Two Films I Want To See

This film isn’t showing in Tokyo, yet, but I want to both remember it and hopefully see it in Tokyo someday. A Shelter Among the Clouds is set in Albania and is about the conflicts that occur when it is discovered that a mosque was once a Catholic church. It has won a few awards at film festivals around the world, so hopefully it will show up at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

A SHELTER AMONG THE CLOUDS – Trailer from Pluto Film on Vimeo.

Here is an interview with the director of the film, Robert Budina, the producer, Sabina Kodra, and the lead actress, Esela Pysqyli.

While looking up information about A Shelter Among the Clouds I looked up Mubi for some reason I now don’t remember and discovered an interesting film by Eugène Green. I have been somewhat superficially interested in the Baroque for a while now and Green is quite interested in the period. Here is a description of Green from the website Cinemascope

To get it out of the way at the outset: Eugène Green, now 67 years of age, began making films when he was 53, all of them built around and deeply concerned with a set of traditions belonging to the arts of the Baroque period, particularly its theatre. His body of work (to date, five features and three shorts) is one that is not merely “inspired” by the late 16th-century style’s tastes, concepts, and modes of thinking; it is entirely saturated in the Baroque itself—in its manners of thought, being, loving—and it accordingly exhibits many of the exuberant, contradictory, proto-Rococo tendencies suggested by this affiliation.

The film on Mubi is The Portuguese Nun, which the above overview states is his “most conspicuous take on Baroque Catholicism” is grounded in a text from the period. Here is an overview of the film from A.O. Scott’s review in the New York Times:

The main character is Julie (Leonor Baldaque), a French actress, fluent in Portuguese, who comes to Lisbon to work on a film based on “Les Lettres Portugaises,” a book first published in 1669 that purports to be five amorous missives from a nun to her lover, an army officer.

Why is Green interested in the Baroque? This brief exchange from a longer interview that Mubi posted provides some insight:

NOTEBOOK: (6) Much of your work outside cinema has been concerned with staging the theater of the Baroque period, and you draw on the literature of that period for The Portuguese Nun. Would you say that the Baroque is modern?

GREEN: The Baroque period was a crisis of European civilization which was never resolved, so it speaks directly to our time. In what I call “the baroque oxymoron” (the concept is addressed at length in my essay, La parole baroque), the man of this period continued the construction of a rational model and mechanism for the universe which seemed to remove the need for the sacred, but at the same time continued to believe that a Supreme Truth was hidden in the visible universe—which in turn, paradoxically, was unreal. The denial of “scientific” truth and a belief in the possibility of several things seemingly contradictory at the same time, are, for me, necessities for the modern man.

I am not sure Green’s films have been screened in Japan, but the Portuguese Nun is available on Mubi in Japan for a few more days.