27 May 2005

Visitor Q, Japan 2000

Director Takashi Miike is a controversial fellow. His movies are all different, although the violent and provocative scenes are always present. This is a story of really dysfunctional family: a father who rapes his daughter, the mother who is high on drugs and prostitutes herself during the day, the son who makes up every possible excuse to beat her mother up with a whip. What else can I say? If this is not dysfunctional enough for you, then I don’t know what it is. Some elements of Miike’s works are visible, like dialogues with few words, lack of score music, the sound of drums in crucial scenes, and his obsession with milk from women’s breasts! Yes, you read correctly, but you should see it to believe it. The movie keeps you gasping and guessing until the end, and all the while I was thinking “only in Japan can anybody shoot these kinds of films” Good for them.

24 May 2005

Italian for Beginners (Italiensk for begyndere) Denmark, 2000

Director Lone Scherfig follows the strict guidelines of dogma films (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Breaking the Waves) to show us the story of two sisters living in a small and peaceful Danish town. They reunite when their mother die. They did not know they were sisters until they start talking at their mother’s funeral. Along come other interesting characters, the bad-tempered waiter at the coffee shop, who constantly shouts at his clientele, the Italian kitchen aid or Mr. Mortensen, who falls in love with the Italian ragazza. In between, some of the characters are learning Italian once a week. So, you get to hear a lot of their conversation, although basic, in Italian. The last scenes shot in Venice are the perfect setting for the happy ending that director Scherfig makes us witness. This is one of my favourite dogma films because it is more of a comedy, unlike many dogma movies, which are quite dramatic and unsettling.

Want to know more about Dogma films? Check out this site.

21 May 2005

My Top 30 (week of 22 May)

1. Mario – Let Me Love You
2. Ashanti – Only U
3. Good Charlotte – I Just Wanna Live
4. The Chemical Brothers – Galvanize
5. Usher – Caught Up
6. Lisa Stanfield – Treat Me Like a Woman
7. Snoop Dogg – Signs
8. Nelly – Flap Your Wings
9. Daddy Yankee – Gasolina
10. Rupee – Tempted To Touch

11. Mustafa Sandal feat. Gentleman – Isyankar
12. Baby Bash – I’m Back
13. Jem – They
14. Chipz – Chipz In Black
15. Lunik – The Most Beautiful Song
16. Nu Pagadi – Sweetest Poison
17. Tiziano Ferro – Ti Voglio Bene
18. Ashlee Simpson – La La
19. Jet – Look What You’ve Done
20. Nelly – Over And Over
21. 50 Cent – Disco Inferno

22. Keane – This Is The Last Time
23. Lemar – If There’s Any Justice
24. Girls Aloud – Wake Me Up
25. Akon – Locked Up
26. Ciara feat. Missy Elliot – 1,2 Step
27. T.I. – Bring Em Out
28. Xzibit – Hey Now (Mean Muggin)
29. 50 Cent feat. Olivia – Candy Shop
30. DJ Bobo – Pirates of Dance
31. Britney Spears – Do Somethin’

32. Amel Bent – Ma Philosophie

20 May 2005

This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (Esta Noite Encarnarei no teu Cadáver), Brazil 1967

How about a Brazilian Dracula? This is what the film is about, but forget fangs, bats and mirror reflections. Our Brazlian Drac is more worried about the menacing influence of religion on people’s mind. In fact, half of the film our main character, Ze do Caixao, played by the director himself (José Mojica), gives us long speeches about morality, the dangers of religion, and the eternity of blood !! Throughout the film, he terrorizes a small town by kidnapping beautiful babes and making them suffer. How? Throwing some venomous spiders where ladies in distress are kept, and killing them with snakes. It all takes place in his basement, cauldron, or whatever you want to call it.

Director Mojica is one of those rarities in Latin American cinema. With almost no financial resources, he pulled out a couple of horror flicks in the 60’s and 70’s. What is really remarkable is his freedom. There seemed to be no censorship. There are explicit scenes of violence, sensuality and almost rape. For a movie shot in the 60’s, this must have been as controversial as it gets. Banned in Brazil and other countries, Mojica got recognition many years after in Europe and North America. Besides these horror stories, he did many Brazilian porno movies. A strange fellow, but an interesting one. He is now an icon among horror buffs.

18 May 2005

The Secret of Vera Drake (Vera Drake), UK 2004

The plot of this movie is exactly the same as Chabrol’s Une Affaire des Femmes. A lady in her mid-fifties, mother of two youngsters, helps young women who are in trouble in postwar London, which means, she helps them abort. A very controversial topic, but it is important to note that abortion was already legal at that time in England. The problem was that this lady was doing it illegally, in that she went to the women’s homes. When one of them gets really sick and ends up in hospital, the authorities react and start investigating. Soon enough, they arrive at Mrs. Drake’s home, and right in the middle of a family dinner celebration. The sad thing here is, that Mrs. Drake was doing these abortions for free, while one of her best friends charged the “clients” and never gave her any money. At the end everyone learns the truth, and it’s a sad as it gets. The acting performed by Mrs. Drake, is extraordinary, portraying the real emotions of a woman who discovers she has been tricked for a long time. A very realistic and emotional film not to be missed.