Tag Archives: film

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

I took a “me” day on Tuesday while in New York, spending the morning at the new Grey Dog’s Coffee on University (an eerily exact replica of the one in the village, picket fence and all… Grey Dog’s lost a bit of what I naively thought was authentic charm), browsing the stacks with fellow bookworms at The Strand, taking a vigorous yet soothing afternoon yoga class at Jivamukti, wandering through the West Village talking on the phone to an old friend about my indulgent, perfect New York day while indulging in a perfect piece of New York pizza. I strolled over to the IFC and bought some Dots and a ticket to see the Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 weeks, 2 days, which quickly succeeded in shattering my la-di-da mood into a million pieces. My actually educated and very cultured boyfriend wouldn’t see “the abortion movie” with me back home in San Fran (like my “suicide music,” a love of dark, pensive movies with subtitles isn’t something we share), and I was looking forward to learning more about the “new wave” of Romanian realism I kept hearing about but my god, I was wholly unprepared for this kind of raw, unnerving intensity. Set in Bucharest towards the end of the communist era, 4 Months is gripping and bleak, a cold-toned film about a young woman trying to help a friend get a late-term illegal abortion. It’s a raw and unsparing portrait of power, helplessness and the lengths one will go to for friendship and I was so deeply unsettled by it I couldn’t stand to part with the comforts of my furry winter coat, just sat there for 2 hours with my knees pulled up to my chest, sweat pouring down my back. When it was over I practically ran out of the theater, desperate for air and light and to be in the company of loud, happy people. I walked back to the apartment, immediately got into bed and turned Millionaire Matchmaker and all the lights on. Truly disturbing but so, so well done (4 Months, not Millionaire Matchmaker).


More on typography and film.

Originally uploaded by your pal Matt

The Ministry of Type pointed me to an interesting post on Kit Blog about the consistent use of a certain font (Windsor, it turns out – white on black) in the opening and closing credits of Woody Allen films. I’d actually noticed this recently catching the end of Annie Hall on TV but more in a “Aw, aren’t intellectual movies from the 70s so cute?” kind of way. The credits stuck out for their throwback feel, but now I remember noticing that he did the same “outdated” (at first blush) thing with movies as recent as Match Point (2005). I hadn’t realized just how consistent and intrinsic to the Woody Allen brand this treatment was but it’s true—that white on black lettering screams Dialogue-Heavy Woody Allen Film Set in Pre-Giuliani New York!!!! It made me think of the typography used in the credits and posters for There Will Be Blood and just how well that creepy, gothic lettering works to set the scene and the mood.

Killer of Sheep.

Killer of sheep

I actually don’t mind the writer’s strike. I don’t watch much TV anyway and it frees up time to rent movies like Killer of Sheep, which I finally got around to checking off my list last night. This cryptic, beautifully framed masterpiece by Charles Burnett was restored and rereleased this fall to loads more critical acclaim (the first time around the Library of Congress declared it a national treasure) and I just learned it’ll be coming back out in wider release this spring. It’s a bleak, non-narrative film of jarring juxtapositions and a strangely disturbing soundtrack of mid-century pop music that manages not to temper scenes but to make them that much more haunting. Maybe it was the mood I was in but I was riveted.