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Not many people have seen this film. Those who have seen it, will either
hate it or love it. I loved it.
The movie starts with a computer screen that says: I want to buy GOD.
The Prologue doesn't have any human voices. The world the director shows of Japan is obvious. A world of Japanese high-tech. Everywhere there are machines, nobody lives without it. Even as they communicate. As well as the running is been done on a machine.
Clara Law has a very interesting and personal view which shows us her own interesting personality that she is. Because of that movie I can't let go of that.
She succeeds in showing us her own vision of The Goddess of 1967 because she stays consequent by creating a contemporary and postmodern feeling. A feeling she got from her own environment. Born in Macau, studied English literature in Hong Kong. Afterwards Film in London and lives with her husband in Australia.
What Clara Law tries to explain in her movie is sort of autobiographic, it is obvious that she reflects this on the two protagonists. Both characters living in two completely different countries and cultures. Clara Law doesn't work this movie out in a shallow kind of way. She does it within a own creative way and lets the characters explore each other
One character JM appears to be having everything he wants. Financial that is. He is so wealthy he believes he can buy god. Therefore he wants to buy this is beautifully car called the CITROEN DS from 1967. The GODdess. For JM this means freedom. Free of all the big luxury, being unhooked of all the machines.
The other character is BG. A girl who has been blind for all her life. Because of a suddenly death of the dealer of the car, BG will lead JM the way to the real owner of the car. Or so she says.
Once they are on the road with the car, you can follow the mental way of both characters. On the road the flashbacks follow and the viewer learns the pain and history of the characters and why the are what they are.
Neither silent or moving. Neither perceivable or imperceptible Neither nothing or everything. A state of mystery, paradox, ambiguity That is what I tried to capture in this film. CLARA LAW
Thank you Clara Law.....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wong Kar-Wai ("In the Mood for Love") meets Jim Jarmusch ("Broken
Flowers") and flirts with Wim Wenders ("Paris, Texas") and David Lynch
("The Elephant Man", "Blue Velvet"). That'd be a simplified way of
describing "The Goddess of 1967", a dazzling, unique road movie written
and directed by Clara Law ("Floating Life").
The goddess of the title isn't a woman, but the nickname of a Citroën DS, a famous car designed in the 50's. A young Japanese man (Rikiya Kurokawa) dreams of buying that car, and he travels to Australia after he finds an offering on the net. He has an unpleasant surprise when he gets there, and then embarks on a road trip through the outback with a mysterious, red-haired blind girl (Rose Byrne, who deservedly won the Volpi Cup for best actress at the Venice Film Festival and was robbed of an Oscar nod).
Byrne is the soul of this film. She has some of the saddest eyes I've ever seen, an exotic, captivating beauty and one of the most cinematic faces of the past years (her dance scene at the bar is anthologic - probably my favourite since Uma Thurman's in "Pulp Fiction"). She's been in lots of different films since her breakthrough, from blockbusters (Star Wars II, Troy) to indies (City of Ghosts, The Dead Girl), period dramas (I Capture the Castle, Marie Antoinette) to horror/sci-fi (28 Weeks Later, Sunshine), has proved herself extremely versatile and deserves to be a big name. But special kudos go to Clara Law, her co-writer Eddie Ling-Ching Fong and cinematographer Dion Beebe (Oscar winner for "Memoirs of a Geisha"), responsible for the breathtaking visuals (Aussie landscapes seldom looked so gorgeous).
Incest, murder, blindness aren't light issues, and a less talented director could make an imbroglio with this material. Fortunately, Clara Law knows what she's talking about and her film is a cinematic poem - sad, sometimes disturbing, but not depressing (I have no idea how could someone classify this as a comedy, though). She shows much more talent than other contemporary female avant-garde directors, such as the overrated Claire Denis ("Beau Travail") or Lynne Ramsay ("Morvern Callar"). "The Goddess of 1967" is a vigorous film that deserves to be discovered. My vote is 10.
I went into the Cinema expecting... I don't know what. I knew it was a road
trip picture with a Japanese man and Australian woman... they looked pretty
enough on the poster. What I didn't expect was two very real people, scared,
vulnerable and eccentric characters on a journey across Australia that
becomes luminous and intoxicating.
The visual style of the film /cinematography, while gorgeous, was at first distracting... what some people would consider artsy. But as the story unfolds, the visual look of the film matches with the messy, hypnotic storyline and its characters.
A beautiful film, one with an unexpected emotional wallop.
Clare Law was a successful blockbuster director while she was in Hong Kong, who made films like The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus. Her artistic ambition has taken her to another level of filmmaking. The Goddess of 1967 is highly experimental in style. Unlike many experimental works, however, this film does not seem pointless. On the contrary, it has a very powerful story. The story is therapeutic; it deals with abuse, incest and obsession, with an ending of recognition and reconciliation (but not the kind of phony sentimental type that is typical of Hollywood drama). This film is a work of art. Its cinematography is beautiful; its writing is humorous, despite the fact that the story is heavy. I hope the DVD will be released soon.
Oi! How can I say how I felt about this film using actual words. This is a
description that requires a lot of hand gestures.
It moves in such a way that you are carried along with the action, not separated from the action by this big "movie". It has a fly on the wall feeling to it, and it all fits together. Each scene, well each shot really, fits perfectly jigsawed in with those surrounding it. Very polished and precise. It seems to just naturally happen, not forced. Even the frequent use of flashbacks came off as natural and easy.
Very beautiful to look at. Warm colors and textures. Very sweet, real romance.
Humanity peeled down to most raw and simple. I was pulled by the shirt-collar through each path of the story. I really couldn't have stopped watching it even if I had wanted to (which I didn't). Very controlled, purposeful tension.
I don't have time to go into in-depth considered praise for this film, but it's a film I have watched several times, and feel it deserves a pat-on-the-back. Although some of the underlying issues that the main characters have gone through are in many respects very serious and macabre, I don't think it was the director's intent to make this a depressing movie which dwells on those issues alone. Goddess is an art movie. It's designed to be visually different and controversial for its handling of subject matter. Blindness, incest, murder, dysfunctionality. An unexpected combination of events against the spectacular backdrop of the Australian outback. Ironically, the central character is blind, and cannot see all this visual beauty directly. But, she somehow finds a strength and sensitivity amongst the far from beautiful physical abuse she grown up with. Somehow with this is intertwined an ex-fashion model from Japan, and a cult car. It's an artistic celluloid canvas. I don't think an average director could put all these elements together and come off with a really watchable and intriguing movie. I love the central character's feisty, yet carefree independence. Free-spirited female viewers will love this. I think most male viewers will miss the subtlety of the movie's intent, and will therefore not enjoy it so much. Makes a really refreshing change from your regular Hollywood flick.
This film does several things that are hard to read and harder to fully appreciate without being hammered over the head with the story's themes. The film is set up as a series of overlapping contrasts, and that is the part I'm most stricken by. Contrasts of culture, morality, experience, gender, needs and conclusions. The film sets up expectations for the characters, then proceeds to change said expectations as the characters evolve and reveal like layers peeling away. I'm awed by much of the delicate caress of the pacing, and the contrast of the beautiful way many of the scenes are shot against the contents of the scenes themselves. I adore this film.
If you are driving or contemplating a purchase of a featureless economical
car with automatic transmission, or if you have REALLY managed to bear the
tedious 3 hours of `The Titanic' without leaving the theatre for a
half-an-hour refreshment or for good, THE GODDESS OF 1967 is not a film for
you. On the other hand, if you are sick of being able to predict the
remaining two and a half hours of the contemporary Hollywood mind-numbing
production, Clara Law has a remedy for you! Moreover, if you have ever
fallen in love with a car, you would be even more delighted to see that
there are people like you out there.
The first hint of the cinematic joy that THE GODDESS OF 1967 offers is clear from the first 10 minutes of the film. That is, you realise that behind the whole idea, no matter what it is going to be, there is the AUTHOR, and not the producers, stuntmen, pyrotechnicians, special-effect crew, low-IQ charity Clara Law is an author with a `handwriting', reminiscent to that of Jim Jarmush or Wim Wenders, but still far from an immitator. Not many authors opt for using a variety of `narative techniques' that film as a media offers. It can be `slippery ground' since the story line can easily be overshadowed by the means of telling it. However, Clara Law bravely takes the challenge, carrying us smoothly through the wonderful world of moving pictures backed by enchanting music.
Thematically, THE GODDESS OF 1967 incorporates a number of topics, child abuse being but one of them. In fact, it poses questions before us, through the mouth of the blind girl. Questions seemingly so simple that most of us would not bother asking, yet most of us would not be able to answer them, as well as the characters in the film remain perplexed, stammering nonsense that reverberates mockingly.
THE GODDESS OF 1967 is a meeting point of several worlds. Not only the Japanese and the Australian meet there, but also the European, embodied in the relic car symbolising the old virtues and culture refusing to die out. Further, overpopulated Tokyo is contrasted to the vast Australian landscape, both offering an abundance of colour, sounds and even smells. The good and the evil, love and hate, reason and absurdity, trauma and optimism, gloom and humour are interwoven into the plot with straightforward simplicity, which makes the film surprisingly lifelike. All these worlds and plans are uncompromisingly exposed, celebrating beauty but not hiding ugliness. Finally, the film brings all these worlds closer to us, making us richer for knowing one another better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has two very redeemable qualities. The fantastic
cinematography and the performance of Rose Byrne. The rest of the film
While The Goddess of 1967 is very pleasing to look at, the actions of the characters are frequently shallow and seemingly random. For example, during the conclusion, it simply was not believable that B.G. would make the choice to put her past aside and choose to pursue a life with J.M. when the chemistry and dialogue between the two characters was so completely mindless.
Law failed to demonstrate the growth and change B.G. allegedly must have made during the trip and forces her into a 180 at the end of the film as a quick fix.
Rose Byrne's performance alone makes this film worth a look (it still
airs occasionally on sundance). Actors who take on the challenging role
of blind characters are nothing new- but to see a talented actress take
to it with total commitment and still be very believable and not over
the top is something special. Rose Byrne is brilliant here as B.G. and
really shines in the more subtle moments, which are the primary driving
force for this Clara Law film.
The theme of incest abuse and it's lingering affects through generations make for very heavy subject matter that would otherwise threaten to undermine the film's subtle tone - but it's told in flashback here and works surprisingly well. The comparisons of style to Wenders and Jarmusch are apt since it is precisely the more subtle scenes in this film that resonate more as the viewer gets drawn into the lives and past histories of this unlikely couple.
Not a perfect film by any means - the loving yet determinist, religious mother, Marie could have been fleshed out more, as well as the male lead - but the real gem here is Rose Byrne. Disregard the fluff roles from wicker park and troy, this is arguably her best performance to date.
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