Archive for the ‘ Film ’ Category

Movie I dig 036: De rouille et d’os (2012) (Rust & Bone)

De rouille et d’os – or Rust & Bone as it is known in English – is a French-Belgian film that tells the story of events that radical change the lives of two people that have just met. It is based on a short story collection by Craig Davidson. Stéphanie – portrayed by Marion Cotillard – works as a killer whale (orca) trainer in a city in the south of France. She seems to have some kind of issues in her current relationship. We first meet her at a club in the city where it is hinted that she is looking for other men. Here she ends up in some kind of fight. It is not quite clear how she is involved, but fact is that she ends up with a bleeding nose. Alain van Wersch – portrayed by Matthias Schoenaerts – who has just arrived in this city with his son, happens to be working in this club as a bouncer. He brings her home, where she again stumbles into an argument with her (soon to be ex-)boyfriend and whereupon he leaves, but not before he leaves a note with his number (just because he is looking for some tail). As mentioned before,  Stéphanie works as a killer whale trainer. While at work a terrible accident happens and when Stéphanie wakes up in the hospital she finds out that she has lost both her lower legs. Unsurprisingly she is devastated and falls into a deep dark whole, which is excellently symbolized in the film through the dark room she than stays in. Alain in the mean time has moved on from being a bouncer to being a night security guard. He is also training at a local gym (boxing, kickboxing). After some time (weeks or months) Stéphanie decides to contact Alain and to meet up. They meet up and after having some trouble in persuading her, Alain manages to get Stéphanie outside and to the beach. I see this as the starting point for a emotional rollercoaster ride that involves violence – or rather fighting -, crime, love and most of all hope.

I immensely enjoyed this alternative film. The acting and the interaction between Cotillard and  Schoenaerts is both intense and mesmerizing. If I would summarize all the events and themes that are touched upon in this film, it would seem as a rather implausible and over-the-top narration. However, in this film it is brought towards the viewer at a delicate pace and through a thoroughly thought through plot. Jacques Audiard did a great job here.

If anything, you will feel hope in love and love in hope after having seen this film. It will get under your skin and even though it is at times hard to feel sympathy for trailer-trash behavior and the ambition to become a street-fighter, you will feel like you can somehow relate to the main characters. After the film ended, most people in the audience sat silent for over a minute – which not seems like a lot, but which I think is a lot in our fast-paced-always-in-a-hurry-gotta-connect-to-people-on-the-internet-society. While walking home one of my friends who watched the film with me, asked what life-lessons we had learned from it. For me I think, the most important things is that while watching this film – especially towards the end – I felt a kind of hope that there is a goodness in all people. It just needs to be enabled.

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Movie I dig 035: A better life (2011)

Carlos is a Gardener in LA. Just like so many people in this world he is looking to improve his life and – more important – his son’s current life and future. He is looking for the better life that a rich country like the USA should offer – to the eyes of an outsider that is. He is currently working for another guy who like him has only come to this country to earn more money than back home. His employer is on the verge of heading back to his home land, to live and work on a farm and the land he bought with the money earned in the US. Thus, Carlos will lose his job and that will land him back to square one, which means he will be begging for work in a well known beg-for-work-corner-spot. Obviously this is not what he wants and Blasco his employer offers him to sell his truck and the machinery that comes along with being a gardener. Carlos is in doubt though, because he hasn’t got a driver’s license that is valid in the US. Meanwhile his son is hanging out with the wrong type of friends. The type that aspires to become a latin gang member. After having considered the opportunities and risks of buying the truck from Blasco, Carlos decides to buy it. Things get interesting fast after this.

‘A better life’ is not exactly an underground movie, but it is kind of alternative to main stream movies that are being produced in the US. The film doesn’t focus so much on how the foreign workers are treated bad by the Americans, but more on how the system works and how for a lot of foreign workers it doesn’t work out at all. Carlos is struggling day in day out, to get by and to save up a little money for his son Luis’ education. In the film it kind of looks like he does a little better (at least in the beginning) than most other foreign workers. It must be hard to keep ones values up, working for what little money they can get, only to find out, that at the end of the month they haven’t saved all that much.

The film made quite an impression on me. Try to see it, even though it’s not being and has not been screened in many places.

Movie I dig 034: 那些年,我們一起追的女孩 (You Are the Apple of My Eye) (2011)

I think ‘Na xie nian, wo men yi qi zhui de nu hai’ is my first encounter with Taiwanese cinema and shouldn’t be my last. Basically the plot is that there’s one girl with outstanding grades (also referred to as a ‘honor-student’) and she also happens to be the best looking girl in the high school class. So all the guys like her. Most of the guys are quite childish and not that good with girls (understatement). The guy who is the most childish one manages to get her attention when he steps up for her when she forgot to bring her English text-book and he quickly slips her his and pretends that he is the one who forgot to bring the text-book. It’s no surprise that some kind of bond starts to grow between them. A weird bond though, but eventually they become a couple, a weird couple though, because when they go to college they don’t even hold hands when they say goodbye.

Anyway, I won’t spoil further. It’s hard enough to not see surprises coming from a mile away in this film. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since the film is full of high school and college clichés  (some of them wildly exaggerated), which are quite funny.

It’s based on a book; I might check it out later. If this one is being screened at a theater anywhere near you, go and see it and don’t forget to bring your girlfriend or your boyfriend – if you manage to drag him along.

Movie I dig 033: Tierra y Libertad (Land and Freedom) (1995)

I’ve never known much about the Spanish civil war or the Franco regime. So stumbling on Tierrra y libertad seemed like an excellent opportunity to get to know a bit about it. No regrets there. It’s a great film.

It’s about an unemployed young man from Liverpool. He hears about the Spanish conflict at a meeting and being a communist he decides to go to Spain and fight for what he believes in, against the fascists.

I learned a lot about the conflict and the complexity of it (a lot of different factors and sides have their own interests). I didn’t learn much about the bigger picture and the politics behind the events of that era in Spain and Europe, even though there was a lot of talk about it in the dialogues. What I liked especially is that the film shows what life was like at the front and in the Spanish cities during that time. After the film I was kind off left with a feeling of sadness of how individuals throughout history have often been used as nothing more than mere pieces on a chessboard – and often replaceable.

Movie I dig 032: Få meg på, for faen (Turn me on, dammit!) (2011)

Få meg på, for faen is a short – maybe a bit too short – youth film about a young girl in a small boring village on Norway. Usually I’m not the kind of person who get’s all excited about youth films, on the contrary. I tend to think youth films make all youth look like idiots and makes the youth who watches them even bigger idiots. Not so much in this case though. I’m not sure why how I ever came up with the idea of checking this youth movie out, but I did, and I’m glad. However, let me point one more thing out, this is not a film that will rock your world, change your life forever or make you think about – your – life for days afterwards. None of the above, it does however, entertain you while you’re watching it.

It’s about Alma (Helene Bergsholm) – as mentioned before – a young girl living in a small boring village in Norway. Alma is in that age where girls start to explore their sexuality. In Alma’s case: she is exploring her sexuality on a turbo, but her age and the place where she lives, somewhat puts the handbrake on it. At a party a guy pokes her on the hip with his dick (pikk). She promptly – and not very tactically – tells this to everyone. The guy in question denies everything and everyone believes him, making her a social outcast at school and in the village.

It’s a funny film, maybe a bit short, but I certainly did not regret watching it.

Drit i idiotene, pikk-alma rule!

Movie I dig 031: Tyrannosaur (2011)

Tyrannosaur is a grim  reality check. In fact at times it seems so real that one might forget this is a movie. A few factors contribute to this sense of realism. I’m only going to mention one, because first and foremost it is the acting that shakes one up.

Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsan play similar roles. Both have huge force and fragility at the same time. The only difference in their characters is their background and the fact that one – in the plot – tips over to be the maniacal  ‘good guy’ and the other plays the maniacal ruthless ‘bad guy’. Both give this dark, grey-shaded film a big pulse of different shades of grey. It is Olivia Colman, however, who really takes the acting to a new level. Just like her character – who is the factor between Joseph and James – her acting also lifts up the performances of respectively Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsan.

Tyrannosaur is an uncompromising film that will give you some things to think about long after you’ve left the theater.

Movie I dig 030: Οι ιππείς της Πυλου (Oi ippeis tis Pylou) (Riders Of Pylou) (2011)

Oi ippeis tis Pylou might be the most insanely cool nonsense film I’ve ever seen.

It’s about the actor Telemachus who is pretty much broke and has some banks running after trying to get their money back. Telemachus decides to give them a run for their money, quite literally that is. He leaves Athens and closes up his studio in a hurry, leaving only things he can’t carry and a quote on his studio’s window, “How can you take something from someone who doesn’t own anything?”. Through one of his friends he ends up in a place called Pylou (he doesn’t know he is going there, the driver just takes him there). Pylou appears to be a remote castle in the mountains. At the castle he is taken in by two brothers – at least one of them is mentally challenged – who breed horses and preside over the castle and it’s collection of cultural and intellectual property. Still a bit shaken up by having to leave Athens, the smoked up drive to Pylou and the peculiar reception by the brothers, he starts to explore the surroundings and finds himself in one weird situation after the other, meeting one extravagant character after the other.

The plot has same strange and quite unexpected twists, but all of that works out well with the strong and strange characters. Definitely a film I enjoyed very much.

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