From Paris with Love (2010)

Am I just unlucky or it is just coincidence? “From Paris with Love” of Pierre Morel, is the 2nd film in a row (see previous post) about the new trend in Hollywood, that being: “you do not know how close to you a terrorist may be”! The annoying thing is that this is a French film! This is a movie that I initially really enjoyed. You know, the type of action, thriller, you want to watch to get a “change of scenery” after a tiring day. If I say more, I’ll reveal the plot which is a “no go”. Luc Besson, on whose story the script was based, has written really impressive stories, Angel-A and The Fifth Element being two of my favorites. Seems that the “terrorist” issue is the next fashionable initiative. What can I say? It is not a conspiracy getting all these kind of movies out there but may be, may be, if we do not go to see them, somebody will get the message and check on the next fashionable initiative! We have enough terror in our lives with all the stuff going on, do we really need more??
My rating: 01/10

Unthinkable (2010)

What follows describes the first ten minutes of the movie as a basis of discussion. An american citizen which is also a Muslim, threatens to detonate three nuclear bombs in three different american cities unless his demands are fulfilled.
The plot of the play is excellent (suspense, plot turns, etc), the roles are played well but there are some questions about the film.
The baseline of the story may be phrased as “if it was your responsibility, as an (American) citizen to find where these three nuclear bombs are placed, how far would you go to do it?”.
The play questions and answers at the same time some basic values regarding the rights of a person who is considered to be a terrorist (ok, the specific one presented himself as such, but others may not, so we have to know if they are, don’t we??). It does the same thing with different people involved during his interrogation: people from the military, the CIA, the FBI. Because one must not forget that regardless of their posts, these individuals are people as everyone else.
So, Peter Woodward who wrote the story and Gregor Jordan who directed it, place a question for the spectator: is, even the unthinkable, good enough to make a terrorist speak? May be the obstacle is not the terrorist but each and every one of us.
Two things: first of all, make sure you see the movie to the end and do not stop it when you think it ends.
Second, try to read between the lines, and then between the lines of the lines you’ve read!

My rating: 01/10

The Milk of Sorrow (2009)

The “The Milk of Sorrow” is a film I did not like. It speaks about people that are really frightened, almost without hope, who have very few things in life to rejoice with. Even those few things are sometimes stolen from them. Elementary things that go without saying are lacking from their lives. Yet, the human nature may find a shelter in “small” things, like a flour given by a caring person…
Somebody has to speak for such people and Claudia Llosa said things, in a direct, non-exaggerating way, I did not know that are happening in her country. Sometimes, it may be too much even to see them in a movie.

My rating: 06/10

The Shock Doctrine (2009)

The Shock Doctrine is not an easy film to watch and certainly not one to have a good time. It is a documentary created by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross based on a book with the same title by Naomi Klein . It explains how some things happening in Greece now, have happened in other places of the world before.

The film was one of the six movies that Philip showed last week (see related blog entry).

Why should one spoil its – already spoiled – mood after a tiring, working day and watch it? Well, it might provide a different angle on viewing things. We need it!

My rating: 08/10

12 Angry Men (1957)

In United States, the land of so many controversies, there is (among others) a status which makes sense: when someone is accused of a crime, in court, he/she is considered innocent until proven guilty. On top of that, the guilt must be proven beyond any reasonable doubt.
Very few people, not directly involved with courts or having a personal experience (themselves or by friends, relatives, colleagues etc) will ever really consider the importance this approach has to human life and dignity.
Sydney Lumet makes a film which reveals not only this importance but also the fact that it must b wholeheartedly supported by each citizen in order to stand. As this holds true for every other constitution we (as simple citizens) take as a given.
12 Angry men is the story of a jury set up to decide on the life of an eighteen years old-young boy, accused to murder his father. Those twelve men have to decide whether this is true or not given what they heard in the court. May be more important than that, what they will understand, correlate, compare, deduce, reject of what they heard in there.
The story is one thing: interesting, with turns, different characters, reality from every day life.
What is probably the most important of all things, is the guts that someone must have to stand for what he/she thinks is right, the time this is needed most of all. It is really so rare in all times!

My rating: 09/10

Social Genocide (Memoria del saqueo) (2004)

What happened in Argentina, with the corrupted governments that multiplied the country’s external debt,  eliminating the middle class and throwing it to poverty, has a lot of similarities to what is happening in Greece now. Social Genocide of Fernando Solanas is a documentary that was displayed in Philip during a three-day-six-movies collection (two days remaining) with the motto: information is shock resistance: ARM YOURSELF.

Although there are exaggerations regarding the way some events have been filmed, overall, it is a good write down of how a country’s wealth may be sold out in the name of efficiency and better management.

Find it! It is worth the effort in doing it and your time to see it!

PS. The remaining four movies are also very interesting:

Thursday 10/06/2010

@ 20:00 – Life and Debt

@ 21:30 – Bamako

Friday 11/06/2010

@ 20:00 – The Take

@ 21:30 – The Dignity of the Nobodies

Rashomon (1950)

Rashomon of Akira Kurosawa is a film that might have been filmed today. Its story is everlasting and it will be that way as long as humans remain in essence the same. Alas, that means at least, for a very long time!

The spirit of the movie represents the Rashomon effect, i.e. “the effect of the subjectivity of perception  on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it”.

The movie opens in an impressive and depressing way, with heavy rain falling on a ruined pagoda, distorting the lines of objects in the scenery. Two people, narrate to a third one a story as viewed by three different individuals that were its main actors. Their views of what happened are however so different that bewilders the narrators which struggle to understand the reason behind these differences as well as, to figure out what really happened.

The characters of the play, are filmed sometimes from a distance, to denote the human being’s insignificance against the magnitude and beauty of nature (the whole, as for example a view of the pagoda’s roof with the rain falling down) and sometimes in close-ups, as if to focus on each individual’s perspective (as with the ax carried by the person which found the body of the killed husband on his way in the woods).

Although, for western people, it is sometimes difficult to grasp emotions and expressions of Japanese actors, the film leaves no room for such misunderstanding. The music, dresses each scene according to the narrating character but is absent when the true story is told.

There are so many issues the film addresses in such a short time: the fact that the whole story took place because a wind blew at a certain point, the position of the woman in the Japanese society, which at the end, its desperation drives her to dictate the fate of everybody, the fear of the individual who knows the truth to reveal it because of the possibility of getting himself blamed (for what really?). Above all however, is the way that the values of each character act as a distorting lens of reality on recollection and the truth about the human nature: insupportable brutality on one hand and divine kindness on the other.

A MUST see. My rating: 10/10

PS. if time allows, I’ll compile some hidden remarks on the plot, to be seen after you’ve seen the film.

The Kingdom (2007)

A terrorist attack on an Saudi Arabian camp housing Americans: the Kingdom (i.e. Saoudi Arabia) is an excellent action film. It “plays” with the idea of the “good” Arabs, the “bad-terrorist” Arabs and the “good” Americans.  So, you may imagine how the plot evolves. However, there are two very good points in the play, apart from the action: the three-to-four minutes of the opening and the last two minutes of the ending: it gives some room for thought.

For those two points: my rating: 07/10