Dienstag, 9. September 2014

Time of the Gypsies / Dom Za Vesanje (Emir Kusturica, 1988)

A supernaturally gifted boy from a Gypsy community is forced to survive in the world of crime.

The intriguing qualities of Kusturica's films I've seen is his relentless depiction of basically crazy communities. Not just agreeably potty, they're usually outright interstellar-nuts. Here, he follows the fate of the rather harmless boy Perhan, that leaves for Italy in hope of a better future for him and his loved ones.

There are some enormously interesting images in the film that kept ringing long after. The ritual in the river and the last scene in the church ruin (with a horse standing somewhere far back in the image...).

After sketchily mapping out the scenes it is surprising how rigorously three-acty the screenplay is constructed. The first act seems quite long in terms of time and number of scenes, but there is also a lot of imagery spent on depicting life in this crazy universe, which makes the second part in Italy much more believable. And there is a certain 'closeness' to the world the characters live in: When a boy runs away, he is easily found, retrieved and effectively punished.





Time
Scene
Notes
1
00:00
Crazy funeral – monologue about gypsies


2
00:02
Credits – introduction of the village.
Pelhan's brother is introduced. Is a gambler.
3
00:05
Scene at home. Famile is introduced. Perhan gets a turkey. He is the good boy of the family.
Perhan is the good kid.
4
00:08
Perhan's brother has slept with a girl from the village. The grandmother is not amused, but defends her son.
The mother is important in the village.
5
00:10
Perhan hypnotizes the turkey. The girl he's in love with comes to visit him.
Perhan is in love. Cane shot where the two actors are at the bottom and the top of the chimney in the same movement.
6
00:12
Perhan and his girl watch Breathless (Richard Gere). He makes an awkward move.


7
00:14
They kiss in a hidden place. Perhan shows how he can move a can without touching it.
Perhan has telekinetic powers.
8
00:15
He wants to marry his girl, but her mother refuses and throws him out.
Perhan's family was involved in the war – and has no money.
9
00:17
He tries to hang himself on the bellrope, but is saved.


10
00:19
His grandmother – ignorant of his grief – has him play the harmonica. She has sex with the man who saved him.


11
00:22
He has a bedside talk to his grandmother, inquiring about his mother.
Perhan learns that his real father was a Slovenian soldier.
12
00:24
The crazy ritual in the river. Perhan sees Vasilla (his girl) topless and they disappear together.


13
00:27
The “rich” Ahmed arrives from Italy. A big commotion in the village. He hands out money.
Ahmed is introduced.
14
00:30
Prehan returns to the mother of Vasilla to propose again. But he is penniless and she kicks him out, even as his grandmother intervenes.


15
00:32
Perhan's brother is gambling everything away to Ahmed's men, while Ahmed is giving a big party.


16
00:33
Perhan has lost everything including his clothes. He tries to find money at his grandmother's. In his desperation he destroys the whole house.
Crazy shot with the house having been lifted off completely from the base.
17
00:37
Khaditza (Grandmother) saves the boy's life.


18
40:00
In the destroyed house, Perhan's brother has killed his turkey. Ahmed offers to take Perhan's sister to a hospital. Ahmed is impressed with Perhan's telekinesis and offers to take Perhan.
This is the moment, where Perhan has to leave.
19
00:50
As he drives off, Ahmed picks up a bunch of people left and right, including a midget, another boy


20
00:51
As they drive, the mother's ghost appears outside the car.


21
00:52
Perhan wants to stay with the sister in the hospital, but is somehow convinced to go with Ahmed to Italy.


22
00:55
Perhan and Ahmed drive.
Ahmed's quite evil, as Perhan starts to guess.
23
00:57
They arrive at the Italian place. A woman is raped by the whole gang, Perhan refuses.


24
1:00
The gang is shown at work infront of the Milan Dome. They are different sorts of illegal trade.


25
1:02
Ahmed acts like a 'don'. Perhan is witness to his deliberations with his 'clients'. The band returns and shares their income with Ahmed.


26
1:04
Perhan is tortured because he doesn't want to work by the others and runs into a field. Dizo is angry but tells to send Perhan back. A little boy convinces him.
Perhan decides to become a criminal.
27
1:06
Perhan burglars a house, steals money and hides it away. We see him in different actions as a thief.
Interesting sequence, very densely tells him becoming a master thief.
28
1:10
Another boy, Irfan, seems to have bolted. Ahmed punishes him badly, when he returns. But Irfan runs away and Ahmed has a stroke.
Ahmed is sick. Some friendship between Ahmed and Perhan.
29
1:16
Perhan has a weird dream. His grandmother calls him in his sleep.


30
1:19
The police raids the trailers. Perhan saves Ahmed, who is grateful to him.
Perhan is becoming the 2nd man in the organization.
31
1:22
Perhan enjoys his “boss” status and still hides money under the bridge. He also gets into inter-mafia quarrels.


32
1:26
Ahmed gives him a passport, but telling him not to go to visit his family.


33
1:28
Perhan arrives in the village and goes to 'buy' his girl. The mother, seeing all the money, finally agrees.But the girl is pregnant (from somebody else he concludes)


34
1:32
At his big celebration. His grandmother arrives and scolds him for becoming a criminal. Not even his neighbor wants his money.


35
1:36
Another crazy wedding between Perhan and his girl. But he decides to sell the baby.


36
1:40
Perhan refuses to sleep with his wife, on the grounds that she had sex with another man (he believes)


37
1:44
They take off back to Italy. Just like with Riza soon the car is full of kids.
Perhan does care about the girl abit.
38
1:49
When confronted Ahmed refuses to acknowledge that he lied to Perhan. In the meanwhile, the desperate wife runs away. She gives birth to a child. And dies.
Perhan has lost everything.
39
1:55
His money is gone, but he saves a cat. He goes back and finds out his sister was hijacked to Rome. He follows her to Rome.


40
1:59
He finds his sister stepping out of a car. They meet on a bridge. She tells him that Ahmed is getting married. He goes and kidnaps his kid. He puts them on the train never to come back.
Perhan decides to take revenge.
41
2:05
Perhan arrives at the wedding. He sneaks in and sits at the other table. He uses his special powers to kill Ahmed. He is shot in his way. But Irfan manages to get him away.


42
2:10
Irfan carries him on to a railroad track, When Perhan tries to jump from a bridge Ahmed's wife shoots him. He dies on the train.


43
2:13
A funeral in his hometown. His 'illegitimate' boy steals the golden coins from his eyes and runs away.


44
2.15
His brother laments in chruch about the fate of his family and the gipsies in general




Dienstag, 2. September 2014

Nosthalgia (Andrej Tarkovsky, 1983)

A Russian poet travels through Italy, trying to understand life, but finding his own death.


The film is quite winding and although it kept me interested I often wandered about certain scenes and details. I am not quite a scholar on Tarkovsky's movies so I dare not try to walk those treaded paths.

The most memorable shot is undoubtedly the one with the main character walking through the emptied pool, trying to bring a candle from one end to the other. In this 8 minute (very) long tracking shot the wind blows out the candle twice, before he can finally bring it to the other side - and then dies. The framing starts as full shot and is narrowed to a close up in the final moment.
Questions: What does the broom mean?
 
Another interesting tracking shot is when Andrei visits the old man in this ruined house. When the old man tries to accompany to the front door, they pass through a long hall, that is visually divided by pillars into four rooms. There are a lot of images, symbols and details in those four rooms, something for the followers to ponder over for the next 50 years. As far as I know, Tarkovsky barely gave explanations for his visual choices.

Questions: 1+1=1? The bottle in the middle of the last room in front of the chair? Why does he walk through the door? What's with the dog? Stages of life? (I'm sure I can find all of these answered when I read about the film...)




I felt the visual themes, apart from those long tracking shots that central perspective and symmetry was used a lot There is an interesting exception to that: the man sitting on the bed, with *no* door in the middle of the frame. And the last shot is absolutely breathtaking - doors on all sides.