The besties review
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There is certainly a lot to admire in this one. Though I never fully connected with Pasqualino, Giancarlo Gianni’s performance as the titular thief certainly deserves recognition. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really vibe with a lot of the first half of the film, but things really picked up for me towards the end, when the comedy faded a bit and it focused in on the tragedy of it all. Specifically, I felt like the last 35 minutes of the film really stuck the landing— truly incredible stuff.
I also loved the “oh yeah” intro (and all the music choices in general). This is the kind of movie that warrants a second viewing, but these are my thoughts on first watch.
Mikey and Nicky
Mikey and Nicky is sort of what I imagine an indie New York crime drama to be— tense, talky, and well-acted with a killer ending. I immediately felt like this could have been an influence the Safdie Brothers (turns out, it was).
This type of movie usually isn’t for me, but I have to say I really liked the film’s small scope. The reason I shy away from “mob movies” in general is because I never actually care about any of the characters. In that regard, Mikey and Nicky was different.
The Meetings of Anna
I know from Jeanne Dielman that patience can play an important role in watching Akerman’s films, but unlike her 3+ hour portrait of a single mother in Brussels,The Meetings of Anna felt very slow. I admit that I probably didn’t give the film as much of my undivided attention as it deserved, but I also think its meandering weakened it a little. I think I actually would have preferred fewer (and longer) scenes, so I could really absorb the hotel room/train station atmospheres.
The Juniper Tree
Though I think this is a beautifully shot and scored film, it just sort of made me want to rewatch Robert Eggers’ The Witch. That said, I’m glad I watched it and I hope Criterion continues to circulate lesser seen work from female filmmakers like Nietzchka Keene.
35 Shots of Rum
“When we revolt, it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”
I really liked the score, cinematography, and Mati Diop’s performance. Based on the first fifteen minutes (including the incredibly timely quote above), I would’ve thought it would end up being a little more political, but I still appreciated it for what it was— a somber and intimate portrait of a young girl’s “family” unit.
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!