this is the last of roberto rossellini's historical films included in ROSSELLINI’S HISTORY FILMS—RENAISSANCE AND ENLIGHTENMENT. Having thoroughly enjoyed Age of the Medici and especially Blaise Pascal, i was excited to sink my teeth into a nearly 3 hour treatment on the life of rene descartes, a man by theological and scientific conflict. He is a man who sought the truth and much like pascal, was one of the great thinkers/scientists to watch the earth.
apparently, i lived in the wrong era. i could totally be a scientist philosopher and i would totally wear awesome robes and a poofy hat. im still bummed i missed out on being a dandy. i would fop with the best of them but i digest...
im probably in the minority when i say that i prefer rossellini's historical films to his neorealist stuff. frankly, i thinkt he subject matter on these is way more interesting and the style and acting is decidedly more french (NO emotion in the acting. NONE). i dont think this was as impressive as rossellini's taking of power of louis xiv (IMHO, the crown jewel in his late period crown) but cartesius is still an excellent and well crafted fascinating film about a unique individual.
this is a very criterion-ey post but i am pretty much a criterion fanboy. when this was announced, i was a bit baffled and kind of daunted by the thought of watching 9 hours of french nature docs from the 1st half of the 20th century. when it arrived from netflix i watched the first couple films and was in love. how cool is the birthday of a freakin' jellyfish? um...very much so! seriously. painleve gets his cameras in the oddest of places and brings forth stuff that is impossible to see in normal life. to see these things that are so obscure to the human eye is one of the many gifts cinema can deliver.
i actually havent finished watching the DVDs yet. i am about halfway through the bonus disc of an 8 part miniseries done on him and i still have to watch the amazing yo la tengo accompaniment for 8 of his films (tomorrow). ive never been a big yo la tengo guy but i respect them. any band that does 8 shows for the 8 nights of chanukah in hoboken has my affection forevah.
anyway, the movement of the octopus, the birth of a seahorse, shrimp fighting...all gold.
5/5 -- must rent!
this will be continued. i have kurosawa's red beard on my DVR which i will happily rewatch and discuss here.