08 February 2006

The Edukators (Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei) Germany, 2004

Director Hans Weingartner has made a film about the generation gap. Our main character, played by Daniel Brül, still has the ideologies of 1968 in his mind, although he is from a younger generation. In his attempt to change the modern capitalist and consumer society in which we live, he breaks into the houses of rich people, and instead of stealing, he rearranges their furniture, and basically turns their houses upside down. He always leaves a small note saying "the best years are over". He does this with the help of a friend. When this friend goes to Spain for an important job interview, Daniel meets his girlfriend. She learns about Daniel's break-ins. They decide to break into one house. Unfortunately, something goes wrong and the film takes a different and even more interesting turn of events. The owner of the house comes in, they kidnap him and hit the road. What comes next is an interesting psychological analysis of the main characters. The story keeps you awake until the end because you don't know what will happen to any of them.

07 February 2006

Conspirators of Pleasure (Spiklenci Slasti) Czech Republic, 1996

Director Jan Svankmajer is best known for his short films and non-stop animations. Just like his other feature length film "Faust", Conspirators of Pleasure is a mixture of live action and animation. This creates unique special effects. This blend of real actors and animations is rare to find, but Svankmajer knows how to combine this perfectly. The surreal storyline helps enhance the pictures. Four different characters prepare themselves for a meal, but they do all kinds of strange things. Our main character creates a papier mâché head of a chicken and makes fake wings out of umbrellas; another one collects furs, nails and other kitchenware as sexual fetishes; another woman has fish in a bucket and keeps her feet inside the bucket most of the time; another man creates a machine with moving arms who he uses to caress himself. It is a film of the senses, of taste and touch, of how certain things arouse us in a sensual or even sexual way. Why these people choose to do all these freaky stuff is never revealed in the film. The ending involves a crime. The film is creepy, daring and very original.

06 February 2006

Un Chien Andalou (France, 1929)

This is the cornerstone of surrealist cinema. This is where it all began. This movie paved the way for other directors to experiment and create interesting movies under the banner of surrealism. Spanish Director Luis Buñuel created this 17 minute movie with the help of Salvador Dali. Paris was the preferred city for surrealist creations. They came up with strange ideas and just put them together. There was no specific meaning in any of the scenes. Critics have added and suggested different interpretations, but there were none originally. What happens in the film? Many strange things: a guy uses a blade to cut the eye of a girl; a guy pulls two pianos with dead dunkeys over them; a guy is pulling two priests, who are tied up with a rope, up the stairs; ants come out of the hand of a person. Later on the film we see the same hand, lying on the street, and being pushed around with a cane by a man. Makes no sense, right? That was the original intention of its creator. Needless to say, it was a very controversial film when it came out.

01 February 2006

A Tale of Two Sisters (South Korea, 2003)

Director Kim Ji-Woon has excelled in creating a horror movie based on a Korean folk tale. He has already done some work in this genre, and this movie is his best yet. The story is a little complicated, and the viewer has to make his or her own conclusions. This is the simplified plot: two sisters lose their mother, who apparently had cancer, but decides to commit suicide when she finds out her husband is cheating on her with the nurse who is taking care of her. During the suicide, one of the girls dies too (I won't say how) the other girl suffers from this traumatic experience, is sent to a mental hospital, and then comes out. Her father takes her home, and now the nurse is her new stepmother. Add to the story several ghosts appearances and a twisted plot sequence. It is an intelligent horror film that forces audience to think and find out how the story goes.

Like David Lynch, Kim Ji-Woon gives small clues that help you understand, but other things are left unclear. Spectacular photography and music, with some really scary scenes, like the ghost of the dead mother appearing in the middle of the night and crawling over the bed, or the dead girl under the kitchen sink. If that is not creepy enough for you, I don't know what is!