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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Poetry in motion -- and it rhymes, too

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The animated banners, archived, are worth the price of admission alone...

Jonathan Lapper offers an inspired free-associative montage/meditation on the moving part of the movies at Cinema Styles, which you must see. It's called "Frames of Reference," a little under seven minutes long, and it marvelously (too marvelous for words, obviously) orchestrates cinematic motion and memories to Oliver Nelson's "Complex City." (If you suspect you're unfamiliar with the great jazz arranger, think "Stolen Moments" -- which might make a great subtitle for this reference-packed short subject.) My favorite transition: From "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" to "Citizen Kane." You'll see why.

And now, for fans of Richard Lester, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan (and Leo McKern and Graham Stark and Norman Rossington...), my own movie reference: "Frames of Reference" is "The Tracking, Exploding, Kissing, Watching, Crashing, Throwing, Fainting, Dancing, Drinking, Flying, Falling Backwards Film," though not necessarily in that order. And that's not the half of it....

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