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More observational than analytical
This could have been many things - an explanation of garment making, an analysis of industrial relations, a review of global garment making economics, an exploration of working class relationships, a description of Indian state governance.
There is a bit of all of this in the film, but it is above all observational - the beauty of the textile designs, the dirt, mess and lack of health and safety of the factory, various industrial processes, brief interviews with various parties who generally say what one would expect. There is no commentary. It is thus impressionistic rather than fully explanatory. For a fuller analysis of a similar situation, read The Condition of the Working Class in England by Friedrich Engels.
Pasácek z doliny (1983)
A small boy in a remote village in the 1940s. Entirely charming and with some real drama.
A period in the life of a small boy in a remote village in the 1940s. His family, neighbours, employer, strangers, fears, hopes, goblins, cows... A limited cast and scope, as is appropriate for the life of a small boy in a small village. We see life both from the boy's point of view and also from that of the adults who dominate and influence his life, for good and ill. There's some historical context, as well as the timeless life of the countryside and human emotions and motivations. The lead actor is wonderfully convincing and is supported by a competent cast. There's a good use of country and town backgrounds. The plot works but it's the human interactions which stay with one. Entirely charming and with some real drama.
West End Jungle (1961)
Shcking expose of 1950's London sex trade
Seamy or at least black and white expose of 1950's London's sex trade in all its guises. Using actors and clearly of the period, this reveals and condemns all the tricks of the trade, from call girls to clip joints and high massage parlours to low class walk ups. It's hard to know which are less appealing: the deluded and self-deluded and desperate punters or the calculating and equally desperate working girls. The film condemns them equally, while revealing in details the titillation and barely legal disrobing designed to arouse man's baser desires. With a voice-over straight from the Department of Public Morals, and fascinating glimpses of a period long ago, this has something for everyone. Huge potential for unintentional humour and entirely convincing as to the facts of the case.
Chemi bebia (1929)
Imaginative, innovative, amazing!
This is a wonderful film that works on so many levels. As a farce, it's up there with Charlie Chaplin or Monsieur Hulot. It's really funny. The score is absolutely brilliant. The acting is top-notch. As a satire on corruption and bureaucracy, it hits the nail on the head. The elements of surrealism work tremendously well in acting, sets and scenes: just extreme enough to make the point well without losing touch with the underlying reality. Through all this, key themes are maintained. The director also plays effortlessly with gender, age and hierarchical roles, switching and undermining them relentlessly. Innovative film techniques, too, are used exceptionally well: puppetry, collage, distortion plus many more. One could doubtless see this film a dozen times and still find something new. I unreservedly recommend this film!
Why I think this film is so overrated
I have rarely disagreed so much with the IMDb average. No.1 Most of the stuff in this film just does not happen. Ever. Even if it does, it doesn't all happen to the same bunch of people. Even if it did happen to the same bunch of people, it would be because of causal links, which were absent or weak here. No.2 There really wasn't much tension here, given it was a thriller format. The cuts back and forward in time meant you knew what was going to happen a lot of the time. Even when you didn't, plot developments were clichéd and predictable. Even when they weren't, they were signalled way ahead of time. No.3 Various specific plot elements didn't go anywhere or were pretty unlikely or happened just too easily No.4 There was far too much use of the phone to make up for a weak structure. And the personal interactions generally weren't convincing.
entertaining in its way
The acting of the main characters - Harrison, Cummins and Hartnell - are convincing but generally lack a great deal of passion. Everyone behaves pretty much as one would expect. There are many twists and turns in the plot but these are often fairly predictable; one is rarely surprised. The settings - prison, village, moor, country cottage, are just what they're supposed to be, no more, no less. The dialogue is convincing, and also just what you might expect. There is variety of tone and many moments of humour, darker points, philosophical themes regarding justice, honour and life. Generally, the film takes its time making its points, just so you don't miss them. So it rolls along in an amiable manner and is enjoyable to watch; however, it does lack some of the sparkle of the 1930 version.
Good and in parts
There is some spectacular, heart stoppingly beautiful photography here of a range of scenery and animals, from arctic to tropical and everything in between. The camera techniques are varied and spot on from close ups to aerial work. Editing is tremendous and the commentary is spot on too, with just the right tone and some dramatic and telling facts about our world. Where the film falls down a bit is in trying to cover and integrate four themes - seasonal patterns, climate change, individual animal stories and hunter/ hunted interactions across multiple environments. Eventually it all gets a bit bitty and disjointed. Overall, well worth seeing especially given the issues covered but don't expect Oscar material.
Jayu buin (1956)
Melodrama of lust and love
It's all happening here. A bored couple have various extramarital flirtations in a torrid atmosphere of dodgy financial dealings and lust-filled entanglements. Meanwhile the family as a family is rather left to look after itself. The acting, given that it is melodrama, is fairly good and the settings are entirely convincing. You might not like the Korean (or indeed any) version of America in the fifties but it is believable and indeed fascinating. The plot bounces along from one flirtation or crisis to another, while the female characters alternately support each other or eye each other competitively. There are resonances from a culture undergoing change and real issues and dilemmas, like all good melodramas, for the characters. What is the role of women? Is life about appearances or something more? What is the balance between thinking of the future and enjoying yourself while you can? Who is exploiting who in business, employment and relationships? Perhaps we're all using each other?
Ye che (2007)
Based in an industrial provincial Chinese city, this is about the lives of a handful of people affected by a crime. There's a strong element of realism in the depiction of both lives and cityscapes of China today and this is the film's great strength. The story is told in an episodic way, with each episode unfolding fairly slowly. One had to be fairly alert to understand how each episode related to the main story and universal themes of the film, which are desire, loneliness, revenge and the justice system. However, the script is pared down, with relatively little dialogue or detailing of the lives depicted. There are elements of suspense and also an interest for non-Chinese in observing the detailed workings of a society. The acting is restrained but convincing. In justifying my lowish score, I would point to the relative lack of pace and complexity as factors against engagement.
Good acting in a chamber piece
Think theatrical for this one. Six friends and relatives are isolated in country house. They bicker, they matchmake, they fall in love, they have tea, they read or sing, they bicker again. Great acting, and well shot and edited, and there's some nice relationship friction. Though everything is taken a little too far, theatrical rather than realistic. And it's all a bit trivial, I'm afraid, like light theatricals. Then something goes wrong, and they argue more seriously as nerves break and relationships are put under strain. But, it's still six characters isolated in a country house. One can think of analogies: Agatha Christie's And then there were none, but the tension here is somewhat lacking. Everyone is basically nice and one never feels anyone is in very much danger, except through their own foolishness. That being the case, the point of the thing is a little unclear - not comedy, not romance, not slice of life, not really much of a drama. If you focus on the acting, you'll probably find it enjoyable enough.