Showered with praise upon its release, The White Ribbon is a slow-burning masterwork, the images of which will remain with the viewer for a lifetime. True to form, director Michael Haneke forebodes the real drama with short, disquieting scenes (such as the discussion Anni has with her little brother about the inevitability of death), as well as that most famous of Haneke mainstays, the unpopulated fixed-camera shot. Those who had doubted his film style before may feel the need for re-evaluation here – while it is no less shocking than the rest of his canon, there is a sense of artistic maturity here, the film often echoing Bergman and Reitz.
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore is that rarity: a cinematic masterpiece with commercial appeal. Scorsese’s direction is outstanding, the handheld camerawork doing nothing to interrupt Alice’s unstoppable journey. Ellen Burstyn, rewarded with an Oscar for her efforts, does a superb job of portraying a woman suddenly liberated from her domestic duties, particularly as she was simultaneously shooting The Exorcist. Alice is an unusual character, a childish tearaway confined by the adult responsibility of a family. Her relationship with son Tommy, a precocious yang to her yin, keeps her spirits up throughout the film, and spawns some brilliantly sarcastic exchanges: “Life is short.” “So are you.” Look out for a particularly masculine Jodie Foster as Tommy’s friend Audrey.
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
The documentary tantalises the viewer throughout with brief snippets from these ‘wild scenes’, but wisely spends most of its short running time discussing their cultural and societal impact. Pervez brings up the interesting point that almost all cinema attendants in Pakistan are male, painting the industry as some sort of inflated boys’ club (note titles such as The Pen and the Kalashnikov), and all the males interviewed for the film acknowledge some sort of religious guilt to enjoying. Though one gets the feeling that more could have been produced from such scandalous subject matter, director and journalist Akram Zadiq does a respectable and fair job of profiling modern-day Pakistan, and also encourages Western moviegoers to question the complexities of film censorship, and the hypocrisy surrounding sex and violence on screen.
Friday, 25 December 2009
Once again, thanks readers, you've been absolutely awesome! Merry Christmas, happy holidays and see you guys in the new year!
It’s a wonder how this sequel managed to cost more than its predecessor, given that it donates considerable time to ‘recapping’ the previous entry. Even more wondrous is how Ricky managed to remember so much of the first film, given that he was in it for all of two seconds. Lead actor Eric Freeman’s performance is marvellously over-the-top, producing some wonderful scenes such as the infamous “Garbage Day!” scene (link posted below). The saddest thing is that the filmmakers – and the actors, natch – clearly thought they were doing a great job with this sequel, given the histrionics of the screenplay. Needless to say, they were sorely mistaken – this sits up there (down there?) with Troll 2 and The Room.