Author Topic: Around the World in 86 Movies  (Read 37577 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #90 on: August 11, 2013, 05:16:03 AM »
Where We Are:  Norway
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Elling
Year of Release:  2001
Starring:  Per Christian Ellefsen, Sven Nordin, Marit Pia Jacobsen, Jørgen Langhelle, Per Christensen
Directed By:  Petter Næss
Genre:  Comedy

Overview:
After a two-year stint in a state home in which the shy, neurotic Elling and the loud, sex-obsessed Kjell Bjarne became close friends, the pair are released and forced to enter the real world.They find themselves placed in a state funded apartment where a social worker tells them to behave responsibly and act like normal members of society. Initially, the simple act of going around the corner for groceries is a challenge. In time, as they learn to adjust, the two find oddball ways to cope with society, striking up unlikely friendships in the strangest places. Now they're packed and ready for the greatest adventure of their lives. All they have to do is get out of the house!

My Thoughts:
This was a wonderful, funny, touching, ultimately heartwarming film.  It's a film about relationships - the relationships of people with each other, and the relationships of people with society.  It's a film about getting out of your comfort zone and grabbing life.  And the difficulty in doing so.

Elling, our protagonist, begins with great difficulties in grabbing life.  While it is never mentioned, he obviously has a severe anxiety disorder and is extremely shy, having been sheltered his entire life.  It's a stretch for him to try walking down the block to buy groceries.  Yet, as he gets outside his comfort zone and tries to do things, he accomplishes things. If we look deeper into ourselves, we might see a bit of Elling inside each of us - we each have our own comfort zones and our own problems breaking out of our familiar, safe havens and routines. In Elling's (and his roomie, Kjell Bjarne's) triumphs we could see our own.

Top-notch acting on the part of the two leads.  Absolutely some of the best I've seen in a long time.  They really embody these characters. The camera work seems, at first, nothing special, but I really liked the way it seemed to tilt, or swim, just a little, when Frank (the social worker) pushed Elling and Kjell Bjarne to do something uncomfortable.

Another thing I really liked was that the film treated these two men with a lot of humanity and dignity.  Both had a lot to offer, if they are given, and give themselves, a chance to find it.  Very funny and uplifting film - highly recommended.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 4.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #91 on: August 11, 2013, 05:17:31 AM »
Nice work - enjoying reading your reviews.
Was a fun trip when I did it, you are making me wish for another voyage around the map!
Rich
Thanks!  While it's taking a lot longer than I had hoped, we're having fun watching good movies, and that's really what's important.  Glad you're enjoying the reviews - means something to write them and know that folks are reading them.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #92 on: August 11, 2013, 05:26:50 AM »
Where We're Going Next:  Sweden

I have a decent number of Swedish films to choose from, most of them from Ingmar Bergman.  I can say already that we'll be watching The Seventh Seal

- Cries and Whispers
- Crisis
- Fanny & Alexander
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
- The Girl Who Played With Fire
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
- I Am Curious (Blue)
- I Am Curious (Yellow)
- Ingeborg Holm
- Kestrel's Eye
- Let the Right One In
- The Magic Flute
- The Magician
- A Man There Was
- My Life as a Dog
- The Phantom Carriage
- Port of Call
- Saraband
- Scenes From a Marriage
- The Seventh Seal
- The Silence
- Smiles of a Summer Night
- Summer Interlude
- Summer With Monika
- Thirst
- Through a Glass Darkly
- To Joy
- Torment
- Wild Strawberries
- Winter Light
- You the Living
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline GSyren

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #93 on: August 11, 2013, 08:01:31 AM »
So much Bergman but no Virgin Spring? Or did you just forget to list it?

Offline Piffi

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #94 on: August 11, 2013, 11:31:42 AM »
Glad you liked Elling :)
We'll Always Have Paris.


Thomas

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #95 on: August 11, 2013, 03:27:49 PM »
So much Bergman but no Virgin Spring? Or did you just forget to list it?
Nope, don't own it yet.  It's still on my wishlist.  I do, however, also have The Serpent's Egg, but that's a CoO Germany film, despite also being directed by Bergman.

Glad you liked Elling :)
And, absolutely!  Elling was great.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 03:32:26 PM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Piffi

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #96 on: August 11, 2013, 10:49:55 PM »
You should check out Sequal(s) i think you would enjoy the second one. The third is ok i guess. But IMHO the two first one is great :)
We'll Always Have Paris.


Thomas

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #97 on: August 12, 2013, 02:08:44 PM »
Where We Are: Sweden
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal)
Year of Release: 1957
Directed By: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Nils Poppe, Bibi Andersson
Genre: Drama

Overview:
Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet), Ingmar Bergman's stunning allegory of man's search for meaning, was one of the benchmark imports of America's 1950s art-house heyday, pushing cinema's boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing.

My Thoughts:
This is an art film - striking cinematography, arresting visuals, allegorical, philosophical, symbolic.  It is also the art film, richly deserving of its status as classic.  It's an extraordinary piece of art, a dark, beautiful film with great power to disturb the viewer.

Steeped as it is in conflicts/contrast between faith and disbelief (the Christian knight and his atheist squire, the condemnation of the flagellants fanaticism and the simple beauty of Jof's vision of Mary and the Christ Child) I ultimately found the film to affirm the Wiccan adage "For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without."  The knight, seeking endlessly for answers, has the answer within himself the entire time - only you give your life meaning. 

Of course, perhaps Bergman means for us to each find our own message in the film.  It's a rich, complex, layered piece of work and highly recommended for the thinking film enthusiast.  A new favorite.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #98 on: August 12, 2013, 02:39:38 PM »
Where We're Going Next: Finland

Not much to choose from here.  I have one set of 3 films.  We've seen Shadows in Paradise, so it'll be one of the other two.

- Ariel
- The Match Factory Girl
- Shadows in Paradise
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #99 on: August 26, 2013, 05:21:37 AM »
Where We Are: Finland
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Ariel
Year of Release: 1988
Directed By: Aki Kaurismäki
Starring: Turo Pajala, Susanna Haavisto, Matti Pellonpää
Genre: Drama, Crime

Overview:
In Aki Kaurismäki's drolly existential crime drama, a coal miner named Taisto (Turo Pajala) attempts to leave behind a provincial life of inertia and economic despair, only to get into ever deeper trouble. Yet a minor-key romance with a hilariously dispassionate meter maid (Susanna Haavisto) might provide a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Ariel, which boasts a terrific soundtrack of Finnish tango and Baltic pop music and lovely cinematography by Kaurismaki's longtime cameraman Timo Salminen, put its director on the international map.

My Thoughts:
When the system is stacked against an honest man, the only way to get ahead is to become a criminal himself.  That's what I took away from this droll, deadpan look at the life of the working class.  Taisto leaves his dying town after his father's suicide to seek something greater - only to find everything goes wrong except the relationship he develops with a divorced single mom.  Yet Taisto never loses his calm, confident, detached demeanor, and never stops striving for a better life.  Despite Taisto never losing hope, Kaurismäki's attitude seems world-weary and tinged with bitterness.  His treatment of the working class is a dignified one, and he really captures the basically bleak future of the common man if he continues as the cog in the machine of society.  The film itself is of a sparse, minimalist style and it has a great soundtrack.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I could only recommend it for those who enjoy art films.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #100 on: August 26, 2013, 05:25:18 AM »
Where We're Going Next: The Soviet Union

I have a few films made in the Soviet Union from which to choose:

- Alexander Nevsky
- Andrei Rublev
- Battleship Potemkin
- Chess Fever
- Dersu Uzala
- Earth
- The End of St. Petersburg
- Ivan the Terrible (parts I & II)
- Letter Never Sent
- Man With a Movie Camera
- The Mirror
- Solaris
- Stalker
- Strike

We've previously seen Battleship Potemkin and Solaris, and will likely be watching Man With a Movie Camera, as I really want to see that one.  
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 05:27:04 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #101 on: August 27, 2013, 04:31:35 AM »
Where We Are:  The Soviet Union
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man With a Movie Camera)
Year of Release:  1929
Directed By:  Dziga Vertov
Starring:  The people of Moscow and Odessa
Genre:  Documentary

Overview:
Dziga Vertov's MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA is considered one of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era. Startlingly modern, this film utilizes a groundbreaking style of rapid editing and incorporates innumerable other cinematic effects to create a work of amazing power and energy.

After his work on The Commissar Vanishes, a multi-media art event in 1999, composer Michael Nyman (The Piano) continued researching the period of extraordinary creativity that followed the Russian Revolution. His artistic inquiry resulted in a new, celebrated score for MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, performed by The Michael Nyman Band on May 17, 2002 at London's Royal Festival Hall.

This dawn-to-dusk view of the Soviet Union offers a montage of urban Russian life, showing the people of the city at work and at play, and the machines that endlessly whirl to keep the metropolis alive. It was Vertov's first full-length film, and it employs all the cinematic techniques at the director's disposal—dissolves, split-screens, slow motion and freeze frames—to produce a work that is exhilarating and intellectually brilliant.

My Thoughts:
First, the obvious disclaimer.  This is a non-linear, non-narrative, experimental film.  The average movie-goer would likely be either confused or bored, or both, by this film.  I can't think of one of my friends to share this film with.  That having been said, this is one of the most innovative, interesting films to watch.  There are dozens upon hundreds of modern films that don't have even one tenth of the creativity demonstrated here. 

The camera work and editing are simply amazing.  Jumps, stops, split-screen, frenetic movement, trick work, every little technique is used to create a look at the Russian people at work and play. 

There are a lot of reasons to watch this film - for its innovative camera work, for its place in cinema history, for its view of everyday life in 1929 Russia, for a look at a successful style of propaganda film.  This is, after all, a celebration of the working class, an everyman's picture.  There are no stars but the people themselves, and the magical world of the cinema is the world of the worker, of society, working together in harmony. 

I'd say it's absolutely essential viewing for cinema enthusiasts, recommended for art film lovers, but blockbuster lovers should skip it.  I found it a dazzling piece of work and enjoyed it quite a lot.

Bechdel Test: not applicable

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #102 on: August 27, 2013, 04:39:20 AM »
Where We're Going Next:  Russia

We're kinda staying put, since Mom has voted to watch the Russian film next rather than saving Russia for when we're in Asia.

We have the following films from Russia:

- The Cuckoo
- Day Watch
- The Italian
- Night Watch
- Prisoner of the Mountains
- Roads to Koktebel

Mom wants to watch The Cuckoo, so that's what we'll be watching.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #103 on: September 02, 2013, 05:31:40 AM »
Where We Are:  Russia
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Kukushka (The Cuckoo)
Year of Release:  2002
Directed By:  Aleksandr Rogozhkin
Starring:  Anni-Kristiina Juuso, Viktor Bychkov, Ville Haapasalo
Genres:  Drama, Comedy, War

Overview:
September 1944, in a land torn apart by war, a Finnish sniper is labeled a coward by his compatriots; as punishment, he is nailed to a rock and left to his own devices. Not long after, a disgraced Russian Captain, en route to his court martial, is injured in an accident. Both men are about to find out how they have one thing in common. Wounded and emotionally tortured, they are taken in by Anni, a young, resourceful war widow, who offers shelter to one while nursing the other back to health. None of them understands the others' languages, but it doesn't seem to matter. Isolated, the three unlikely roommates - a Finn, a Russian and a Lapp - overcome both comic and tragic misunderstandings to form a passionate three-way...relationship. Because after a day of hard work on Anni's farm, who needs words?

My Thoughts:
I must say, I'm glad Mom insisted we watch this one out of our Russian films.  We really enjoyed this film.  It has a stark kind of beauty to it, especially the landscape once the focus gets to Anni's farm by the lake.  It's also a powerful anti-war film.  In the featurette on the making of the film, Haapasalo talks about how once you get to know someone you can't go to war against them, for you see them as a human being just like yourself.  The film has the same message, in the eventual friendship between Ivan and Veikko.  That friendship, and their mutual friendships with Anni, however, are only so deep.  Though they find a way to communicate without language, and do come to understand each other to a certain degree, their relationships would have been much deeper and much stronger than they became.  The film really emphasized to me the fundamental importance of language in human relationships.  The language barrier led to several very humourous parts of the film, especially the sequence between Ivan and Anni about the mushrooms, but it was also the biggest tragedy between all of them.  Of course, had they been able to communicate we might not have gotten another valuable point the film tries to make - that one should not judge someone so quickly.  Ivan believes Veikko to be a fascist, when Veikko is trying to tell him that the war is over for him and all he wants is to go home and live in peace.

Ultimately, this is a film that promotes the idea that love, friendship, pleasure, and life are really what is important and what are really worth striving for.  The only thing I wasn't happy with was the ending.
(click to show/hide)
I think I understand why the director chose to end it as he did though.  A wonderful film, though, and recommended.

Bechdel Test:  Fail

Overall: 3.75/5
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 05:42:17 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #104 on: September 02, 2013, 05:42:34 AM »
Where We're Going Next  Estonia ... or Poland

We should be going to Estonia.  We have one film from there - Sugisball - so that's what we'll be watching.  But we won't have time for it until at least next Sunday.

So we might jump countries and go to Poland, and return to Estonia later.  I have two films from Poland - The Double Life of Veronique and Knife in the Water, and both are shorter than Sugisball, so there might be time to watch one of them before Sunday.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield