20 December 2005

A girl named Rosemarie (das M├Ądchen Rosemarie, Germany, 1996)

I found this film really interesting, although I was not expecting much of. At the end it surprised me with its plot twists and ending. This is based on a true story about a girl (guess what her name is... Rosemarie) who instead of going to school decides to trick old rich guys, sleep with them, and take their money away. She becomes quite famous in the post-German business circles in Munich, as a prositute, and a very classy and chic one, by the way. With the help of a French businessman, Rosemarie records private conversations of some businessmen where black mailing and smuggling are concerned. At the end of the movie, she falls in love with the French guy, and threatens him to destroy the tapes if he does not marry him. The small problem is that he is already engaged. This all ends in a tragedy for Rosemarie, but I should not give away the ending. Director Bernd Eichinger has done a good job in telling the story in an interesting way, so that the two-hour-long film goes by pretty fast.

19 December 2005

Sun Seekers (Sonnensucher, East Germany, 1958)

First my own impression of this film: an interesting take on the situation of the mining area of Wismut in Germany. The outdoor scenes are interesting, clearly describing daily life for those who lived there, but the dialogues are really bad, you get lots of Russians trying to speak German. There are a lot of hidden messages and symbolism in the language and words they use, but the whole dialogue scenes are not coherent at all, it is like listening to different excerpts from Lenin or Stalin speaking: not very inspiring these days, to be honest.

Now the experts:
"Sun Seekers was banned in 1958 at the urging of the USSR, since it treats Soviet/German relations in mining uranium in the GDR's Wismut region, to support the nuclear arms race. Encouraged by the "thaw" promised by the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, Konrad Wolf's film presents a highly dramatic and differentiated view of the Nazi past, Stalinist political practices, and the energetic chaos of the early postwar period. The film's style combines Wolf's Russian sensibilities with echoes of Italian neo-realism as well as Pabst's Kameradschaft (1931). Releasing this film was one of Wolf's first priorities when a new regime took power in the GDR in 1972..." DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

16 December 2005

High Tension (Haute Tension, France 2003)

Director Alexandre Aja has made a hit and run, killer on the loose road movie, that is both visually grotesque and intense, following the good old 70's Euro-trash horror films. We follow two friends' journey into a cottage house outside of the big city where they live. Suddenly, a killer breaks into the house at night, killing everyone he meets. It begins as your usual Jason killer flick, but halfway through the story, there is an unexpected twist that makes this film worth watching. The killing scenes are very strong and visceral, with blood sprouting in every direction. The tension is, as the title suggests, high, because you really don't know if the two friends will survive this killing rampage. This movie is definitely not for sensitive audiences.

07 December 2005

Melinda and Melinda (USA, 2004)

I am not a fan of Woody Allen, but I must say I found his latest films quite interesting. They have their own style, and you either love them or hate them. I personally find them amusing. His latest movie tells the story of Melinda. In fact, it is the same story told twice, first as a drama and then as a comedy. Both stories alternate each other, so it's like watching two stories at the same time. Desperate Melinda arrives at her best friend's house one evening, interrumpting a dinner her friend was hosting. Melinda has had a difficult life, having divorced, and losing the custody of her children, and then being kept in a mental institution, attempting suicide, etc. It all sounds very depressing, but when we see the comedy version of it, it turns out very entertaining. Melinda meets someone unexpectedly, and things change for her. The way characters tell their stories and the way Woody Allen builds up their dialogues make up for a fun ride into the lives of Melinda and her New York friends.

05 December 2005

The Legend of Paul and Paula (Die Legende von Paul und Paula) East Germany, 1973

In this romantic story, two ordinary citizens of former East Germany meet at a bar. Before that happens, we see how they live their everyday routine. Life is not easy for Paula, who has two jobs: at a bottle recycling plant and at a state supermarket. Paul is an employee at the army. When they meet at a 70's style groovy bar, they start a love relationship that will not last very long. Paula falls deeply in love, and when Paul wants to break with her, her world is torn apart. She has two kids, and when one of them is run by a car and dies, the film stops being a comedy and turns into a drama. It is a very 70's movie, with various face close-ups, groovy rock music as background and colorful clothes. This was one of the most famous films to come out from behind the "iron curtain". Director Heiner Carow created a myth with Paul and Paula, with whom many Germans identified at the time. Many of the actors who appeared in this film decided to leave East Germany in the early 1980's in protest against the government's policies and repressions.