Yves Montand

Foreign Objects - Large

The Wages of Fear is screening at the SF Film Society Cinema from June 8th-14th with a new print from a recent HD digital restoration completed by the Criterion Collection. I once drove a U-Haul truck from New York to Florida, and it was easily one of the most tension-filled, large vehicle-related experiences anyone has ever experienced ever. Part way through Tennessee, as I took a mildly tight on-ramp in a light rain, the truck began to fishtail. If you’ve ever been in a car when this happens you know how frightening it can be, but now imagine that sensation in a large truck with your girlfriend by your side and all of your earthly belongings packed into the back. I recovered control after what felt like several minutes (but was actually less than ten seconds) and calmly exited the freeway in search of a parking lot…at which point my fingers had to be pried away from the steering wheel. Friends who were driving behind us came running over excitedly to let us know that at one point during the event the left-side tires were all off the ground. I think about that experience occasionally, but watching Henri-Georges Clouzet‘s The Wages of Fear recently marked the first time I actually felt those memories again. The film spends its first half introducing a fairly unlikeable group of unemployed immigrants in a small South American town before devoting the second hour to a treacherous 300-mile drive across rough terrain in trucks loaded […]

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Criterion Files

Much of Jean-Luc Godard’s cinematic output is inaccessible to American audiences. His most prolific period, the 1960s (in which he made 18 feature films) is almost entirely available, due in no small part to the Criterion Collection’s well-justified infatuation with the cineaste’s important and influential work. The output of much of his later career, however, isn’t commercially accessible in the US including much-lauded work like Nouvelle Vague (1990) and the Histoire(s) du Cinema entries (1988-98). In fact, Tout va Bien (1972 – his most recent title included in the Collection) is to my knowledge the only film he made in the 1970s that’s available on Region 1 DVD. This is all to say that here in the US, what we know of Godard we know mostly the first decade of his career. While it’s unfortunate that cinephiles have minimal access to his later work, this complaint is not meant to undervalue the importance of the work he did in the 1960s. Godard made an unbelievable amount of brilliant and challenging work in an astoundingly short amount of time, and by 1970 he had emerged as a different kind of filmmaker altogether. Godard’s 1960s work is, in a sense, the only logical starting point in order to approach an understanding of this later work. Godard’s films are an ongoing exercise in personal growth, aesthetic experimentation, and political criticism. Each work builds off of what came before. With this weekend’s US release of Godard’s most recent work, Film Socialisme, the gaps in […]

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Criterion Files

“Think they pay you to drive? They pay you to be terrified.”

It’s the line that inspires the title. Four men behind the wheel of two trucks without shock absorbers or any special balancing mechanics and driving across unpaved terrain for hundreds of miles with everything in their path from two-ton boulders in the middle of the road to rotten wood acting as their road extension to pivot over a precipice…all while each truck lugs enough nitroglycerine to reduce mountains to piles of pebble. With the prevention of that much destruction contingent on such undisturbed sensitivity a boulder in the middle of the road is the least of their concern to stay alive. In a case like that a large rock is no match for an invisible pothole that need only be inches deep to separate all of you from the rest of you.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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