Friday, August 28, 2015

#684: Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project


Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project is a vital project with distinctly Western mindset. The notion that six films as diverse and distinct as these could be grouped together under any banner other than "cinema" is reductionist. Yet the care given to each and the spotlight shone on them by Scorsese's name and organization is impossible to dismiss as exoticism. The films in this collection (an assumed first in a series considering the 1 on its cover) are all unique and deserving of their restorations, and if the "world cinema" label ghettoizes them it is done while simultaneously elevating the value of perspectives different from what we typically see in film. Like world music, the title hopefully becomes a call for more diverse voices in cinema (in this case cinema history) and a tacit admission that the accepted canon is not definitive but instead sorely lacking perspective.

All six of these films (with the possible exception of The Housemaid) put their respective cultures at the center of their themes and subject matters in a way only rarely seen in the US. The similarity of the films stop there, however, as the stories range from music documentaries to experimental dramas to studio suspense. Of the bunch, Dry Summer stood out for me as the masterpiece. I was hooked on the story from the beginning, and the technique on display was more compelling than Hitchcock's Marnie, made the same year. But overall this box is a great release worth digging into, and the thought and effort put into preserving these films and giving them a wider audience is arguably the best thing Scorsese has done since Goodfellas.

Links to the individual films:

685. Touki Bouki
686. Redes
687. A river Called Titas
688. Dry Summer
689. Trances
690. The Housemaid

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