Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hawaii, Oslo

Hawaii, Oslo
Norway 2004

Details IMDB

Seen 27 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes 79% audience liked it

My ratings 8.0/10
Lives of different people interconnected

My impressions:

The story begins with a vision of disaster but the main question would be whether it will end that way. A man wakes up from the dream and goes through the day hoping and trying to prevent what he believes will come true.

His previous premonition did come true and he is determined that it will not happen again. His quest is interspersed with others' lives who come into the picture. They seem irrelevant and inconsequential at first to what is going on. Slowly we see how each person is linked to each other.

The dynamics of family, love and friendship is laid bare amidst some ordinary routines in a typical city. The emotions tend to be cold at times but there is a discernible heat simmering underneath.

A delight to watch and ponder.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Still Walking (Aruitemo aruitemo)

Still Walking (2008) Poster
Japan 2008

Details IMDB

Seen 26 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.8/10

My ratings 8.0/10
Events at a family gathering.

My impressions:

The hustle and bustle in the kitchen preparing food, the journey back home and the patriarch taking a walk. Earlier scenes before the members of a family gather for a day in remembrance of a lost son, a brother.

Memories of the past are recalled, many with a nostalgic tint of a time of innocence and pure joy. In between, certain questions and assumptions prick the pride and conscience of those mentioned. An all out defense is not expected, decorum and respect for the elders are always paramount.

Expectations and dreams of a better present and future hold sway. But no one knows whether if the past was different, events would turn out as wished.

The family has to move on with the past remaining a memory.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing (2012) Poster
Denmark 2012

Details IMDB

Seen 18 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 8.2/10

My ratings 8.0/10
A documentary on former Indonesian death squad leaders.

My impressions:

The film reenacts the workings of the death squad during the purge of the communists in the 1960s. The film maker manages to have those involved tell their story in their own way.

At the beginning they seem so detached and unaffected by what had happened. The accepted known history belong to the victorious and they are in that group. There is a swagger of the winner in their gaits and demeanor. All the past actions were justified as a means towards an end. Whatever label given, para military group or gangsters, they continue to have the support from the ruling government.

For all intents and purposes happy with their life.

There was a perceptible change seen in one of them by the end of the filming. He finally questions himself, “Have I sinned?”

A disturbing watch.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Philippines 2009

Details visitfilms

Seen 17 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.3/10

My ratings 7.0/10
A homage to two well known Philippines film makers, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal.

My impressions:

As the title suggests, the story is centred on Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. In this case the focus is the underprivileged of that huge metropolis.

We get two stories, one on a son turned drug addict and another on a loyal bodyguard. The two represent that side of the city seldom seen by many. The black and white cinematography together with the haunting jazzy soundtrack conveys the hope and despair of those struggling to make a living.

The rich and powerful remain as the bad guys. There is that black and white feel to the characters as human nuances are not explored. I'm not sure whether the present directors purposely wanted the acting style and mood to be exactly like those in the Brocka and Bernal films but if that was the intention, they succeeded.

Towards Mathilde


France 2005

Details Reverse Shot

Seen 16 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.4/10

My ratings 8.0/10
A documentary on the dance Mathilde Monnier

My impressions:

This is not an autobiographical look at the dancer herself but more of how she works on a project.

The film shows her approach, the way she interacts with her dancers and those involved in the project. In between she shares her insight on what she feels about the project.

A dance, especially in this case which is such an abstract performance challenges viewers to let go of their usual interpretations. Fluid movements or classical beauty does not seem to play an important role.

It all seems so simple or mechanical but what we see definitely intrigues.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Knife in the water (Nóz w wodzie)

Knife in the Water (1962) Poster
 Poland 1962

Details IMDB

Seen 15 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.6/10

My ratings 8.0/10
A couple on their way to a sailing trip picks up a young hitchhiker.

My impressions:

Roman Polanski's first feature film impresses with its sparse feel. Only three characters are seen throughout the film. The taut foreboding sense that something sinister or evil pervades. That feeling is enhanced by the background music and cinematography which defines certain moments. A film that despite its minimal approach succeeds in keeping the audience glued to see what will happen next.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I am love (Io sono l'amore)

I Am Love (2009) Poster
Italy 2009

Details IMDB

Seen 14 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.8/10

My ratings 7.0/10
Passion and unconditional love in a heady mix during changes in the family

My impressions:

I was attracted to see the film because of Tilda Swinton. Almost all scenes has her character playing a role. I'm not sure whether her Italian is up to scratch but she managed to convey the emotional ups and downs of her character in different situations. The quintessential matriarch holding the family together, proud of their successes and being there when they need her.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Sweden 2011

Details imdb

Seen 13 September 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 5.4/10

My ratings 5.0/10
An unexpected accident turns the world of a party promoter upside down.

My impressions:

The director tries to show how the main character faces the consequences of his actions. The way it is handled looks too simple and ordinary. I can't feel the emotions coming through and am unable to symphatise. There is a nagging feeling that he got away too easily.