27 March 2006

A History of Violence (Canada, 2005)

Director David Cronenberg likes to entertain and disturb audiences at the same time. He chooses controversial topics and twists them around to create an imaginative plot. In this case, Tom Stall, a married man living in a small town in Indiana, is victim of a robbery in his restaurant. He is able to survive by killing in self-defence. But wait a minute! The next thing we know, other strangers come in the restaurant. These persons are convinced that Tom is another person they know. They even start following his family. After another violent showdown in his house, where he kills three other people in self-defence, his wife and kids start to wonder who Tom Stall really is. Why is he so good at killing people? I cannot reveal the terrible truth, but it is definitely exciting to watch.

21 March 2006

Crash (USA, 2005)

A remarkable story about life in Los Angeles. It is a series of different short stories told in one same film. This is one of the few times I actually agree with the Oscar for best film.

"The lives of a diverse group of people living in Los Angeles connect and clash over the course of two days. As a series of events unfolds that will heighten already-existing racial and cultural tensions, individuals are brought face to face with complexities that their prejudices have prevented them from seeing." source: www.oscars.com

20 March 2006

Water (Canada, 2003)

It took Canadian director Deepa Mehta more than 3 years to complete this movie. Protests against it forced her to cancel production in India. Protesters burned down the sets. Why? Because the movie talks about the lives of widows in India. When their husbands die, they are sent to a sort of hotel, where they are kept for the rest of their lives. They cannot go out and have a normal life, they are held captives. Water tells the story of one of this widows who falls in love with a rich man. As you might guess, it is pure controversy, but the story is entertaining and sad at the end. The film was finally shot in Sri Lanka, both in Hindu and English, so there are two versions of it.

15 March 2006

L'Enfant (Belgium / France, 2005)

Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have made interesting films together. The first film I saw from them, Rosetta, was about a girl living in a dysfunctional family and in a very unstable environment. This time, with L'Enfant, we see another unstable couple. Bruno is a theft who he steals whatever he can and this is his way of life. His girlfriend Sonia just had a baby called Jeremy. They have nowhere to live. One day, Bruno decides to give the baby for adoption, with his girlfriend's consent! When she finds out, you can imagine her violent reaction. She calls the police to sue him. Somehow Bruno gets the baby back, but he is now in deep financial problems with the people who hooked him up with the adoption process, because you see, it was all illegal. Not only that; after having stolen a purse from a woman on the street, he is being chased by the police. He has to make a choice between giving up stealing and going back to his girlfriend, or continue stealing in order to survive. The story is what makes it very interesting, as well as the excellent performances of the main characters. This movie won the Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

13 March 2006

Boogie Nights (USA, 1997)

This movie is about the porn industry in the US during the 70's and 80's. It is the story of Eddie, a young barman and waiter who works at the Boogie Nights nightclub. He gets an offer to work in porn movies, and he quickly becomes famous. He gets to a point where he has everything he ever wanted: women, money and of course, drugs. Unfortunately, the story does not end on a bright note for him. He becomes addict and after several years in the business, newcomers start to replace him. We see the fatal effects ot drug consumption on many of the characters. At the end they have no job, no money and a strong craving for coke. The same more or less happens to all of his and her friends in the business. Once the industry exploits them, they are left alone with no hopes for the future. The movie had three Oscar nominations.

10 March 2006

Institute Benjamenta (UK, 1995)

Die Brüder Quay sind für ihre "stop motion" Animationen sehr berühmt. Mit "Institut Benjamenta" haben sie diesmal einen sehr originallen Film gedreht. Es geht um Jakob. Er kommt eines Tages zum Institut, um sich anzumelen. Schnell stellte sich heraus, dass es keine normale Schule ist. Es ist ein Institut, in dem Kellner ausgebildet werden. Die Klassen bestehen aus der Wiederholung systematische Bewegungen: Die Studenten stehen sich auf, dann setzen sie sich, und viele weitere Male wiederholt sich diese Bewegung. Es sieht so aus, als wäre es ein totalitäres Regime. Keiner kann seine eigene Meinung aüssern. Sie müssen alle Fräulein Lisa Benjamenta gehorchen. Sie ist eine jüngere Lehrerin, die sich um ihre Studenten kümmert. Jakob gewöhnt sich langsam daran, die Regelungen des Instituts zu respektieren. Am Ende kommen sich die Lehrerin, Lisa, und Jakob näher. Lise verliebt sich in Jakob. Sogar der Director des Instituts verliebt sich in ihn!

Das Bild im Film ist in schwarz-weiss. Die Musik im Hintergrund ist wie ein Schauspieler, sie verändert sich, je nachdem, was sich in einer Szene abspielt. Die Musik hilft, um eine Stimmung zu erzeugen. Die Atmosphäre ist ganz grausam und manchmal deprimierend. Die vielen Close-ups erinnern uns oft daran, dass die Quay Brüder gern Animationen machen. Darauf sind sie spezialisiert. Sie spielen mit Licht. Es gibt überall Glühbirnen, Reflektoren, und Lampen, die sich ständig bewegen. Licht und Klang spielen im Film eine wichtige Rolle.
Die Reichsten Männer der Welt

Bill Gates bleibt dem Magazin "Forbes" zufolge der reichste Mann der Welt. Mit einem geschätzten Vermögen von 50 Milliarden Dollar führe der Microsoft-Chef das zwölfte Jahr in Folge die Liste der Milliardäre an, berichtet das Magazin. Gefolgt wird Gates den Angaben zufolge von Unternehmer Warren Buffett mit einem geschätzten Vermögen von 42 Milliarden Dollar. Auf Platz drei liegt der Mexikaner Carlos Slim Helu mit 30 Milliarden Dollar. Quelle: tagesschau.de

08 March 2006

Tiresia (France, 2003)

This is the story of a Brazilian guy turned into a prostitute in the city of lights, Paris. He uses drugs and other pills to try to maintain the body of a woman. One night, he gets picked up by a guy who kidnaps him for a couple of weeks. After a fight with him, he escapes and is rescued by a girl who lives in the countryside. Then he starts to predict the future. The local folks go visit him to know what will happen to them. In exchange, he recevies gifts in the form of food, and that is the way he sustains himself. A very strange plot based on a Greek mythology. At times slow, the movie has its interesting turning points. It is nonetheless cruel and has quite a few graphic and violent scenes.

07 March 2006

De Battre Mon Coeur S'est Arrêté (France, 2005)

The winner of 8 César Awards last year(the French Oscars), including Best Picture, this film portrays the life of Tom, a 28-year-old who has a promising career in the real estate business, just like his father. However, his interest has always been the piano. Her mother had been a famous pianist apparently, and he wants to follow her steps. He finds a piano teacher/tutor from China, and starts preparing himself for an audition. He does this in the afternoon after his job. The outcome of this audition will determine his future career. The story includes two love affairs, I guess to make it all more interesting. Nonetheless, the movie is quite entertaining and you might be surprised by the ending that director Jacques Audiard gives to his film.

06 March 2006

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen, Sweden, 1968)

An artist (Max von Sydow) and his wife (Liv Ullman) go to live to an isolated island. When Liv is alone outside, a mysterious woman appears and tells her to see under her husband's bed. She will find his diary. She tells her to read it. When she starts reading, she discovers her husband's fears and ghosts that supposedly haunt him. She also finds out about an affair he had with an actress/singer called Elisabeth Vogler. Near the end of the film, Max is confronted with all his fears in the so-called "hour of the wolf", the time between night and day, when almost everyone dies and most babies are born.

A very subtle horror movie with little gore effects but great scare tactics. The atmosphere created by director Ingmar Bergman is extraordinary, and the black & white photography enhances this effect even more. We learn about Elisabeth Vogler, a character who will also appear in another one of Bergman's films, "Persona". At the end, you cannot tell which scenes are real and which correspond to Max's dreams. Bergman explores insanity and the effects of solitude and anguish in a human being. One of the best films I have seen from Ingmar Bergman.
Mi viaje a Monterrey

click aqui para ver las fotos

05 March 2006

Pizza, Birra, Faso (Argentina, 1997)

"El Cordobés", as his friends call him, is a runaway teenager with a pregnant girlfriend. Worst of all, he has no job, he steals in order to survive everyday in Buenos Aires. We follow him throughout the film and learn how he steals money from taxi drivers and people on the street. When he gets involved in a robbery at a nighclub, things do not go as expected, and el Cordobés is faced with the hard truth of being homeless and with no future, neither for him nor for his girlfirend. Funny at times, the movie is yet a cruel reminder of how a lot of people live in many Latin American countries.

03 March 2006

(Italy, 1963)

Originally titled "La Bella Confuzione", this movie tells the story of a harried movie director that dwells into his memories and daydreams. There are scenes where he goes back and remembers his childhood, his family and friends. Claimed to be a cinematic achievement and one of the best movies ever made by Federico Fellini, this black and white story has a special charm to it. Unfortunately, I personally found it quite boring. I do not like the style of filmmaking: long shots with a lot of camera movements and characters coming in and out of the scenes; the characters talk at the same time and sometimes shout at each other (typical Italian!); they talk about everything and nothing, with some poetic sentences now and then; there is also an annoying background music like the ones in the department stores or elevators throughout the whole movie. For those of you passionate of Italian style of filmmaking, go ahead, but for the rest of us, better think twice.

02 March 2006

Whale Rider (New Zealand, 2002)

This is the story of a Maori girl who lives with her family in a community somewhere in New Zealand. Her grandfather does not accept her completely, basically because of traditions, where only men are accepted as inheritors and tradition keepers. The Maori girl struggles throughout the film, and at the end, when the whales are trapped in the beach, there is only person capable of making them move back to the water. Who will be the true whale rider? You will have to see the picture to find out. Director Niki Caro brings an interesting story based on Maori traditions and Keisha Castles-Hughes, who plays the little girl, had an Oscar nomination for best actress.

01 March 2006

Hotel Rwanda (US, 2004)
What happens when the United Nations decides to leave a country like Rwanda all by itself, in the middle of an imminent civil war and genocide? This movie explores what actually happened a couple of years ago. A war between the Tutsis and the Hutus in a country torn by years of civil unrest and political instability. We see how people really live in this country, and how they manage to escape death. Director George Terry gives us a frightening and realistic approach of everyday life in Rwanda. You will be captivated by the events that almost no one around the world payed attention to.