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Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 7

This week’s picks won boatloads of Oscars and had nominations galore. They hail from France, and Italy, and Germany, and Spain, and one has no dialogue.

When I put together the list I was just choosing a favorite film a day with no overall agenda, but this week’s turn out to be heavy on male characters, from a movie star to a boxer, a mime to a brute, an angel to a hard boiled detective. And five of them are in black and white.

The films are:

The Artist; Raging Bull; Biutiful; Les Enfants Du Paradis; Chinatown; Wings of Desire; La Strada 

 

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Birdman has no competition, because there is nothing remotely like it out there. It is a semi-fantasy, dark comedy with an amazing cast and a highly imaginative script. Michael Keaton has never been better, and in this role he shows off a kind of raw emotive talent that I would not have guessed he possessed. Playing Riggan, a former mega-star who was known for his role as the immensely popular superhero Birdman a couple of decades back, he has come down to earth and is trying to make a name for himself again, only this time with a Broadway play that he wrote, an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” He is directing it and starring in it as well. And he may just be losing his mind.

Biutiful

Javier, oh, Javier! Your new movie broke my heart. In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Biutiful, Javier Bardem stars as Uxbal, a father taking care of everyone, except himself. He has two young children, an unmedicated bipolar ex-wife, groups of African and Chinese illegal immigrants who are depending on him for work, and unbeknownst to all of them he is dying of cancer. He also has a talent for speaking with the dead, though not in an “I see dead people” sort of way. He’s just a working class José in Barcelona trying to make ends meet any way he can.