-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Popcorn papers...

Some interesting movies caught up here n there .

Takisha Miike, Japan,1999

Well, it’s a Takashi Miike movie. And unarguably he is at his complex best in the odishon. The story begins rather mildly : Shigeharu Aoyama is a widower with a teenage son starting to feel the pathos of loneliness. Encouraged by his friend to marry again he seeks a Japanese woman with refined taste and a good sense of traditional values(blah!). He and his friend arrange an audition for a fake job so as to enable him to choose his prospective partner.Aoyama falls for the simple Asami and they seem to get along well. So far so good, but If by now you had heaved a sigh at its banal predictability what follows more than makes up for it.
Along with Aoyama the viewer starts to discover that Asami is not all what she seems, that she can be secretive and at times elusive and further down inexplicably eccentric until the famous climax when things turn to traumatic horrors.
The complex psychological patterns in the human development, in its depth and intensity is brilliantly captured in the second half by the use of vividly scary imagery that flows freely and unrepressed between the past and the present.The last twenty minutes of the movie , I gather has become such a legend that a special note of caution is added. The portrayal of repressed and maladaptive conflict is so naked and believable one hardly pauses to think as the movie advances to its eventful end. But as soon as you hurry to rewind the last few chapters a growing unease of anticipation grips. If, one is inclined to watch it again that is. Such is the measure to which horror is redefined.

Hector Babenco, Argentina (Portuguese), 2003
Carandiru is based on the real life events of an overcrowded penitentiary in Sao Paolo.
The movie is interwoven as a collage of the lives of the brutal prisoners , their past and their hopes against the background of prison dynamics as seen by a new doctor. Although it touches upon a variety of subjects from AIDS, drugs, family issues, religion, homosexuality the heart of it reflects on the uninhabitable conditions of survival in the overspilling prison. The narration is largely in the form of snapshot peeks,but the overall theme conjures to present the prisoners both as helpless persons facing similar problems as in the society that has punished them as well as brutal criminals unwilling or perhaps unable to develop a more meaningful world view. Expectedly it raises questions around justice, crime and society? and more so specifically about punitive justice and oppression. The end is rather an issue of perspective and political interest and therefore polemical.
Photography and acting aptly support the movie. I was quite impressed how Babenco has managed to distance himself and has escaped without offering his personal judgement. At the end, the viewer is trusted to form his own opinion. Quite an emerging theme of late, amongst Latin American movie makers.

~Roberto Succo
Cedric Kahn, France, 2001
Hadn’t heard of it until I saw it. The missive would make you expect dark rooms, wild chases and free flowing ketchup with chilling music at the background. But you know the French folks, they have this innate knack of amazing story telling.* I’m sure if it was anyone else other than the French, the movie would have been an absolute disaster. Even if it was named Jason Bourne!
Roberto Succo is based on the real life serial killer who terrorised southern France in the 80s.Having escaped from a mental institute in Italy where he was incarcerated for the murder of his parents, he settles in France and is drawn towards a French girl whom he meets in a bar. The rest of the story is an attempt to peep into the identity, conflicts and copings of his character.

Torn between his new-found returned affections and his past urges to destroy, he lives and longs in new identities, clever lies, stolen cars and further ruthlessness until his inevitable arrest. The fleeting aspects dealing with the viewpoints of the police officers and the final complexities about extraditions are all well crafted.
As already mentioned, the most impressive part is the treatment. The aim is not to sensationalise but to capture the character of a deviant. Violence is mostly kept to being symbolic than graphic. The story begins with no burden of his past(and hence not prejudged) instead slowly develops from pieces put together as it moves along.The photography captures some scenic locales across France.
Stefano Cassiti as an enigmatic serial killer is superlative in that he achieves perhaps what no other serial killer portrayed has ever achieved. He is simply believable. He is no victim or martyr, he simply is another being willing to play and pay extremes, as he does it unto himself eventually.

~ 20 fingers
Mania Akbari, Iran, 2004
Ah! Quite a movie , more of a documentary sorts.Caught it quite a while back in a festival and since then it has gone on to win several awards and acclaim. That is certainly because it is so contemporary in content and narration.
Woven together within the movie are seven conversations in different settings between a man and woman as they go through different phases of relationship. The conversation although is between middle class Iranian couple in a society slowly sailing from conservatism to liberalism, it essentially is an universal depiction between any post-modern couple. The issues are multitudinous as any imaginable post modern talk can afford- from male domination, learned helplessness of the woman, individual insecurities, career vs.family to abortion, spacing of children, adultery etc.

I thought it was one of the really well thought and made movie truly staying faithful to the lives of our generation. Mania and Bijan as the woman and man are totally relatable from the very first shot. Script and photography are commendable , in fact the entire project is refreshing. And with my interest in the opening sequences , I loved the first scene. Guess it was one of the best in recent years. And of course the famous single shot sequence on the road, though a tad adventurous is well done.

The conversations are natural and free flowing to such an extent that one feels like he is eavesdropping at times. The talk is fairly balanced in presenting the perspectives but at times wanders to great ends to offer overt feminist suggestions , which I found a bit warped to my taste, but the views cannot be discounted altogether given that the context is Iranian society. The ending was rather abrupt , I suppose, I wished for a more balanced one. Nevertheless, a novel and welcome movie, the one you would want to play on a Sunday evening with a few guests around. Post conversations flow easily.

PS:And since we are here, I think Spielberg should retire or just do a woolf.That would be his greatest contribution.

*ETA :If it was possible, I would covet the mind of a french movie.


Finny Forever said...

what do you mean - just do a woolf?

Ubermensch said...

I mean what v woolf did?
walk into a river with open arms and a pocketful of stones..

Finny Forever said...

whats that supposed to mean in the context? woolf was stellar.

Ubermensch said...

In the context, it means, his time has come.All he offered to us as a generation was
1.A maniac T-rex(which actually must be credited to Industrial Light and magic?)
2.Schindler's list OST theme(which actually was John Williams)

The rest were vain attempts of intellectualising and emotional elbowing.
Just like Mrs Dalloway here.
Yeah,It must be really dark for the faintest to be the stars.

Rajesh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rajesh said...

Private Ryan:) And oh yes I remember the movie the Duel where a truck and car take on each other, Closed Encounter and E.T.

Juvenile adventures and dreams cinematographed...enjoyed them. That is all there is.

The movies: looks like a good pick.

Ubermensch said...

Juvenile is the word rajesh.
About the movies, sort of okay but the big meal seems to be coming up... here...
dunno if ill be able to catch em up

Finny Forever said...

where DO u get your movies from?

Ubermensch said...

Carboot sales
Movie clubs

also few smuggled, from east europe..

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