like you this is his best work - an intelligent, imaginative screenplay and very astute direction: whatever his other failures, he really knows how to tell a story visually.

I love Sofia Coppola too, though I think Virgin Suicides is somewhat uneven, it's just got such a great, palpable mood. Some people respond to it and some, well, respond to it, but do so by recoiling! I can't think of another talented director who is so viscerally LOATHED by the people who don't like her. She's really a love/hate figure. I love her.

Hokahey said...

I enjoy Sofia's films. Yes, Suicides is uneven but stunning. And both Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette are well made. She is a careful filmmaker.

Shubhajit said...

There's absolutely no need to apologise for the delays, Joel.

One thing I've been sort of noting is, like your initial few compilations, the later few too heavily comprise of American movies. This trend was broken in the middle section when European cinema came to dominate your montages.

Anyway, here's what I've seen:

The Virgin Suicides - I quite liked this offbeat urban drama from Sofia Coppola. I've never been a big fan of her Lost in Translation though.

Fight Club - When I first saw this movie, I'd absolutely loved it, and I still like it. That said, I know you're not that fond of this film.

Requiem for a Dream - A very harrowing work, and consequently not the kind of movie I'd like to watch multiple times. Its not that I don't like movies that depress me; in fact a lot of my favourite movies are quite dark & disturbing. Yet I found this movie difficult to get through.

In the Mood for Love - Stunning work by Wong Kar-Wai, one of my favourites among directors still working. There are quite a few movies of his which I absolutely love (Chungking Express, 2046, Ahses of Time, etc.)

Mulholland Drive - A strange yet strangely hypnotic film. Its a damn difficult task to unravel all the plot angles, yet there's some mysterious charm that keeps you addicted to it. And Naomi Watts' performance was absolutely mind-blowing - especially her scary transformation from a innocent young woman to the angry, jealous lady.

Y Tu Mama Tambien - What an entertaining ride this was! Yet another addition to the galore of fine movies made in Mexico during the 2000's (some have been calling it the Mexican New Wave).

Training Day - Interesting film. What I remember most about it is Denzel Washington's powerful performance - though I still feel Russell Crowe was better in The Beautiful Mind.

The Royal Tenenbaums - My favourite Wes Anderson movie. I really like his portrayal of dysfunctional families. I like his Darjeeling Limited too, though it has met with largely mixed reactions from most film writers.

Why is it that dysfunctional families have been a pet subject for so many American movies? Is this really as prevalent a phenomenon as the movies portray? If yes, since how long? Sorry if I sound impertinent in asking this.

Joel Bocko said...

The reason for that trend is that my more in-depth film explorations have occurred in the past 5 years, and during that time I have mostly ignored contemporary/recent cinema of all countries, focusing instead on the 30s - 70s. So what you're left with in these later sections is mostly stuff I've bought 10 years ago - hence not only the preponderence of American films but of, shall we say, not quite as vintage stuff (which I actually kind of like, the popcorn stuff gives the whole series more of an all-over-the-map flavor).

I will say the last few sections make up for it somewhat. Even in today's you have a mixture of stuff I bought when I first bought DVDs - Requiem, Unbreakable, Fight Club (which was actually a present - even when it came out I was ambivalent, though the filmmaking is superb) and stuff I bought more recently - In the Mood and Platform, for example. Next chapter goes more heavily toward more recent purchases (which means more foreign & documentary than American mainstream, of which there are almost none), and the final chapter features I think only one American film, and not one you would suspect probably! (It's one I like, but mostly bought because it was $1 at the record store.) At that point you're pretty much seeing my disillusion with contemporary mainstream cinema.

All in all, a timeline of this series in terms of purchases rather than historical chronology would yield interesting results and be autobiographically, in terms of my taste anyway, probably pretty revealing!

Although by the same token I bought Braveheart a few months ago so who knows, haha.