MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO
TONARI NO TOTORO
1988, Studio Ghibli, 86 min, Japan, Dir: Hayao Miyazaki

The third Studio Ghibli feature from former Toei animator turned writer-producer-director-entrepreneur Hayao Miyazaki tells the story of young sisters Satsuki and Mei Kusakabe, who move with their father into a new house near a vast forest, in order to be closer to their ailing, hospitalized mother. Discovering wondrous forest spirits, they also encounter Totoro, a giant, lumbering, bunny-esque creature. "Here is a children's film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No darkness before the dawn. A world that is benign. A world where, if you meet a strange towering creature in the forest, you curl up on its tummy and have a nap. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO has become one of the most beloved of all family films without ever having been much promoted or advertised." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.


THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT
1974, Park Circus/MGM, 114 min, USA, Dir: Michael Cimino

Writer-director Michael Cimino’s first film is a terrific, offbeat heist film and modern-day Western, with pro thief Clint Eastwood trying to elude murderous ex-partners George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis with aid from gentle-souled drifter Jeff Bridges. THUNDERBOLT constantly surprises with ingenious plot twists, character-driven humor and a wistful sweetness that is all too rare in most action films.


DELIVERANCE
1972, Warner Bros., 109 min, USA, Dir: John Boorman

Director John Boorman fashions an indescribable odyssey of unexpected violence, endurance and transcendence as Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty are stalked by a scruffy gang of backwoods neanderthals. The cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond (MCCABE & MRS. MILLER, THE LONG GOODBYE, and winner of the 1998 ASC Lifetime Achievement Award) perfectly evokes an atmosphere of stark, pastoral beauty and mounting terror from novelist James Dickey’s pitch perfect screenplay.


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