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V kocke (2001)
More human than some actors I could name . . .
23 September 2002
V kocke (In the Box) is spare, and finds a great strength in the simplicity of its stop-motion protagonist and his austere room. The lack of dialogue both allows the film to travel well to international audiences, and allows viewers to interpret the figure's efforts in the way that best suits them. The film is certainly about isolation and the struggle to change things, but is equally valid as a political or personal metaphor.

The wooden protagonist is beautifully animated, engaging, and very easy to empathize with. I saw this at a short film festival, and can truly say that he/she gave a better performance than some of the human actors with films there.
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American Experience: A Brilliant Madness (2002)
Season 14, Episode 14
Rich and human story behind A Beautiful Mind
28 June 2002
A very good documentary, well-paced, balanced and focused on a interesting subject.

The film captures Nash's individuality, and opens a window into his thinking. I wouldn't say that his experience of schizophrenia is typical, but this is not a documentary on schizophrenia, rather it is a portrait of a man whose entire experience of life has been atypical. In this, A Brilliant Madness is a very solid piece of work, in its own right.

However, it is impossible not to view it in relation to Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind. While in some ways this is a bit distracting, it means the film plays out on another level: as a lesson in media manipulation and the power of stigma. Apparently, the makers of A Beautiful Mind felt people could only overcome their feelings about mental illness if the rest of the story was clean cut Americana. (Let's face it, the original ad campaign was meant to deceive people entirely, as to the focus of the film. I know this has been defended as "bringing the audience into Nash's reality", but suspect the motivation may have originated in marketing) A Brilliant Madness reveals much (but not all) of the true complexity of Nash's story, while making all the same anti-stigma points that A Beautiful Mind was lauded for.
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25 April 2002
This film is exquisite. It packs more into nineteen minutes than many feature films achieve. I have had the opportunity to see this film more than once, and it always pulls me right back in to the emotional quagmire that is a family coping with addiction. Each character gets their due. We come to understand the conflicts of the mother who tries to balance everyone's needs, the father struggling with his addiction and his responsibilities to his son, and the child whose desires are at once so near and so far. Very beautiful, quiet, and radiating strength.
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So-poong (2001)
Love and despair
7 August 2001
A spare and elegant film, Song Il-gon's The Picnic will stay with you long after seeing it. (Neither description so far really does it justice. Vice-4's is good, but Christopher Ottinger's is clearly for a different film.)

The film packs an emotional punch. None of the characters is simplified in the least. How refreshing to see the love (however misguided) behind what can only be described as a horrible act.

Thomas Vinterberg was the Jury Chair when this film won at Cannes, and it is his film Celebration that this most reminds me of in terms of emotional weight, and the conflicted nature of the characters. (The Picnic is not a Dogme 95 film, however. It was shot on 35mm, and has fairly high production values.)
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