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El secreto de sus ojos (2009)
Image is More Important Than Words
Juan Jose Campanella's "The Secret in Their Eyes" was hailed as masterful piece of work instantly after it's release and many who saw the movie was mesmerized by it and i am one of those who able to see the movie rather late and it is really disappointing to see what i miss in that space of time between i heard about the movie and not watching it. first of all campanella's journey is a true one both the director and the screenwriter(Eduardo sancheri) have this sentimental understanding about the nature of the human kind so the emphasis on the "eye" subject that we see in the title of the movie is not just some coincidence it is actually a little hint about the core of the movie the filmmaker is not interested in the words or big statements what he's interested in is in fact the power of the image campanella shows us his intentions throughout the movie with wonderful camera use, little but effective dialog, magnificent pacing and editing and of course the performance he squeeze out from his actors and actresses... the movie starts with some truly memorable image actually the scene where the espotiso just starting to write his memoirs about the morales case and he recalls this beautiful, innocent and young girl, this is the mark of something that ends, seems to follow him, a cup of lemon tea and a sun beam that washes her cheek and campelena cut to esposito ripping of the page he just writes, with anger, and he starts over again but this sweet memory now turns into some sadistic rape scene and instantly he cuts back to esposito who "now gently" ripping off this page too... now this is maybe the best and simple example about the magnificent editing and directing about this film. there are lots of memorable scenes which audience feels time slips under his/her feets by simply playing with time forward and backward director creates uneasy yet acceptable atmosphere and leaves the audience to himself/herself, he/her has to understand the characters all by himself/herself and while we talking about the atmosphere of the film there are some important subjects that need to be told first the camera work is just amazing especially the stadium scene stands as a singular proof of that just how masterful that scene is... just remarkable... single plan shot from start to finish lasts about six minutes and it is really something any cinema fan should see some other director who tries do that would probably ruin it but campanella just handles it magnificently, i wasn't believe this to be true while i watch it i still find it hard to believe this to be done with so powerfully and of course another great effect on this atmosphere is no other than political background of the 70's Argentina the coup De et-at was taking place at the same time leftist movements were actively trying to overthrow the military government and this situation holds some key points in the development of the story but the director want to keep this at the background what he wants is to tell more humane story he don't want to preach politics but he criticize the military government and what it takes away from people of Argentina, as a strong political thriller enthusiast and as a person who lived in a country that resembles in many ways to the South American examples i wish campanella bring the political sub-plot to more attention which is an very important issue for all repressed countries but what he already does is really generous as what it is... the acting is another very solid department of the movie. the all three leads are really very fine delivering the goods. but the real winner is Guillermo Francella his playing is different, mature and yet childish portrayal of the Sandoval adds so many to film expends it's boundaries and also lets other characters to breathe as well really important figure in the script and rancella really understands even adds something more to his character. also Ricardo Darin, sole dad villa-mil, Pablo rago and Javier godino all play their parts successfully... and there is the script, at the beginning of the review i said it is a movie of the (haunting)images not the words or big talks and the script(delivered by sancheri and campanella) does exactly that and tones down the dialog it gives space both to actors and directors to really play out their roles. i am actually not against the "full of words" cinema of 60's(remember Lumet's theater adaptations in America, kitchen-sink influence in england) but as some important guys(like Hitchcock) said sometime ago a movie should not be about some talking images it has to move, "go some place(literally)" and this movie does that and this is important images stuck in your face just like vertigo's dreaming sequence now i have another images that haunts my mind and this is the real wonderful side of this film it stuck with you never let you go this is what cinema should do image should conquer yes there are many other films who could do that but this one takes it's subject with such a heartfelt passion it is something that came from inside i believe this movie is not just made for sake of a movie it wanted to tell us something that we don't want to see and do this with feeling just for that it deserves 10 points...
Bornova Bornova (2009)
Realistic Look at Turiksh "Modernism"
Inan Temelkuran is a relatively new director(and brother of a famous leftist writer Ece Temelkuran) but his "Bornova Bornova" really has something to say in terms of cinematic language and so-called Turkish modern life... the movie takes place in a day in a city called Izmir(more specifically in Bornova) and it has a "really" realistic feeling which is something rare in Turkish cinema so just for this specialty we had to treasure it. in terms of this realistic way of story telling temelkuran seems very close to Lumet cinema in many ways. even though there is some kind of Turkish new wave developing since 90's(then the young filmmakers following the path of erden kıral,Zeki Okten and alike...) and temelkuran owes something to that (so-called) movement in terms of camera use his movie far more different than those of new wave directors the main reason of this difference is the characters who are actually real and "in the place" they are not some left off-intellectual even the intellectual one feels like he lived something through his life. and all these characters reflects the facts of ordinary life in turkey which is the fatal point of the movie this ordinary life we talked about points the dramatic changes with the 80 military coup and liberal turkey or with the words of prime minister of that time "little America" so this brings us to the point where individualism is becoming the main understanding in the Turkish community(who establish capitalist affairs at a very late stage) and this is a traumatic event... and in this little day that movie takes place temelkuran examines this traumatic state of mind and do this very powerfully. so where this power lies. first off as we talked about it before temelkuran adopts something from his "new wave" peers long plan shots, close ups all of this are the signature Turkish new wave sty lings but in terms of characters, atmosphere and storytelling the movie place itself to some other angle there is a complete different understanding of Turkish community and everyday life. while Turkish cinema has a great realistic movement back in 60's Turkish directors turn their backs to their realistic roots but this movie really adopts some from Turkish realists such as refiğ, erksan, akad etc... and also ones like lumet. during the movie while we get close to the climax of the main story day slowly turns into night the sun slowly disappears and the tension between characters (unknown to others) becomes so intense that the viewer finds himself in a very discomforting position and this is one of the stronger sides of the movie it puts the viewer into the position where he had to react what he just seen as the relation between the main characters dissolves viewer becomes another character that in need to stop all this. what needs to be mention especially is the performances of all the leads(who are mostly unknown to mainstream Turkish audiences) plays really spectacularly natural and really multiple the overall effect of the(since it is a very character based) movie. also the script is very well written the place and the dialogs feels very real and the writer/director really captures the feeling of the bornova streets. over ally this movie succeeds almost every level it is very hard to find any flaws but this movie holds its power in its honest look at the modern life in turkey and it does this with sheer realistic energy and this is a very rare thing to find in modern film-making.
one of the best examples of the modern movie making
agora holds an unique position among the modern movies because of his take on the core material. it is an beautifully shot and very clever movie that tells us a story of multiple relationships and this is maybe the best thing about agora's story telling even though movie pretends to have a central character(hypattia) actually amenabar's intentions are clear as a daylight and that daylight illuminates the fact that what amenabar want is not a personal story what he want is more ideological and by ideological i mean that amenabar's taking side of the science over the religion and this is something that we rarely see in a conventional movie so just that side of the agora is an important for pretentious 21st century cheap movie making but while agora makes bold moves along the development of the story it also holds a great deal of strong directing abilities of the amenebar... amenebar, being one of my favorite modern directors and really talented film maker fills the movie with some truly clever and memorable shots especially the way he use the wide angle almost alienating use of the camera is spectacular. he endlessly gives us the feeling that we are like small insignificant bugs in the infinite space as he slowly moves far away from the earth and cutting into the earth and moon just hanging in the space while we can still hear the sounds of the peoples cry s and laugh s this is just brilliant way to merge the idea with the form of art!! and while giving us the clever and effective core material really solid directing movie don't fails us at the acting level too in the beginning of the review i was mentioned that this movie is more about the relationships(and ideas that moves around them) than the persons or characters and that side of the movie puts the actors and actresses in a very important position and the three leads(weisz, minghella and Isaac) really carries the movie on their shoulders and each of them gives really solid performances but i believe the real winner here is Rachel weisz with his truly powerful performance as hypatia and Oscar Isaac also very good in his emotionally confused character Orestes and not just leads the supporting actors such as Michael lonsdale and ashraf barhom really carries the film on their shoulders and it is really treat to see them play... so at the end agora is one of the most powerful movies of the 09 but this is more of a film of ideas(IMHO) so not for a casual 21st century viewer but still it will not change my way of looking to this late piece of work...
Nuit et brouillard (1956)
an important statement for documentary film making
a very artistic and historical monument for documentary filmmaking this is also a homage to those who lost(their life, hope etc.) in the concentration camps... and while charged with emotion this is a documentary that presents itself not just as some kind of documented research but as an artistic statement. from the starting moment alain resnais presents his work with beautiful cinematography especially the way he telling the story in two different time line is just spectacular while present day(1955) showed in color and magnificent tracking shots that wanders inside the ruins of the concentration camp the storyline suddenly breaks into WWII era and just by showing footage from the war and photos and this kind of storytelling is just brilliant for documentary filmmaking giving the movie an artistic look also resnais avoids exploiting peoples feeling about what was lost in the war and just gives us what happened his commentary however is the main theme of the documentary too...remembrance...
so it is a really cinematic experience and it represents an different approach to a documentary filmmaking as an artistic statement and rensais really mastering this artistic documentary with strong cinematography and innovative editing...