Fernando F. Croce
A visual poet with a penchant for knockabout brawling, an idealist who gravitated to tales of melancholic loss, a notorious tyrant who cultivated long friendships, a nineteenth-century sensibility revered by many a hardcore modernist: John Ford, as they say, contained multitudes.
Face originated as part of a program of cinematic projects commissioned by and filmed in the Louvre . . . virtually each shot is an autonomous set piece, not so much building blocks in a linear storyline as visual-aural objects whose splendor works to mitigate the pervasive mood of despair.
If The Wind Rises resembles Hollywood biopics like William Wellman’s Gallant Journey or John Ford’s The Long Gray Line in its decade-spanning structure and bittersweet tone, it is a singular showcase for the animation Miyazaki developed and perfected at Studio Ghibli.
Jam-packed with product labels and advertising slogans and clips from TV shows and movies, this is perhaps the Spielberg film most saturated with pop culture, as well as the one that most cannily illustrates the director’s ambivalence towards it.
It wasn’t until I moved to San Jose, California, that I first became aware of the idea of a community of fellow film-lovers. Up to then, movie-watching even in the most packed theaters had struck me as an essentially solitary act; these were secluded moments of thrilling discovery savored but seldom shared.