Dienstag, 31. Mai 2011

The day he arrives (Hong, 2011) - Cannes 2011 UCR


A filmmaker with filmmakers block comes to town.

A rather lighthearted look about what people do if... well, if they just bump into each other and have a lot of rather weird agendas. Very interesting camerawork, with zoom-ins on a subject followed by zoom-outs (all on tripod). Sort of Korean Jarmush, with some rather undecipherable jokes once in a while.

There was some really hilarious stuff, but overall the film didn't excite the jury - I happened to sit in front of them, and just by the occasional remark when leaving the theatre, I could feel they were not overly excited, although they didn't really comment on the movie.

Samstag, 28. Mai 2011

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Miyazaki, 2008) -


A magic fish transforms herself into a human little girl to be with the boy she loves.

Very simple story, definitively one for the kids. But the universe that is created hosts so many possibilities that James Cameron must be hitting himself on the head with a frying pan - compare this to the utter boredom of the abyss world, where the only really "fantastic" thing about the other undersea world is, that it is mostly hidden and just glows in the background. But then again - the abyss made more money, so...

Beautiful mystery world, everything is permeated with magic, every movie should have that.

Yôjinbô (Kurosawa, 1961) - TSPDT #363


A samurai gets into the frontlines of two rivaling gangs in a small town.

Brillantly done, especially how the scenery is setup and the mise en scene is fantastic. I especially love his people talking to each other with their backs facing. There might something to be gained just be studying when people talk face to face and when back to back. Very clear setups and extremely revealing of what is happening with all the characters in the scene.
Bold character strokes: Ikonichi, the half-wit, counting fingers. The wolfish brother in his colored dress and dancer-like moves. The wife with too much makeup.

Donnerstag, 26. Mai 2011

Tengoku to Jigoku (Kurosawa, 1963) - TSPDT #310


After his drivers' son is accidentally kidnapped instead of his own son, a shoe factory executive is faced with a lot of moral decisions.

Beautifully staged, lots of interiors and great use of empty space between the actors. The story is very surprisingly linear, and the plot and its resolution deceptively simple. Nevertheless, the film leaves one with a very strange uneasy feeling. The kidnapper seems to have a rather complicated inner life and although good triumphs in the last scene there is a very strong (visual) suggestion that Mr. Gondo and the kidnapper are indeed flip sides of the same coin.

Mittwoch, 25. Mai 2011

Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (Guédiguian, 2011) - Cannes 2011 UCR

A mans savings for his wedding anniversary gift are stolen by a former colleague.

A very simple story with the flavour of a social fairy tale. It's cute to watch and it has been directed by an extremely experienced hand. Unfortunately, there are no experiments or risks taken whatsoever. So you get a nice, but ultimately forgettable film. 

For me the most interesting aspect is, how the social problem is carefully woven into and becomes an essential part of the story. Basically, the main character is motivated by guilt - unfortunately, the movie does not deal with the aftermath from the point of view of the thief (the voice of truth, so to speak).

The Sleepy Jackson - Lovers - 2003


Very acoustic album, midtempo some influences of country, folkish. Rest is rather indie.
Uplifting, very catchy hooks.

Best tracks: "Good Dancers", "Come To This", "Tell the Girls.."

The man without a past (Kaurismäki, 2002)


A man loses life and memory and finds refuge and love in Helsinki's salvation army.

Beautifully shot. It is not as rigid as the newer Le Havre in placing the figures in the scene. The intensity of the beginning is visually underscored by shooting a lot of the outside scenes in the golden hour. My favorite scene is the appearance of the lawyer in the police station and his dialogue with the inspector, both of them quoting text from the lawbooks.

Loads of closeups with somebody staring into the camera. Should read a book about style of Kaurismäki
working on set.

Dienstag, 24. Mai 2011

Le Havre (Kaurismäki, 2011) - Cannes 2011 CO


A shoe polisher meets an illegal immigrant boy in Le Havre.

Very cute, just what you'd expect and the lines are really funny. A very enjoyable film, and the return of Aki Kaurismäki to the big screen, I guess. It's a little slow at times, and with a beautiful ending.

Montag, 23. Mai 2011

2012 (2009)


The world comes to an end. Explosions, Fire, Mayhem. John Cusack and an overbred dog survive.

Visual effects porn, with the added grain of story here and there.

Nice visual effects, the story is kept so simple that it's hard to focus on the imagery. I'd love to see a re-edit of the apocalypse sequences with Schönberg or Webern music.

Walls of water look amazing, same goes for smoke. Fire looks boring pretty quickly.

La Luna (1979) - TSPDT #920


A mother tries to come to terms with her drug addicted son, including the search for a father and some incest.

Easier accessible then the stratagem, but still way too long with two and a half hours. Some of the sexual tension seems mere laughable and also the treatment of the addiction seems very superficial and unnatural.

A very nice scene between two teenagers trying to make love in a cinema.

The music was very well put and the circular structure of the script makes it clear when we arrive back at the house that the search(?) is over. Symbolisms from the 70s don't seem to have aged very well.

Halt auf freier Strecke (2011) - Cannes 2011, UCR


A man is dying of brain cancer. Chaos ensues.

The fast mental decline of a brain cancer patient that is taken care of by his family at home. An emotional fictionalized documentation and one that definitively strikes the viewer that has experienced anything remotely to this in his own family. A girl broke down crying after the screening in the hall.

The overall message of the film is surprisingly positive and there is enough subtle humor everywhere to keep the film interesting. There is a deeply felt german-ness throughout the film - thou must not dream!

((There is a rather unintended ironic pictorial reference to the Tree of Life which went on to win the competition with a much less bleak and possibly deep message.))

We need to talk about Kevin (2011) - Cannes 2011

A mother tries to come to terms with her murderous teenage son.

First film I've seen in Cannes. It was haunting, dark and shot in the style I very much like: Quiet pictures, that left Tilda Swinton a lot of room to work.

The story was very concise and through flashbacks more and more stuff gets revealed. Great camerawork and the absence of dialogue is masterful. Very well cast, although John C. Reilly seemed just a tiny bit too "workman"style to be married to this kind of woman, but maybe I'm missing something here.

Fantastic shot with the eye cleaning and the long view onto the balcony window.

Sonntag, 1. Mai 2011

King Lear - Folger Edition

 
First time I've read a Shakespeare in the English original. The many explanations were badly needed and I even could have used a few more at times. But I'm glad I've done it - even if only to recommend other German speaking friends not to torture themselves above all means.

Doesn't beat my favorite Tempest, but still a very rewarding read.

Interesting: the density and the showdown all in the last scene.