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The question of Russian identity has not been answered in 'Leviathan' !!!!
Andrei Zvyagintsev's 4th film is a major disappointment. It is a well made film but does not have the depth to reveal "Russianness" and "Russian identity". Those who know his works would be able to spot these qualities in his better films such as "The Return", "The Banishment" and "Elena". While watching "Leviathan", most viewers would like to know where is the Russian nation which was nicely depicted in previous films made by Zvyagintsev ? A film cannot be said to present Russia merely by having Russian actors speak their dialogs in Russian language. While attempting to convey human weaknesses in an universal language, Leviathan has failed to take into account its Russian character. Zvyagintsev's troubles do not seem to end here as his film has also been judged by some people in Russia as anti Russian. An erudite viewer needs to ask which aspect of Russia was shown in a negative light ? There is no question of showing Russia in bad light in a film which chose to express Russian identity through the depiction of actors consuming huge quantities of vodka. As there was no Russianness, the question of hurting Russia's image does not even arise. More than the actors, it is the filming location and beautiful scenery which lends a helping hand in making the film popular. One wonders how Leviathan was awarded best screenplay prize at Cannes International Film Festival 2015 as everything is predictable in the film. The whole spectrum of characters is shown in black and white with no scope for any gray areas. As most media has showered abundant praise on "Leviathan", it has very strong chances of winning best foreign language film Oscar in 2015.
The Shout (1978)
A 'Jerzy Skolimowski' films which suggests that no matter what might happen, one should never allow a stranger to enter the house !!!!
The importance of sound is known to all human societies. Sometimes it acts as an element of nuisance but there are hardly any people who would imagine it to have the tremendous potential to kill. This conundrum has been depicted in a British film called "The Shout" which has also been hailed by most media groups as a horror film. This is not entirely true as it has some good moments of fright but without usual blood and gore stuff. This is a special feature with which one is able to associate most horrors films. Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski makes effective use of the quiet life in a small English village to direct an intriguing tale of a mysterious man's ability to wreak havoc on others as he possesses the unique ability to destroy things merely by uttering a loud cry. In the film, the destruction caused works on two different levels. On the one hand there is a stranger who gains entry into a normal household through trickery. This action has fatal consequences for the inhabitants of the house. On the other hand, a different kind of insidious destruction is caused by an insider who decides to ignore her partner in order to team up with a wicked man. Watching this film, viewers would find it rather strange to digest that the fury of sound has been used by an evil character to subdue another person who is none another than a sound engineer. Before the making of this film no other motion picture had dared to describe in detail the deadly possibilities of sound to create destruction. This is an element which gives "The Shout" a certain level of advantage over other horror films.
Tanghi argentini (2006)
A weak person would do anything to be accepted by others !!!!
If everything can be settled for Dutch short film "Tanghi Argentini" by giving grades then it has got some good grades in the honest portrayal of office life. It is a situation with which most working professionals are familiar. Office workers who stay late to do their personal work are known to all of us. Many a times, our own personal vision is getting depicted in the film. The importance of culture in the lives of human beings is substantial but there are not many who would take refuge in an element of culture namely a dance form to woo a charming lady. This plot development gives a definitive edge to "Tanghi Argentini" team members especially to its director Guido Thys and writer Geert Verbanck. Alas, their happiness is fleeting as the film doesn't succeed in ensuring victory for a common man due to its depiction of him as a 'weak' soul who would dance to any available tune in order to make himself appreciated.This is the only major drawback in a charming short film which helps Tango to become more popular.
Il supplente (2007)
Italian short film 'The Substitute' presents two different facets of Italy !!!!
Although it was nominated for academy awards, Italian short film "The Substitute" does not have the right stuff to be called an entertaining film. It has some moments of megalomania but they do not help much to attract viewers. This film's primary concern is the depiction of an 'Italian nation' especially its young people. This is something which can divide viewers' opinions. Those who consider Italy as a corrupt country are likely to see their joy getting doubled as too many irresponsible Italian youngsters have been shown in the film. They present a highly negative image of the Italian nation due to their lack of manners and claim to an irresponsible behavior. This would not be the same story with people who appreciate Italy as a land of culture. They would be able to observe how important football is for Italian youngsters in all places including a classroom. It is due to the grandiose arrival of a 'substitute teacher' that the film changes its trajectory. Alas, everything is spoiled as actor Andrea Jublin overacts as well as overreacts even when he has been credited as the film's director. This is something which irritates viewers to such a large extent that they do not bother to ask how an outsider has gained entry into a school as a substitute teacher ?
Le Mozart des pickpockets (2006)
Sometimes youngsters can do tricks which their masters do not know !!!!
One reason why this short film has succeeded is partially due to its offbeat title.There is hardly anybody who calls himself/herself "a cultured person" but has not heard about Mozart.A short film with a singular title namely 'The Mozart of pickpockets' gives a better idea about the film.It suggests that the pickpockets depicted in the film are supreme exponents of the art of pickpocketing as good as Mozart who was a true expert in music. The creative contribution of Philippe Pollet-Villard is revealed twice as not only he directs this film but also plays an important role.Apart from a lot of comic scenes,ample dose of realism has been added by him.Those who are familiar with Paris would have no difficulty in recognizing all the con tricks played by pickpockets,seedy hotels where they live and main areas where they operate.A short film with a classy end,'Le Mozart Des Pickpockets' is one of the rare short films made by a French director which has won two major prizes : Oscar award for best short film as well as César award for 'Meilleur Court-Métrage".
This film makes a lot of sense when it is seen twice or more !!!!
This animated short film by Samuel Tourneux has death and greed as its main themes.They are considered to be serious themes but the screenplay has added numerous scenes where a lot of laughter is assured.Apart from this difference of ideology,there was some focus on the depiction of members of young as well as old generation.This helped to answers too many questions related to film's raison d'être.'Even pigeons go to heaven' is a film for all ages but very young viewers will have tough time understanding its true meaning.As they rely too much on the titles of the films they watch,it might be possible that they would wonder that there were no pigeons in the actual film.This is precisely what happened to some youngsters who watched this film in a famous school's filmmaking club.Those viewers who do not comprehend the meaning of this film are advised to watch it again.It is expected that a lot of meaning would be revealed when it is seen for the second time.
This is a bold albeit somewhat unusual work in Imamura Shohei's illustrious filmography !!!!
For one of his minor as well as interesting film called 'Warm Water Under a Red Bridge', Japanese director Imamura Shohei chose to depict the lives of some undesirable elements of Japanese society. This film has been adapted from a novel written by Henmi Yo. In principle, his film describes the emotional as well as physical relationship a white-collar worker forms with a bizarre woman from a small town. The primary focus is on depicting the life in a small Japanese town where ordinary people do not have much to do except fishing either as a hobby or for commercial purposes. Much of this film has been shot in the form of an unrequited love affair wherein the woman accuses the man of not having understood her feelings as a person. These roles have been played by with great sensitivity by Japanese actors Shimizu Misha and Yakusho Koji who were also directed by him in his previous film "The Eel".
Flirting with Disaster (1996)
A "David O Russell" film which shows that finding about one's real parents could be a real disaster.
It is no surprise that in many ways human beings reflect what their parents must have been. There is a biological perspective to it as this has a lot to do with the fact that children carry their parents' genes in them. However, there is no definitive yardstick for determining the behavioral traits of children as they might or might not have been influenced by their parents. All these ideas tend to give rise to an inherent desire to know more about one's parents especially 'one's biological parents'. This is a challenging as well as a serious theme which has been humorously represented on screen by American director David O Russell. For this reason, he takes us on a hilarious, fun filled ride across two different parts of America where a married couple meets up with other oddball characters. Apart from discussing issues related to bad parenting, 'Flirting with disaster' talks about a couple's conjugal life after the birth of a baby. Although most people would not like to be found in a position to generalize a work of art, this film remains a good example of American attitudes to drugs, marriage, relationships and sexuality. Hilarity is ensured as each character carries multiple flaws.
L'armée des ombres (1969)
L'Armée Des Ombres : Probably the greatest film about France's opposition to Nazi rule on its soil.
Most films about the opposition of occupied people against their oppressors tend to trivialize the cause of freedom as the depiction of heroes and heroic deeds of freedom fighters tend to get highlighted. This is not the case with French director Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpiece "L'Armée Des Ombres". It is one of those few war films which present a true picture of French resistance. Based on a book by Joseph Kessel of L'Académie Française, "L'Armée Des Ombres" does not make a hero out of any fighter. It honestly depicts the tough lives of resistance fighters who accord top priority to their mission. As they confront dangers too often, there is no scope for personal feeling in the hearts and minds of these daredevils. Melville has extracted excellent performance from all actors but it is nice to watch two of French cinema's greatest actors Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret as resistance fighters. Their performance are genuine to such an extent that one is forced to sit glued to the screen. At the time of its initial release "L'Armée Des Ombres" was ignored and somewhat neglected by certain idiots in France. It is great to learn that its lost glory has been restored as it has been chosen as one of the films to be shown in French schools by CANOPE, The network for creation and educational support in France.
The President (2014)
The President : An excellent "Mohsen Makhmalbaf" film which shows that all dictators meet a tragic end.
It seems as if the Georgian setting of his latest film "The President" hasn't bothered Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The ease and familiarity with which he has directed his film in a foreign land makes all his loyal viewers believe that he has always lived there. Based on a screenplay for which Makhmalbaf contributed with this wife Merziyeh Meshkini, there is hardly any dull moment in this film about an old dictator who is forced to confront all those who were subjugated by him. The entire film is faster than the fastest roller coaster ride through its principal focus on allowing a dictator to explore all escape routes once his government has been overturned. "The President" is suitable for viewing by people of all ages as both young children as well as their old partners would continue to view a dictatorial government with utmost suspicion. For Mohsen Makhmalbaf, "The President" is a modern fable about power, reconciliation and the hope for breaking a never ending circle of violence while exploring the possibility of stopping the violence after a revolution in search of democracy and freedom.