At the time "Eating Raoul" came out, I'm sure it was very important. It has subject matter that was rarely talked about in those times, and also a sense of biting satire that wasn't exactly the fashion in that time period's cinema. I can't think of anything modern that would compare on "Eating Raoul"'s scale for controversy or historic relevance. I give it props for attempting this kind of success while also focusing on making a comedy. There hasn't been a lot of films in the comedy genre that are remembered for being edgy, violent, and worthy societal comment, and I will refuse not to give Paul Bartel his props for creating one.
I'm finding it difficult lately to be able to express myself as easy as before. I am currently on a movie-watching tirade, and it seems like things are blending into each other faster than I get the chance to review them. "El Bola" is the second in a series of independent foreign cinema that I plan on watching, and it seems like precisely the kind of thing to get me out of my funk. American cinema just doesn't have the ability to feel like this, even though it occasionally tackles the subject matter.
I think the best way to discuss "El Topo" is to first mention that you're not going to find much else out there like it. I can't really make a list of films out there like it … It's an art house western, and I don't mean like "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues"-kind of art house western. I mean waaaaaaaaay off the deep end of art house… and pretty brutal as a western as well.
I feel the need to preface this review with an apology to Mr. Herzog. I called him out a bit in my "Rescue Dawn" review and as it turns out, it was completely unwarranted. I still stand by my convictions on “Rescue Dawn” as an entity as I do not understand its purpose, but to question Herzog's aging mental state was unwarranted. With "Encounters at the End of the World" he has once again created something surprising and ultimately fulfilling. I was wrong to believe that Herzog was on the decline.
A word of warning – "End of the Line" may rub you the wrong way. Dealing with the subject of religious extremism and what may or may not be the impending apocalypse, "End of the Line" is bound to spark some controversy amongst those who view Maurice Devereaux's approach to the material as offensive.
With the original "Eye" film, Danny and Oxide Pang created what is one of the most important horror films of recent memory, foreign or domestic. When significant horror films from overseas are mentioned "The Eye" stands among the likes of Hideo Nakata's "Ringu" and Takashi Shimizu's "Ju-On". It managed to provide scares, without sacrificing story. In fact, the scares feature predominantly in the first half of the film, but take the back seat to the development of story during the last half of the film. Its sequel, "The Eye 2", was less than stellar, featuring few scares, and a less than credible plot. "The Eye 10" is perhaps an even stronger step in the wrong direction, as the plot is certainly no stronger than the previous film, and the scares are non-existent, instead being replaced with moderately successful doses of humor.
After my first viewing of "Eyes Beyond", I was nearly ready to dismiss the film as an average attempt to rattle the viewers consciousness through a few well-timed directorial 'shifts', which altered the audience's collective perception of the events occuring. For a 25-minute short, this is an ambitious feat indeed, and one that succeeds surprisingly well. My initial problem, however, was not the film's deliberately unfocused structure, it was the film's resolution and the succeeding title cards which provided numerous statistics regarding mental illness. It was seemingly so far removed, in both tone and context, from the opening sequence, that I couldn't quite grasp the point.
After a car accident leaves his daughter with a terribly disfigured face now covered by a plastic mask, an obsessive doctor attempts to repair his daughters face, using pieces from other women. That's the story in a nutshell, and I'll tell you, "Eyes Without a Face" is something else. It is completely unique, and has been the inspiration for a number of films since. Everything is dealt with so tastefully, as it is truly a beautiful film to look at, there is an incredible amount of atmosphere in every scene, and is an incredible production in all respects.