29 June 2007

The Three Faces of Fear
a.k.a. Black Sabbath (Le Tre Volti Della Paura), Italy 1963 ☆☆☆

This mystery film from Italy is divided into three different stories. In the first story, a woman receives strange phone calls, apparently by a serial murderer who just escaped from prison. The second involves the legends of the living dead, set in Eastern Europe, where a young man finds a secluded family living in fear of the waking dead. The third one is for me the scariest one; a woman for some reason is called upon to dress up the body of a woman who has just passed away. Maybe arrangements for her funeral? We never find out. Without anyone noticing, she steals a gold ring from the dead corpse. As you can figure out, she will soon regret this act. She will be hearing voices in her house, and the dead body will come back for her ring. It all sounds quite cheesy, but remember the movie dates back to 1963, where Dracula and the Werewolf were still fighting in castles. This is a fresh twist on the mystery/horror genre. Wonder why the US title is Black Sabbath. I personally prefer the Three Faces of Fear.

28 June 2007

Into Great Silence
(die Grosse Stille) Deutschland, 2006 ☆☆

Die Idee ist sehr gut, es klingt sogar spannend: eine Beschreibung des Lebens in einem Kloster. Weiss man wirklch, wie das Leben da drinnen ist? Die meisten von uns haben natürlich keine Ahnung. Und dieser Film berichtet über den Alltag der Möncher. Leider dauert den Film fast drei Stunden! Meiner Meinung nach ist das zu viel. Immer wieder tauchen die gleichen Szenen auf: das Abendessen, die Arbeit beim Textschreiben, das Gebet, die Massen, und so weiter. Aber, wie erwartet, gibt es nichts Ausserordentliches. Es ist auf jeden Fall interessant zu wissen, dass es noch Leute gibt, die in so ein einfaches Leben führen. Die Möncher besitzen fast nichts, sie tragen immer die gleiche Kleidung und Schuhe. Im Kloster findet man spärliche, einfache Möbel. Wenn der Film nur kürzer dauern würde...

22 June 2007

Fear of Fear
(Angst vor der Angst) Germany, 1975 ☆☆

Es geht um eine Hausfrau, die ein normales Leben führt mit ihrem Mann und der Tochter. Leider geht es dieser Hausfrau nicht so gut. Sie fängt an, Angst zu haben. Aber wovor hat sie Angst? Nicht einmal die Frau kann diese Frage beantworten. Mehr und mehr ist sie von einem ständigen Gefühl von Ängstlichkeit befangen. Sie versucht zuerst, sich immer mit irgendetwas zu beschäftigen. Sobald sie nichts zu tun hat, wird sie ängstlich. Später greift sie zum Alkohol, aber das hilft nicht viel. Dann geht sie zum Arzt. Er verschreibt Tabletten (Valium) aber das hat auch keine positive Wirkung auf ihr Wohlbefinden.

Natürlich macht sich ihr Mann Sorgen. Seine Familie mischt sich auch ein, und die Frau fühlt sich immer mehr unter Druck. Selbstverstândlich ist kein glückliches Ende zu erwarten. Schlimmer geht es der Frau, als sie anfängt, eine Beziehung mit dem Arzt zu haben. Die Geschichte ist relativ einfach, mit wenigen Schauspielern, wusste aber Regisseur Fassbinder genau, wie man einen Film spannend drehen kann. Seine Filme sind vom Theater beeinflusst.

08 June 2007

Je vous trouve très beau (France, 2005)
It's good to watch movies that you think are not very good but turn out to be much more than you expected. After having seen Changement d'Adresse, this second French comedy was equally impressive. This is a comedy about a farmer, Aymé (played by Michel Blanc) who after his divorce decides to look for a new wife. He is thinking more in practical terms: there is too much work to do at the farm for only one person to handle. He somehow gets in contact with a "mariage agency". The only hic is that these "wives" come from Roumania. After some hesitation, Aymé travels to Roumania to do some interview with potential wife candidates. After choosing Eleena, she goes with him to France leaving behind her child in Bucarest. Troubles start when Aymé hides Eleena's true identity and when he becomes jealous of Eleena because she talks to the few neighbours there are in the village.
I was surprised by this film because is simple, but the it is a very original story. It's in between a comedy and a drama because we get to the living conditions of Eleena's relatives in Bucarest. But all in all, it's a truly original movie.

06 June 2007

The Saddest Music in the World (Canada, 2003) ☆☆☆☆

Director Guy Maddin has created a very original movie following the style of the old silent black and white movies. We find ourselves in 1933 in the middle of winter in Winnipeg. A no-legged queen, played by Isabella Rosselini, decides to start a competition to see which country has the saddest music in the world. The winner of each round is thrown into a huge pool of beer, while alcohol prohibition is still going on in the US. One by one, each country brings its own folk music, along with singers and musicians. The American team, lead by Mr. Chester Kent, will do almost everything to win the competition. Unfortunately for him, things do not go very well, and a final tragic event will put an end to many beer parties being held because of this competition.

The movie is shot in black and white, but some scenes change tone, some are sepia, some are bluish, and at times color comes up for a short time. The whole will remind you of the early silent films, and considering the movie was actually shot during winter at minus 30 degrees (in Winnipeg, of course), you have to give Maddin credit for pulling off a nice original story with a strong visual style that is unique to this director.

04 June 2007

After the Wedding (Efter Brylluppet, Denmark, 2006) ☆☆☆☆☆

Once again I had the opportunity to watch an extraordinary Danish film, this time from director Suzanne Bier. The manager of an orphanage in India, Mikkelsen, is sent back to Copenhague to renew his funds contact to keep the orphanage open for another year. During this trip, he finds out that the rich guy who is about to give the money is having his daughtter's wedding that very weekend. He invites Mikkelsen to the wedding party. Upon arriving at the wedding, Mikkelsen realizes that the rich guy's wife was actually her ex-wife, and that the girl that is getting married is her own daughter, who he believed never existed. Not only that, there is a really tragic secret that I will not reveal here, but it all makes Mikkelsen's life change dramatically.. for the better or the worst?