Like It’s 1967

After I finished my recent 1985 movie marathon, I wanted to do another one, but for a year of film that would feel very different. I picked 1967 for the simple reason that it marks a 50 year jump, and I thought it would be interesting to revisit movies of that era that I watched when I was younger, as well as discover some I had never seen.

What I found especially interesting with the selection I ended up making — I figured I was going to go for a dozen or so, and ended up capping it at 10 — was that most of what I wanted to watch was French. I’m not sure if it’s a sign that French cinema was so strong at that time, or if it’s just that I would have watched a lot of these because of my French-Canadian background, and so they were part of my upbringing. Yet, of the 30 movies I watched for 1985, none of them were French, so I do think that French cinema was on a more equal (if not higher) footing with Hollywood at the time, and that it tended to reach a more global audience than we see with French films these days (which I admittedly do not follow at all).

All in all, it was another fun exercise, offering me a satisfying snapshot at the state of film — and culture in general — at that time. Here’s the full list of films I watched — which you’ll also find under the “1967” tag.

  1. Belle de Jour
  2. Bonnie and Clyde
  3. Casino Royale
  4. Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard
  5. In Like Flint
  6. Le Samourai
  7. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
  8. Playtime
  9. Point Blank
  10. The Graduate

Playtime

This is one of those classic movies that I’ve often heard about, but had never gotten around to watching. It’s definitely a strange piece of moviemaking, feeling much more like an experimental film than something that got a mainstream release — there’s no proper narrative, it just follows scenes loosely connected by space, of various lengths, but that are mostly tied together by the presence of Jacques Tati. What really struck me though was the fantastic cinematography and art direction, which creates a carefully constructed world that is utopically monotone, yet interestingly lively (especially the restaurant scene). Well worth watching as an interesting piece of cinema, especially on a visual level.

Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard

After I decided to do a 1967 movie marathon and started looking at what films had come out that year, I was super excited when I saw that this was a 1967 release. I loved watching Louis de Funes movies when I was a kid, and this was my favorite one, and I watched it countless times (almost as much as I’ve watched some Bond films). Strangely enough, it’s part of a trilogy of Fantomas movies, and I never watched the other ones, I was just obsessed with this one. Watching it again now — probably for the first time in 2-3 decades — I was happy to find it just as fun and funny. It’s not for everyone, but for me it was pure nostalgic bliss.

The Graduate

Of all the 1967 movies I’ve watched during this marathon (which I’m capping at 10), if I had to chose the best, it would be a tie between this and Belle de Jour. The Graduate was even better than I remembered, not only with a story that is still fun to follow, but with cinematography that is insanely innovative and inspired. And there’s of course the terrific soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel. The strangest thing though was to now be watching this movie and being much older than Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft was 35 years old when she played the role).

Bonnie and Clyde

The thing that I found so strange about this movie is just how wacky it is — most of the characters, including the two mains, are constantly played over-the-top, which for some reason I wasn’t expecting, this being a sorta biopic and all. I liked it so-so, but for me the absolute best moment was the unfortunately too short appearance by Gene Wilder, who absolutely steals the show the whole time he’s on screen (for like 5-10 minutes). I’m glad I watched it.

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider

Just over a week ago, on a Sunday, my wife and I binged the entire season of this series in one day. It’s based on a mystery novel by Hiroshi Mori, one of Japan’s celebrated mystery authors, and it’s one of my wife’s favorites novels, and so when we found out that there was an anime adaptation (dating to a couple of years ago), we decided to check it out, and were hooked on watching the whole thing. It’s a great mystery, and the solution was quite interesting, and one I didn’t manage to guess. Highly recommended if you’re into mystery.

Iron Fist

Let me start by stating how I feel about the Marvel Netflix series so far: I thought the first season of Daredevil was fantastic, and I was especially wowed by Fisk and the great fight choreography; season 2 of Daredevil was a disappointment, and although I liked the portrayal of The Punisher, I felt that sticking him in court for a half a season was beyond boring; I very much disliked Jessica Jones, too dour with frustratingly slow development, and the only reason I watched the entire season was because I kept hoping it would right itself; I loved Luke Cage for the first half of the season, but then I felt it lost its way after they got rid of Cottonmouth. So Iron Fist, which arrives with horrible reviews. I used to be excited for this series — after seeing the exciting fight scenes in Daredevil, I thought we’d get that and more with Iron Fist. Alas, two episodes in, although I’m not hating the show like I did Jessica Jones, it is hugely disappointing to see such uninspired fight scenes. I don’t know if I’ll make it to the end of the season, but I’m at least still willing to give it a few more episodes.

Tangled: Before Ever After

I thought the movie Tangled was pretty good — a lot more than Frozen, and most Disney animated films since — but what really has me interested in the upcoming Tangled TV series is that I really dig the 2D animated style they’re using. Last week they aired a movie that leads into the series (starting later this week), and I quite enjoyed it. It’s got a fun vibe to it, and I do really like the art direction. I’ll at least watch the first few episodes of the series.

Mt. Takao

One of the things my wife and I both miss from our life in Tokyo was the proximity to Mt. Takao (and Okutama), which we would regularly visit for a hike — even with pooch sometimes. The latest post on the State of Tokyo site is a beautiful photo essay on a recent hiking trip to Takao, accompanied with interviews of a few Tokyo-based creatives who were along for the hike. I sure love that scenery.