A bizarre black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that ... See full summary »
The Cowboys are lured from Mexico to Coney Island by their former manager who disappeared at the end of Leningrad Cowboys Go America. He believes he is the reincarnation of Moses, sent to lead them back to the promised land - Siberia.
During World War One a British aristocrat, an American entrepreneur and the latter's attractive young daughter, set out to destroy a German battle-cruiser which is awaiting repairs in an inlet just off Zanzibar.
A Dutch film, post-Saturday Night Fever, which follows the lives of three young men who are amateur dirt-bike motorcycle racers. They each fall in love with a young woman who, with her ... See full summary »
Hans van Tongeren,
Foreign agents are smuggling monium (a chemical used in producing poison gas) into Mexico. The three Mesquiteers bet involved when they ride to save a girl (really a government agent) on a runaway horse.
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Flavia is a thirtysomething married teacher. She has suppressed the memory of her adolescent lesbian fling with Jin and is stuck in a stifling marriage. A chance encounter in a supermarket ... See full summary »
The movie makes references to Nazarin (1959) with an upside-down poster of the film that can be seen on a wall, and also to Samuel Fuller - behind the village police commissioner that Juha goes to see, a sentence is written on the blackboard which says: "Arrest this man! - Sam Fuller". See more »
Timeless love-triangle, story of innocence corrupted, of meek farmer's wife, Marja (Kati Outinen), made vain and restless, and lured to big city by oily villain, Shemeikka (André Wilms), gets silent film treatment, complete with intertitles and musical accompaniment (Anssi Tikanmaki). Melodramatic excesses of silent era are simultaneously faithfully recreated and mocked; heavily moral tale is simultaneously respected at face value and ironically undercut. The success or failure of this picture rests on images and images alone. And there's the rub: Can a film maker honestly take a step back in time?
Even though the general outlines of the story are in a sense a forgone conclusion, even though we expect an unbroken circle of downfall and redemption, the characters are sufficiently alive and independent, each scene is sufficiently open-ended and full of surprise, to keep us on edge, always wanting to find out what comes next. For instance, on first encounter, the villain's attempts to get the pretty young wife to run away with him are unsuccessful. Eve is not simply seduced into taking a bite of the apple; rather, the change comes from within. Only after the tempter departs, does his evil begin to slowly its magic work on her. For the first time she dons make-up and dresses, lolls around the house reading fashion magazines and smoking cigarettes, and neglects her husband and wifely duties. Unlike in films of old, in which the hapless maiden is coerced, this heroine willingly participates in her downfall.
And Kaurismäki is up to his usual absurdist antics, his usual tragicomic amalgam. The villain drives up in an old Corvette bearing the logo "Sierck" on its hood, a goofy reference to Douglas Sirk. In fixing the car, the farmer, Juha (Sakari Kuosmanen), takes a massive three-foot wrench to the engine, immediately yanks out the fan housing and other large parts, and finally walks away with a handful of pistons. This is just one of many references to Kaurismäki's other films, here to Reino's monkeying with Valto's heap in "Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana." Cinematographer Timo Salminen adds modernistic flourishes: the brothel scenes are shot in dramatic shadow and light, from oblique angles, in the style of film noire hyperbole. Brothel habitués assume supercilious Brechtian poses.
Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd acts the pace falters, drags. One hungers for sound. By this time too much attention has focused on Marja at the expense of Juha, so that when he finally re-enters the limelight, rousing to action, it seems almost arbitrary, an artificial plot device, insufficiently prepared for and motivated. The ending comes swiftly, like the stroke of an axe, yet at the end, somehow, despite all the self-consciousness shenanigans, we are moved. The tale which has held Finns captive for decades, which has received three previous adaptations, beginning with Mauritz Stiller's "Johan" (1921), somehow takes us in too. Chalk it up to the glory of self-sacrifice for love.
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