Good Bye Lenin! - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1:56 am EDT, Apr 8, 2007
The film is set in the East Berlin of 1989 . Alexander Kerner's mother, Christiane Kerner, an ardent supporter of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, suffers a heart attack when she sees Alex being arrested in an anti-government demonstration and falls into a coma shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. After eight months she awakes, but is severely weakened both physically and mentally, and doctors say that any shock may cause another, possibly fatal, attack. Alex realises that her discovery of recent events would be too much for her to bear, and so sets out to maintain the illusion that things are as normal in the German Democratic Republic. To this end, he and his family revert the flat to its previous drab decor, dress in their old clothes, and feed the bed-ridden Christiane new, Western produce from old labeled jars. For a time the deception works, but gradually becomes increasingly complicated and elaborate.
I saw this film tonight and really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it if you're in a video rental place and dismayed at the wealth of junk being pushed out these days.
The audience members watching them play the same game: media-weary, hunkered down behind thick irony, flinging verbal jabs at the screen — until they see something that moves them. Then they’ll come out and feel. But at the first hint of politics, they’ll jump back behind their shield-wall, just like the Spartans when millions of Persian arrows blot out the sun, and wait until the noise stops.
Neal Stephenson offers an interesting review of 300. Anyone seen it?
Just saw this on Film Four tonight (UK TV chanel)... very interesting, but 50 minutes isn't even near long enough if you've read Paul Sammon's excellent "Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner". Interviews with everybody involved except Harrison Ford and Sean Young of course, who hated each other's guts during the making of the film. We even see Philip K. Dick before he died - what a paranoid bloke he was! And even, for the first time ever, a look at the deleted scene where Deckard visits Holden in hospital. If you look you'll see the set for that scene was from Alien.
It's amazing visiting the buildings Ridley Scott used to make his future vision of Los Angeles. In the daytime they look NOTHING like Scott's sets, particularly the Bradbury Building in L.A., used for the final battle... when you see the before and after shots it really brings home what a genius of visual style Scott is.
Most shocking is that whilst all of the people have obviously aged in the last 20 years, Joe Turkel (Eldon Tyrell) hasn't aged a day! Hmmmm...
For anyone that hasn't read Paul Sammon's book, you'll be amazed at the problems encountered making this film, a true up-hill struggle. But Blade Runner still remains one of the best American movies of all time.
Ridley Scott admits this is one of his best films, and millions of cult fans worldwide agree. A true original...
YouTube - The Power of Nightmares - The Rise of The Politics of Fear I
2:41 pm EST, Feb 3, 2007
The ease with which video can be spread through the internet has given rise of late to something which is not a new genre, but newly accessible... The Conspiracy Documentary. Rattle has quite a collection of these things. Some are reasonable enough to bubble up into pop culture, some are crazy enough to be entertaining in the way that B horror movies are.
I stumbled on this one by searching around from some of the videos that Jeremy posted this morning. I found it rather interesting. I have no idea if the history being presented here is reasonable or not. Part of the reason I'm posting it is to see if anyone else who bothers to watch it has any insight into the threads that are being pulled here. In any event, there is some interesting footage... Turns out there is a wikipedia article about it.
This film explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these movements, and their effect on the world today. From the introduction to Part 1:"Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today's nightmare vision of a secret, organized evil that threatens the world. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful. "
Pan's Labyrinth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1:48 pm EST, Jan 26, 2007
If you haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth you should catch it while its in theaters. A positively creepy film in which a little girl intertwines her fantasies with the tragic reality around her. Very well done. (Do not bring children.)
The film is set in post-Civil War northern Spain, in 1944. A young girl, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), moves with her pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil), and her stepfather Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez), into a new home in the countryside. Vidal and his small army have been sent to the remote area to rid it of a small Republican militia.
Ofelia, who often immerses herself in ancient stories and fairy tales, finds an immense and ancient labyrinth near her new home. There, she meets a faun (Doug Jones) who reveals that she is the long-lost daughter of the King of the Underworld, and that to regain entry to her kingdom she must carry out three tasks. The faun gives her a storybook, which will tell her the details of the tasks.
A German ballet school for girls is the setting for mysterious deaths, in this 1977 horror story, written and directed by Dario Argento. "Suspiria" is a visually stunning film. The images contain objects we recognize, like people, buildings, and interior decor. But the objects seem vaguely menacing, and less real than surreal, as though they symbolize ideas, repressed desires, or subconscious fears. The vivid, rich colors, strange camera angles, deep shadows, and bright light piercing through darkness, all contribute to the impression that the viewer is trapped in someone else's nightmare.
If you are looking for a trippy halloween flick you could do worse then Suspiria. Sampled by Ministry! What more could you ask for?
For something a bit more surreal I might also offer that you check out the works of Jan Svankmajer. Teaser here.
As one might expect, he uses the Katrina disaster to underscore the point that climate change may have serious impacts on society, but he doesn't highlight the connection any more than is appropriate (see our post on this, here).
There are a few scientific errors that are important in the film. At one point Gore claims that you can see the aerosol concentrations in Antarctic ice cores change "in just two years", due to the U.S. Clean Air Act. You can't see dust and aerosols at all in Antarctic cores -- not with the naked eye -- and I'm skeptical you can definitively point to the influence of the Clean Air Act.
OK, I watched it. Its worth watching. It does a good job of describing a number of troubling developments, and risks, in an accessible way.
Unfortunately, the reaction is likely to be rooted in political assumptions. People on the left are likely to be wooed, and the film ends with a positively propagandist song by Melissa Etheridge with information about what you can do to reduce your carbon emissions interspersed with the credits. One wonders which they are more interested in getting the viewer to read.
People on the right are likely to assume that its all a bunch of bullshit. This is not helped by a few points in the film that are debatable. People who find one point to disagree with are likely to blow the whole thing off it they are so inclined. The linked article provides some balanced criticisms. I'm concerned that the Katrina implication does go too far, as the question is, at least, debated. Furthmore, I was suprised to hear him praise Chineese cafe standards, as I recall watching a PBS program on Chineese environmentalism that argued that their standards were not directly comparable to American standards and claims that they had lower emmissions were disingenuous (I can't find a good link for that now).
The fact is that these things shouldn't motivate you to toss the whole film in the bin. There are significant changes occuring in the environment, and there are real risks associated with them, and if you're not knowledgable about the subject this film offers a digestible starting point for thinking about it.