Wednesday 1 October 2008

Random Notes #4

Reprise - An interesting stylish first major film by Danish director Joachim Trier, it tells the story of two young authors in Oslo trying to get their books published as well as grappling with maturity, relationships and figuring out some sense of purpose. This is a good example of using different techniques (freeze frames, flashbacks, etc.) to enhance the story and not get in the way of it (ie. not using style just for the sake of it). There's great use of silence during some of the transitions between scenes that builds a sense of tension regarding what has just happened or may happen next. The ending of the film is also very well done - some might find it open ended or perhaps lacking closure, but given the previous 90 minutes or so, it fits in perfectly.

The Man Without A Past/Lights In The Dusk - My first forays into the world of Aki Kaurismaki (in prep for the Eclipse box set I just received). The Finns may sometimes be called gloomy, but "The Man Without A Past" was downright charming...It just grew on me the entire running time.

The Scandinavians seem to like their bar bands too...Both "Reprise" and "Lights In The Dusk" had club scenes:

Lights In The Dusk


Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle - A whole lot better than I ever thought it might be. Certainly silly and occasionally unnecessarily crude, it was actually kinda charming (yes, I know I've already used that word once in this post). Its sequel doesn't fare anywhere near as well though.

Thief Of Bagdad - Lost me at the point the big genie shows up...

Lacombe, Lucien - Another very fine Louis Malle film. But the moment that will stick in my mind is early in the film when the titular young farm boy has just caught a chicken. As he holds it upside down by its feet, he gives its head a whack. When he gives it a second one, he snaps its head so hard that it flies off...You can see it bounce off the ground in the background as the blood pours out of its neck. The actor playing Lacombe was apparently a real farm-raised young man, so I expect that he had done that kind of thing before (he then proceeded to sit down and pluck it completely) and that this chicken was already earmarked for, uh, "reduced pecking time".

But still...My jaw kinda dropped. Can you imagine that scene in a film today? You can briefly see a few still shots of it (nothing gross or gory) in the following trailer for the film:

Risky Business - Another of the early touchstone films that made me realize that a director can bring a number of additional touches to a story and convey so much more. And that Tangerine Dream score is just absolutely perfect. 25 years old and I find the film holds up remarkably well.

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