Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lust, Caution - Se Jie (China, 2007)

Lust Caution (Se Jie) by Ang Lee stars Chinese leading actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai and introducing actress Wei Tang.
It’s a film that can best be described like a suspenseful erotic thriller. We will follow a group of students in 1928 and 1942 at Shanghai who form a acting group but also wanna be in the underground fighting the Japanese. They wanna eliminate one of the the Chinese important man who works together with the Japanese government. Tang Wei, one of the girls of this group of friends, should seduce this man (played by Tony Leung).

An interesting movie unfolds itself! It is a movie that depends on its mood, it’s a bit dark, it’s a bit lonely, it’s exciting and sexy. The rape of the girl is almost unwatchable, the killing of a person is shown horrifically, the erotic scenes are moody and explicit, the story is gently, cruel and subtle. It all matches perfectly! The acting of new star Tang Wei is really impressive and the acting of Tony Leung is outstanding again. I didn’t expect any different though because in my opinion he is one of the leading actors in this world at the moment.

The music gets under your skin, it adds to the suspenseful mood of this film. The clothing is really amazing, but yeah....those Chinese traditional dresses (the qi-pao are the most beautiful ever made), they are just so wonderful, it adds so much beauty to the film. Every little detail seems to be correct.

Ang Lee made a very impressive movie which gets under your skin, gets you the mood of seduction, gets you watch it for 2.5 hours and than ask yourself... is it done already? Just for the kids amongst us... yest it is for over 16 years old, the scenes are really explicit.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Magdalene sisters (Great-Brittain and Ireland, 2002)

The Magdalene sisters is a rather shocking film about one of the catholic Magdalene laundries (assylum). Women who committed some sort of crime were send here.
In this film three girls are being portraited. Their crimes: Rose has a child out of wedlock, Bernadette makes the moral mistake of flirting with boys and Margaret is being raped by her cousin and tells her family members about it.
They are send to one of these Magdalene laundries for a long time, maybe forever. In this institute there are being mentally manipulated and physically abuse. Catholic religion is shown as the only true thing. The nuns are cold and cruel. This is also the mood of this film…very very cold and dark. In the end, after watching it the light seems far away for all of us! The only thing the girls could think of to escape, escape from this world of religious brainwashing.

An interesting and shocking film, by director Peter Mullan, about a Magdalene laundry in the sixties and the unfortunate girls who had to face this fate.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Suicide club / Jisatsu saakuru (Japan, 2002)

54 girls who commit suicide by jumping in front of a train! That is how 'suicide club' (also known as suicide circle and in Japanese Jisatsu saakuru) starts, so if you want to see something happy or without blood don’t turn this film on!

More suicides appear and on the spot where it happened is a sports bag found. In it is something gruesome, something made of human flesh. It should already be clear that is film is very harsh! The police doesn’t have a clue but get a strange phone call which leads to an even stranger website. An investigation starts.
In high school some students found the suicide club, and to honour their name they jump of the roof of a school building. What drives these boys and girls to end their lives?

A rollercoaster ride which will take you to much shocking stuff! But it doesn’t lose itself in cruelty and stays interesting, leaving you with many unanswered questions. The cinematography is very intriguing, especially when there is a scene about a family watching tv and the next moment a little girl is giving her rabbit salad in a strange cage. She closes the cage and the film continues. What can we except from this scene, what is its relevance? It keeps you wondering.

I thought it was a really interesting and totally weird film by director Sion Sono. The music fitted really perfectly as well, the complete opposite of the mood of this film. But once more, I don’t exaggerate when I say it is only for people with a very strong stomach, true horror is shown. It probably is a movie that is society related. Japanese society is know for his high suicide rates and this movie shows a Japanese society that completely lost his mind, kind of an pre-apocalypticalworld. Everybody seems to have lost connection with itself.

‘Now it is time to bid you all a pleasant farewell’

Nomad (Kazakhstan, 2005)

Nomad is a Kazakh/French production and is directed by Sergei Bodrov and Ivan Passer.
This film could best be described as ‘Kazakh Brave heart’. The Kazakh nomads and have to face thier oppressors, the Jungar forces with Galdan Tseren as their leader.
The different kind of tribes won’t form a unity until the son of a sultan is born. Though many want to kill him, he is raised like a warrior by a Kazakh wise man, together with a group of children from all over the Kazakh steppe which the wise man has gathered. They are the hope for the Kazakh!
There is also the story of two friends who fall in love with the same girl.

The clothing is very well done, nomad clothing is pretty interesting! The time-period is rather interesting as well because though everyone still fights with swords the first artillery is introduced.
The plot of the story is too average, the acting is not outstanding either. They tried to make an epic Kazakh movie, but we still have to wait for that to happen. This movie does put much emphasis on the fact that the Kazakh nomads are proud horse-people.

It does have a morale, and it’s clear as day: Without unity there can be no prosperity
And it should be said… it’s wonderful who they pronounce the word ‘amen’!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Grbavica (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2006)

Grbavica is directed by Jasmila Zbanic.

It's a very emotional story about contemporary Sarajevo. A mother and her daughter, who belong to the lower class, experience emotional difficulties. Esma finding it hard to move on after she experienced horrible events at a war camp. She has wounds that left a big scar in her heart. Her daughter Sara wants to go on a fieldtrip with school. For this she needs a certificate that her father is a martyr, a question which her mother seems to be avoiding. Why is she avoiding her and what kind of ghosts does haunt her from the past?

Mirjana Karanovic acts wonderful, she catches this sad emotion which seems to be just beneath the surface. The music, mostly folksongs about Sarajevo, fit perfectly for this film.
A very beautiful film about the aftermath of the Balkan war and the difficulties of a low class family in Sarajevo.