Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
This is a film about the insistency of memory.
It is both an elegant and forceful film. As elegant in its way as a documentary as Alain Resnais's film, La Guerre est Finie. In that film the Communist, Yves Montand's character, returns to France and remembers his past. So Guzman returns to Chile once Pinochet is no longer dictator
Guzman can not and will not forgot the enormous harm that the right wing did to his beloved country. Nor will he forgot the personal losses and particularly the murder of his cameraman, Jorge Muller, on his earlier film, The Battle for Chile. He is back in Chile to,screen his long repressed documentary on how the right wing set the stage for the military overthrow of a democratically elected President, Salvador Allende.
Guzman visits with Jorge's father, Rodolfo Muller, and talks about Jorge's death in the National Stadium in the first days of the coup.
I knew Jorge from working on an earlier Amercan made film about the election of Allende called Que Hacer. I was horrified to learn of Jorge's death and appalled by the coup. I found the film both personally moving as well as a finely,wrought piece of art
This movie is an homage not only to the vocabulary of film noir , but
also to its social and political genesis. Film Noir developed after
World War II and was an outgrowth of both the cynicism that was
generated by WW II because it turned out to need another war to be the
war to end all wars.... and because of the enormous evil that World War
II revealed in contradistinction to the sunny idealism of the American
Film Noir of the 40's and 50's was a reaction to WW II, but those films themselves were always crime stories about naive men dragged into terrible circumstances through the lure of seductive, dangerous women. But they were never about the war itself or anything to do with the war itself. WWII movies were patriotic paeans to heroism like 30 Seconds over Tokyo or the common man like A Walk in the Sun or home front heroism like Mrs. Mininver. Indeed only Casablanca itself, as exemplified early on by Rick's character was suffused with some of the cynicism that we see in film noir, but the reason Casablance is beloved is because the cynicism melts away in the the understanding that there is something greater than one's own preservation.
What is wonderful about the Good German is that it is a Film Noir film about the War itself and also about war in general...then and now. The film and its concerns are not dated or meaningless, but very much of the moment.
The film also pays visual homage to other movies of the era, from the warm hearted cynicism of Billy Wilder's A Foreign Affair with Jean Arthur as the parochial Congressperson (like in this film) and Marlene Dietrich as the dangerous vamp with a dark past. Roberto Rossellini's Germany:Year Zero, shot in postwar Berlin, shows how fear, deprivation and terror destroy the soul as ell as the body.
The Congressman is not just a boob but a participant in the propagation of evil and the Good American General of Beau Bridges is anything but good. Indeed, as we know now Americans protected Nazis who could help us in terms of confronting the next evil--Communism and Russia. And the story they tell about the V-2 rocket is true. The Germans and Werner van Braun used up the lives and caused the deaths of Jewish and other POW's slave labor to create and launch them and we, in terms of the American occupation and the incipient CIA aka the OSS, helped mass murderers to safety.
Even the lawyer Teitel, the man researching the Nuremberg Trials, whose sole purpose is to pursue Justice, can be compromised. Tobey Maguire was chosen to play the vicious, venal Tully because to most American audiences he, as Peter Parker, typifies the best of America. He is meant to be jarring to the audience. Lena, indeed is the vamp, but unlike old film noir like Out of the Past, she doesn't lead Jake on, Jake misleads himself about her. She is just a desperate woman struggling to survive.
Some would say this is a movie about moral ambiguities, but I think it's not that ambiguous. The filmmakers have cast judgment on some of our post war behavior and found it wanting.
The only romanticism in this movie is in the style, a valentine to the look of old movies; there is no romanticism in its view of America at war.
I remember watching this vividly. It is one of the most terrifying
pieces of TV up to then, 1964, and it probably continues to be true.
Who seduces whom and who abandons and betrays whom. Ann Sothern is the alluring moll...she used to do them dumb and sweet like Bother Orchid, but here she's something else. John Cassavetes plays the man who woos her to find the treasure and she is "wooed" to find the money. Cassaveetes is both intense, sexy and sly.
It is the story of what happens to two truly evil people who are both undone by their own vicious natures. There are no good guys or gals to be found anywhere on the screen watching this mesmerizing hour.
Ann Sothern is just amazingly crass, vicious and venal. Not at all like her Susie's or Maisie's that made her famous.
This movie set in 1978, is a wonderful analysis of women's
relationships with their friends and how relationships with men can
change their relationships with each other. It is subtle and nuanced
and emblematic of the independent films of the 1970's.
Claudia Weill was a women who tried to get into that very exclusive circle of directors which are very male. When this movie was made it was considered to be the first of many such independent films by women to try to climb that fortress.
The acting of Amy Wright and Melanie Mayron at the time felt like it wasn't acting at all. Since they were both unknowns, you felt like you were snooping into someone's personal lives rather than watching two actresses go through a script.