I get that people will perhaps always have a hard time with the film’s basically wrong-headed psychological mumbo jumbo (they are actually wrong; it gets fully subsumed into Lang’s puzzle form + more universal well of emotion), but Lang and Cortez’s mise en scene locates a deeper truth, a kind of image making that is purely beautiful. if you turn your back on that, you do so at risk of missing something intrinsic to cinema, rarely on display so vividly.
Introduction: Once it was Fire
D.W. Griffith at the end of his life: “What modern movies lack is the wind in the trees.”
Rosa Luxembourg: "The fate of insects is not less important than the revolution.”
Cézanne, who painted Mont St.-Victoire again and again: “Look at this mountain, once it was fire.”
(Quotations cited by Jean-Marie Straub before screening of Too Early, Too Late at the Collective for Living Cinema in New York City, April 30, 1982)
[ripped from Jonathan Rosenbaum's website]
sprawled out, lazy ol' masterpiece about sincerely really trying your best while you're still young enough. Yamashita eschews ironic distancing and strained intimacy, instead filming these youth with attentiveness and concern for their struggles, love and respect for their individual personhood, an almost unthinkable strategy for a teen movie.