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Es werden Posts vom Dezember, 2013 angezeigt.

Sous les toits de Paris / Under the roofs of Paris (René Clair, 1930)

A street singer falls in love with one of his neighbors, who happens to be the flame of the local thug.

The film pushes its one-song-theme quite extremely, the tune is repeated ad nauseam in hundreds of variations. There is a funny scene in the beginning, where the singer watches his spectators being pick-pocketed. Only when the thief tries to rob the girl that has caught the singer's fancy, he intervenes. Interestingly, the film doesn't have the kind of clean happy-end that all the music and merriment during the first half suggests.

There are some interesting shots of the Parisian street that was built on soundstage, which must have been huge in scale. A very impressive camera movement introduces us to the neighborhood and it feels surprisingly real, possibly because of the fluidity of that first camera movement.

I am quite amused about how everybody seems quite opportunistic and the romantic interest behaves and is treated in a way that would send platoons of political corr…

Obchod na korze / The shop on main street (J. Kadar, E. Klos, 1965)

During WWII a simple carpenter is given control of the disowned shop of the old Jewish lady Rosaria.

The film starts out as a wonderful comedy. The quirky Tono is a simple-minded stubborn carpenter who has not much love for his fascistic brother-in-law and his nagging wife, but wants to be left alone. When his brother-in-law arranges for him to become the new head of the dry goods shop on main street, he reluctantly takes the job. But the absent-minded woman running the shop sees a new assistant in him and immediately puts him to work. Poor Tono just goes with the flow and at first everything seems to work out fine for everybody.

 But history runs its evil course and soon the harsh realities of deportation can no longer be ignored - at least by Tono. The shop lady only has a dim idea what's going on around her. As long as he can Tono tries to protect her. But at one point he sees that he can no longer keep her hidden. At this point the film turns into a haunting tragedy. The endi…

Le cercle rouge (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970)

An ex-convict is lured into planning a big robbery of a jewelry store.

From a plot standpoint of view, there are many things in the film that don't add up too clearly. Some of the motivations of the characters eluded me and there are quite a few incidents that seemed a bit deus ex machina towards the end of the movie. But that doesn't matter at all, the films strange pacing and strong atmosphere sucked me in completely.

Melville seems to explore the thin lines between those who break the law and the others who uphold it. There are many hints during the film that this boundary is even more blurred than one would think at the beginning. All the principals in the tale don't seem to have much choice as they stumble towards their inevitable fate. I thought it quite amusing that the police men trust each other much less than the criminals - they seem to bond immediately, no questions asked (literally).

The first scene is quite captivating and it seems to play out the film's …

Charulata (Satyajit Ray, 1964)

A lonely wife of a newspaper editor falls in love with his bohemian brother.

Unfortunately, I didn't get drawn in by the movie enough emotionally, but nevertheless I could admire the perfect direction. I will definitely rewatch this film at some point. It can be a matter of mood, sometimes. The whole film plays practically all through in a few confined rooms, with a few exceptions towards the end of the film. The ending of the film has some visually unusual choices visually of which I felt a bit uneasy.

But the beginning of the movie is fascinating to study. It shows Charulata alone and we get introduced to her life and her character without barely a word.

During the opening credits, two female hands are seen, stitching. The silk and the hand seem refined, so we can guess that this is not a poor woman in the street. Then the camera pulls back and shows Charulata on the bed. Ray uses tracking for most of these first shots, following his protagonist around the house. The whole film…