Movies I’ve Recently Seen: Repulsion, The Woman in the Moon, Hello I Must Be Going, & Out of Africa

Four more movies I’ve seen for the first time, and only one of them was made before I was born.

Repulsion (1965), Netflix Blu-ray

Talk about psychological horror! Catherine Deneuve plays a young woman losing her mind. At first we think she’s suffering from depression, but as this early Polanski film unwinds, we realize that something much worse is going on. We see what she sees, and to a large degree what she sees is in her imagination. And her imagination is very, very scary. She suffers, but so do the people unlucky enough to come into her orbit.

The Woman in the Moon (1929), BAMPFA

Fritz Lang’s second science fiction epic doesn’t measure up to Metropolis, but it’s fun. A hero, a villain, a heroine, a coward, a crazy scientist, and a young boy travel to the moon in search for gold (yes, gold). I believe this is the first feature film about space flight, and it tries for scientific accuracy. The spaceship has stages, and they use inertia to create gravity. On the other hand, the moon in this movie has a breathable atmosphere (but only on the far side). The movie runs nearly three hours and would have worked better if it was considerably shorter.

Judith Rosenberg provided a very good piano accompaniment for this silent film. The restoration 2K DCP looked fine.

C+ Hello I Must Be Going (2012), Kanopy

Oft-told stories need an interesting twist, and the twist in this dramatic comedy isn’t all that interesting. Months after her marriage fell apart, 37-year-old Amy (Melanie Lynskey) is living with her parents and suffering from depression. Then a new lover revitalizes her life. The twist: Her new boyfriend is only 19, and there’s a business connection between the families. Outside of Amy, the characters go only skin deep, and even Amy isn’t all that interesting. Hello fails almost completely as a comedy (which is how it was marketed). The title comes from the Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers.

C- Out of Africa (1985), Netflix DVD

Another case of “How did this piece of dreck win Best Picture?” I suppose it’s some sort of feminist story, but that must be weighed against the movie’s casual racism. It’s also too long and not very compelling. In the early 20th century, a wealthy but unloving couple (Meryl Streep and Klaus Maria Brandauer) run an African coffee plantation. She proves to be the smart and courageous one. Robert Redford comes along to bring passion back into her life. The actual Africans are there to be good servants and targets for her attempts at bettering their lot. The scenery is lovely. Directed by Sydney Pollack, who made very many excellent films, all set in New York.