Thursday, January 22, 2009

A time to love / Qing Ren Jie (China, 2005)

A boy (Hou Jia) and a girl (Qu Ran) who love each other, but the love isn’t meant to be because their parents won’t agree with it. This story doesn’t sound very innovating and reminds us of the number one of love stories: Romeo & Juliet. In this film, there is also often referred to this classic Shakespeare story which works well, because Romeo and Juliet always keeps interesting.

When Hou Jia and Qu Ran are going to the cinema to see a film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet I was very relieved the director chose the film of 1968 (by director Franco Zeffirelli, in my eyes the best adaptation of this story. It really brought back memories, for the first time I saw it in my first year in high school and though most students thought it was boring I fell in love with this Romeo and Juliet film at first time.

A time to love is maybe not too innovating but it is really good. This film is all about love and its difficulties. How long will you wait for the one you love? A question that refers to your own heart, to the one you love mostly, and than you will know the answer. It is not really a long wait, cause the moment you see eachother again you won't remember the period you were apart from each other.

Sometimes the scenes really take your breath away, so beautiful they are. When Qu Ran undresses herself slowly, a tear in her eyes show the love and pain she feels. These little things make this movie a really wonderful experience. The acting is great, especially by Zhao Wei. Her appearance is of course beautiful, but also very pure.

A simple, but well directed story of love.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Joint Security Area / Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA (South-Korea, 2000)

Joint Security Area (JSA) is a really impressive film about the aftermath of (how we would call it) the ‘forgotten war’ (Korean war).
This a film abAfbeelding toevoegenout friendship, that when you expect it the least there are possibilities to make new friends, even in the madness of the thing called war. Two countries who are just being divided by a drawn line, standing towards each other and hating each other while they are both Korean.

To me, this was a really interesting film about the tension between North- and South-Korea, a tension that still is far from gone. It is interesting that the director, Park Chan-wook, doesn’t talk about good or wrong. He just wants to focus on the story of soldiers of both sides and how they became friends. Maybe to some people the pace of this film is to slow but all the time the director seems to create something like suspense which keeps it all the time very interesting.
The acting in it is often great, especially Kang-ho Song is brilliant as the North-Korean soldier.

A dramatic, but magnificent anti-war film.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let the right one in / Lat den Rätte Komma In (Sweden, 2008)

Sometimes you just don’t expect too much of a movie, and when you see it you are just being blown away by its beauty. It happened to me when I was watching the Swedish film ‘Let the right one in’.

What kind of film are we dealing with? Well, this is a rather difficult question cause in a way it almost looks like a typical Swedish child movie (In the Netherlands we would say it is a typical Sunday morning/afternoon film, because here there often Scandinavian child movies shown during this time). But no, it is not. Some scenes in it are just too much, some scenes maybe even are rated for 16 years and older. But it isn’t a casual horror movie as well. I think it comes close to a romantic drama film a horror twist. In the end, this film is the story of a boy (Oskar), who is being bullied at school, who makes a new friend, a very intriguing girl (Eli). Rather fast he feels more for her as friendship but Eli isn’t just a normal girl. ‘If I would not be a girl, would you still like me?’ Eli asks.

What makes this film so powerful is another aspect. It is the atmosphere in this film! The fantastic cinematography, the music the acting, it all adds up to a magical atmosphere that is being created. The brilliant shots of the Swedish snow give it a desolate and mysterious feeling. The acting of the two young actors is amazing, especially the acting of Lina Leandersson. She always has this mystery around her, she is always a bit scary but at the same time she is most intriguing and that is what probably attracts Oskar so much in her.

This is a vampire film, but not just an ordinary one. It is also a film about growing up, about being bullied and about experiencing your first love.