Just because a movie doesn't win an Oscar doesn't mean it's not as worthy.
“North by Northwest,” “Psycho,” “Rebel Without A Cause,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Taxi Driver.” All classics. All losers at the Academy Awards.
This week, the Grand Cinema brings a couple of recent Academy Award nominees to Tacoma. Greek-made “Dogtooth,” nominated for best foreign film, and “Waste Land,” nominated for best documentary, will be shown.
“They’re real quality films that I really wanted to bring in and this gives people a chance to see them,” said Grand executive director Philip Cowan.
Cowan said these movies don’t get the marketing campaigns of higher-profile films but that doesn’t make them any less of a film than their Oscar-winning brethren.
See the movie listings on Page 4 for times. Here are the reviews:
H H H 1/2 I
Directors: Lucy Walker; Joo Jardim
Cast: Leide Laurentina da Silva, Jose Carlos da Silva Baia Lopes, Sebastio Carlos dos Santos
Running time: 1:38
It’s not a very good title, “Waste Land” – this isn’t a bleak film at all – but just about everything else in Lucy Walker’s documentary works, and illuminates.
Traveling with the Brooklyn-based, Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz – an energetic figure whose large-scale photography and portraiture incorporates nontraditional materials (food, wire, metal) – Walker sets down with her small crew in Rio de Janeiro and watches as a truly transformative project takes shape.
Muniz has come to Jardim Gramacho, one of the largest landfills in the world, to shoot portraits of the catadores – pickers who sift through the towering hills of detritus, looking for recyclables to redeem for cash. Like those portrayed in Millet’s famous painting, “The Gleaners,” these women and men – and children – stoop over the land(fill), gathering, collecting, reaping a harvest.
That it is not a field of wheat and grain, but a mountainscape of toxic trash, speaks to the changes that have taken place in the last two centuries. On one level, “Waste Land” is a film about our planet and how humankind continues to abuse it.
In more insightful, inspiring ways, “Waste Land” is about what happens when an artist invites his subjects into a truly collaborative relationship. There’s a cook who sells food at the dump. A young woman who has worked collecting garbage since she was 7. A spry, leathery old gent reflects on his past with wisdom and humor. Another man recounts with pride how he started a library for the pickers from the discarded books retrieved from the rubble.
Taking portraits of six of these catadores and blowing them up on a massive scale in a hangar-size studio, Muniz then reworks the projected images, augmenting the portraits with garbage and debris culled from the dump.
And then he takes large-format photographs of these giant portrait/assemblage pieces and sells them in a London gallery, with the proceeds going back to the catadores.
Muniz finds the beauty in the garbage. But more importantly, he finds the beauty in the people who live and work in it and around it.
And Walker records Muniz, and records the pickers as they go through their arduous routines. They talk about their lives, their hardships and losses, but also the sense of dignity and purpose they’ve found. One man, Tiao, has organized the pickers – to give them better wages, conditions and legitimacy.
Walker’s film, with an effective score by Moby, presents eerie montages of the workers as they scavenge the landfill. The images are surreal, and strange, but the people doing the scavenging, the culling, become wonderfully real and hardly strange at all.
Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer
* * * *
Director: Giorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia, Mary Tsoni, Hristos Passalis
Running time: 1:34
Rating: Unrated; sex, nudity and violence
In subtitled Greek
Mixing the delightfully twisted imagination of Luis Buñuel and delicious black humor of Roald Dahl, this Greek tale takes the premise of overprotective parents to insane lengths. Dad and Mom rule their spacious, high-walled garden estate like crackpot dictators, instructing their young adult daughters and son that the cat is “the most dangerous animal there is” and that the area between one’s thighs is called the keyboard.
The household code of conduct, especially involving sex, is equally farcical. The kids follow the rules with unquestioning fidelity, never venturing into the outside world. The carefully constructed security bubble cracks when a visitor passes along a couple of Hollywood movies on videocassette; self-expression, rebellion and chaos ensue.
The actors are remarkable, especially oldest daughter Aggeliki Papoulia, whose stiff-limbed dance routine for the family goes all “Flashdance.”
You can read the movie as an anti-authoritarian statement or straight-up surrealism; the subtext is artfully ambiguous. A creepy-funny art movie that holds a cracked mirror to our most cherished beliefs about family.
Colin Covert, Star Tribune