Eagle and serpent

explorations and philosophy: in the world, of the world

Tag: cinema

Couple in the cabin

Lars von Trier’s newest is a disturbing one. Careful with the reviews though, discussions of Antichrist’s disturbance often become spoilers.

The flick has absolutely stunning cinematography. Slow motions and art-like colours are combined throughout the film with an eerie soundtrack. Depending on the viewer, it might also be viewed either as a feminist or a misogynistic film. Beauty/ugliness, inside/outside, bliss/pain, life/death, you name it. Lars likes to disturb. In a way, this play with contrasts is an old one.

One likable feature in von Trier’s story-telling is his habit of dropping hints along the journey. On the other hand, these traces, picked up and followed, can lead to an underlined use of symbolism. What he discusses nicely is man’s relationship with nature, fear, the forest around him and how it gazes him from within himself.

The cabin becomes the self.


The cowboy’s burden

First reflections after seeing Clint Eastwood’s newest—Gran Torino—were quite confused. The immediate reaction was that the film is Eastwood’s will—summation of the things he’s famous of, spiced up with some criticisms.

Initially, his main character seems like a rather good depiction of a ghettoised, white, racist veteran. After a while, though, this picture starts to show some signs of overemphasis—sometimes he’s just too much himself.

Apologetic and obvious to start with, the movie proceeds to its non-surprising end. The critical viewer is also tempted to see white man’s heroism as a form of neo-colonialism. It’s after all him that saves the aborigines—from themselves.

And yes—the winner gets a car.

Flares in the sky

Once again in the excellent Barbican… This time I saw ‘Waltz with Bashir’, an open account of a personal process told by a former soldier trying to remember what really happened during the infamous Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982.

The method of the movie earns some praise. An animation is always a daring solution, especially in handling controversial matters. On the other hand, it could be also easier this way, as shooting (interesting word in this context, right?) the film in a realist setting could be quite challenging. Where would one get the tanks and soldiers for the film, especially if the army and other security officials would see the film as detrimental to the national values?

Initially, my main interest in the movie was towards the historical events. This changed in the course of the film, however. Instead, I became intrigued by the psychoanalytic aspects of the movie. A person trying to remember happenings around a traumatic issue that are some twenty years old, raises major difficulties of the role of the individual and the constructiveness his own mind. What is false and what really happened? Perhaps most interestingly, the observer has to decide his stance towards himself, once he finally remembers.

Holy sh*t!

I was originally thinking of going to see one of the oxbridges and play with my new toy, but the weather foiled my plans. It was time to come up with something else. Right after the exposure to once again excellent film (in the excellent Barbican), it’s time to draw some lines between thoughts.

‘Battle for Haditha’ is a fine film also for the reason that it makes a nice comparison to our much-debated financial crisis. ‘Good’ intentions, a lot of corpses and someone profiting in the meanwhile. Ingenious!

It also raised interesting questions of institutions and their position. What if your institution is full of poorly educated young men heads full of testosterone, heavy metal and pr of ‘justice’, ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’? Sorry forgot, armed young men.

Hey man, just fly over and drop the candy! Or, if you’re a banker, package the derivatives and sell the blow-up onwards!

As even Alan has said he’s sorry, sort of, I remember many children behaving this way:

  1. Be reckless
  2. Apologise
  3. Everything’s ok


Camden Gomorra

Some time ago, I saw a wonderful piece of genre-breaking mafia film, ‘Gomorra’. One of the best aspects of the film was its style of story-telling. As I saw it, the movie was a window to the lives of the people in and around Naples, not obsessively trying to explain everything. The threads of the story were pulled together or not. This seemed, however, not to be a big concern of the makers.

Moreover, there were at best only traces of the much glorified ‘criminal lifestyle’.  Gang-related violence was plainly shown, no bling-bling. “I’m Tony Montana!” echoed hollowly from the warehouse walls.

After the ‘bad reality’ tv-experience it was time to go home. Just having seen a film like that it just occurred to me, that in some aspects, Camden Town is not very far from Southern Italy.