There’s certainly a sardonic tinge to the title of Andrei Tarkovsky’s first feature, Ivan’s Childhood, one that’s not dissimilar to the equally acerbic appellation of R.W. Fassbender’s The Marriage of Maria Braun. In the case of both pictures, the names, through their assumed simplicity, convey the eponymous periods housed therein as exceptions to the norm, subversions of what we assume such times – times of conjugality and juvenility – to typically be. Rather than years of felicity, ardor, and comfortable sentiment, we’re confronted instead with those of tragedy and finality, as each picture conveys its titular era as but a dearth of dreams and leisure: Maria’s marriage is never truly actualized, nor is Ivan ever permitted a childhood of innocence. The parallels mostly end there, despite the marked excellence that both pictures exude. Fassbinder was always known for his eccentrically personal visions of humanity, while conversely, Takovsky’s offerings were forged with a more calculatedly reflective and longingly spectral touch; Ivan’s Childhood stands a harbinger to the precise, empathic potency the filmmaker would later come to revolutionize, perhaps even perfect.
Browsing: Home Entertainment
Borrowing a style pulled down and dusted off from the hallowed shelves in the immense living museum of cinema, Tales of the Night is reminiscent of the unique and unparalleled works of Lotte Reiniger (The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)) while maintaining its own strengths, using new technology to create vibrant worlds of depth and color. It follows three storytellers on their quest to capture pieces of the human spirit through their art as they spin yarns for the empty seats of an abandoned theater, ineffectual at influencing anyone in their imaginative efforts but ultimately unaffected by the futility of their unseen toiling. Their passionate explorations, though unseen, are strictly for the satiation of their own souls. Unburdened by the need for validation from others, they create whimsical worlds and act out a series of melodramatic fables, aided by imaginary technology that provides context for their shifting timelines, storylines, and costumes while acting as a cinematic allegory for the tools of creativity offered by technology and the democratization of ideas with the (relatively) universal accessibility of these new tools of the digital age.
We are all, in a statement that’s as meagerly abstruse as it is edifying, creatures of limitation: slaves to genetic circumstance and cultural bent, the uniquely faulty products of lineage, timing, nature, and chance. And yet, we tend to romanticize such concessions, oftentimes spinning our origin stories as would any notable fabulist, tethering our most identifiable traits to cutesy, anecdotal quirks whilst ignoring the broader, and frankly unflattering, circumscriptions we also bear.
A decaying group of high-rise apartments plagues the skyline like omnipresent doom waiting to explosively uncoil at the slightest provocation. These apartments are unfortunate and unavoidable reminders of the perennially unresolved societal issues of addiction and poverty as the powers that be think that such issues can transplanted en-mass to poorer neighborhoods, creating hopeless and inescapable worlds of poverty with no chances for advancement or escape. Citadel takes polite society’s tendency to relocate its citizens that skew the national curve in embarrassing ways, and extrapolates that tendency to its furthest extreme to create a film that acts as a terrifying parable about the dangers of turning a blind eye and attempting to relocate the problems of society as well as a therapeutic exercise for writer/director Ciaran Foy as his irrational insecurities and phobias take center stage to create a terrifying work of horror firmly rooted in the problems of the real world.
Gerard Depardieu plays Germain Chavez who is a handyman, gardening illiterate who is mocked by the village for his stupidity, even by those that are supposed to be his friends. One day in the park he sits on a bench next a little old woman named Margueritte (Gisele Casadesus) who both have a common interest in the pigeons that congregate in that area of the park.
The synopsis on this Blu-ray is quite misleading because the reading of it comes across as how objects own our lives and that they’re very controlling whether we realize it or not. What follows is very surface level about that idea but instead is a film about patting the back of designers who create the things we use. It’s incredibly disappointing when being misled into believing that there’ll be an insight into how the world looks into our consumerism, our necessity for things, how these things control us. Instead, what you get is a documentary about the creation of objects which can be quite interesting but most of the times is about stroking the egos of those who create every day things that we take for granted and how their underrated geniuses. Self-indulgent to say the least.
Takashi Miike’s Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai is an oft grizzly, yet surprisingly restrained remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 masterpiece (Harakiri) that illustrates the timeless nature of the tale and the perennially dehumanizing effects of ritual and bureaucracy. Miike’s version of the tale highlights the whitewashed façade of slapdash nobility that barely conceals the shame and injustice that has forever stained the stone courtyard and imprinted itself in the hearts and minds of the feudal lords that oversee it.
If someone were to tell me Cosmopolis was a film inhabited by robots, if the big reveal at the end of this enigma were that aliens had taken control of these humans and were manipulating them for some sort of extra-terrestrial experiment, maybe I would have enjoyed what I was watching. But these twists were not part of the story, and what we are left with is a film of soulless people speaking obtuse and bewildering musings about wealth and life in strange and unexplained settings where nothing really connects and nothing is of much interest. As the story unfolded into more and more confusion and nonsensical sprawl, I grew colder and colder to the proceedings until I simply did not care anymore.
Animals are the best, aren’t they? They’re uncomprehending of the things around them to our extent but they develop these relationships like we do—with other animals as well as us. Animals are lovely creatures on the whole and you can bond with anything as long as you show it affection from the off; you can almost manipulate nature to an extent, fight the instincts for something nice and if animals can do this then so can we: there’s no excuse for hostility really. A digression but it links to this documentary about a killer whale who’s as much a killer as a week-old kitten. Luna is looking for love, family and friendship after losing contact with his family. He’s seeking out for all the things that we crave but attention more than anything else. Poor Luna.
The plot of this documentary alone is one of incredible frustration. After reading it, it’s shocking enough as it is and when you finally press play, it only gets worse and your feeling of disgust intensifies. There are a lot of problems with the armed forces, many of which are ignored because of the dangerous nature of their careers, this is one of the things that is ignored within it and really shouldn’t be. This documentary helps cement the fact that respect should be earned and not given automatically because of your title. It’s the reason why respect for soldiers goes overboard as they get privileges that others don’t because of the risk involved with their work that they voluntarily sign up for.