At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
November is “The Month of Noir” at Film Space. December, “The Month of Classics.”
Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.
At Film Space Saturday, November 28: The Cry of the Owl / Le cri du hibou (1987) by Claude Chabrol – 102 mins – Italy/ France, Drama/ Romance/ Thriller.
Rotten Tomatoes: Based on the novel by suspense master Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley), acclaimed French director ClaudeChabrol'sThe Cry of the Owl is a tight, edgy thriller. The acclaimed, widely viewed film was the recipient of a French Academy Award upon its release in 1987, and has gone on to be viewed as one of the landmark psychological suspense films of the 1980's.
When a Peeping Tom finally meets the object of his infatuation, he finds that she is even more disturbed than he is. Upon becoming close, the two enter into a bizarre love triangle that becomes more violent and scary as time goes on.
Amazon.com reviewer: Chabrol is the French master of suspense. His most successful films are the ones in which he extends the bounds (though not too far) of the tried and true Hitchcockian formula. La Femme Infidele (68) and Le Boucher (69) as well as La Ceremonie (97) are considered masterpieces. He also has several films that are near masterpieces. Cry of the Owl is not a masterpiece but it is one of Chabrol’s more memorable efforts. Few pictures have been more aptly and evocatively titled. The lead character is a moribund architect with a sadistic ex-wife who paints birds of prey. And in his spare time he spies on a chosen prey of his own, a lovely and innocent looking young woman. But she too, once met, proves equally moribund. The story is stark and each new character met presents yet another twist or turn, (or twisted turn). It is a long dark tunnel of a movie and there is little hope offered that there will be any coming out the other side. Cry of the Owl is a darkly hued ode of a movie which is very good at what it does – it is a well executed and a rare, very rare, kind of movie that presents its dark vision with no apologies or compromises for mere entertainment’s sake. Chabrol loyalists will be glad to have this and Highsmith readers will too.
A voyeur movie that is neither sensual nor erotic. Bold and haunting. Creepy and cold. Chabrol perhaps has strayed even further than usual from his Hitchcockian formula for success and trespassed into a not easily defined genre between psychological mystery and supernatural thriller.
The Washington Post, Desson Howe: ClaudeChabrol'sThe Cry of the Owl bathes in private technique. It's awash with impressive images, montage, and other cinematic values. But amid the aesthetics, something vital is missing.
In a sense, that omission is precisely what French director Chabrol is after. Only he'd call it restraint. The maker of understated psychological dramas, he is known for dramas about soft-spoken characters whose still waters run deep and frequently murderous. His 1987 adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel, which changes the book's American setting to a French one, is no exception.
Parisian draftsman Christophe Malavoy, separated from a psychologically abusive wife, has left Paris to work in the Vichy countryside. He becomes infatuated with beautiful Mathilda May, whom he spies on for months. May becomes aware of his eerie attentions and confronts him one day. Her lifelong fascination with death figures attracts her to the gentle, handsome -- but depressive -- stranger.
Engaged to jealous, unappealing Jacques Penot, May realizes she's not in love with her fiancé. She becomes obsessed with Malavoy, who rejects her newfound passion. Their indefinable relationship is attacked by everyone, from her fiancé to Malavoy's wife, who decides to exploit the triangular situation for her own Machiavellian amusement.
The New York Times, Vincent Canby: The Cry of the Owl is a Chabrol film to test the patience and the theories of the French director's most abject admirers.
After the quite wonderful introductory sequences, the film's narrative goes heedlessly bonkers, playing a couple of important dirty tricks on the audience as it falls to pieces.
Robert is introduced as a self-confessed depressive who has spent some time in a mental hospital. This is not something he hides. He talks about it with Juliette early on. Yet it's soon apparent that he is the only sane person in the film. Why he doesn't recognize the fact is too much for plausibility to bear.
The Cry of the Owl is not just chilly. It is seriously irrational. Because of the way in which Mr. Chabrol manipulates the behavior of the characters to fit the story, the suspense never accumulates -- it keeps running out through the holes in the bottom of the plot.
At Film Space Saturday, December 5: No showing! Holiday – Father’s Day/ The King’s Birthday.
At Film Space Saturday, December 12: A Clockwork Orange (1971) by Stanley Kubrick – 136 mins – UK/ US, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller. Originally rated X in the US, later (1973) the cut version was rated R. Banned in the UK, and then the film was withdrawn from distribution in the UK by the director. In most countries rated 18. Generally favorable reviews: 78/84 out of 100.
In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and later volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem... but not all goes to plan.
Rotten Tomatoes: Disturbing and thought-provoking, A Clockwork Orange is a cold, dystopian nightmare with a very dark sense of humor.
From its opening shot of Malcolm McDowell staring with evil intent directly into the camera (which pulls back to reveal him drinking a glass of milk), Stanley Kubrick's brilliant A Clockwork Orange announces itself as a completely new kind of viewing experience. The film, set in an unidentified future, overwhelms the senses with its almost comic depictions of rape and violence set to an upbeat classical and pop music score. Kubrick based his chilling masterpiece on Anthony Burgess's culture-shaking novel about a young man growing into adulthood, but unable to shake his huge problem with authority figures. The first part of the film shows Alex (a career-defining performance by McDowell) and his "droogs" (his cohorts) indulging in what they refer to as "a little bit of the old ultraviolence." After establishing Alex and co. as unremitting psychopaths, Kubrick's movie changes tact, and shows Alex getting caught and forced to undergo controversial treatment that will make it impossible for him to commit violent acts, leading to a fascinating ending to the film. A Clockwork Orange purposely confuses crime and punishment, cause and effect, hero and villain, irony and satire, and many other concepts, creating a truly unique work of art in the process. Its magnificent, colorful, futuristic set designs and utter determination to shock, frighten, and thoroughly entertain left audiences reeling in the '70s. Kubrick even withdrew the film from distribution in the UK, after reading newspaper reports of people dressing up as Alex and his Droogs and meting out their own brand of ultraviolence (it was subsequently re-released after his death). One thing is for sure: No one who has seen it has ever been able to hear "Singin' in the Rain" or Beethoven again in quite the same way.