Posts Tagged ‘ film ’

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 029: The mill and the cross (2011)

The Mill and the cross is artful cinematic piece about a true masterpiece by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. ‘De Kruisdraging’ to be more specific (‘The procession to Calvary’ in English). If there ever was a way to bring a canvas to life than this is it. I don’t even want to begin to think about all the practical and creative difficulties they faced to get it to look and feel the way it does. They made the real footage blend with the painting-like CGI seamlessly, and yet it is very obvious which parts are painting-like. Also the coloring of both the CGI and the real footage, especially the clothes the characters are wearing, is worth to mention.

This movie teaches the audience a lot about life in 16th century Flanders as well. It shows that life goes on, even though major historical events are taking place. Not much has changed since then I guess.  We, the audience, also see many forgotten customs and practices. That brings me to one of the major things that I really liked a bout this film. There is so much detail. I probably have to see it again two or three times to be able to notice all those details. I don’t think it’s a coincidence they managed to slip in so many ‘hidden’ details in a film about a painting. Most Bruegel paintings are full of those details that make you observe and investigate a painting for a long time.

There aren’t many dialogues in this film. This ads to the power of the film as a whole. Just like a painting the piece of art let’s its audience observe and interpret – and sometimes even judge.

Movie I dig 024: Tous les soleils (2011)

You want something light and funny? Tous les soleils, there you go!

It’s about a father who is raising his 15-year old daughter alone, since his wife died in a car crash several years ago. Everyone around him is telling him that he needs to move on, but he has a hard time doing so and to make matters worse he also has trouble adapting with his young daughter turning into a young woman. Of course he blames this on his daughter’s puberty, but he should rather seek the problem – and the answer – on his side. Add a weird brother who is living with them and you got a great mix of funny stuff bound to happen.

Sorry, I could only find a trailer with Dutch subtitles.

Movie I dig 023: Kokuhaku (Confessions) (2010)

Kokuhaku will leave you with an empty feeling and a lurking hatred for teenagers. So no, it’s not an easy film to watch, even though the main subject, revenge, isn’t that complicated. I also have to mention that I couldn’t stop watching it. I grabbed me and didn’t let me go from start to end.

It’s about a highschool teacher in Japan who announces that she is going to stop teaching them. While doing this announcement she also tells her students that her young daughter passed away. Then, as she continues she explains that she thinks – and has proof – of it being a murder instead of an accident, as the police concluded. From here things start happening fast and I’m not going to spoil it.

This movie shows once again how fragile life can be, but also how cruel the living can be. Even though it’s not an easy movie to watch, it certainly is well worth it.

Movie I dig 021: Jeg reiser alene (I travel alone) (2011)

I could start with how seriously bad it is when a young girl is being raised without knowing her father and how her too young mother kind off keeps her away from her father, but I’m no going to do that. No, instead I’m going to say how much fun I had watching this movie! A fuckin’ lot of F-U-N! Maybe it’s my age but I can completely relate to a lot of things – apart from being a father – in this film. And that makes me enjoy it the way I do.

I hope they make a third Jarle Klepp and in the mean time I’m going to look for the first one.

Movie I dig 018: También la lluvia (Even the rain) (2010)

A film-maker, his manager and their team head to Bolivia to shoot a movie about Columbus’ discovery of South America and the oppression and genocide against the natives. While they are in the process of shooting their film a big uprising against the government and foreign companies unfolds. The local government (forced by the World Bank) makes it illegal for the local people to gather the much needed rainwater. This sounds quite ridiculous, but unfortunately it is true. Some of the local actors are in the midst of this uprising – since it would affect them greatly – and the guy playing Taino leader Hatuey in the movie, is one of the leaders of the protests.

You probably already guessed it. The current events are – although they are 500 years apart – very similar to the events in the movie they are filming. This is very nicely done and very important: it is not overdone.

I liked the fact that this film gives the viewer a quick history lesson before the events really start off. This makes sure you can fully focus on the current events and link them to the history projected in the movie to be in this movie. Besides that, the acting is really good. Sometimes you hardly notice you are watching the movie in the movie. If it weren’t for the fact that you only see small bits, it would’ve been a decent movie by itself.

I would recommend this movie. It’s a nice and sometimes embarrassing (to be western) movie with two great history lessons included.

Movie I dig 017: L’affaire Farewell (2009)

L’affaire Farewell is a movie that made a deep impression on me. Especially the acting by Emir Kusturica is amazing. The acting is not overdone and neither is it too nonchalant. Which is quite an accomplishment considering the immense implications of his actions. Guillaume Canet as usual, acts really well.

Anyone who is interested in the Cold War, spionage or both should definitely watch this movie.