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La grande bellezza (2013)
Italian existential masterpiece riding the collapse of Rome -and the West
It was a few weeks ago, within the first few seconds of the trailers I had understood it was a movie by one of the two greatest Italian directors of our time Paolo Sorrentino, the other being Nanni Moretti. A few seconds later I have thought this could be a movie on Il Divo's most memorable scene for me, the party and the dance of Toni Servino's character and I was very happy Sorrentino elaborated on that. And few seconds later Fellini came to my mind, 8 1/2 that is, long before the trailer ended.
So I was very eager to go see this movie. And it turned out even better than I had anticipated.
If one should think of Fellini, The Grande Belazza would be more of a Dolce Vita whose characters has run its course, like Rome itself, rather than 8 1/2. It is more international and more political but certainly not enough for our times.
Such beautiful imagery, such great acting and directing. The movie flows and shines before our eyes like the Mediterranean under the sun.
Sorrentino revisited his favorite theme of life, death and love many years after the Consequence del L'amore but surpassed it. He is working with Toni Servino again along with other aging artists to great effect.
Existentialism has its dose of cynicism and possibly being aware of this he criticizes himself as artists picking on things rather than feeling about them, as in Ramona tidbit in a conversation scene.
There are many metaphors such as legend of Sysiphos, but striking is the scene which reveals who is the worker in Italy! Sorrentino unlike Fellini portrays hypocrisy of the Western middle class side by side that of its wealthy rulers.
It shows Vatican as a sideshow to capitalism like Habemus Papam of Moretti but that side story is overly long though appropriate in the bigger theme of life, death and love.
Europeans almost never take on capitalism directly like Michael Moore does and too covert is too coward, hence cynical. Including Camus. Life is too much fun for the Mediterranean Europeans to ask for freedom. So the director leaves us with ambivalent feelings, a choice of either enjoying the absurdity and emptiness of life and or asking rigorous questions on capitalism and the West.
A masterpiece on artistic terms rather than the philosophical!
Jeune & jolie (2013)
Trier'ish Haneke salute with Ozon touch, Bunuel inspired !
The movie creates ambivalent thoughts and feelings on many levels, on historic perspective, on the political grounds covered in sexual atmosphere prevalent in the West with case in point France, on the use of stereotypes and quality of storytelling.
Not much has changed in the West since Bunuel's Belle Du Jour. Its fallen capitalist system and the inevitable alienation and hypocrisy that shows itself in multiple facets of society including sexuality. I would add Ozon's own fixation on gay themes even in heterosexual films as an another result. In fact he makes as a director exactly what he criticizes in his film subject, so another level of Western hypocrisy.
So pretty Marine Vocht is! Well cast, well played. Her character asexual most of the time, a naive girl that sometimes grows up.
There is a slight directing fallout in the collage of sex scenes which falls flat, at times the movie just touches barely some of the themes and stays superficial.
Haneke's Cache corridors in the hotel were perfect! Immediately recognizable, Cache being one of the best European movies of all time.
Moral and sexual hypocrisy of the middle class is shown well a la Trier but much softer. Softer than Habla con Ella from Almodovar too.
Stereotyping of the German or the seemingly Middle Eastern guy had some truth in it and showing them side by side with French men was the right thing to do, showing the materialism transcending borders.
Psychologically the film explores known but important themes of narcissism, loneliness, alienation, vulnerability, an epidemic in the capitalist West. And on prostitution it was an interesting take with Charlotte Rampling's character and again did stay superficial since it ignores the system at the base.
It was great to see the girl being sorry for death of the guy rather than her prostitution. That violence and in general death gets a pass in the media and society while sexual escapades are always frowned upon.
All in all, it was good to see this film.
Schaste moe (2010)
Leads nowhere but to propaganda
This film opens with a compelling scene involving a trucker in the countryside. It then follows on with the camera placed in front of the truck picking snapshots of people and their daily struggles along the road. More importantly we see a population subsisting in moral darkness. There is even a scene or two reminiscent of a Haneke wannabe.
Unfortunately the director plunges in this moral darkness he himself has created by revisiting history. When the film comes back to present day it falters and when it does that a second time in the rural home of a teacher it never comes back. The film loses any direction and becomes a collage of arbitrary violence. And most unfortunately this part is way longer then the rest of the movie! The director who apparently aims to lay the blame of current Ukrainian problems into Soviet era does not even stop short of a Nazi praise in the character of a teacher who blatantly hints God loving Nazis could have created a better Ukraine. This is where the film will find its place in history as a showcase of the rise of the extreme right in Europe! This is where free speech cunningly turns into hate speech and the propaganda goes totally out of control.
Mind blowing for sure if that was the intention of the director! This film can be watched as a case study.
Sawan baan na (2009)
A riveting visual treatise on Thai peasants' struggles under capitalism
Stunningly beautiful nature becomes peasants' nightmare in this dramatic film depicting struggling peasants under a capitalistic pyramid scheme. The realism of the story is so palpable that I thought I was watching a documentary. Yet, the movie is a fluidly flowing drama that analyzes dynamic relations between the characters.
The story is also global like capitalism itself, wherever you live, it is very likely that a similar story happens in your country.
The landlord of a small field buys a car on credit while the peasants who work his field struggle with heavy debts to banks. Feudalism lives in 21st century at all levels, from the farm workers all the way up to the bankers.
We also get to know a retired teacher who has bought a small land with his life savings and practices organic farming and living. He lives next to the rice paddy workers who work on the rice paddy with ancient methods.
Is the teacher's way of life too utopian to support crowded rural families? The peasants are in dire straits to pay back the banks in hurry, they are always on the edge, considering going to Bangkok for manual labor jobs. Under this constant threat that the banks impose, can these workers afford to go as slowly as retired teacher? The movie depicts many aspects of capitalism and how it turns people into slaves and how problems in the fields propagate to the city.
Beautiful sceneries and gripping drama make this film a must see.
Holding on to Jah (2011)
Jamaica's Sad Story
This is a very nice documentary that shows the historical, political and social background of Reggae music. It is wonderful analysis of the link between the art and the history of a nation. And this analysis may hold true for many other people around the world as well.
The title of my comment may seem contradictory as reggae is optimistic and cheery. How such a nice, groovy, easygoing music be the expression of hopelessness, poverty, centuries old oppression first by slavery then by the Western oligarchs and their local henchmen one might ask. Fado, Portugal's folk music, is the music of the slumps and slaves and by contrast it is touchy.
The answer may be that Reggae is only a few decades old. Jamaicans have invented the music when Cristian religion and pot had taken a hold in the country. There is a learned and accepted hopelessness that emanates from all the musicians in the documentary. The only thing they have is their music, and they have chosen to project their wish for happiness onto the music.
The movie is a testimony to ancient Greek philosophers: Who is more optimist, the person who has lost all hope and laughs at the misery of the people every day, or the pessimist who worries and cries for that misery? In short, religion, music and opium is stronger than religion alone.
Samson and Delilah (2009)
Dramatic and realistic beginning of the movie leads to religious optimism and unrealistic hope.
The film is shot efficiently with powerful scenes conveying strong emotions and important story lines in concise forms. The actors play well and convey the story successfully.
However the story itself is not good, a religious optimism which is unrealistic and borders on propaganda. Any unfounded optimism makes people apathetic and guides people into accepting injustice and hope for miracles to happen. Only realities, however unpalatable force people to look for solutions to problems. Economic problems can be solved by economic systems, not religions.
Los abrazos rotos (2009)
Never too late to look at a painful past and do the right thing
In warm saturated colors and touches of French film noir, Almodovar shows one tragic yet optimistic tale of a blind screenwriter/director who falls in love with his leading actress.
When the end credits began to roll, I was still in the movie not wanting out. Almost childishly unrealistic pure passionate love is attacked by jealous evil passion.
Almodovar being one of the greatest directors of our time always shows love in the most difficult or impossible situations and gets away with it, whether in Todo sobre mi Madre or his masterpiece Habla con Ella.There is no other director who can depict love in such unusual circumstances. He makes the viewer swim in a sea of conflicting emotions while love always trumps any morality. This time it is not moral vs. love, it is unconditional love vs. evil passion and jealous love.
In most of his films there is a character who seems to deal with his own homosexuality, this one is no exception. I believe somehow Almodovar does this as a therapy to find out the roots of his own homosexuality, such as anger towards a mean and despotic father. There was also a misogynistic feel in one sex scene. Still, this is a small side issue. The movie depicts love between a man and a woman.
Los abrazos rotos is distinct from his other movies in that Almodovar deals with social conditions of his characters are forced to do things for money when the government cannot fulfill its duty to its citizens. The businessman owns a big business and is in bed with the same government that denies adequate health care to its citizens. In the film that the blind director makes, the way to riches is through selling drugs.
The movie works on a personal level but may equally be valid at a social level. Extreme tragedies can force us to be blind as it might be too painful to look at reality. We would like to view events as accidents. And we may be forced to change our identity to accommodate changes. However, it is never too late to look at our past and to right any wrongs we can, even when we cannot bring back what we have lost.
Loooking at the past also means looking at the great directors of the past too as this film is about film-making as well.
This movie may not have a perfect script but it certainly works on many levels. It is plain gorgeous, just like bare breasted Penelope Cruz.
Three generations through one broken love story
Master of broken love stories, Theo Angelopoulos, presents us the story of the last 60 years, the struggle between the absoluteness of love and the sadness of life.
Three generations move from one place to another like leaves in the winds of immense political changes while we witness the parallels between their personal lives and those social changes in lyrical imagery.
The two different paths taken by lovers who have fled Greece after the defeat of the Greek leftists by the American and British led Royalist army forms the basis of the film. Spyros goes to the US and Eleni to the Soviet Union. Spryos' attempt to take Eleni out of the Soviet Union ends dramatically. Eleni is sent to Siberia and Sypros to jail. They are then separated for decades but finally get together in the US. Their love child has become a movie director whose sole purpose in life is his career in the West while their granddaughter has to live the teenage life of divorced parents, lost in a life with no purpose.
These social changes accompany political changes, somehow West starts resembling East. Siberian gulag security has now become Western airport security while the Russian secret police did turn into Berlin police. On this gloomy background Angelopoulos is not too pessimistic, there is a glimmer of hope, the only generation that can save the Gen Xers from their selfish Baby boomer parents are their grandparents.
Overall, a wonderful movie by one the greatest directors of our time, not only packed with strong historic and political content but also beautiful poetry with many dramatic scenes, one especially standing out. And while Piccoli is good, Bruno Ganz offers a great performance.
Nefes: Vatan Sagolsun (2009)
War movie based on true stories and very realistically shot!
The film opens with a military helicopter flying over rocky mountains to a remote outpost in southeastern Turkey. The terrain is extremely rough and the soldiers manning the hilltop post are isolated from other units. The land is treacherous but the Kurdish terrorists crossing the border from Iraq are more so.
Military service in Turkey is compulsory much like a draft in the US, so the soldiers are mostly young people right out of college or high school, with a variety of professions and interests. Their duty is to protect their country against a sinister enemy. In their isolation they miss their wives, girlfriends and moms.
The local terrorist leader hiding in the mountains frequently interrupts the outpost commander's conversation over the wireless network and threatens to attack the base. The commander has a vendetta against the terrorist who has killed his friend, a fellow soldier. The fact that the soldiers have to guard the base at all times while the terrorists can attack at their choosing creates a tense drama.
This movie is a must-see for anyone looking for human drama in war and incredibly realistic gunfight scenes. But the movie's main legacy is accurate portrayal of the determination of the Turkish army and the Turkish people to protect Turkey founded by Ataturk.
Nurturing Fascism Somewhere in Black and White Germany
During the course of the year before WWI, a series of tragic and suspicious looking incidents take place in a small farming village somewhere in black and white Germany. The culprit or the culprits behind the crime wave will not be too easy to find.
The doctor, the priest, the baron and the teacher who also narrates the film form the elite of the village. We get to know each one of them and a few other villagers along with children of this village, calm on the surface but deeply tormented by an undercurrent of brutality, envy, malice and apathy.
The children's natural path to maturity is blocked by strict religious morality, cruelly enforced by the priest, thereby inhibiting their personal observation of the world around them. The priest feeds children with guilt and sexual repression instead of love and punishes even their most innocent mistakes. Certainly this environment will make it easy for them to not only accept but seek ruthless authority later in life.
As might be expected, love in this town is restrained and uneasy, while incest and affairs are overlooked by villagers. The Baron employs half of the village in his farm, yet almost no one seems to be against feudalism, nor rise up against the accidents that happen in the workplace. Social justice is a stranger to town, yet villagers are entrenched in apathy.
If adults do not face up the truth, however this truth might be against their convictions, rise up and take charge, then who will? And according to whose morality? Isn't fascism with racism, in short Nazism, misdirected popular anger and an easy response to deep injustices within a society ? Haneke observes mostly psychological, educational and religious roots of Nazism while leaving economic aspects mostly in the background.
Visuals of the film are very solid. The symmetry in the shots and the tidiness of the houses, even of those belonging to the poor farmers hint at the discipline and rigor Germans are well known for. Acting is top notch by the whole cast, especially children's faces beam just like in Bergman films. Directing was superb.
Haneke uses a village and a narrator similar in essence to Lars Von Trier's Dogville, still these two movies are clearly different.
Das Weisse Band has also some similarities to Cache, but just one notch less satisfying than his masterpiece which had a slightly more intriguing and fulfilling story. This movie is made more accessible by Haneke with his choice of more obvious tips, where sometimes characters talk directly about the situation. But in a time and age when people are battling too many problems and drug themselves with TV and easy payoffs who could blame Haneke?
Given the current global economic conditions and the fanaticism running high across all three major religions, this is a must-see movie for anyone caring about the future of our global village to avoid a Le Temps du Loup type of ending!
Amintiri din epoca de aur (2009)
Cold War Jokes Sponsored by Corporations
When the movie started, first the names of corporate sponsors rolled down, then the jokes.
This movie, as I had expected, took a caricatural shot at Romania during socialist period but the timing could not have been worse, as capitalism collapsed around the world spectacularly.
The movie told the stories simply but efficiently and displayed daily lives of Romanians before their transformation to a free market economy.
What I liked about the movie was to see inside the houses and rural villages of Romania during socialism. To see their naivete , when they expect an inspection by a government official, when they drink and have fun, even when they steal stuff. In capitalism by contrast you need to have grand schemes, people with thousand dollar suits and a little help from the government in order to steal. But the payoff is not a few dollars like in socialism but trillions of them!
To paraphrase the slogan in the movie: Legend has it that the ex-socialist countries of Latvia and Letonia are in the brink of bankruptcy just like Iceland. Romania is in pretty bad shape too, like other Eastern European countries. So basically it takes 50 years of socialism to build a country from the ashes of WWII and only 20 years of capitalism to bankrupt it. Pretty good deal, now they will have to learn to slave for capitalism for the rest of their lives! I watched the movie during Istanbul Film Days, the movie was a bit long and people got bored towards the end. Acting was great, directing was solid.
And as final note may I suggest the director Cristian Mingiu to cut back on listening to Radio Free Europe and see films by Michael Moore and learn a bit what is happening at the den of capitalism. Legend has it that the corporations left and right are getting a little socialist help from their government!
Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
The boldest activist director of our times attacks the heart of capitalism
This is a wonderful documentary because, first and foremost, it tells what you cannot see or hear otherwise. It is a great research project that gathers not only information on the collapse of capitalism but also brings out some of the best American minds and activists you wouldn't know they existed had Michael Moore not put them on silver screen. It relieves you of your captivity to the idea that capitalism is the best economic system ever existed, shows alternatives such as the employee owned businesses or the long lost FDR speech video which was not even in the FDR library.
The film is a documentary as a documentary should be, an eye opener with dependable information. But it is also a bold statement against the oligarchs running a feudal system that parades as a democracy, a voice for the people who have no voice and finally a call to action.
What more would you possibly want from a film? I have watched this funny and dramatic movie among a packed audience in Istanbul October Film days and at the end there was a big applause. This movie rings the bell anywhere capitalism has plundered people.
Story of a vampire, guilty of lust and love
I am no fan of Chan-wook Park, neither of extreme violence as a pursuit of visual aesthetics and possible box office results. And I am still trying to figure out why vampire movies and TV shows have become so popular in recent years.
That said the director is an auteur with his own visual style and story telling. This movie is original in two ways: it's impossible to tell its genre in a word or two, as it is a thriller, a vampire drama love story with some good dose of dark humor. And there is no clear story line as the movie wanders from one tone to another along with the lead actress' change in character. This is not particularly a bad thing, as the charged visuals and very good acting by the lead characters allow this film to go anywhere.
Kang-ho Song is one of my favorite actors who has this genuinely funny face and has shown great performances in Milyang and Salinui chueok, both of them great movies. The lead actress is also very talented and her acting comes across vividly throughout the movie.
While desperate people looking for miracle cures to their ailments are devoted to religion, the priest overcomes his extreme sense of guilt and leaves religion to follow carnal pleasures with his married lover. Amidst the bloodshed there is passionate sex, constant struggle a la Postman Always Ring Twice and love of Romeo Juliet.
If you can endure the bloodshed, you will experience an original movie by a bold and talented filmmaker.
Out of the movie, the first thing I can think of is its sensual cinematography immersed in saturated colors. The film is more than a biopic, it involves the imagination of the writer and director to make it a poetic look into a Nobel laureate poet's life, that of Joseph Brodsky's.
The movie starts in his childhood and ends after his death, and in fact the part after his death, like most of the other parts of the movie is beautiful fiction. There is an overdose of anti-Soviet tones but that must also reflect what he had to go through until his defection to the US and his parents' troubles with Soviet officials while trying in vain to visit him. No question all of that was true but somehow the movie put too much emphasis on it.
The movie also explored family dynamics from childhood, in a touchy and insightful way how his family bonds were strong, though this also must be fiction. So it is actually better to watch this movie as a pure fiction movie and a good one. And to watch a biography mixed with fiction is surely refreshing.
I have seen this movie in Istanbul Film Festival and found it as one of the better ones in competition.
Tony Manero (2008)
Tony Manero is Chile
Art is sometimes not capable enough to convey reality, as in the saying "if it is unimaginable it is real". Just like 9/11 could not have been imagined in a movie, novel or any kind of fiction, the horrors of Chile under the CIA backed Pinochet regime cannot be described or told about adequately in fiction. Maybe a documentary by Patricio Guzmán, Salvador Allende (2004) would be a better choice to grasp the state terror Chile has gone through.
Still Tony Manero does have its own merits in describing the era, not only in the body of its lead character Raul, impersonator of John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever, but also other people living in this run-down neighborhood. These people are totally lost not only in their poverty but their submission to the fascist state.
Raul is a serial killer who kills spontaneously sometimes with no other motivation than stealing a color TV or not liking someone. His only delight in life is to imitate American movie character Tony Manero. Women around admire him but he is impotent, still he tries to have sex.
In short he is Chilean majority of that period. And during the whole movie the viewer is expecting a police officer to come in the neighborhood to investigate the killings, but that never happens. He goes unnoticed as there is a much more dangerous and potent serial killer out there!
The movie does a great job in setting the mood of the times, pale and shaky.
The lead actor is reminiscent of Al Pacino and is quite good, so is overall acting. However the script slightly falters at the end which happens to be Hollywoodean. Obviously this movie does not need an end at all!
A lesser Ozon
This movie was a bit disappointing, Ozon being one of my favorite directors especially for Swimming Pool among others.
It starts as a French family drama, turns into a Hollywood like movie you would normally expect from Spielberg in the supermarket scene and then back to a French movie. I even thought maybe Ozon is considering some Hollywood adventure! The movie goes into the life of a single mother who is stuck in life and could only turn it around with a miracle. And that is exactly what happens, after she starts dating another worker in the factory she gets pregnant and Ricky, a super cute baby, is born.
Ozon takes on French workers' stagnant, even hopeless life on a warmer tone than you normally would expect in a such story. Their life is no fun and only miracles and disasters can force them to rethink their situations.
Editing of the movie was the weak link, as it seemed like the director wanted to get the film flowing by editing and not naturally by the storyline. That approach did not really pay off. It gave me the impression that the movie was shot hastily.
Yet, I was lucky to see the film during its Istanbul Film festival screening and attended the Q&A session after the film. I was glad to see him as a director who likes experimenting with film, even after so many achievements so far. He is a natural movie maker that gets emotions across the screen easily. So I will be on the outlook for his next movie as usual.
Kolme viisasta miestä (2008)
This movie warms hearts in Nordic cold
Three middle aged men, long time friends, get together in a normally closed Karaoke bar to drink their failed lives away. Secrets are revealed and sometimes discovered and they sing their miseries one by one during Karaoke sessions. The arrival of a lone woman to the bar will facilitate revealing of the final secret.
This is a warm, funny movie, one of the rare films celebrating life as is. As such it has a value of its own. The opening scene sets the tone nicely.
I had seen this film during Istanbul Film Festival and the film received a warm welcome from the audience as well.
Story of South Africa
A fifty-something white professor almost forcefully seduces his pretty black student who then breaks the news to his boyfriend. When the whole campus learns of the event, the unapologetic professor resigns and visits his daughter's house in the middle of nowhere in rural Africa.
The life of the professor and her daughter are forever changed after they are brutally attacked in their home by three African teenagers.
The script adapted from Coetzee's novel is plain wonderful, as each character not only is part of a dramatic story but also actors of a wider drama, that of South Africa. After the end of apartheid, rape cases of white woman by blacks had shot up. The movie picks up from there and comments on Africa's bastardized future, where past crimes lead to revenge crimes, where only other crimes force wrongdoers take responsibility and ask for forgiveness.
Directing was good, the movie told the drama with full clarity and efficiency. Acting by John Malkovich was simply great! Eriq Ebouaney was quite good, Jessica Haines as well.
I had watched this movie during Istanbul Film Festival and had the opportunity to attend a question and answer session by Malkovich. It was not about this movie but about him taking the Istanbul Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and acting in general. I was surprised to see that he was shy and modest person. In real life too, he transmits the big energy that can suddenly come out of calm.
La rabia (2008)
An erotic affair set in the Argentinian farm landscape
A forbidden passion story happening before the eyes of children, when a married woman with a mute daughter gets into a steamy relationship with a single father of a teenage boy. The husband of the woman openly dislikes and frequently argues with the owner of the neighboring farm, unaware of her wife's affair with him.
The movie's tone is sad and lonely. Children wander alone in the vast farms, adults cannot communicate with each other and unhappiness is constantly present. The only thing they hang on to is the passionate sex they have against all odds.
The movie is fluid and well told with good directing. Half way through the movie I thought the director must be a vegetarian feminist and that normally is not something that would impress me. Even so I liked the film and it is well worth watching.
L'heure d'été (2008)
Generations told through the eyes of objects!
Up until now, you may have seen films that are told through the eyes of a specific character, a child or even a dog. However this film achieves the impossible, it tells the story of generations through the eyes of the objects! The film opens with a large family gathering in a gorgeous old house located in French countryside. The house lies in the middle of a large garden and hosts beautiful antique furniture the owner, mother of three middle aged children, inherited from her uncle. A year later, she dies and the children have to decide about the fate of the house and the furniture.
Anyone who has lost a parent or an elder family member possibly has gone through these difficulties depicted so naturally in the film. However, the movie goes beyond the initial thoughts and feelings. Delicate questions asked by this movie are multifaceted and explore the effects of capitalist globalization on generations.
Those objects have memories in them. When they are left to a museum, they seemingly belong to the society as whole but to no one at the same time.
The elder brother, professor of economy, who lives in France wants to preserve the house, he wants to stick to his roots, to family memories but his brother and sister want to follow their careers in China and US. Yes, by doing so they live in the moment and yes, they are not confined to France and yes, the whole world is theirs but they are also left with nothing. Like objects displayed in the museum.
And this duality lives on until the ironic ending, which can be interpreted as optimistic or pessimistic by viewers even tough pessimistic tone is definitely more prevalent.
Beautiful acting by Binoche, Charles Berling, Edith Scob and wonderful directing and writing by Assayas. This movie is just lifelike, simple but complex!
Caro diario (1993)
Stunningly unique, humorous, refreshing film
Free flowing, naturally witty, at times very funny film, accompanied with some wonderful music, especially during scenes where Moretti rides his Vespa in beautiful, empty streets of Rome's suburbs.
The film is not like any other director's take on society while blending his personal stories in it. Imagine Moretti being your guide and taking you around Rome and Italian islands, introducing layers of the Italian society with razor sharp and witty observations.
Many of the characters in the film will seem familiar to people around the world. Being unable to afford an apartment in his home town, frustration with doctors and their addiction to prescribe drugs, parents becoming hostage to their child, extreme want for change and development, people offering hedonistic capitalism, frustrated narcissists living in isolation. And TV addiction! The scene where Moretti rides his scooter to the place where Passolini is murdered has almost a dreamy barren atmosphere to it and possibly is the saddest part.
And there are hilarious moments, especially the visits to the islands are a real treat! It was also great to see Jennifer Beals, Flashdance being one of my favorites too.
This is a gem, or better yet, a cult movie.
Investigating the global financial crisis in a local crime!
A famous French detective on vacation in Languedoc investigates a mystery man who approaches him claiming to have killed someone. The man is sure to catch the curiosity of the detective and spectators of the movie!
This is a great Chabrol movie, with characters who could have been actors in the biggest financial crime of humanity. As the investigation unfolds we see homeless people, fraud, insurance brokers, lawyers, police, big financial institutions. Every time the detective asks a question or makes a comment how bad the world is, we wonder what he has next to uncover.
The half brother of the successful detective, an alcoholic, a loser, comes over to stay at the detective and his wife's vacation home. The movie then asks the real questions, what makes winners and losers? Who are the real winners ? Who are the criminals? And it does reply to these questions in humorous, intelligent and intriguing ways.
The film surely is much more than a detective story. The screenplay is fantastic. Chabrol does not rush, it always gives time to spectators to search for answers in their own while solving the murder mystery.
Solid acting by Depardieu, Clovis Cornillac, Jacques Gamblin make the movie flow smoothly.
A must see, for anyone interested in Chabrol movies, detective stories and especially for anyone who tries to make sense of the economic crisis and the world we live in.
Berlin Calling (2008)
Saluting music in cinema
The movie is dynamic, full of emotions and wonderful electronic music. It is definitely not a movie about Berlin party scene, Berlin is the backdrop of the movie.
Club scene is associated with drugs, but it is not a movie about drugs either. Yes the main character is a drug addict DJ who has mental issues but the movie is not Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, neither One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.
The movie explores the life of an artist, his choices, his abysmal loneliness, creativity and above all his relations to other people.
Even though there are some occasional character zigzags, the movie wanders in our emotions in a beautiful way.
I have seen the movie during If Film Festival in Istanbul and regretted that I had missed the performance of DJ Paul Kalkbrenner ten days ago.
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Good idea but poor follow-up
I thought of quitting this movie a few times. Acting is very shallow even ridiculous at times, characters more like actors rather than real persons, script is pretty bad in the middle. But the ending was good that's why I gave a four instead of a one.
I think Ben Afleck first thought the end and then reverse engineered it. And the whole development of the story is poor. The point where this whole thing went beyond belief is when the drug dealer supposedly phoned the cops for releasing the kid in return for money. At that moment, I thought why the hell should they meet in the woods, everybody knows everybody, where they live etc, they can call each other. So why the woods, then the obvious question why would the drug dealer call the cops instead of the private detective he spoke with and he knows well. Even acting on that scene seemed bad, including Morgan Freeman's. After that scene the movie sagged, and even the supposedly script twist of corrupt cops turn into good intentioned cops worked out poorly. But the ending was quite strong, deep and meaningful.
This movie can be an example of how a good idea can be turned into a bad movie.
Temporada de patos (2004)
Not a film
It's hard to call this a film because a film should at least be believable. Almost none of the actions in the film are justified, there are no characters. The only drama in the film happens when we see two characters playing a soccer game on their video console for a few minutes. I would rather play a video game then watching two guys play.
The camera-work is just OK, although at certain points like the unnecessary spooky atmosphere created at the stray dogs shelter is quite bad. I give this film a -2 on a scale from 1 to 10. And if it is ever released on video I suggest you watch at x32 speed, and you would still get the same feeling and save some time.