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Old 05-10-2011, 06:00 PM   #1
Timpsi
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Default Recent movie experiences

Seems that there's no existing thread for this purpose - until now.

What films have you seen lately, what were your impressions?



I saw Werner Herzog's Woyzeck last night, and it left me with a lasting impression.. for many reasons.

The film is based on a famous, unfinished play by Georg Bchner. It tells the story of a poor, mentally unstable soldier who is constantly put down and abused by people around him; his superiors mock his intellect and morals, he is subject to experiments of a proto-nazi doctor, and his wife cheats on him. Chased into a corner, Woyzeck's mind disintegrates and paranoia takes over, which eventually leads into a tragic conclusion.

There isn't much of a story to tell - Woyzeck would probably say during a brief moment of sanity that the poor cannot afford good stories - and overall it's be easy to say that the movie feels very unpolished with abrupt cuts between scenes and uneven use of music score. However, that's not the focus here; it's the terrifyingly slow and minimalistic direction, and especially the manic acting of Klaus Kinski that drive the film. Especially the beginning and the ending of the movie are positively hair-raising.

It's hard to say which is scarier; the descent of Woyzeck into insanity, or Klaus Kinski's ability to portray it in such an authentic way. Either way, this is what cinema as an art is all about - even if it far from perfection.
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:06 PM   #2
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Oh boy, you started this thread off with a bang! Herzog and Kinski were an incredible team, nice choice. I actually haven't seen this one but I'm going to track it down right now.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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Here's another film that had been sitting on my shelf, waiting for the moment I would have find the time to watch it. I'm glad that lst night I finally did!



On the first glance Agnieszka Holland's Europa Europa (or Hitlerjunge Salomon as it was originally called) looks like yet another holocaust survival story, but it is such a well crafted piece of cinema that it deserves its place.

The film narrates the story of Salomon Perel, a Jewish boy in his teens, escaping the Nazis to the Soviet occupied Poland. He is eventually captured by the Germans, but manages to convince them that he is a German orphan called Josef Peters. After spending some time at the frontline as a sort of a company mascot, he gets transferred into a high-profile Nazi school.

Throughout the movie Salomon's main focus is in trying to convince everyone that he is an ethnic German, which is not always easy for a sexually awakened, handsome teen boy with girls, older women and even men admiring and making direct advances on him. With good luck and the recklessness of a teenager he survives, but eventually the burden of denying his true background starts to become too heavy to bear.

Much like Roman Polanski's The Pianist, Europa Europa is a great portrayal of the survival of an individual, but with a slightly lighter touch. It's impressive that although the movie takes its subject matter seriously and shows the brutality of the war and holocaust, it it is still not afraid of comedic scenes - my favourite being one where a teacher demonstrates on Salomon how science can prove that he is a true aryan.

Directed with precision and with high class performances by the cast, this is a film easy to appreciate. At times the story felt a bit too unlikely to be plausible, but those feelings were washed away by the appearance of the real Salomon Perel at the end of the movie; this is based on a true story.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:06 PM   #4
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Goddamn, we've got creepy similar taste. The final scene in this movie is a killer for me, singing in the swishing grass - it's amazing. This is a good movie, and definitely worth seeing if you haven't already. Personally I think it is head and shoulders above the Piano, but I think Polanski is a bit overrated.

Also, next time I promise to read this thread when I'm not about to go to sleep so I'll have a chance to post what I've been watching recently.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:27 PM   #5
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Polanski overrated? The director of The Fearless Vampire Killers and Bitter Moon cannot be rated highly enough! Granted, some of his efforts fall a bit short (like Repulsion, which is like Bergman done too easy), but he is one of the greats nevertheless.

But good to hear that you find our tastes similar, Lulu_Jane. Will look forward to your film tips, then.
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:59 AM   #6
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Personally, Polanski has only one movie - Pirates. Yes I saw few others as well, like Bitter Moon and Pianist and that one when he plays the main role going crazy in apartment he rent... And movies are touching or challenging or provocative... but Pirates is the one, even though often overlooked. I saw that movie hundred times when I was a kid, which is no wonder since movie is adventure. I saw it couple of years ago again and it's still good, even though I grew up in meanwhile (well, I grew up a bit at least). Excellent performance of Walter Mathhau, with other actors doing a good job as well, but he was amazing. And first time I saw Charlotte Lewis

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Old 11-10-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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Talking about Polanski, I saw his last film, Carnage. As a fan of theater, I found this film veery hilarious and well interpretated. The characters became more open as the film goes on, showing their real appearence: all this in ONE room. I reccomend this film! Also...

Who saw "This must be the place" with Sean Penn?
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
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No one else seems to watch movies here, so I suppose it's up to me to keep the thread alive..


Metropolis




What an astounding piece of cinema this was! I was thrilled by the sheer scope of the story, the spot-on acting, and the high-quality cinematography that defies its age. This 1920s science fiction flick is still the landmark of the genre!

Metropolis is a city built of layers; the ruling class lives at the top in its own perferct idyll, while the workers are packed in terrible conditions in the claustrophobic depths of the dungeons below the ground. Freder, the son of the Lord of Metropolis happens to stumble upon the truth of their wealth, and sets to improve the matters with the help of the workers spiritual leader Maria. Suspecting a revolt, the Lord and his scientist unleash a robotic look-a-like of Maria to create mistrust and chaos amongst the workers.

The most powerful scenes of the film are set in the workers town where the people are shown as little more as components of gigantic, sinister-looking machines. They work long, exhausting days in the heat of the machine rooms, and many die at their stations - only to be replaced with new workers who assume the same robotic movements, paying hardly any attention to the deceased. And everything is so beautifully shot! There are so many breathtaking images that would work perfectly as a wall poster. The special effects used for creating the city were decades ahead of their time, and they portray a haunting image that has the same full effect in 2011 as it did in 1927 when the film was released.

For the modern viewer, many of the pre-WW2 films suffer from acting style that was way different back then. The exaggerated experssions and gestures seem often comedic. However, this is not the case in Metropolis; for example Freder's frantic rushing from one place to another suits the manic state he is as his view of the world shifts. However, the best and most contemporary performances are given by Brigitte Helm as the Machine Woman, and by Alfred Abel as the Lord of Metropolis.

Despite one fifth of the movie missing and replaced with intertitles due to mistreatment and decay of the original film rolls, I was blown away by Metropolis. In my books it's equally strong to the 1924 Soviet sci-fi classic Aelita, Queen of Mars, which is saying a lot. Magnificent!
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:04 PM   #9
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What I remember from Metropolis is a Christian (or Christian Social) message and an irrational phobia against technology. But it sure was a great sci-fi movie at the time. According to the Wikipedia it's the most expensive silent film ever made.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Japo View Post
What I remember from Metropolis is a Christian (or Christian Social) message and an irrational phobia against technology. But it sure was a great sci-fi movie at the time. According to the Wikipedia it's the most expensive silent film ever made.
Like all the best films, also Metropolis is possible to intepret in several ways. For me it was commentary against mercantilism and national socialism. While I do recognize the Christian allegories, I don't really agree with the "irrational phobia against technology". I'd say the message of Metropolis is rather about promotion of humanism over worship of machines - which is a valid topic also today.
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