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Putin: A Russian Spy Story (2020)
In the light of Putin's invasion of the Ukraine does Nick Green's narrative appear weak, uninitiated and confused. It consists of far too many unreliable sources and frivolous interviews. As Vlad Putin self emphasizes - where's the proof. I feel this documentary contributes to the demonization of the Putin and increases his popularity, worldwide.
It's useless to try to understand who Putin is, what he's fussing about and why? Isolate the guy and turn off all taps to Russia. And deport all Russians across the world. Rich or poor. And we will have the full picture of the Putin.
The Kindness of Strangers (2019)
Fingerspitzengefühl and absolute pitch
"What about you, Bonnie? Did you get manage to get through the week without hitting your dog?"
Lone Scherfig has a unique fingerspitzengefühl and an absolute pitch for the distress of life. She has composed a breathtaking tale about a collection of odd existences colliding in the New York winter. A statement about life's many adversities but where goodness always triumphs in the end. A theme that the film industry is in dire need of.
It's a must see.
"Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life."
Chuck Dederich, a newborn alcoholic, gathered like-minded drunks and hookers and created his own AA named The Tender Loving Care Club. The crew played the "Game" in which anyone was allowed to say anything, true or not, to someone to cause an effect. A.k.a. Attack therapy. They survived by begging stale food from catering trucks, hookers doing tricks and donations. When Chuck turned to the junkies for a more lucrative operation began his career as a savior. Politicians, actors and sociologists wanted to play the Game too. For fun. And then came Columbia Pictures...
This is not a good rehab movie. Not accurate or serious. It is pure speculation. At a time when many therapy tricksters emerged as commercial psycho projects. L. Ron Hubbard was one.
A trifle perhaps, but "Tonight's the Night" by Neal Hefti is a great tune.
La belle captive (1983)
These fake dancers
" - Je me sentais vide, translucide, pas à ma place parmi ces faux danseurs..." It is no obligation and artistic freedom that apply. Stylized and elevated. Et profondément français. As in the theatre. The French theatre. Where the feminine is presented and handled as objects. Often admirable objects. Naked. Even when fully clothed. While the masculine populace strolls among these things, values and penetrates. And seeks support and acceptance in the male environment. A French formula that we in the audience proudly accepts.
"La belle captive" is a play with the possibilities of cinematography. I bet it stands on David Lynch's most valued shelf. Because the film is practically a model for "Twin Peaks". As it has become an important inspiration for the Lynch-era 1986-1999.
Alain Robbe-Grillet writes like very few others. But his imagery/metaphorical language is surprisingly lame. Sometimes even awkward. And on top of that, using a narrator's voice ... There are a bouquet of scenes in "La belle captive" that are deeply unforgettable. And the film breeds analysis and reflection. Still, it's just a game. A distraction. " - I felt empty, translucent, out of place among these fake dancers..." "In his seminal collection of essays, Pour un Nouveau Roman, Alain Robbe-Grillet launched a polemic against the dominant, realist literary mode characterized by the absolute time of linear chronology moving to create related event and causality and to fulfill a destiny. [...] The role of Balzacian absolute time was to arouse emotion by creating suspense and to provide the psychological satisfactions of meaning, resolution, and closure in a world considered objective, concrete, but nonetheless in the image of man who projected himself and his meanings by analogy and metaphor on the environment. (Raylene L. Ramsay)
The Painted Bird (2019)
What an anti-climax!
Hmm, I had expected to experience Václav Marhoul's passion for and personal reflection of Jerzy Kosinski's novel. Instead Václav delivers a kind of guide to the content. What an anti-climax.
This film adaptation has no feeling, or compassion for the individuals or the time period it claims to portray. One effect of this patchwork is that probably many will read or re-read about the unusual and upsetting novel.
I Am Jesus (2011)
Shouting about it!
"You know, I did a huge amount of psychedelics. I also knew that I was the son of God. I was told that I had it... but I wasn't gonna go around shouting about it."
Three guys with identity problems, in one boat, but on different geographic coordinates. It's "Vissarion" born as Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, now residing at Tiberkul, Taiga, in the rural Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, with thousands of international followers. And "Inri Cristo" born Álvaro Thais/Theiss of German decent, lives comfortably in Curtiba, Paraná, Southern Brazil, with a small group of female disciples. But also
David Shayler, the squatter Messiah at Guildford Cathedral, Surrey, England, who lives in a minor hippie commune.
A motley trio of Jesus imitators among thousands of others. Pick your favourite and submit.
"The fact is, God has never talked to people. He can't even speak to them." (Vissarion 2010)
In Fabric (2018)
Sigmund Freud's theories of fetishism paired with the lethal dyeing of dresses Cornell Woolrich picked up the idea and created the influential novella "I'm Dangerous Tonight" in 1937. Filmed and imitated frequently over the years.
With Peter Strickland the old story takes a new turn. Packed with ideas, extravaganza and impossibilities. Wayward, offbeat and difficult to grasp at times. Still, it's well worth the effort. It's like the party when the tree is stripped by decorations. Julgransplundring in Swedish.
That's "In Fabric", to me. It's art. Analogous with what cinema was suppose to be. Go see!
How I Stole a Painting (2017)
Thrilling as ever.
Carl Spitzweg's picture of the "Poor Poet", Ulay has in a sense stolen the "symbol of the German soul" from the National Gallery to hang it up in Kreuzberg in a Turkish family's living room.
Ulay/Frank Uwe Laysiepen ran through the snow with the painting under his arm, to a Turkish family, who had agreed to let him shoot a documentary film in their home-however unaware that it involved a stolen painting. Before entering the family's home, the artist called the police from a phone booth and asked for the director of the museum to pick up the painting. He then hung up the painting in the home of the family "for the reason to bring this whole issue of Turkish discriminated foreign workers into the discussion. To bring into discussion the institute's marginalization of art. To bring a discussion about the correspondence between art institutes from the academy to museums to whatever."
The Last Movie (1971)
How to demystify an imitator
How to demystify an imitator.
Straight out of Lew Wasserman's youth division of Universal Dennis Hopper tried to last-out the industry by revealing and ridicule his master, Hollywood. Hopper was fun at parties and good at becoming friends with unique creators. In "the Last Movie" he remixes the design and momentum of Conrad Rooks "Chappaqua" with the intrusive art of Edward Kienholz, adds Giulio Petroni's "Death Rides a Horse" , to the lemonade, and can't Jean-Luc Godard out of his head.
And in this strange brew he injects and angry fix of incidence and obsession that you probably can't find anywhere on the silver screen.
Charles Manson & the Church of Satan, the Universal Order, the Process Church of Final Judgment (2012)
A Walkabout in Nihilism
A very ambitious walkabout in the world of absolute nihilism. It's amazing how some individuals choose to appear. And the amount of trouble they go through to build their image. There's a lesson for us all in there somewhere.
- I need your drivers license, a change of clothes and your knife.
Koly padayut dereva (2018)
Exotism a la carte
When exotism and ethnic clichés boil over. A film that appears to aim for the total tribe exploitation. Seductive sceneries, bombed-out suburbs, fancy warriors, rural womenfolk, playful pimped children, and a white horse. Out where the map ends. Every shade of a drivel. Devious motivations. Get your ducks in a row, Marysia.
Madeline's Madeline (2018)
Moods, atmosphere, feelings, characters...
Nervously balancing on the edge of the abyss. Subordinate plot. Moods, atmosphere and feelings get the space. And the attention. A bunch of wonderful characters, that I want to get to know. Meant to find you all these years. Go see!
Såsom i en spegel (1961)
A Case Study
To study the process - a case study. An uninhabited depth dimension. "As in a mirror" has offered the world of cinema massive inspiration. It is unique image structure, mental depiction and an enhanced dialect.
- You can not live in two worlds. It's so horrid when you see the confusion and understand it completely. Bergman pours himself out. Andrei Tarkovsky received. And others...
An existential drama from Estonia/USSR. It is close to the end of WW II. A mental hospital housed in a stylish manor. Sturmbannführer August Windisch appears in a number of moods, positions and costumes. We are taught to believe he is on a mission to detect a British spy. There's much more to the story. Plenty. It's also hilarious and intricate. The subconscious rules. A very rare film of central European character. See it.
Sista ringen (1955)
I told him half of what he knows.
About the final grade of upper secondary school/ senior high. Two ambitious students, Clarence a filthy rich patrician and Eric from a poor upbringing, become close friends. Discussions about existentialism arise. Clarence stepsister falls in love with Eric. She want's to save him. The film commutes between modern influences and past times. It is odd, undeveloped and unfinished.
Le piège des Kim (2018)
The World of Kim's
An unusually contentious documentary who cleverly presents the relationship between the United States and North Korea. And the costly mistakes that George W Bush did during his first year as president. Exclusive film from the world of the KIm's.
Niemand bleibt hier?
Niemand bleibt hier. Who said that?
A narrator in images widening the knowledge of the other side of the world. Incredible suction and depth in some pictures. Deeply related with Andrei Tarkovsky and Béla Tarr. And Jacques Tati?
But most of the time the images co-exist with a story. Sometimes even words. And expressions. Lav Diaz fumbles in terms of dialogue and instruction of actors. Sometimes it slips into the conventional.
Phase IV (1974)
I think it chose me for saying something. A man with a unique sense of style and simplicity in relation to the image and storytelling. That's Saul Bass. The graphic designer.
I'm not very fond of ants but I admire their collective intelligence. Just like the bees. I wish we androids could possess this skill. We would be so much better off.
Bees are very sensitive creatures, while ants are made of teflon. I think bees cry too. We are creatures made out of fast food and various drugs. With thumbs. The end might come as a surprise to you.
Citizen Schein (2017)
Nobody puts Harry in the corner.
Facts stacked without a true context. I expected a fat biopic. And not an excerpt of "60 minutes". Of course, there is a complex story about Harry below the surface. Not so well-hidden. Not so hard to find out. But we did not get to see it this time.
The Arrow of Time (2017)
If you care to pick up the timeline from Hiroshima and onward, this is a good documentary. About nuclear arms race, the cold war, glasnost u.s.w...
Kitchen Zink Realism!
Take me to your darkest room. Close every window and lock the door. This is kitchen zink realism. Wow! A film that actually tell you a story with the help of dialogue and images. Who does not want to dazzle you with artistry. Or trying to hide that the story is made up along the way. In "Cardinals" we are offered a story with substance. Plus a cast and a crew who knows how to communicate this and more to us, the audience. I am so grateful. This is the play Sam Shepard never got around to write. "It's also the best film that Atom Egoyan never made." (Andrew Parker TIFF)
Bolshoi Babylon (2015)
You know nothing. You are so naive.
Russians like to advise. Russians also like to mythologize their present. Trying to tell you what Russia is, how it is ruled, controlled and where they are heading. - You know nothing. You are so naive. Is something you often get to hear from an the insightful, conscious and urbane Russian. "Bolshoi Babylon" is trying to tell the story of going too far. To trample over the Russian line that marks what should be witnessed by the world of their internal affairs. Vlad Urin plays this role with great experiment and passion. Sergei Filin not so much. Bolshoi Theatre has lately shocked the ballet world by canceling the premiere of a biographical show about the dancer Rudolf Nureyev at the last minute. The unusually outspoken director of Nureyev was Kirill Serebrennikov has been questioned in a criminal investigation. действие!
The Psychopath (1966)
Another Robert Bloch story/screenplay. On his latter days favorite subject. Disturbed young men. Having difficulties freeing themselves from their mothers. Like in "Psycho" and "Enoch" for example. John Standing portraits this bipolar disorder. Some clever ideas including a large number of puppets. And Margaret Johnston as master puppeteer. make things happen occasionally. Patrick Wymark configure his usual clever and creaky DI, detective inspector. A smaller shipyard serves as an exciting environment in one great scene. The Birds "How can it be?" are heard from a jukebox during an art class. Great clattering British R&B. A red Volvo Amazon B18 plays a certain role in the intro. Freddie Frances is not at his very best. Judy Huxtable and Gina Gianelli are the figureheads.
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
I refused to see this film when it was released. Rumor had that it was a sorry collection of imitations and extensive plagiarism of real music, theater and film. In addition, Paul Williams had a lot of influence over production. Tonight I dared to watch this hullabaloo. I found Jessica Harper OK. And the suction cup in Beef's face. Otherwise it sounded a lot like Queen and occasionally as The Doors. The show was expressed like "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" or a pimped up "Hair". Paul Williams was re-using melodies of Elton John and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Some Randy Newman too. There's also a negative side.
"After all, you two have not talked to each other for forty years. Why start now?" "Hrútar" is an Icelandic saga about two brothers - sheep-raiders - weathery and persistent. To a certain extent biblical, similar to Cain and Abel, or Esau and Jacob's fates. "Brothers don't necessarily have to say anything to each other – they can sit in a room and be together and just be completely comfortable with each other." That's pretty much it. "Hrútar" is also a very fine and accurate composition of image, setting and atmosphere. And sounds from Atli Örvarsson.