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Something to avoid
16 January 2001
Unless of course you are a hardcore Catherine Zeta-Jones fan and you would like to see her youthful body covered (in descreetly placed) sea shells, or sailing through a storm in a wet shirt, or just like staring at her cleavage which is on display for most of the film.

The fantasy-like element of the film doesn't really come together as it tries to blend a number of themes into one. The result is a poorly dubbed film with actors who look like they would rather be somewhere else, except for Catherine herself.
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Patricia (1981)
A tipical European sex-romp.
13 January 2001
Nothing too striking about this film at all unless you are a hard core fan of Anne Parillaud of La Femme Nikita. You get to see her in all of her birthday suit glory which may interest some of you. But if you are looking for story, this is one of many sexually geared films that ask the question "why bother?"
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If you're only going to watch one Quay film in your life, make it this one!!!
20 November 2000
I have seen this film numerous times before buying it on dvd this year and I have to say that it's impact has not wavered in the slightest.

Wonderful set design to house the strange, almost nightmarish characters and bodies that only the Brothers Quay could bring to life. The legitstics and reality of this world are unimportant and have no baring on the minimal plot. One is simply asked to believe that this place exists for the ungodly creatures to inhabit. To say that this film brings up moments of some childhood nightmare wihtin us is not far from the truth. But what the Quay Brothers manage to do (for me, anyways) is open up the possibility of worlds never explored within the sub-conscious, to allow oneself to be absorbed by the rust and decay and follow the trails of strings into the darkness, hoping to find some answers to questions you forgot you had.

As soon as I saw this I knew that they had tapped into the dreams that some of us wished we didn't have, but would have been upset had we not had them shown to us to begin with. This is probably the best work by the brothers that you could possibly see.
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What the "magic" in movies is all about
15 October 2000
Since it's opening in North America 11 years ago I have managed to see this film no less than 15 times and I never grow bored or disinterested in it. (In the theaters I have seen it about 5 times, the rest on video/dvd)

It may not be the best acted, or original in terms of story and characters, but a movie about the admiration for movies can only heighten the enjoyment for the viewer. I was so engrossed by the wonderful photography of the town and for it's inhabitants that I actually thought this place was real and that this little boy lived and worked there. I came out thinking that I had grown up there myself and was on a first name basis with all of the characters. It's a wonderful comment on the power of motion pictures, where they've come from and where they have gone.

But what I am specifically draw to is the tragic yet tender closing of the main character's relationship with 2 people from his past, Alfredo the projectionist, and Elena his first true love. Sweeping and elegant, the film seems to take elements from classic European and American films and uses them to perfect the interactions between Toto, Alfredo & Elena. Even though we have seen these kind of friendships/relationships in films many times over, the director manages to make them fresh and unique.

A question I always had with the film was within it's closing credits. They use footage from the film as the credtis role past. But the very last scene shows a grown Toto looking behind himself to see a modern day version of his love Elena. This was what made me seek out information about another cut of the film. My first confirmations were through a Japanese movie magazine which showed stills from scenes not released in the 2 hour North American version.

Years later the director's cut (162 mins) was released in the UK and I managed to get a copy. What a diference between the two! More footage of Toto as a teenager showing how he and his friends were just like any other "horny" teenagers. The footage also showed a darker side to Alfredo the likes of which were never even hinted at in the shorter version. But the one storyline I was waiting for was the grown Toto meeting Elena and finding out just what happened those many years ago. These added scenes gives the film a much more mature feeling and darker quality to it and really can not be compared to it's shorter companion.
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L + R (2000)
Amateur film making at it's worst.
1 October 2000
It would seem that the director had taken footage used on his last trip to Japan with his girl friend (Yukika Kudo) and decided to splice in used and found footage to make a hap-hazzard attempt at Eastern and Western observations. The result is an uninteresting vague examination of how one culture views another, through ill-fated questions and a lack of a cinematic eye for the viewer.

The fact that I had seen this at an international film festival begs the question, "do film students really learn anything in school? "Can talent be taught or does the general public have to suffer through this kind of mess time and again until something of substance and artistic merrit comes along?"
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Begotten (1990)
An incredible film maker with a shocking debut!
30 September 2000
I had seen this film no less than 3 times within the last 3 years and not one ounce of the film's impact is lost by doing so. The simple tale of a god-like creature dying, being attened sexually by a "virgin mary" persona and then giving birth to a son is adring enough. But aproaching the film in a style reminiscent of early David Lynch or Clive Barker projects is just brilliant. Who could of imagined a re-telling of the birth of Christ in an apocalyptic/goth/industrial setting and have it entertaining at the same time? If anyone is easily upset by unothrodox interpretations of biblical stories then avoid this film like the plague! And for the rest of you, if you enjoyed the early works of the mentioned film makers then you have to see this 1st film by Merhige.

And after seeing his second effort "Shadow Of The Vampire" I know we will be in for treat with every film this director chooses to make. Definately a person to watch out for.
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Tuvalu (1999)
A wonderful experiment in the basics of film making.
29 September 2000
This is a film that filled me with warmth and appreciation for the cinematic artform. Using tinted black and white film and a suggestion of dialogue, Veit Helmer was able to successfully tell a story in the way they were told within the first 30 years of cinema. It should renew anyone's faith in this medium who thought that Hollywood productions were all that were left to call "entertainment".

Andre is the younger son of a blind man, left to run a delapidated bath house in a fictional European city a few years in the future(?). He not only has to juggle the possible closing of the house by local authorities, keep business going as usual, and keep his Father from finding out the true plight of which they face, but also face his first true love, Eva. All this and an evil brother who wants to see the bath house torn down in way for a new development and you have a formula that has been seen many times over.

However, several elements come into play that make this an outstanding film. One, the film is shot using tinted black and white film, giving the decaying sets a life of their own. Second, Veir opted out of having any "real" dialogue and instead presented a combination of gestures, expressions and universally known words to convey the words. This made way for the kind of acting that was predominate in the first 30 years of film history, and if he had decided to illiminate the dialogue altogether it would have come out the exact same way. Not since the premiere films of Luc Besson, David Lynch or Lars Von Trier can I stress the incredible treasure that has been created.

I hope that many more of you have the chance to see this film.
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