It frequently happens that friends tell me about movies that I’ve heard of numerously, but haven’t ever watched. Some of them are reoccurring (i.e. Apocalypse Now / Easy Rider / Avatar) and each time they are mentioned I’m a little bit more embarrassed, I do hold a diploma in film studies after all.
As I was tied to the bed because of another illness I decided to take it as an educational break and scoured the internet for a “Must-have-seen” list. I found one by The German Federal Agency for Civic Education. filmcritics, -scholars and –makers created the film canon from what they found good and important. I watched three of the films they list in the last couple of days and must say I can’t wait for the others, as those were pretty great…
Drinking alcohol is normal, socially accepted or even expected. But when it becomes excessive the evaluation quickly shifts to embarrassing, dangerous and frowned upon. But how much is too much? And when is it time to pull the emergency break on drinking? Last year’s Sundance Film Festival showcased a film that deals not only with these questions, but also takes a look at the desperation that arises when a young woman tries to fight against her dangerous addiction. Smashed is a heartfelt, honest and partially painful film, certainly worth watching, which finally found it’s way onto the German silver screen last week.
Read more after the jump….
A few years ago the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen showed the Video for James Blake’s Limit to your Love in their showcase of selected music videos. When I watched this year’s selection I began wondering if Blake may have also produced a new video? And luckily along with his new album, he also produced a new little visualization of the piece „Overgrown“.
Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh! What a mass of star names for just one film. Certainly the story about pharmaceutical drugs, their use and misuse, their advantages and dangers wouldn’t have needed big names to succeed. It’s well written and structured and probably would have been a hit with no-name actors as well. However, the famous faces didn’t do any damage. Each of the actors seems to have dropped their ego for the duration of the shoot. They all click together, deliver great performances and make Side Effects a pretty great piece of modern cinema that premiered at the Berlinale in Feburary.
Films aren’t what they used to be. But not just the medium itself has changed (gaining sound and colour), but so have the story lines. Films in the 50s used to be influenced by a patriarchal world view. Men were the heroes – regardless of genre – and opinion leaders and the ladies tried to win their attention and affection with their beauty, wit or charm. Today women are emancipated, voice their own opinions and male characters are frequently just as „soft“ as females. Generally all characters are developed in more depth today than they were at the beginning of movies or even still in the middle of the last century.
This development goes hand in hand with changes in our social environment of course. It is thus even more surprising if a 2013 production feels like it’s just been catapulted onto the screen from a 50s production studio. Now one could think I’m enraged about this, but I am not at all. I am more so surprised, amused and almost a little impressed.
Being a teenager is never easy. Those years between child- and adulthood are challenging for parents and children alike and a frequent topic for dramas on stage, screen and pages.
Director Sally Potters new film Ginger & Rosa tells the tale of two teenage girls and places it in the troubled times of a nuclear war dawning on the horizon. We know today the entire earth was never erased, but it did feel probable to some in the sixties that it would. This fear of an approaching end is one underlying emotion in Ginger & Rosa and gives the film more emotional depth than it would carry otherwise …
When I wake up in the mornings it’s usually one song before the news on my radio alarm. I time it that way because I like hearing what state the world is in first thing in the morning.
But sometimes that one song playing before the news distracts me. This was the case a couple of weeks ago and so I pulled my computer into bed and did some lyric research to find out what this song I instantly adored was. It was Open by the familiar and fabulous Rhye. But my search didn’t end there…
After all those years of studying film and working in the arts I still haven’t managed to rid myself of one reaccuring guilty pleasure: RomComs.
Indeed those romantic comedies with completely ridiculous and clichee stories magically draw me in. Although I am regularly filled with anger after the 90 minutes because such meaninglessness was funded instead of a promising art house piece, I keep coming back. I have been asking myself why for years, but am yet to find a plausible answer. Of course these films are pure entertainment, diversion from reality, an escape from reality and maybe even a little reverie. One can basically stop thinking when watching them, although ideally one should think about why gender roles are still so horribly antique in these films.
My vice took hold of me again this Easter break and I seriously watched two of these frowned upon species in a row. And I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it. So switch off the brain and on the film:
Who directed When Harry met Sally, The Black Swan and Grease? Rob Reiner, Darren Aronofsky and Randal Kleiser are the masters behind these big successes, whose names are probably unfamiliar to most people. We tend to only remember the names of those actors whose faces are irreversibly tied to the memories of the images. The directors, who often develop the story, are responsible for the entire staging of the film, direct the play of the actors and often oversee the editing, are regularly overlooked.
It’s even more impressive that the entire world knows Alfred Hitchcock. The Master of Suspense (the tension building from the audiences advantage in knowledge over the characters, i.E. that a bomb is ticking underneath the table of the unknowing dinner guests) is known around the globe, his films are loved and highly respected as masterpieces of the art of film. Much has been written about The Birds, Rear Window or Psycho, Truffaut’s interview-book Alfred Hitchcock: A Definitive Study is a classic for all film students and a discovery tour through his work and now there is finally a Biopic about the workaholic.
A long lasting relationship almost automatically leads to great intimacy, a strong bond and plenty of common experiences. With time initial excitement is often replaced by a certain routine, naturalness or even boredom. These changes aren’t rarely only realized when a new potential partner appears and the once familiar sparks begin to fly again. To act on these emotions is usually taboo and thus unsolvable questions present themselves: Which of the two do I want to be with from now on? Do I want excitement, risk and passion or do I want trust and security?
Those are the questions Margot asks herself in Take this Waltz.