19 September 2006

Today I would like to write about one of my favourite film directors, Ildiko Enyedi, born in Hungary in 1955. Her style is very unique and has always interested me. She has done very few films unfortunately; four in total. I saw her first film a couple of years ago, and this week I had the chance to see two more films from her. I will briefly discuss each one.

I discovered her first film, My 20th Century (Az én XX. Szazadom, Hungary, 1989) by chance while renting a couple of foreign movies. I loved this movie so much I have seen it several times now. It is the story of two twin sisters born in Budapest. Each take a different path in life: one becomes a revolutionary / terrorist and the other one becomes a prostitute in the high-class milieu of Hungarian bourgeoisie. They both meet the mysterious Mr. Z, and at the end their lives will meet again thanks to him. This is what I call a “poetic” film full of images, music, very few dialogue sequences and a very original way of telling the story, very non-linear approach. The black and white photography won this film recognition at the Cannes film festival.

Enyedi’s next movie, the Magic Hunter (Büvös Vadasz, Hungary, 1994) tells the story of a hunter in the Middle Ages, seen thru the eyes of a child. At the same time it is the story of a marriage that is menaced when the wife meets a Russian chess player. The movie moves from past to present effortlessly. Again you can recognise several of Enyedi’s characteristics, like transitions from one scene using strong music scores, floating cameras showing landscapes, and two stories intertwined to create one solid picture.

The last movie I saw is called Tamas and Juli (Tamas és Juli, Hungary, 1997). This is a love story between two young people in a mining town in Hungary. Tamas works at the mines. He falls in love with Julika, a nursery teacher. On New Year’s Eve 2000, Juli decides to go into the mine to spend the night with Tamas, who has to work night shift. The cinematography is really good, and although the movie is only 60 minutes long, it delivers an interesting and sad story.

15 September 2006

Rhinoceros Eyes (US, 2005)

Director Aaron Woodley tells the story of a very introspective character, Chap, who works at a prop store. One day, a client comes and asks for Rhinoceros eyes for one of her movies. He gets (steals) them for her (of course they are props, not real ones!) but our friend Chap has a very vivid imagination, and he sees strange characters made out of props who talk to him throughout the film. A detective soon shows up. He is investigating the robbery of the props that Chad has stolen to satisfy his client. The story is quite preposterous, but the interesting thing to see how Chad’s imagination takes part in the plot. The movie won an award at the last Toronto Film Festival.

14 September 2006

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (USA, 1993)

My favourite Woody Allen film has to be until now “Small Time Crooks” (I haven't seen them all), and this comedy is not bad at all, but unfortunately it does not come up to the standards of Small Time Crooks. Nevertheless, Woody Allen delivers an original story concerning a detective who is cursed by the jade scorpion, and forced to steal jewels from one of his clients. When he is not under the spell of the jade scorpion, he is working hard at finding the thief, only to find out later that it is he who committed the robbery. He still tries to defend himself because of course he does not remember anything. Solid performances by Helen Hunt and Dan Akroyd make up for an amusing comedy.

12 September 2006

Manderlay (Denmark, 2005)

The second movie in Director's Lars von Trier trilogy is a powerful story about slavery in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. We follow Grace, the daughter of a gangster boss, who discovers the cotton plantation called Manderlay. In this plantation, black people are still being treated as slaves. Grace decides to stay for a while and try to establish a normal "democracy", according to her. She discovers a book that categorizes each slave according to his or her personality, describing how they should behave or react to certain situations. Things become tense when one child dies of pneumonia, and the inhabitants of Manderlay decide to take revenge on one person who stole the food from the sick child. From this point on everyting goes downhill, and the shocking ending makes you reflect upon American history and its horrible past regarding slaves.

08 September 2006

Feed (Australia, 2005)

A guy kidnaps fat women and makes them eat huge amounts of junk food. Not only that: he is showing it live on the internet, and people can actually bet to see how long these women will last before they die. Not only that: he gets sexually aroused when he feeds these women and he is leading a normal life with his wife. Is this sick enough for you? I am fed up of watching sick movies. But this one, I must admit, is actually very well made. The story flows quite fast enough to keep you awake, the editing and score are great, as well as the surprising ending. We follow an Australian police officer who travels to the US in search of this wacko. What he finds out is disturbing enough to make him sick now and then. He nevertheless goes to the very end and is willing to risk even his own life in order to help these kidnapped women. The ending will show that even our Australian hero is a little wacko himself.