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favorite movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls071912659
favorite quote: Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?
Museum girl: Committing suicide.
Allan: What about Friday night?
from Play It Again, Sam (1972) by W. Allen
The American Side (2016)
film noir vibes and a plot that is solvable if you look carefully
Some reviewers complain that it's hard to follow the plot – but isn't this typical for film noir? Besides, if you watch the movie again (or only the scenes that made no sense to you), you will notice that there is no puzzle. The whole thing about barrel-crossing the Niagara over the American side is just a subplot that is not important for the main plot. The main plot goes like that: we have several parties that want to obtain both parts of Tesla's note. Some might want to destroy them, some are seeking for the knowledge of how they fit together and what they mean. In the end we see that Charlie has both parts in his lighter: one on the front, the other on the back. Of course Nikki Meeker has put it in there. Remember? She "stole" the lighter from him before. Now the light of the pinball machine and ta-da: Tesla's potentially "world-changing" note in it's entirety. Then the phone call for Charlie. But that's part of The American Side II ... which, of course, will never be realised. I kind of liked the movie, but it was not enough serious Tesla in it. I give it a 7.
Last Days in the Desert (2015)
wait, hummingbirds live only in America ...
I liked this movie. I liked the atmosphere, the soundtrack, the calm voice of Ewan. I also liked the idea of depicting the devil as double of Yeshua. I think the conversation that implies that God likes new outcomes that derive from little changes is essential. The "entanglement" of the three family members illustrates this. Yeshua tries to solve the 'social riddle' with words and compassion, not with godlike powers. But the outcome is unforeseeable, even for him. The movie should have ended after the scenario in the desert. I really wondered why Rodrigo García added the crucifixion scene with the hummingbird. Didn't he know that hummingbirds live only in America? A dragonfly would have had the same effect. But OK, it's the devil, he can do that ... winking smiley.
a most authentic documentary
That's the starkest documentary about the Third Reich, I have seen so far. At the age of 19 Franco-Australian film student Philippe Mora made the archive discovery of his life. With the help of a historian he found the Obersalzberg film roles that Eva Braun once stored in her bedroom at the Berghof and that were later seized by US military personnel. Mora mixed these private recordings with Nazi propaganda material and created a documentary. Only in the second part of the movie he used footage from "the other side". The movie misses any comment. Mora let the pictures speak for themselves. The documentary caused a scandal back then and was first shown in German cinemas 37 years later. The contrast between cosy mountain idyll, martial parades and evil propaganda is hard to overcome. The film conveys a sense of how powerful and thrilling the atmosphere was at that time. The Overture to Wagner's Tannhäuser combined with pictures of a country on the move, politics as religion, the Olympic Games, the eerily beautiful Riefenstahl scenes, Adolf and Eva at the Berghof playing cheerfully with dogs, next to hate speech, first acts of violence against Jews and military armament. We all know what came and had to come. The German population did not know every detail, or did not want to know. Repression as a survival strategy. "Better go with the flow" was the motto. Go with a movement unseen in history. Even in the faraway US there were tens of thousands who got infected by the Hitler mania. (This is also shown in the documentary.) And then the second part of the movie. The great destruction. A crescendo of violence. Bombs, flashes of light, dead bodies, total war; sicker and more intense as any Hollywood production can ever be. Then camera flights over a completely devastated country, images from the concentration camps. So terrible that you don't want to look at them. Time for the end credits? No. The movie ends with a scene at the Berghof in which Hitler is hosting a few guests. Coffee and cake is served. I repeat. Coffee and cake. I can hardly imagine a more bitter contrast. I recommend this movie to anyone who is not only interested in theories about mass psychology and the phenomenon of "ideology as a substitute for religion", but who wants to sense an undertone, a mood, an inkling of what was going on back then. Yes, the first part of the film is dangerous. It depicts Hitler as a human being and shows a country that is completely inebriated. But if one really wants to understand the events of that time, one has to expose itself to this.