The film is from Marie Antoinette’s perspective, isolating the viewer as Marie herself was isolated from the harsh reality outside the palace walls.
The theme of celebrity and whether you make music to please your band or please the audience is hardly groundbreaking, but is moderately interesting. The film is slightly above average thanks to a few memorable songs( I Love You All and Frank’s Most Likeable Song Ever), an involving voice-over, and the gimmick of him wearing a fake head works well cinematically. The tweets on the screen was a nice idea.
A Swedish film set in a ski resort where a family experience an avalanche. The husband is accused of being a coward by his wife, and the story is about manliness in our contemporary society, with several other examples and situations on that theme. The men in the film are not superheros, but masculine failures, and highly sensitive. The characters are flawed, doing hurtful things towards each other. Perhaps the problem is the unrealistic expectations that women have toward their men. However the film also points towards the failure of the wife to comfort him and there’s a scene where he is locked out and she hardly acknowledges him, and just keeps chatting on the phone, despite him sending loads of text messages. So the wife also has flaws in terms of empathy, and manages to humiliate her husband.
The conflicts outweigh the happier moments in the film, and maybe that is a question of priority and point of view. If you are single you might actually be dissuaded going into a relationship because it is depicted in such a gruelling way. Or if you are currently in a relationship this could even push you to break-up. It’s not a film that celebrates relationships, and it’s tough to know if you should laugh or cry. The situations do have some humor, especially the inappropriate dialogues. It’s sort of tragi-comic. Several audience members were laughing a lot at the screening I went to, while others were quiet. I was somewhere in the middle.
As Alex Withrow perceptively wrote in his review: “a film that provokes discussion on how you’d react to fight or flight situations, and why. It’s also a film that makes you think about similar circumstances you may have faced.”
Winter Sleep (2014)
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes. If you want to listen to people attack other people verbally, this is for you. As a character study of a landlord and the relationships to his young wife, ex-wife, sister, and the community he governs, it’s quite interesting.
You can understand his desire to not let things get out of hand and for things to remain status quo with him as an authority. But you can also see the situations from the community’s point-of-view, how the landlord has lost touch with reality and is preventing progress by focusing on unimportant issues such as writing about the history of theatre.
I prefer the director’s previous film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011), where there was a greater opportunity for the audience to be in the role of detective and interpret events, but this one is worth seeing. I would probably recommend waiting for the dvd, so you are able to pause. Three hours of heavy, long-winded dialogue without any action is draining in one sitting.
SPOILERS: Besides the dialogue, there are a few striking visual shots such as the valley in the snow, him sitting among the grave stones, and a couple of scenes with the white horse being captured and running free. There’s also a symbolic moment when he sees the dead animal by the railway tracks and the crows waiting in the tree, which you could interpret as the evolution of time and his future demise. The scene with the money is powerful, and questions if progress is even possible in the community. The social commentary is similar to Ceylan’s earlier work, highlighting problems in Turkey and some of its causes.
There’s an interesting theory going around that the story is allegorical, not just about Turkey, but about the world. You could interpret the landlord family as the know-it-all condescending figure from the western world, and the proud, poor community as uncultivated, with the rich family attempting to force their “superior” opinions and values onto them. A parallel to what the United States do when they go to Irak etc. The intentions are good, but there’s also a feeling the west shouldn’t interfere in things that do not concern them. Pride means they might often prefer to build their own life. Would it make a difference if the rich family/Obama was less strict, would he lose his position, would the donations be spent on alcohol/wars, or progress, and so on. There are some lingering questions. Ceylan’s films require a 2nd viewing.
Begin Again (2013)
Really liked the first 25 minutes with Ruffalo and Keira. The scenes in the middle of the movie with Adam Levine are weaker and less involving. But it picks up again later on. The soundtrack is not as great as Once, although there are a few good tracks, and Keira Knightley doesn’t embarrass herself singing. All in all, it isn’t just a remake of Once, and manages to be its own thing.
The Shop Around The Corner (1940)
Rewatched because it ties in with Christmas. Has its cute moments, and the performances are good, but I had some issues. It’s too predictable from the get-go, and the number of staff is implausible considering the size of the shop. It’s also unrealistic that they would talk so freely in the customer area. Not as great as its reputation.
Based on Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book (1894), I read the comic as a child so many of the scenes and images felt familiar. The Disney film is mainly remembered for its memorable characters, the innocent man-child Mowgli, likeable Baloo the Bear, devious Shere Khan the Tiger, stuck-up elepant leader, and hungry snake Kaa.
The music is iconic, especially Bare Necessities song which Balloo sings, and when King Louie and his band of apes sing the unforgettable I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song). While the last 30 minutes are not as strong, I still rate the entire film very highly. The kind of timeless animated film you can rewatch countless times, which I’m sure many kids have.
The friendship between Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the Panther has gay undertones, which is odd in a children’s film.
Gripping French Hitchcockian drama/thriller directed by Claude Chabrol. The story starts out pretty slow. Once it gets going I couldn’t look away, wanting to know how it would play out.
La Cérémonie (1995)
My second Claude Chabrol film of the month, and arguably his masterpiece. Interesting characters, especially the females. Can’t really say a lot without spoiling. I still don’t get the title. A film you will want to discuss afterwards, and my favorite film of the month.
Directed by Chang-dong Lee. About two people you would most likely not befriend in real life. If you can tolerate the disturbing scene when the couple first meet, this is a sweet romance between a male social outcast and a handicapped woman. That scene I refer to is a deal-breaker, and I almost turned it off because of it. I’m glad I stuck with the story and trusted the positive reviews, because it’s a South Korean gem. The best scene is possibly dancing on the freeway which transforms into a fantasy party with confetti, dancing, and a small elephant.
SPOILERS: It was an inventive cinematic idea for the physically handicapped woman to on occasion transform into a normal girlfriend, but it did slightly annoy me, because you get the feeling they are both dreaming of another life and wishing to be normal. That may be true for outcasts from time to time, but it kind of lessens the relationship and romance, if you want something else than what you’ve got. I disliked the last act, which on the one hand insinuates the main character was crazy and was dreaming he was in the relationship without her consent, and on the other hand suggests the justice department is dysfunctional not even listening to the victim and accused. To me it was ambiguous whether she hated or loved or him in the end, and I don’t know if that was the writer’s intention. Probably the latter if you are a romantic, and the former if you are a cynic. The ending is not believable that she would not speak up that he was her boyfriend, and just let him stay in jail. If she really loved him, why not tell the truth? Perhaps this happens after the credits have rolled.
I may have misunderstood the stylized approach, because in another review I’ve read the blind woman out of boredom wrote about the other characters, and they were therefore only imagined. Perhaps that explains the inconsistencies and scenes with no logic.
I like the little details, such as album sleeve of Bona Drag by Morrissey is in the guys flat, Kool Thing by Sonic Youth is on her music player.