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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.


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In terms of interesting characters, Ida Lupino as the selfish wife that tries to seduce George Raft's Joe she is definitively at the most intense when she slowly sheds all the layers of sanity towards the end. Although her motives are a bit unclear - the amazing thing about her behavior is that she values love over money. In that perspective the movie feels like a tragedy, as (except for the loan shark) everybody has comparatively sophisticated understanding of emotion and life.

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During second world war the monk running a boarding school for upper-class kids hides Jewish kids.

This highly personal movie is very touching and manages to avoid all the pitfalls of being overly emotional. Music and editing are very subdued and carefully used to underline situations. This makes the story ring true (which it was) and gives the viewer good time to settle into the universe that these kids live in.

There are many quite complicated scenes and I was interested in one particular: When Jean gets invited on parent's day by the mother of his new best friend into a posh restaurant. In that very restaurant there are Nazis at one side of the room and an elderly Jew sitting on the other side. The table of the family is right inbetween. Many things about France during the war are told during this scene, I'll just try and focus on camera placement.

The focus shifts twice in the scene: From the family table to the French Jew's table  (who I have been told wears the red …

Glory (1989, Edward Zwick)

A young commander in the civil war is asked to recruit and lead the first all-black Confederate battalion into the Civil War.

I am not too interested in details of the American Civil War but the film managed to stir my interest in some ways. I might want to look up the difference in treatment of the many Chinese laborers that were employed in the development of the West and what kind of legacy this particular group of people has to suffer from in contrast to the better-known fate of African-Americans.

There are some interesting scenes in the film. I decide to examine the battle scene in the beginning. It introduces Broderick's character as a naive and brave but inexperienced soldier - a great choice of casting, especially in contrast to the hardened appearance of Washington. According to imdb footage was used from re-enactment groups and intercut with the staged film.

Before the battle scene commences Broderick walks in row of soldiers and talks over the pictures of the gathering…