I am not in the mood to write tonight so I will keep this really short. Except for the beautiful Simone Signoret, this film is absolute average French postwar classical melodrama. Nothing more, nothing less, just middle of the road. See it if this wets your whistle, but even then only after you have seen Max Ophuls and Douglas Sirk do melodrama at its best. Throw in a few Bette Davis movies for good measure.
I am a big fan of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, but this is not a good film. It has his signature all over it, the Douglas Sirk influences like shooting into mirrors and the wonderful use of color along with his own bias towards stories of homosexuals and/or crossdressers. However, this story about a man who seems to have had a sex change operation on a whim and is suffering from depression years later as a result would be sad if it were not so boring. We care about the guy, but we don’t have enough events to experience with this man in order for us to stay engaged. A conclusion is reached that is logical and while we feel sorry, but everything up till then has been pretty boring. I just can’t recommend such a boring film that is screaming for attention with it’s plot.
I’d love to write more, but I am not feeling so good. I can’t recommend this film enough. There are several things in this film, but the center piece that makes the film worth watching is the barn sequence. The Nazi’s roll into town, round up the people, put them all in a barn, and then set the barn ablaze. This simple act is drawn out for the bulk of the picture so that the true magnitude of this atrocity can be taken in. By taking up director Elem Klimov on his invitation to come and see we see the atrocities the German’s committed on Russian side of WWII.
This film along with Shoah (1985) are absolutely essential to understanding the horrors committed by the Germans. See this film.
I love Dirk Bogarde, but aside from the homosexual references, this film is enjoyable just to watch Dirk. Dirk starts as a man who gets hired to be a servant by a guy who loves the idea of having a man servant. He then gets a woman brought into the house to be the maid. He and his employer sleep with her and then kick her to the curb. Basically Dirk takes a British yuppie and drags him down to the level of Marcello at the end of La Dolce Vita (1960), complete with a scene reminiscent of the orgy sequence at the end of La Dolce Vita. It’s fun to watch, but I can’t find anything else redeeming about the film.
I’ve been on a fair amount of medication lately so forgive me if I keep this and the next review extra short. This film was kind of corny. Two soldiers and a woman get stranded just short of Canterbury and try to track down “The Glue Man”. A guy who likes to poor glue on woman’s heads. He ultimately provides a justification, but it is weak. They ultimately go to Canterbury like the Pilgrims and each receive a minor miracle. That’s it. There is probably some allegory in there, but I couldn’t find it. As it is, it’s worth a look.
This film is the old fish out of water story. It’s about a guy who has come to Scotland to negotiate for the property that a small fishing village is on in order to build an oil refinery. Things go as expected for this kind of story. The only interesting things about it are that the guy doesn’t end up staying in the town and the town is perfectly willing to sell because as they put it, “You can’t eat scenery.”
If your looking for a film that pours on the sentimentality, this is not the film. But if you want a nice little heartwarming story, it’s worth a look.
This is my first Wai Kar Wong film and I get the idea that it is a poor introduction. The film is about love, but larger than that it is a meditation on the transient nature of things including Hong Kong itself. This is represented most directly by the main character’s obsession with expiration dates. Despite their expiration dates, he is sure that things are still good and shouldn’t be thrown out just because their date has past.
It’s interesting and Wong’s visuals are a nice blend of realism and style. However, the lack of story for mere meditation can make the film boring at times. That said, it’s worth a look.
I got lucky and was able to see this one tonight at the Pacific Film Archive on the UC Berkeley campus. Lucky because this one is not available anywhere, not so much because it is that great. It isn’t a bad movie. It does have Josef Von Sternberg’s signature all over it, but that isn’t impressive in 1953. Also the plot is just a minor variation on the Lord Of The Flies premise. This time it is a bunch of Japanese soldiers stranded on an island with a single woman after WWII. You can figure out the rest. The only thing that is great about this film is the beauty of every shot. However, you can see beautiful shots like these in Sternberg’s 1930’s films when they were actually impressive.
Oh yeah, did I mention the fact that the Japanese soldiers speak Japanese with no subtitles. Instead, we are given an English language narration that is funny when it shouldn’t be. They probably should remove the narration and add subtitles. I think there is a better film hiding somewhere behind the narration.
As it is, approach it with caution.
I think I saw this film all the way through. The version I have seems to come to 144 minutes, but the film is supposed to come to 210 minutes. I will try to find a more complete version, if it exists, but I don’t think it will help. The film is based on the idea that if you point a camera at supposedly interesting people, interesting things will happen. What in reality happens is that you get dragged through hours of footage of people rambling about nothing in split screen. There is no reason to see this film and it is just art house trash. Hopefully there will be a future where They Shoot Pictures Don’t They? will have a top 1000 without this film.
The only thing that prevents me from giving this short film about World War II concentration camps a high recommendation is that I would rather have you see Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (1985) instead. However, on it’s own this is a well made film that takes us from the construction of the camps to the extermination of the Jews within them. The film uses archival footage intermixed with footage shot in the camps which are overgrown with grass, covered in dust, and are partially rubble.
The film has a single point that really every film on the Holocaust makes. The Holocaust was not some unique event that you just read about in books. It happened and it could happen again. Films like this and Shoah should be seen by everyone. I have included the full film below. Please watch it.