{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This Weekend

A sad one, if I may say so. It was not boring though. But it had the heavy feeling that one experiences when one sleeps all day and wakes up at night - thirsty, hungry and alone. Not particularly sad though. But film wise, it was quite good. I saw almost 10 films. Here we go:

Two films, The Knight and Glass Lips, my Lech Majewski: All my fears came rushing back. Too serious and too masturbatory, although still better than Theo Angelopoulos' onanism, I tried a lot but none of them worked, except for few set pieces. I hated the sound in Glass Lips, it was like a RGV film. When the film finished, the person sitting next to me, clapped alone and said "Very Polish". It was like the laughing track during the Rabbit soap in Inland Empire.

The Devil Came on Horseback: An American marine captain, Brian Steidle, was sent to Sudan as an official military observer. He observed a horrible genocide of black Africans being orchestrated by the Islamic government using an militant army called Jangaweed (meaning " devil on a horse" in Arabic) taking place in the western part of Sudan, Darfur. Steidle send many reports to the UN and US govt, as a part of his job, which described the situation that was clearly a genocide but no action was taken. He quit the job and came back home with all the pictures he has taken of devastation and released them in press. Visually and aesthetically, there is nothing new in this documentary but it gracefully raises itself above the savior-white-man domain, because the Steidle's efforts are that of a passionate activist who understands the situation, not of a saviour hero. Read more about the film here.

Cinemania: Wrote about it here.

The Navigators: Ken Loach's comedy about the working class. Five men working in railway maintenance discover that now they are employees of a private company (East Midland Infrastructure), as the govt has privatized the railway maintenance. New set of rules come into play (cost cutting, working hours, redundancy etc), and the work and the personal life of the workers is affected drastically, leading to unfortunate events both at professional and personal level. The great part of the film is way it captures the effects of shortsighted changes, and the way Loach is able to portray how human core are emotionally and morally effected by them. A nice companion film to Human Resources.

The School of Flesh: A simple film raised considerably by Isabelle Huppert's performance (especially when she weeps through her glass eyes, it looks as if she is washing her face off any left emotion. Her face looks "cleaner" after that). An elder fashion designer, Dominique, falls for a young good-looking hustler, Quentin, who has an abrasive life. Her obsession for his flesh (he also knew that he got a rich woman because he looks great. In his moment of insecurity he asks Dominique if she would love him if he were ugly or maimed), drains her emotionally as she tries to connect to him on a non-physical level. Slowly, it becomes clear that the things wont work. The last scene is a cliche of sorts but it works. Lovers, married and with kids, meeting after long time, exchanging glances and few words, is something that always works for me.

The Best Way to Walk: In a French summer camp, a slender, beautiful music and theatre teacher, Marc, enters into child-like game of confrontation and humiliation with the virile sport teacher, Philippe, when he, by chance sees Marc cross-dressing. Philippe stereotypical masculinity takes a surge and he starts humiliating Marc at every possibility. Marc, disturbed by Philippe's behavior, calls his girlfriend to the camp but is enable to make love with her, which further presses him down. The humiliations increase and in his display of extreme machismo, Philippe throws, physically weak Marc in the swimming pool and later beats him hard. The story which is essentially a children's story (weak kid and the school bully), is quite consciously set in a kids summer camp where the adults still have the stereotypical ideas of sexuality, while the kids are still discovering it. The game ends in a costume party where Marc dressed as a Spanish dancer, invites Philippe, dressed as a knight, to dance. Philippe, obviously scared by Marc's daring of display(Marc even kisses him), acts weird and tries to run away. They later meet, years later, and it seems that they all are now grown up. A sensitive and funny look at inflated notions of male sexuality. The title of the film comes from a French camp song, "The best way to walk, after all, is ours...", which is sung by the young kids of Philippe's class

Careful: A very interesting film by Canadian auteur Guy Maddin. Planning to write about it, in detail.

Whisky: This one is awesome. The weekend best. Its rightly called comedy, even though it has no comic lines and you never laugh. It just warms you up. As economical as a film can be. Highly recommended. Will write about it more.

Other than these, saw about 3/4th of Cría Cuervos (stopped in middle because it was too good to handle, I ration good films to myself) and 1/4th of Platform. Will try to complete them soon.

Note: Picture from the "Whisky" moment from Whisky.

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