My daughter wanted to watch Cuckoo's Nest the other day, so it was a review with one of cinema's classics. Now, Milos Forman has not directed The Funny Farm, which must be a probably English title and Paprika Steen does not have a role including a Jack Nicholson's looming rebellion, but less will do.
What also amused me was the references to Cuckoo's Nest. We do not have a huge Indian, but a large Zlatko Buric in partnership with a resigned Greenlander makes good replacement, and Zlatko also gives Paprika a ride on his shoulders. One of the inmates also demonstrate his opposition to the treatment by showing us the pills on his tongue followed by a big smile. The outing emulated here with a picnic to a woodland park. Eventually we even have a heavy object hurled through a window in the institution.
The screenwriter must have looked in a catalog of alternative therapies, for more than twenty of these mentioned or shown from the respected treatments as reflexology and cranial sacral massage to the more funny ones with necromancers spirit traps and seven stars objects.
We do not entirely know why poor Paprika placed in a mental hospital, but when she during the first meeting with the doctor insists that she is not taking any medication, the confrontation course is obviously established.
We are not surprised that she wins some patients and staff over to her alternative side during the process, and with the simple comedy approach we do not expect it to get to be anything more, but it does so anyway. We actually get a dramatic conclusion where the ideologies collide with serious consequences and thank you for that. With the reference to the Cuckoo's Nest, you are also obliged to that kind of ambition.
I am sorry that IMDb has been so cautious in its rating, but now only 131 persons have given their opinion. For me it was in any case one of the best Danish comedies I have seen for years.
Ida was nominated to an Oscar this year, and I salute the committee for their responsible choice of raising attention to this well deserved gem of a film so unlike any other film I have seen for years.
The film is about a Polish nun to be, who from the nunnery prioress is suggested to visit her aunt before taking the final decision of becoming a nun. So she does that.
I had thought it to be a film about spirituality and religion, but it was so much more. As it were, it developed into a responsible view on the fate of Jews in Poland.
An old friend of mine left Poland together with his family around 1970 when a harassment on Jews drove them out of Poland. They were discouraged from having a university study and education in general as well as many other things.
This Easter I was invited to an Easter lunch where a Jewish couple were present. I sat next to the man. At the age of 25 in 1970 he left Poland for the same reasons as my friend and seven years later he and his wife were able to get at Danish citizenship. We talked about a lot problems concerning minorities.
Ida is supposed to take place around 1960 I guess. It is made as films were still mostly made back then in black and white and the old film formate. It could have been a Resnais film with its deeply controlled minimalistic layout and naked storytelling. The characters are often pushed down in the lower part in the frame leaving the upper part almost empty, thereby almost symbolizing people being suppressed by the mere way they are allowed to be shown within the frame.
Ida is actually a Jew, but not looking Jewish she managed to escape killing when the rest of her family was murdered by poles during the war and maybe shortly after. The murderers took over the family farm, and they still hold it, when Ida and her aunt come back to the old family hometown.
The aunt has a past as a public prosecutor, and the Polish family feel urged to propose a deal. In exchange with Ida not pressing charges they will reveal where they buried the Jewish farm owner family after the killing.
I have already revealed too much. But the point of this production is a basically a Polish initiative trying to come to terms with the collective past and all the criminal and tragic things taking place during the war and later under the cover of communist oppression.
The genuine value of this stylistically brilliant movie is the willingness for the current society to accept and give witness to the atrocities continuing in Poland well after the conclusion of the second world war.
Don't miss out on this film, if you get the opportunity watch this. It is a polished gem reflecting on human violation and misery. Understandably it has divided the public. Some people fail to catch the actual meaning of this masterpiece.