Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Father My Lord (Hofshat Kaits)


Israel 2007

Details imdb

Seen 30 May 2012

Coming to terms with reality

Ratings
IMDB 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 70% liked it
The man who is supposed to lead his flock faces challenges of his own. The home and the outside world has to be reconciled. The main actors managed to convey the feelings without much hysterics, using few words but the eyes reflect it all. I'll give this a 7.0/10




My impressions:

A child brought up
To follow his father's footsteps
Continuing a legacy, tradition
But being a child
He has questions, curious

The metaphors are plenty
References to the past
Some edicts to be accepted
Without any question
Where one is supposed
To just believe
Since it written
The word of the Alnighty

An action taken
Has a reaction
A consequence
Unexpectedly affecting yourself

How do you come to terms with what happened

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One Last Dance


Singapore 2006

Details imdb

Seen 28 May 2012

Killing seems so easy until circumstances change

Ratings
IMDB 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 58% liked it
The hitman gets his instructions and does his job well but there comes a point when he wonders. The acting ensemble and music score does give colour to the film but there is still that feeling it could have been better. I'll give it a 6.0/10 for effort.




My impressions:

Some are so used to their jobs
It has become second nature
A natural part of your self
Breathing, sleeping, eating
All the normal things
That normal people do

The assignments
Seem just like any other
Routine job

Along the way
He finds another side of himself
He may have known it exists
Maybe suppressed
Kept under lock and key

The refrain
The easiest and hardest target for a hitman is

Keeps repeating
Reminding us
What is important in our lives



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto)


Italy 1970

Details imdb

Seen 26 May 2012

Murder, power and the law

Ratings
IMDB 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 97% liked it
A delightful farce with Ennio Morricone's score regularly punctuating scene after scene throughout the film. The main storyline is about a murder but we are also regaled with the political scene in the late 1960s Italy. The film deserves an 8.0/10.




My impressions:

A fling, an affair
The games they play became more dangerous
Until death, a murder is committed

He is powerful
Everyone is beholden to him
Many at his beck and call

He uses and toys with them
His version of the cat and mouse game
Trying to see
Whether they will take the bait
Finding the murderer

He tries to divert the attention
To other suspects
Knowing full well
He is safe

But he wants to be discovered
To be cured of his sickness

Others are just too ignorant, careless
That he is the one
They are looking for

A Night Full of Rain (La fine del mondo nel nostro solito letto in una notte piena di pioggia)


Italy 1978

Details imdb

Seen 25 May 2012

How much can love endure

Ratings
IMDB 5.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 67% wants to see it
An independent woman in a domestic role faces challenges and the strain will show in her relationship with the husband. This film explores the ups and downs of that partnership and gets a 6.0/10 for the subject matter.






My impressions:

It started unexpectedly
The rain as a backdrop
To a relationship
Built with good intentions
With reality just waiting
To spring surprises

Time moves on
The family unit seems to survive
It does take effort
To make it work

Would it be successful
How long can it last

The desire to be independent
Is still there
Waiting for the right moment
To come forth
To take its rightful place

Until one night
The issues had to confronted
With the rain
As the backdrop again

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tarima


Phillipines 2010

Details imdb

Seen 24 May 2012

Love blossoms in an unlikely place

Ratings
Who would have thought love can appear again after so many years and in an unlikely place with someone who at first seems so distant. The premise is simple and some parts might seem too slapstick but there are moments. I'll give it a 7.10/10







My impressions:

All those years
Repressed
Torturing yourself
Keeping the peace

And suddenly
That look
Heralds a new beginning

Slowly, tentatively
Exploring, getting to know
Each other better

Sacrifices, cherished moments
In such a short time
Seems unfair

The message is clear
We need that empathy
From another person
Building up the self-esteem
That might be crushed

So as to start anew

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Faust


Russia 2011

Details wikipedia

Seen 23 May 2012

Selling your soul to the devil

Ratings
IMDB 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 70% wants to see it
This version is based on Goethe's Faust directed by a Russian director with the dialogue in German. That should give anyone who watches it an inkling of what to expect. The director has taken liberties with his interpretation of the tale and some might hate it. I will give the film a 7.0/10 for that difference.



My impressions:

This tale is quite well-known
Your soul in exchange for enlightenment

Man being what he is
Always curious
Never satisfied
With what is
Always questioning
With what is it

The price we pay for that knowledge
Seems irrelevant
As knowledge is the noble pursuit
We chase after
We long for

As if that will be the panacea
For all the questions
That we have

Some things
Will still remain
A mystery


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Love + Hate


UK 2005

Details imdb

Seen 21 May 2012

Love blossoms despite the odds

Ratings
IMDB 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 70% liked it
Race and religion seem like barriers to love but here we have two couples surmounting them. Unfortunately prejudices are still prevalent and traditions hold sway. It is difficult to follow one's heart and desire with all those baggage but one must decide. The film gets a 7.0/10 from me for the ensemble acting and competent script.



My impressions:

We never know
Who we fall for
In love and hate

Maybe we are quite certain
Who we hate

But did we make a conscious
Effort
To fall in love with a person
Or does it just
Happen
Out of the blue

Once our minds are set
Then comes the family and our upbringing
The others in our lives

We may say it is our own lives
To live
But others in our lives
Where are they in the scheme of things

Decisions

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rabat


Netherlands

Details imdb

Seen 20 May 2012

Road journey of discovery

Ratings
IMDB 7.1/10
The start seems ordinary but along the way, the characters discover other facets of themselves and those who are close to them. It does touch on issues faced by the immigrants in Europe but does not delve too deeply into them. We just get a glimpse but not the solutions. The film moves along at a leisurely pace which makes it a 7.0/10 in my books.




My impressions:

The journey begins
The morning after the celebrations
Supposedly on his own
But the best friends tag along

Along the way
They discover new worlds
New insights, friendships and attractions

They discover themselves and
Each other
Things that were not said before
Now comes out in the open

It is a different phase in their lives
A momentous occasion for one
Which might affect the others

What will be the decision

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bunohan (Return to murder)


Malaysia

Details bunohan

Seen 19 May 2012

Blood ties, spirits past, riches now

Ratings
IMDB 6.9/10
The cinematography gets top marks adding an element of surrealism to the whole feel of the film That in itself makes the film deserving of a 8.0/10. The main characters succeeded in portraying the conflicts that exist between what happened in the past and demands of the present.





My impressions:

It started as an ordinary task
An ordinary assignment
Should have been a piece of cake
Easy to execute
With all the experience and
The steely cold determination
Accumulated from previous jobs

He did not expect
Complications and
Mixed feelings

The past helped
To a certain point
But faced with the present

It is powerless
To withstand the onslaught
Coming from all directions
Determined to get its way



Saturday, May 19, 2012

East West (Est-Quest)


France 1999

Details imdb

Seen 18 May 2012

A family perseveres

Ratings
IMDB 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 85% liked it
A family returns to Russia when the Motherland invites emigres to return home after the Second World War. The high spirits in the beginning faded the moment they landed on Russian soil and we see how they struggle to cope with their new life. The drama is well paced and I'll give the film a 7.0/10. The added bonus is Catherine Deneuve in the film.



My impressions:

The first shock
Was totally unexpected
They were all innocents
Naïve even
Thinking that they will be welcomed
To the land of glory

Reality was totally different
Each day brings different challenges

They try to live as best as they can
Entangled in the web of deceit
They succumb to love and hate

But persevere they must
As time is immaterial
However long it takes

They must still try

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Mother


United Kingdom 2003

Details imdb

Seen 17 May 2012

Not exactly the mother from hell

Ratings
IMDB 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 60% liked it
A look at how we cope with the loss of someone who has been a major part of our lives. Anne Reid as the mother carries her role with restraint and no histrionics, thanks in part to the understated story written by Hanif Kureishi. We can also see Daniel Craig in his pre James Bond days. I give the film a 7.0/10 for the great job the actors did in conveying the loss and its aftermath.



My impressions:

That partner in life
Started with the marriage vows
For better or for worse, for richer, for poorer
In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish
From this day forward until death do us part

Will it ring true
When the partner is no longer with us

Life changes
To our pleasant surprise
A nice change
Different, challenging
Not without its own complications

In this case
It is a hornet's nest
Touched, disturbed

The sting remains

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Poetry (Shi)


South Korea 2010

Details imdb

Seen 15 May 2012

Words tranformed

Ratings
IMDB 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 84% liked it
A person's ordinary mundane life turns upside down when an incident involving a loved one triggers other events. She tries to find solace and an outlet for her emotions in a latent interest. Watch till the end to see what happens. The human face is never more exposed here and that makes the film deserving of a 8.0/10.



My impressions:

Words and actions
Feelings and reactions
Conflicting
Suppressed

How does one cope
When no one seems to be there
To help, to understand

The words come to mind
Notes taken
Randomly, diligently

Doubts set in
Whether you have the talent
The skills even
To put those feelings
Across to others

So that they may know
The emotional turmoil
Sometimes the serenity
That was discovered
In unlikely places

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

7 Hati 7 Cinta 7 Wanita (7 Hearts 7 Loves 7 Women)


Indonesia 2011

Details wikipedia

Seen 15 May 2012

Women's lives, loves

Ratings
The film highlights the many facets of women's lives and especially one aspect that men would never be able to truly fathom, the ticking biological side of them. Men and women are different and this film gives glimpses of how women cope with the men in their lives. Relevant subject matter with light touches here and there. I'll give a 7.0/10 for the overall feel and ensemble acting.



My impressions:

All of us, young and old
Feel that need to be with someone
Often times it might be with the wrong person

We do hope and strive
To find that perfect partner
But this is reality
Humans are not perfect

Each one with its own weaknesses

When the negatives surfaces
Affects the other
Then the troubles begin
The trust broken
The dreams shattered

Reality glares blindingly

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile)


Romania 2007

Details imdb

Seen 14 May 2012

Desperate events need desperate solutions

Ratings
IMDB 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 84% liked it
Do you change your mind once you have made decision? That decision involves not only you but a close friend. This film shows how much a close friend will sacrifice in the name of friendship and solidarity. Tight script and the main actor gives the film a 7.0/10




My impressions:

We make mistakes
Can it be unintentional
Or premeditated

We confront that mistake
Even with doubts still lingering
If we are uncertain
Circumstances changes that wavering

It does help that
We have a comrade in arms

Willing to help
The emotional toll
Is shared

Unsure, lacking confidence
But we must do it
So that life will continue
As normal as possible

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gradiva (C'est Gradiva qui vous appelle)


France 2006

Details imdb

Seen 13 May 2012

Obsessions and consequences

Ratings
IMDB 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 42% liked it
A search into the past has repercussions for the present. One man's diligence brings him to another world. Mysterious, dangerous and tragic endings. I'll give the film a 6.0/10 for the strong images that might seem disjointed but does convey the mix of illusions and reality faced by the protagonist.



My impressions:

Dreams and reality
There does not seem to be a boundary
Between them

The search into the past
Uncovers
Forbidden love
Cruelty
Obsessions

All the dreams and
Imagery
Seems so real
Where does the dream end and
Reality begin

The past encroaches
Into the present
Then it is not a dream anymore
It has become a reality

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mancora


Peru/Spain 2008

Details imdb

Seen 12 May 2012

There are blows in life so hard

Ratings
IMDB 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 55% liked it
A loss starts the journey to look for some meaning in life. Along the way the demons that were suppressed come out and we have to confront them. It is still our decision in the end on which path to take and the film gets a 7.0/10 for exploring the subject.




My impressions:

Tragedy or a blessing
The loss of someone close to you
Even though you are not physically close
There is still a bond
Waiting for the time to be renewed

It might not be apparent
Distinct or clear
It is at that time
Latent
Undisturbed

Events unfold
Triggering emotions

Then we realise
That is our true calling

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (少林三十六房, Shào Lín sān shí liù fáng)


Hong Kong 1978

Details imdb

Seen 11 May 2012

Self-defence and enlightenment

Ratings
IMDB 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 88% liked it
A historical background of how the public face of the Shaolin style of self-defence became widely known. This film was made in the 1970s and feels very basic compared to the slicker moves we see in today's martial arts offerings. Nevertheless it deserves a 7.0/10 for showing the basic steps on the way to become an exponent of this style of self-defence.



My impressions:

Education is important
Whether it is in the scriptures
Or the more practical trades

There is also self-defence
Its importance often over looked
The relevance does not diminish
As the process of learning the art
Teaches one in other aspects of life too

It takes hard work and determination
Of course
To become a master
Basic skills should be adequate
For basic needs

For those who aspire to be the top
Sacrifice and dedication
Is most important

Remember as well
The most important tenet
It is still the art of self-defence


Friday, May 11, 2012

Alone in four walls (Allein in Veir Wänden)


Germany 2007

Details imdb

Seen 10 May 2012

Alone among many

Ratings
IMDB 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 3% wants to see it
A documentary of a juvenile delinquent facility in Russia. All seems orderly but underneath, they are still children, vulnerable and it seems will still be in the bad books of the state when they become adults. A 7.0/10 for the effort.



My impressions:

Children
Why do turn up they way they do

Is anyone to blame
Is anyone responsible
Parents, family, the state
But for certain
It is not in born

The feelings
Loneliness, longing
For the family and loved ones
Is still there
Intact

They may have been on the wrong path
Some say willingly
With open eyes
But is that true
Or are there mitigating factors
That influence
The decision
To take a certain path

We can only hope
Their resolution
To turn over a new leaf
Succeeds

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Screaming Masterpiece (Gargandi snilld)


Iceland 2005

Details imdb

Seen 9 May 2012

A smorgasbord of Icelandic music

Ratings
IMDB 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 79% liked it
Watch this documentary if you want a brief overview of the Icelandic music scene that runs the gamut from electronica to hip hop with lots of traditional influences in between. At least we will be enlightened that the scene is more than just Sigur Ros and Bjork, which makes the film deserving of a 7.0/10.




My impressions:

A small population
Isolated and midway
Between continents
Developed its own identity
Unique, grounded in its own history and landscape

That is the key ingredient
Whatever foreign influence
Is moulded and imbued
With the local colours and sounds

The music might be crap to some
But among them are also gems
The music unadulterated
Not a put on, not a façade
But heart felt
That is the magic touch
Truly from within

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Antichrist


Denmark 2009

Details imdb

Seen 7 May 2012

A woman's cry can be deceiving

Ratings
IMDB 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 55% liked it
The film deserves a 7.0/10 just for the fact that Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are the actors and the director is Lars von Trier. I may not understand the whole subtext but the imagery stays.





My impressions:

It started with grief
Over the loss of a loved one

Can we ever overcome that feeling
Guilt, responsibility
Knowing that the past can't be turned back
What happened, did happen
As it was meant to be

We decide to find the peace within

But the mind and heart react differently
The mind plays tricks
The heart feels
Or is it the truth
That had been hidden all this time
Taking the opportunity
To rear its head
Beautiful or otherwise

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Headshot (ฝนตกขึ้นฟ้า fon tok huen fa)


Thailand 2011

Details imdb

Seen 6 May 2012

Evil genes, stop them from spreading

Ratings
IMDB 7.0/10
The opening scene is reminiscent of a Raymond Chandler mystery novel and this is the Thai version. The film takes a leisurely pace to unfold the plot with the main character facing obstacles that seem designed to thwart his efforts in getting on with his job. The film gets a 7.0/10 for the effort.





My impressions:

Can the assumption be true
That we're born with evil genes
The good doctor says

The evil has to be nipped in the bud
With as much help as can be mustered
Before they get stronger

The means towards an end
Does not have to follow the rules
As long as we reach the aim

Good versus evil
It does not seem to end
Until the final breath
Releases us from the pressures
Deciding between the two

Sometimes we think we have succeeded
Overcoming the doubts
But others
They are persistent
They still want a final say
Either way


Monday, May 07, 2012

The Little Thief (La petite voleuse)


France 1988

Details imdb

Seen 6 May 2012

Maybe she is incorrigible?

Ratings
IMDB 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 71% liked it
This is one example of the adage that appropriate casting plays an important role in a film. Charlotte Gainsbourg seems made for the role of the many faceted girl who blossoms into a woman. That in itself gives the film a 7.0/10





My impressions:

Is it an inborn trait
Or is it the circumstances
Does anyone care?

When someone does take an interest
She tries to change
Until she meets her soul mate
Someone who speaks the same language
Who is much more of the same mould
They are on the same wavelength
And together supposed to soar
Becoming stars in their own constellation

Until
The time that seems fated
They part ways

She realises
She understands
Life is what you make of it
She will take the bull by its horns
Determined




Sunday, May 06, 2012

Burnt Money (Plata quemada)


Argentina 2000

Details imdb

Seen 5 May 2012

Money, love and betrayal

Ratings
IMDB 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 76% liked it
This film is based on true events and as the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction. What started as a routine job became more messed up as not everything went as planned. I give this film a 7.0/10 for the plot, twists and turns.





My impressions:

Money started the whole ball rolling
Bringing the motley group together
Different types, characters and temperaments

The job was carried out
Unfortunately it did not follow the plan exactly
The follow-up was just
A patch-up, a respite

Then the waiting
Started
An agony, when tempers flare
Emotions bare, raw
Needed a breather

But that brought its own problems
Entangled emotions
Frayed, feelings betrayed, abandoned

In the end
Choices had to be made

It is a matter of survival

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Suzhou River (Suzhou he)


China 2000

Details imdb

Seen 4 May 2012

How deep is your love?

Ratings
IMDB 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 82% liked it
The opening dialogue itself made me chuckle a bit and that was good start. There are no fast-moving action but this is a love story after all. I give it an 8.0/10 not just for the story line but the understated flow which complements the sparse feel of the whole film.




My impressions:

Is it really love
That drives a man to seek forever
That girl from a past life
Endangering others
Becoming a nuisance

His story seems so far-fetched
Believable maybe
But to most of
Unbelievable

How does one reconcile
The two from different backgrounds
They had feelings for each other
That is given
But events after that
Must have changed their minds

It is strange
Or is it to expected
That love can and do
Play a big role
In our lives

Forever

Friday, May 04, 2012

Left Luggage (2 koffers vol)


Netherlands 1998

Details imdb

Seen 3 May 2012

The past is ever present

Ratings
IMDB 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 88% liked it
This gentle tale of memories of the past and how it shapes the present gets a 7.0/10 from me. I was attracted to see this film since it had Isabella Rossellini in the list of actors and she does not disappoint. There are no major flare-ups in the story and instead we have more thoughtful moments.




My impressions:

It is always love that plays a part
In our lives
In bad times and good times
It is ever present
Love

Love for your family
That will always come to mind
Even if you can't stand the sight of each other
That bond is there
There is no escape

Then you find love in other forms
Little steps at first
Until the bond becomes stronger

The joy and anticipation
Of each day
Is heightened
By the thoughts
That you will meet
That someone you love

But we will never know
How long it will last

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Karmen Gei (Karmen Geï )


Senegal 2001

Details afrikblog

Seen 2 May 2012

Love has to be set free

Ratings
IMDB 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 13% wants to see it
I give this film an 8.0/10 just for the main actor. Anyone who takes the role of Carmen has to embody that strong but vulnerable woman and her magnetism shines through. The music score is something else, just spoken words in some parts and full of life in others.





My impressions:

Love is simple
Love is complicated
As how we want it to be

Unless we let love engulf ourselves
Enslaved
Trapped in its clutches

Then there is no escape

Love in its many forms
Flits from tree to tree
Branch to branch
A free bird
Beholden to no one

But freedom has a price


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Walk on water (Lalekhet Al HaMayim)


Israel 2004

Details imdb

Seen 1 May 2012

Hatred be gone, be at peace with yourself

Ratings
IMDB 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 85% liked it
It takes time to let go of all the past baggage and discover what is more important in your life. Life is complicated as it is and this film gets a 7.5/10 for highlighting the challenges one faces in different situations.






My impressions:

Trained to kill
Life does not mean much
But when it touches yourself
Then you feel the pain
Even though you try to hide
Even though you try to forget
It still haunts you

A new perspective
Comes along
Opening up old wounds

Do you deny the past
Embrace the present

Drop everything
All the beliefs
All the history

No

It cannot be that simple