Reviews written by registered user
maple-2

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45 reviews in total 
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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
So strange, I do not think you can spoil this movie, 11 May 2008
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A strange story of Jesus (Clémenti), before his passion. His mother Marie (Zouzou) cannot get him out of the house to do his proselytizing, but eventually he takes bullhorn in hand and gets rejected at every door. He meets Marie Magdalène (Zouzou) who is happy to spend time with him as long as he gives her stones like her other clients. He spends a lot of time with these two women and occasionally goes out to proselytize in the water, on the rocks and in the swamps, He is ridden off his donkey by some thugs on horses while he gives out drugs to various prostitutes along the way. And he sees horrific suffering when his mother opens Pandora's Box. In the end, he wanders off into the ocean while a very pregnant Marie or perhaps Marie Magdalène lies on her back like a beached whale at the edge of the water. Beautiful stark rocky sets with intense lighting and minimal acting. Except for a few scenes with the thugs and Monty Python like fighting apostles, there is little music. Oddly compelling and intense visuals, that might hold anyone's attention, even if they knew nothing about the Jesus stories.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful, but ineffective Documentary, 23 March 2008
6/10

A beautiful documentary about the death industry in India. It is presented with vivid sound but no words or subtitles in English. I found the film a bit hypnotic and sleep inducing at the beginning, but as I gradually started to piece together a narrative of what I thought could be happening I started to construct a story from the presented sounds and images. Cows munching on marigold leis, burning bodies, pouring water on the ashes, fighting dogs, hauling wood for the pyres and an ill tempered funeral director haggling over the price of a service. I'm sure that no one else came away with an understanding very much like mine, but the film maker was able to give me vivid images so I could invent my own story.

Unfortunately the director thought he was presenting an essay. For me with no words, it was like trying to understand an essay written in German, for someone who speaks and reads only English. I could pick out a few common ideas around death rituals that I have seen or sat through such as an Irish wake, or sitting shivah, but I missed most of the meaning and details about this set of Hindu cultural practices.

Though it is not what I expect from a good documentary, this very polished film may be more insightful for someone who has spent considerable time in India.

8 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
A grim humorous tale of twisted relationships, 8 December 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the tenth anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender, a motley group of five, four men and one woman, gathers in the basement of a butcher shop to dig up a cache of morphine buried during the war. A grimly humorous tale of twisted relationships as one by one each of the group is eliminated. This early gangster film foreshadows similar tangled relationships in Shohei Imamura's later films. I do not have much more to say, but I liked the movie enough to write a comment even though I cannot fill up all of the 10 lines required by IMDb So I do not have much more to say, but I liked the movie enough to write a comment even though I cannot fill up all of the 10 lines required by IMDb

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
For voyeurs only, 17 November 2007
5/10

A highly publicized show trial of Shahia Jahed, mistress of soccer star and coach Nasser Mohammad Khani, who confessed to killing her lover's wife in 2002 and then recanted publicly after both Khani and his mother in law asked for Jahed's execution. This highly emotional footage was spiced with home movies taken by Jahed of her and Khani in the apartment they shared as well as a guided tour by Khani of the murder site. Like the OJ trials, this seemed aimed at voyeurs who watch daytime soaps rather than any serious audience. I do not think there is much more to say about this lurid documentary, but I will type until I fill up the full ten lines.

15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A subtle study in sales ethics, 30 June 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wonder who is orchestrating the campaign to discredit this movie by voting in a block against it. I suspect that many of those 43 people voting a 2 have never seen it, and are simply responding to a viral effort to kill the film. But I cannot figure out what the puppeteers found objectionable with this movie.

The film itself has the feel of a low intensity Glengarry Glen Ross, without the claustrophobia or the cursing. With the passion and eagerness of aspiring musicians as a backdrop, this is really a story of the salesmen who allow themselves to be duped into believing that they are actually helping others.

Great World of Sound features some nice performances by the leads: Pat Healy as the reticent Martin and Carver Johns as his loquacious and exuberant partner Walter. All in all there is some ethical subtlety here. But that might be hard to detect if you've been a victim of a similar scam.

Enthusiasm (1931)
5 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
A tribute with no coherent story., 3 December 2006
6/10

The first sound film of Dziga Vertov, this is a tribute to the first Soviet 5 year plan, opening with the forcible transformation of churches to social and political clubs, filming work in the coal mines of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, capturing the sights and sounds of steel and locomotive works, and finishing with some scenes of harvests in the Ukraine countryside. Most of the focus is on work and the potential glories of the new Soviet citizens who promise to exceed the quotas of the five year plan. This is a marvel mostly because of Vertov's mastery of the early sound technology which required cameras that weighed over a ton. With speeches and inter-titles shifting between Ukrainian and Russian, there is no narrative, no actors, no script and only some visual references to Eisenstein's fictional works. It is easy to see why this film was more praised outside of the Soviet Union than inside and why so few of the workers filmed had any interest in watching it.

7 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
This could have been a lot better., 3 June 2006
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Matyoroy is a small village on a beautiful island with the same name. The party has decreed that the island shall be flooded for a hydro-electric dam. This story focuses on the inhabitants of Matyoroy, who watch the disassembling of their village. Darya (Stanyuta) is a grandmother who does not want to leave her ancestor's graves behind, but she cannot get anyone to help her move them to the mainland. She becomes the center of a group of islanders who do not want to move. Her son, Pinegin (Durov) is tapped to be the foreman of the crew preparing the island for submersion by the local party leader. They are supposed to disinfect the cemetery, cut down all of the tall trees, remove all of the people and livestock then burn all of the dwellings and barns. The residents move reluctantly, slowly harvesting their grain, digging their potatoes, and boarding up their houses. But a few, with Darya at their center dawdle so long that the island is flooded with them on it. They chose remaining with their forbearers to moving to the mainland. This film had some possibilities, but it ended up dark, heavy and leaden. Difficult to follow at first, it became weighted with symbolism, mysticism, fire, fog and overly dramatic music. I would have hoped that it would have been better if Larisa Shepitko had been able to complete the film. At least the shots of her first day of work with the cast shown in the short tribute "Larisa" seemed more interesting than the footage shot by her husband after her death.

Krisana (2005)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This feels a lot like an early Jim Jarmusch movie., 27 January 2006
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Matiss Zelcs (Dombrovskis) is trying to find a woman which he ignored when he passed her and who was about to jump off the bridge last night. He heard her splash followed by cries for help, but never saw her or her body. The police don't want to continue investigation as no body was found. However Matiss starts his own investigation, finding that the woman had been drinking at a café earlier in the night he saw her, and had left her handbag behind along with some crumpled half finished notes to a certain Alexej (Korobov). After pretending he was her lover to get the articles, Matiss sorts through them carefully and takes a receipt in the name of Alina into the photo developers to get some slides she had left to be developed. He sees that she appears to have been a mother with a young son and a husband that she did not seem close to. Matiss further sees that Alina (Dzerve) was very interested in another man of whom the husband seems jealous. He also finds an envelope addressed to Alexej Mesetzkis and visits his flat. There he learns that Alina had been living for several months with Alexej who indeed is the man of the photo, but she has recently disappeared after several days of fighting. Without letting on that he has the slides or the half finished notes, he asks Alexej to consider if he has driven Alina to desperate measures.

This is a very slow movie with little conversation, much of it in Russian rather than Latvian. Long slow black and white shots mirror the depressed mood of the main character in a movie that feels a lot like Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise. But as with Stranger Than Paradise, I had a hard time staying awake through the first half of Krisana.

Le silence (2004)
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Intense, uncomfortable and real, 8 July 2005
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oliver (Demy) and Marianne (Régnier), his pregnant French fiancée have come to vacation in Corsica, where she swims while he joins his cousin Vincent (de Peretti) and other locals in the daily boar hunts. Though Oliver grew up on the Island, he is returning to Corsica from Paris, and is accepted in the hunting party only because he is with Vincent. Many of the older women in the village know his mother or grandmother, but they are skeptical of his Parisian girl friend. His vacation is turned upside down when he stops to get air for his tire at the local convenience store and witnesses a murder of the cashier by one of the more volatile men of the hunting party. But he does not go to the police right away, trying to figure out weather to tell anyone. And of course, his aunt tells him that in Corsica that people cannot get hurt if they mind their own business. But his silence takes its toll, straining his relationship with his fiancée and making him even more quiet on the hunt and with Vincent. Well developed realistic hunting scenes and subtle male female dynamics. This is intense, uncomfortable and real with a constant low level tension developed by the tight music and effective black and white dream sequences.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful visuals, but jumbled, dreamlike story, 17 April 2004
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Chasing the Birds, Farukh (Dzhanik Faiziyev), a young boy gets a brutal education in medieval Uzbekistan. The boy wakes the town shouting that the almond trees are in bloom, and gets a sound beating for rousing the towns folk from their sleep. Farukh is pursued by Amandyra (Dilorom Kambarova) a young woman who has a crush on him, and wants to elope with him, but when she is forced to marry after he does not come for her, she is unwilling to leave her wealthy new husband for him. Much of the film happens in open fields and streams, with Farukh's flashbacks to the village and his mother who died at his birth. This is all too jumbled to follow any chronology, or even know when the boy is dreaming, daydreaming or remembering an actual event. The boy also lost his father to drink, and then the town folk take all of Farukh's remaining possessions to satisfy his father's debts. After leaving the village with only the clothes on their backs and their ingenuity, Farukh and his childhood pal Khabib find a young orphaned girl Gultcha, who tags along with them until she and Khabib fall in love. When Farukh is away, a member of nobility who has taken a fancy to the girl, has his hunters invade their camp and then he rapes her. The Bey then kills Khabib in an underwater knife fight, before battling with Farukh. Lots of color and flashbacks & dreams make it hard to follow this non linear mystical story of lost loves and abuse by bandits or landlords. The acting is pastoral, even simplistic and the subtitles are hard to read against the light background; but the visuals are spectacular, so the 87 minutes are not a total loss.


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