Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
Strong acting, breathtaking scenery, and an interesting plot characterized the Iranian film, The Color of Paradise, which left me with a new perspective on the culture and beliefs of Iran. Mohsen Ramezani, the child actor who played Mohammed, carried the film with an amazing performance as a young, blind boy forced to go to school in the city far away from his family because of his disability. What surprised me most about the film was the difference between it and other foreign films. The movie's focus was on the struggles of this family, but with the exception of some religious comments, it ignored analyzing larger political or cultural issues. In a way this probably reflects the country and culture that the movie came out of, but it was unexpected and interesting to see a movie that was powerful and touching in the simplicity of its plot and themes. The Color of Paradise proved that film, in the way it chooses to portray a society, is a small, but telling, window into the culture's values and beliefs.
The experience of watching Madchen in Uniform left me feeling that that I had missed part of the film's message because of both the subtitles and the historical context. On the surface the movie seemed to simply be about a girl who after being forced to go to boarding school falls in love with her teacher and doesn't know how to handle herself. What is lost in the translation to English though are many of the messages that were quite revolutionary for the time and place that the movie was made. The film actually reflects the pre-Nazi German society, especially the places of both women and homosexuality. This was hard to follow in the subtitles which, showing the movie's age, were often missing or very hard to read. I found the movie rather unentertaining to watch; however, I feel that if I had known more about the time period and place that it was coming from before I viewed it then it might have had greater meaning to me. If the language and cultural barrier can be crossed, I feel the Madchen in Uniform achieves its point of addressing the social and political issues of Germany when it is observed with the correct historical context and openness in mind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Contains Spoiler Fatal Attraction (1987) succeeded in giving audiences a suspenseful thriller complete with all the elements of surprise and terror; however, underneath the surface is a subtler comment about the roles that men and women play in this society. The entire movie is filmed from Dan's (Michael Douglas) point of view, and although we know that he is guilty of adultery, the script never gives us a chance to dislike this man for jeopardizing the seemingly perfect family life that he had. Instead we are swept away into Alex's (Glenn Close) psychotic world of obsession and jealousy as she tries to exact her revenge on Dan. By the end of the movie it's impossible not to be glad that Alex is dead and family values have triumphed yet again. The idea that a strong and self-supporting woman ultimately loses the battle is portrayed yet again, while the man having no responsibilities for his actions is free to do as he pleases with little punishment for the mistakes that he makes. It wasn't the stereotypes that bothered me about this movie though; most movies have them and if you are aware of them it is possible to look beyond them to find the movie's true message. What bothered me about Fatal Attraction was the tight hold that the movie kept on your mind. Instead of being allowed to think about each character and assess their true motivations, the script follows a narrow path leaving little room for interpretation. The script tells us what to think and how we should feel using our reactions and emotions to engrain the stereotypical message into our minds. The technique is subtle and perhaps that form of manipulation is scarier than anything Alex could have thought up in the movie.
Through striking imagery and well thought out camera work, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) conveys a message that has endured the generations. I still can't decide whether or not I liked this movie, but many of the themes and underlying implications had a lasting effect on me. The interesting camera angles and mind provoking shots make up for a plot that drags at some points, but ultimately I believe that this film's reputation has endured based on the timeless themes that left me questioning my own beliefs. Welles presents his audience with a character who is so consumed with gaining power and buying love that he misses making true connections with the people in his life. Charles Foster Kane suffers a lonely death in his mansion, leaving behind the cluttered piles of objects he used in his quest to buy friendship and respect. What he didn't understand was that life is measured more by the people and lives that you truly touch, not by your money or possessions. Welles constantly reminds the audience that riches are wonderful, but when you obtain them at the expense of everything else, you are missing out on living. Ultimately, these ideas give Citizen Kane its staying power because they raise questions about life and love that haven't changed in the past sixty years.