Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Like Someone in Love by Abbas Kiarostami.

ADAM: It’s interesting that we’re using two recorders to deal with this movie in particular.

SOOK-YIN: I have an old-school cassette Walkman recorder with tiny disco lights. It’s very tactile and the buttons go clunk when you push them. Somehow I trust this technology to record our conversation more than your iPhone, which I can’t text with at all. I’m all thumbs.

ADAM: It also makes sense that we’re using two recorders to deal with this particular movie about resemblances, about things that weren’t necessarily the actual thing itself, but seemed like it—sort of like [Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s last film] Certified Copy.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Leviathan (2012) by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, a documentary about the commercial fishing industry in the North Atlantic.

SOOK-YIN: I didn’t know much about this movie going into it. I knew it had to do with fishing, which sounds about as dull as shopping for a fridge. Boy was I ever wrong. At the theatre an usher greeted us with a warning, saying that some audience members may be sensitive to the hand-held footage. When the movie begins, you’re staring into a swirling ocean abyss, wondering what the hell is down there. There’s the muffled voice of a guy screaming orders at another guy struggling to unwind an enormous chain, and if he can’t, it’s going to be bad.

ADAM: It’s almost like the boat is giving birth to us. We slowly see things take focus, and there are hints of primary colours: a red suit and blue gloves against the backdrop of hazy green water. The name Leviathan evokes both the biblical monster and Moby-Dick, another work in which a vessel encapsulated society (or the human body). There’s also Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, and thesense of political fervor conjured up as we witness and question such large-scale ventures. There’s even an ’80s sci-fi movie about it.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Taken from the vault and discussed this week: Early Summer (1951) by Yasujiro Ozu.

ADAM: I thought it was appropriate that the first image in the movie is not a landscape or a character, but the title, Early Summer, set against burlap—a coarse, densely woven fabric. The first sound we hear, at the same time, is of a choir singing together. There’s an immediate sense of how interwoven the characters we’re about to watch are going to be. The family vibrates together, despite their differing of opinions. The next shot is of a dog slowly wandering out of frame on a desolate beach landscape, and then the camera holds on this emptiness. Along with this dense, burlap-like community, there’s a sense of individualities straggling through the movie, and later this is paralleled in various ways.

SOOK-YIN: The opening is super-Japanese-y with long, dissolving shots of waves, and calligraphic titles, and a choir of voices. It lulls you in and casts a spell. Then, we’re brought into the home of a typical Japanese family circa-1951. It’s almost Leave it to Beaver, but not.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Amour, directed by Michael Haneke.

SOOK-YIN: When I found out that Michael Haneke, the Austrian filmmaker known for his bleak and disturbing portrayals of human brutality, had made a new movie that left the audience sobbing at Cannes, I thought: “Good gosh, is he going soft on us, exploring a couple in love for a lifetime and their unfortunate passing?” But, Amour is definitely not Away From Her.

ADAM: He’s not known for showing his characters weeping. They’re more likely to talk about stories from their childhood that made them weep, or sit austerely in an audience watching solo classical piano performances.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Barbara, directed by Christian Petzold.

SOOK-YIN: You wanted to see Barbara. I had no idea what it was about. What struck me from the get-go was how incredibly spare it was. It simply begins with white letters against black: Barbara. And the first image it cuts to is—Barbara.

ADAM: And there’s Spanish guitar playing, which is the essence of spare evocation.

SOOK-YIN: Compared to a bulked-up movie on steroids this one champions minimalism and storytelling craft.

ADAM: If you break it down, buried within its minimalism are familiar types of stories: the spy story, a woman attempting safe passage, or escape. It was rendered in a simple and beautiful way.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

ADAM: One of the immediate ethical considerations that the movie brings up is what sort of language we can use in talking about it. The “n” word was used so aggressively and repetitively. Should it become a part of our discussion? Or, should we dance around it? The movie goes out of its way to make us both feel comfortable and uncomfortable laughing about certain things.

SOOK-YIN: Tarantino’s an entertaining provocateur. At the end of the movie I was like, “Wow, how on earth do I even begin to speak about it?” Django Unchained—slave joins forces with a bounty-hunter and treks across the Southern U.S. a few years before the Civil War to kill as many slave masters as possible.

 

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: The End of Time, directed by Peter Mettler.

ADAM: [sings] “Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies…”

SOOK-YIN: Keep singing, keep singing. It’s the background music to my introduction of our Movie Date. After seeing a couple of Hollywood blockbusters and sensing your aversion to formulaic movie-making, we decided to dive headlong into the swimming pool called Canadian independent cinema. Peter Mettler, a singularly unique filmic force—part of the gang of ‘80s Canuck filmmakers including Bruce McDonald, Patricia Rozema, David Cronenberg, and an up and coming Don McKellar—but Peter was the wild card.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee.

SOOK-YIN: I should put this out there—neither one of us has read the book Life of Pi. Although, one time I sat behind Yann Martel in a plane to Saskatoon. When we arrived, a beautiful, young woman with live animals all over her greeted him with a kiss. He gathered his luggage and left with a parrot on his shoulder. I think he’s big into animals.

ADAM: He’s a Noah’s Ark kind of guy, or maybe Jonah and the Whale.

 

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell.

ADAM: And…action.

SOOK-YIN: It’s a long title. I can’t remember… something about silver linings…

ADAMSilver Linings Playbook. A title that combines sports and optimism.

SOOK-YIN: It’s a kooky romance between a bipolar guy and a nymphomaniac woman in a crazy, mixed-up world.

ADAM: And a peanut gallery of assorted characters, such as his parents played by Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver, who reminds me of the neurotic, overbearing mom in every other David O. Russell family drama, from Flirting with Disaster to The Fighter.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Holy Motors, directed by Leos Carax.

SOOK-YIN: Our third movie date. The first two were entertainment blockbusters, and this one falls squarely in the art house.

ADAM: The art house has presented us with two movies this year involving anxious men riding limousines. In both movies someone has to perform a variety of delineated activities throughout a day. Midnight ends this fairytale.

SOOK-YIN: You’re talking about David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and this one is Leos Carax’s Holy Motors.

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg.

ADAM: We just saw a movie that inspired a guy in the audience to...

Every week or so, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz have a movie date. Then they talk about the movie. Discussed this week: Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes. 

SOOK-YIN: Welcome entertainment complex blockbuster.

ADAM: Skyfall—What did you think of it?

SOOK-YIN: We sat through a half hour of commercials—everything from David Usher’s new album to…

ADAM: Peruvian vacations that looked unimaginably perfect.

SOOK-YIN: There was the 007 perfume and the new James Bond smartphone.