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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 

 

Review: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché

She was there at the very beginning of the film industry. She directed hundreds of popular films and built her own studio that rivaled all the others of the day. She wrote and produced her films in Europe and the US. And yet, few filmmakers today know about her. Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché aims to correct that oversight. Guy wasn’t just the first female filmmaker, she was the first person to make a narrative film. When the moving picture was invented, it was used to shoot daily life or documentary, but she was the first to see the potential for stories to entertain. And because she was a woman, despite her groundbreaking work, she was lost to history. But no longer!

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s latest film The Wolf of Wall Street is basically three hours of sex and drugs and pure unadulterated greed. It is another “based on a true story” flick, only this one is all about one truly despicable guy and his equally morally deficient friends and family. Sure, the “wolf” is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who does all he can to make the greedy jerk human, but at the end of the day, it is a relentlessly long slog through a lot of pretty unsexy sex fed by a veritable pharmacy full of Quaaludes, coke, and top shelf alcohol. It’s a pretty underdeveloped story of a bunch of late 20th century conmen who made a killing by lying though their teeth and their years of living the “high” life in every sense of the word.

Hugo

Martin Scorsese’s new child friendly adaptation of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” called simply Hugo is the second film I’ve seen this month that is a paean to the world of silent film. Unlike The Artist, however, this one is neither silent nor is it in black and white. It is full, glorious color and even available in 3D. (I opted for the 2D version.) It is the story of an orphaned boy (Asa Butterfield) who lives in the secret chambers of a Paris train station keeping all the clocks running on time, while hiding from the over-zealous station master (Sacha Baron Cohen) who has it in for unaccompanied children.