Limitless Cinema in Broken English

March 31, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:45 am


There are many reasons why I like WOLF CREEK. One reason is that I maybe insane. Hahaha.

1.I always like movies about serial killers, and WOLF CREEK is one of my most favorite films in this genre. It is very exciting, and surprises me a lot. I guessed wrong about who would live and who would die, and that’s one of the main reasons why it is very exciting. If it were predictable, it would not have been as exciting as this.

2.WOLF CREEK is different and better from many serial-killer films in many ways. One difference is the structure of the film of which the first half is a romantic road movie. I think this is a very brilliant idea that I like very much. It lends great credibility to the story. It makes me care a lot about the good characters. It makes the good characters have real flesh, blood, and soul. Most serial-killer movies try to scare the audience as early as possible. The latest example of this might be SEE NO EVIL (2006, GREGORY DARK, B+). Most serial-killer movies provide details about the characters only when the details are important to the plot, or only when the details make the characters look suspicious. Most of these films don’t make their characters look like real human beings. These films make their characters look like sexy groups of people whose main purpose of their existence is either to survive or not to survive. There seem to be no other purposes for the existence of these characters.

In my personal point of view, some serial-killer movies are better than most just because they provide unnecessary details about their characters, or just because they don’t try to scare the audience as early as possible. Two movies that I like because of this are JEEPERS CREEPERS (2001, VICTOR SALVA, A+) and HOUSE OF WAX (2005, JAUME COLLET-SERRA, A+). In JEEPERS CREEPERS, the first five minutes of the film has two characters talking about things unnecessary to the plot, but this scene is very important to the movie, because it makes me feel as if these characters are real humans, and when you feel the characters are real humans, the story will seem more real to you, and that can make you feel much more frightened, and more painful when the characters are hurt.

In the case of HOUSE OF WAX, except for the opening scene, there is nothing frightening happening in the movie for the first fifteen minutes or so. The characters in HOUSE OF WAX don’t seem like humans, anyway. They still look like ‘expendable characters’ like in most serial-killer movies, but I still like the first part of the film. Somehow, it feels like a breathing space. It makes you feel that these characters don’t exist just to survive or to be killed. It makes you feel that these characters had really ‘lived’ before they met the serial killer.

However, WOLF CREEK goes far beyond JEEPERS CREEPERS and HOUSE OF WAX. The nothing-happening part is very long, and the longer the better. I think the characters in WOLF CREEK might be the most “human” in serial-killer movies. I feel as if these characters really had “lives”, really had “dreams”, really have flesh and blood and soul. Moreover, I feel as if these characters are more “real”, or more “human” than characters in many dramatic movies. Characters in WOLF CREEK are more real to me and more human to me than characters in CRASH (2005, PAUL HAGGIS, A+). Characters in CRASH make me feel almost all the time that they exist just to teach the audience something, while characters in WOLF CREEK make me feel that they exist because they exist.

3. The romantic part in this film is very very credible in my point of view. It is much more credible than many romantic movies. The awkward behaviors between the characters in WOLF CREEK are what I might find only in Eric Rohmer movies or in ALL THE VERMEERS IN NEW YORK (1990. JON JOST, A+).

The other girl, who is not the object of desire of the handsome male protagonist, is a very good character in my point of view. She reacts to the blossoming romance of her best friend, not by envying, but by encouraging the romance, though I think deep down inside she might wants the guy for herself. This is a kind of supporting characters which always make a deep impact in my heart. Maybe it is because I’m a guy who always wants husbands of my friends, Hahaha. That’s why I feel very connected with this kind of characters. The other character who can be compared to this character in WOLF CREEK is the sister in TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (1971, FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT, A+). Ann Brown in TWO ENGLISH GIRLS might like the guy (Jean-Pierre Leaud) very much, but she still encourages him to be with her sister.

The main female protagonist in WOLF CREEK is also very good. She is not too beautiful or too sexy, and that makes her seem more real.

4.The most important reason for my fondness might be this one: WOLF CREEK seems to present the universe in the same way as I view the universe. WOLF CREEK seems to present the universe as CRUEL and UNFAIR, and the movie did this by the emphasizing of the tremendously beautiful landscape and by the dialogue of the characters.

If I don’t remember it wrongly, the characters question why the meteor had to strike the earth at this certain place, or something like that. And that dialogue makes me think about FATE. Why did the meteor have to strike the earth at this place? Why did the characters’ car break down because of the strange power of the crater? Why did they have to meet the serial killer? Why didn’t some of them survive? The questioning about “WHAT” decides the fate of the meteor seems to impact the whole movie. Because of that question, the movie seems to ask if there is a governing benevolent power in the universe or not. And if there is a governing benevolent power, why did this power make the meteor strike the earth at this certain place and make these good characters get butchered indirectly. Is the governing power in the universe really benevolent, merciful, or fair, or is it really indifferent to mankind, cruel and unjust?

And this question is very important in real life, or in the life of the audience outside the movie theaters.

The dialogue of the characters is not the only thing that makes me think about the questioning of the governing benevolent power in the universe. The tremendously beautiful landscape and the solar eclipse scene also make me think about the universe, too. If WOLF CREEK were just a normal serial-killer movie, the landscape would not be emphasized as much as this, or it would be emphasized only for its haunting atmosphere. But in this movie, its beauty is emphasized in such a way that makes me feel as if the landscape, the nature, or the unseen power of the nature seem to be INDIFFERENT to mankind, or the suffering of mankind.

WOLF CREEK was shown in Thailand nearly the same time as SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006, BRYAN SINGER, A-) was shown. Coincidentally, the sun seems to be much more than the sun in both movies. In SUPERMAN RETURNS, the sun shines a benevolent light. The sun seems to be something good. The universe seems to be good. But in WOLF CREEK, the sun also shines a very beautiful light, but the sun (or the universe) is INDIFFERENT to the suffering of mankind. Superman seems to smile and be happy under the sun, while characters in WOLF CREEK tries so hard to survive under the same sun. Somehow, watching these two movies nearly at the same time makes me think about what TESS said in TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES. She asked, “I shouldn’t mind learning why—why the sun do shine on the just and the unjust alike.”

The suffering under the beautiful landscape in WOLF CREEK also makes me think about an important scene in LORD OF THE FLIES. In that scene the pig is brutally butchered in a beautiful natural landscape. What happened in that scene seems to be evil, but the butterflies still flew happily in that scene. The contrasting between the evil doings and the beautiful nature in WOLF CREEK and LORD OF THE FLIES both make me question about the governing benevolent power in the universe.

Lastly, WOLF CREEK makes me think about a poem of EMILY DICKINSON.


Apparently with no surprise,

To any happy flower,

The frost beheads it at its play,

In accidental power.

The blond assassin passes on.

The sun proceeds unmoved,

To measure off another day,

For an approving God.

The story in WOLF CREEK is very different from the story in APPARENTLY WITH NO SURPRISE in many ways, The killing is WOLF CREEK is intentional, not accidental. The killer is WOLF CREEK is ugly, not beautiful like the frost in the poem. But somehow both WOLF CREEK and APPARENTLY WITH NO SURPRISE seem to present “EVIL UNDER THE SUN” and seem to ask IF THE SUN APPROVES OF THIS EVIL.

I think this is what makes WOLF CREEK stands apart from many serial-killer movies, because most movies seem to present evil characters or evil men, but no questioning about the approval of the universe. Moreover, movies about natural disaster which should have asked the same question, don’t ask it, because most movies about natural disaster tend to emphasize on the benevolent acts of people or selfless sacrifices which can help humans survive natural disaster.

This is not an analysis of WOLF CREEK anyway. It is just what I feels by watching WOLF CREEK. I think now you know how insane I am. Hahaha.



Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 2:07 am


Alternative Goddesses

Different actresses have different impacts on the audience. Some actresses are as beautiful and glamorous as we could only wish we could be. The characters these actresses play are our fantasy lives and they do the things that we, the ordinary people, rarely do in real life. However, there are other actresses who specialize in portraying our real lives. Their personalities on screen are not the ones of goddesses, but humans. When we watch them, we feel as if we watch ourselves. These actresses have the power to transform the screen into a magic mirror, the mirror that can only tell the truth and nothing but the truth. This mirror does not hide what we want to hide, and will not let us forget what we want to forget. These actresses aren’t satisfied with playing only likeable characters, but excel in playing complicated, annoying, or gray characters. While the first group of actresses impress us with their generous smiles, expression of happiness, and optimistic attitude towards life and the world, the second group impress us with their tears, reluctant smiles, and expression of anger, anxiety, disgust and despair. This second group of actresses, who have the faces that can show real anguish, pain, and suffering, are very essential to some kinds of cinema, and without them the world of cinema would be just a little more than a wasteland. Imagine Shirley Valentine (Lewis Gilbert, 1989) without Pauline Collins, Breaking the Waves (Lars von Trier, 1996) without Emily Watson, Secrets and Lies (Mike Leigh, 1995) without Brenda Blethyn, or Swedish cinema without Liv Ullmann, and you will get the picture. To see the difference between these two groups is to see Ingrid Bergman in Hollywood films and see her again in Autumn Sonata (Ingmar Bergman, 1978). For some audience, it is much easier to relate to the characters that the second group play. Watching their characters, we feel as if our lives have been confirmed by being projected onto the screen, as if the world acknowledge that we really exist. Watching them, we come to understand our feelings, emotions, ourselves, and people around us, and we feel hopeful that at least there might be someone somewhere in the world who can also understand us.

If you feel more related to the second group of actresses, or if you are one of those who prefer Diane Ladd to Diane Lane, Brigitte Mira to Brigitte Bardot, or Giulietta Masina as a prostitute in Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1956) to Julia Roberts as a prostitute in Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall, 1990), maybe you should check out films by the following actresses. These are actresses that I truly worship. They are goddesses to me, because each of them have their own magic powers: some of them have the power of giving real life, flesh and blood, heart and soul to their characters via their realistic acting, and some of them have the power of revealing to us the unpleasant corners in our minds and our society via their stylistic acting.

Carmen Maura

If not for Carmen Maura and Pedro Almodovar, some teenagers during the 1980s would have never known, nor fallen in love with, the Spanish cinema. Passionate, wild, funny, and outrageous. The adjectives used to describe Carmen Maura can also be used to describe most Spanish films. Maura is the actress who can do the unexpected, who can do anything beyond our wildest dreams. Who can ever forget her mischievous smiles, her hairstyle in the final scene of Pepi, Luci, Bom (Pedro Almodovar, 1980), what she did in the opening scene of What Have I Done to Deserve This? (Pedro Almodovar, 1984), or how she emerges from a theatre in the opening scene of Law of Desire (Pedro Almodovar, 1987)? Though she plays only a small part in Matador (Pedro Almodovar, 1986), her scenes and her dialogue with Antonio Banderas in this film are the ones that last the longest in my memory, and make me laugh every time I think of them. Carmen Maura represents the ‘naughty girl’ inside us all. She might not be as outrageous as Divine, nor as cool as Victoria Abril, but that’s why we can easily relate to her characters, and that’s why no other actresses can replace her. When she is in Almodovar’s films, she shows her potential as one of the best comediennes in the world. Unfortunately, when Almodovar and Maura become more mature, or when they don’t work together, one can easily notice that the same kind of charm has gone. Almodovar’s films become less and less funny, and though Maura’s roles in Elles (Luis Galvao Teles, 1997) and Le Bonheur est dans le pre (Etienne Chatiliez, 1995) are still funny, these later roles are forgettable. Maybe it is because her later roles are too sober, because she doesn’t want to be typecast, or because the directors cannot bring out the best in her. Anyway, though time has passed since she reached her peak in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar, 1988), I still think of her every time I hear the word ‘Spanish film’.

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

No one can doubt about the talent of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi after seeing Oublie-moi (Noemie Lvovsky, 1995), one of her best works. She excels in playing ‘a woman on a verge of a nervous breakdown’, because she is so powerful, intense, and explosive. She is so believable in this role that some might question her mental health outside the camera. The power of her acting is so overwhelming that even though she is just a supporting character in an ensemble Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (Patrice Chereau, 1998), a poster of this film features only her, and it chooses to feature her in the most explosive moment—when she cannot repress her emotions any more. She is so special in There’s Nothing Special About Normal People (Laurence Ferreira Barbosa, 1993) in which she plays a mad woman who is still likeable. But her talent shines the brightest in Oublie-moi, in which she plays a mad woman who is not likeable at all. Her character in this film is so annoying, so stubborn, so silly, so terrible that very few people would wish to be near her in real life. But thanks to her talent and the directing of Noemie Lvovsky, some audience can sympathize with this ultimately annoying character, and thus forgive her because we understand that this character is just a human being.

A case like this–when the main character is ultimately annoying and boring if they exist in reality, yet captivating and never boring when presented on screen—is hard to find. The only other actress whom I think is as successful as Bruni Tedeschi in this case is Marie Riviere as a ‘difficult’ woman in Le Rayon Vert (Eric Rohmer, 1986). They both play the kinds of women who suffer because of themselves. However, after comparing these two roles, you will find that the role of Bruni Tedeschi is much more negative and hopeless. I think Marie Riviere and Bruni Tedeschi are very courageous, because they knew they risked being hated by some audience when they played these roles.

Films like Oublie-moi and Le Rayon Vert make one feel as if the films are custom-made for their specific leading actresses, since the success or failure of the films seems to rest entirely on the actresses’ talents. Just look at the car accident scene in Oublie-moi; the audience never have a chance to ‘see’ the accident, because the camera only focuses on the expression on Bruni Tedeschi’s face. Oublie-moi seems to have no standard plot or conventional storyline, because the main interest of the film is only the emotions of Bruni Tedeschi’s character. It is no exaggeration to say that films like these exist only because actresses like Bruni-Tedeschi exist.

Having said all that, I must add that Bruni Tedeschi is not only capable of playing a mad woman. She can also be alluring in Nenette et Boni (Claire Denis, 1996) or be calm and thoughtful in Au coeur du mensonge, in which she plays a detective and has the daunting task of being in the same scenes with Sandrine Bonnaire, an actress who can overpower anyone easily. While female detectives in other films are cocky and stereotyped, Bruni Tedeschi can combine perfectly authoritativeness, wit and femininity into her role, thus makes this detective truly stand apart as an individual. Plus, I think her voice is unique and is a part of her charms.

Sandrine Kiberlain

She is another actress who excels in playing a stubborn and headstrong woman, but though she is as intense and powerful as Bruni Tedeschi, her characters are not explosive, and choose to express their frustration, anger, and pain in a much subtler way. Kiberlain is an actress who can look physically and emotionally fragile in one minute, and look tough and strong in the next minute. It is forgivable if one sees There’s Nothing Special About Normal People and forgets that she has a role in this film. But it is a crime if one sees Kiberlain in Laetitia Masson’s films and can afford to ever forget her. Kiberlain’s role in A Vendre (Laetitia Masson, 1998) as a woman who keeps on running is one of the most interesting roles in cinema. Kiberlain can make us believe her roles, believe that people like this really exist, though some of us never quite understand her characters nor the logic and reasons behind her characters’ actions. Through her roles, she lets us get in touch with the kind of people who actually exist everywhere, but rarely get exposed in Hollywood films. These are real people who are naturally complicated, and live to defy the Hollywood rule that humans and humans’ actions can be explained and understood. Just compare her role, talent, and power in A Vendre with those of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride (Garry Marshall, 1999), and you can understand perfectly how essential Kiberlain is to the world of cinema. She is the perfect representation of some kind of people who are always underrepresented in films.

Another interesting thing about Kiberlain is that though she looks sincere and simple, there is nothing simple beneath the surface. Her characters usually have a troubled soul and a mind as deep as the ocean. Though she excels in playing intense women, she has proved that she can also be so ‘relaxed’ in La Fausse suivante (Benoit Jacquot, 2000), in which she plays a scheming girl involved in intricate love relationships. Did Jacquot cast a wrong actress to play in a romantic comedy? No, because though La Fausse suivante can be considered a romantic comedy, it has a very cruel side. Only actresses with such enormous talents as Kiberlain and Isabelle Huppert can play a complicated cruel/romantic part and still make it look as if it was so easy.

There’s one film that really makes use of the simple look of Kiberlain. It is L’Appartement (Gilles Mimouni, 1996), and her personality is effectively used to contrast with the personalities of Monica Bellucci and Romane Bohringer. I guess some audience might be impressed with the sexiness of Bellucci and Bohringer, but it is Kiberlain’s look that calls the attention of and gains sympathy from other audience, the kind of audience who like to look at someone they can relate to.

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton is the real queen, and no other actresses can look as majestic as her. One feels as if she has an invisible aura around her, feels as if she is always superior and has the right to look down on other people. Even though she appears in the disappointing The Beach (Danny Boyle, 2000), she is still the queen of the island, and is the best thing in that movie. Then, how is she different from Judi Dench who is also queen-like? In my opinion, Dench’s image is a kind of woman who always has something good or kind hidden beneath the surface, while Swinton’s image is a kind of woman who makes you doubt whether she is virtuous or heartless.

Swinton is the real gay icon, not only because of her long collaboration with the late Derek Jarman, but also because of her participation in Female Perversions (Susan Streitfeld, 1996), Orlando (Sally Potter, 1992), and Love is the Devil (John Maybury, 1998). She is very beautiful, and looks like she has just stepped out of an old painting. But one feels as if she has something androgynous about her. Maybe it is partly because she never looks voluptuous, vulnerable, nor dim witted, as some male audience might prefer actresses to be.

One feels as if Swinton is the embodiment of art and can be presented as a kind of art. And Swinton really did it when she went to sleep in a gallery and let people observe her in her sleep. Can you think of other actresses who can be a better living work of art than her? Her participation in Orbital’s music video doesn’t mean she lowers herself to the pop culture, but rather means she helped uplifing the music industry and bring it much closer to the avant garde cinema. Anyone who loves Orbital’s music knows how perfectly the haunting rhythm of Orbital matches her ethereal presence.

Though one may say she was very fortunate to having participated in Jarman’s films, because she didn’t have to compete with other actresses in the same films, her roles in Jarman’s, though very dignified, are not the central characters. Yet, anyone who has ever had a doubt about her real talent just has to see Female Perversions and their doubts will be cleared. This film presents her with a real challenge because it contrasts with her works in Jarman’s in many ways: here she is the central character who is really complex and lives in the present, and here she has to compete with other talented actresses in the same film. The result: Swinton is the real winner of the film, and the scene in which she expresses her anger with a lipstick is unforgettable. Of all the other actresses in this film, only Frances Fisher emerges intact from the ferocious power of Swinton.

Not only her presence on screen that is admirable, just read her interviews and you will also admire her thoughts. She once said in Vogue, “I honestly don’t see the point of doing anything if you know how it’s going to turn out.” Well, how many actresses are willing to take risks like her? She also said in an interview by Greg King for Female Perversions that she found something exhilarating about working with people who haven’t learned to compromise yet.

For those of you who are familiar with her works in Jarman’s, please read the article “Letter to an angel”, (,12084,775676,00.html ) written by Swinton in the Guardian website, and you would surely admire her more. For those of you who don’t know her, just watch Edward II (Derek Jarman, 1991), for which she won the Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival as Queen Isabella, and compare her role with the role of Sophie Marceau in Braveheart (Mel Gibson, 1995), and you will undestand how Swinton is different from other actresses. Swinton’s Isabella can be a good example for her other roles. Her roles are not about women who need to be loved, but about women who are awe-inspiring and need to be feared. Her Isabella is not a woman for men to die for, but a woman who causes deaths for men. One can only agree with Derek Jarman when he said, “Of all the people I’ve worked with, Tilda is the one who transforms the screen.”

Irm Hermann

There’s something about Irm Hermann which makes her unforgettable. Though she played only small parts in the later works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, her appearance is always striking. And there is something comedic about her. It is as if she can turn any scene into a comedy just by her appearance. There can be no two actresses’ personalities as different as those of Tilda Swinton and Irm Hermann.While Swinton seems to be perpetually queen-like and carries seriousness with her, Hermann is just the opposite. It’s very difficult to compare Hermann to other actresses in order to tell anyone unfamiliar with her to get the picture of her particular appeal. There’s only one actress I can think of who might have the same kind of appeal, though their looks are very different. It’s Rossy de Palma. And it is because de Palma has a face so unique, has a comedic quality within her, and can manage to be unforgettable though she has only the supporting roles in Kika (Pedro Almodovar, 1993), in which she plays the sister of a rapist, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Pedro Almodovar, 1989), in which she did some horrible thing to Antonio Banderas, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, in which she loses her virginity by a dream.

Though Hermann is the leading lady in Katzelmacher (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1969), in which she is believable as a rich, snobbish, and arrogant woman, and has an important role in The Merchant of Four Seasons (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972), the film which best captures her appeal is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972), in which she plays an assistant to Margit Carstensen. The image of her in this film is indelible: an image of a woman who is in total submission as if she is emotionally masochist. Hermann rarely utters a word in this film, but her presence on the screen is so strong that she successfully steals the scene from Carstensen and Hanna Schygulla. And if you think her role as Marlene in this film can be plainly described as ‘a submissive woman’, just wait until the ending of the film.

Why do I write about Irm Hermann, instead of Schygulla or Carstensen, who are as talented as Hermann and have much more important roles in Fassbinder’s works? It is because I can relate to Hermann, and I like her appeal which is relatively down-to-earth compared to Schygulla and Carstensen. Schygulla’s roles are too beautiful, glamorous, and cold-hearted to relate to, while Carstensen’s roles are too strong and cruel. An actress who has a glamorous or strong personality is easier to be found than an actress who has a unique personality as Hermann. An actress with a particular appeal like Irm Hermann or Brigitte Mira seems to be found only in the New German Cinema.

While you can say Hermann owed a lot to Fassbinder for giving her the kinds of roles she could have never found anywhere else, anyone who reads a biography of Fassbinder knows that Fassbinder also owed a lot to Hermann. Because without the help of Hermann, Fassbinder might not have had a chance to start his career. Irm Hermann, bot in front of and behind the camera, is the real unsung heroine of the New German Cinema.

Other Alternative Goddesses

Watching these actresses, you might have the same kind of amazement that you had when you watched Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001) or Samantha Morton in Sweet and Lowdown (Woody Allen, 1999).

1.Marianne Denicourt in Haut bas fragile (Jacques Rivette, 1995)
2.Petra Tikalova in Bunny (Mia Trachinger, 2000)
3.Ho-jung Kim in Nabi (Seong-wook Moon, 2001)
4.Emmanuelle Devos in Ma vie sexuelle (Arnaud Desplechin, 1996)
5.Hannelore Elsner in No Place to Go (Oskar Roehler, 2000)
6.Florence Vignon in Le Bleu des villes (Stephane Brize, 1999)
7.Sylvia Chang in Full Moon in New York (Stanley Kwan, 1989)
8.Darling Narita in Bang (Ash, 1995)
9.Rene Liu in The Personals (Kuo-fu Chen, 1998)
10.Morgane More in Saint-Cyr (Patricia Mazuy, 2000)

March 28, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 12:22 pm


What a great list! I have seen only three films directed by Rattana Pestonji and one film of which he is a cinematographer and producer. I saw BLACK SILK (1961, A), DARK HEAVEN (1958, A), and COUNTRY HOTEL (1957, A+) in 1996, and a few years later I saw CHUAFAH DIN SALAI (directed by Marut, 1955, A+). I think CHUAFAH DIN SALAI can be translated as UNTIL THE END OF TIME. (The grade I give to each film indicates how much I love it, not how good the film is.)

Personally, I think Rattana Pestonji is excellent in film craftsmanship. He might be one of the best Thai directors, but he is not one of my most favorite directors. It is because I often feel some ‘distant’ from classical cinema in general. Rattana Pestonji’s films make me admire him, but don’t make me feel very strong emotions.

I think COUNTRY HOTEL is a very entertaining movie. I love the structure of this film. For the first half of this film, the story is full of nonsensical jokes, and suddenly the story turns from comedy into thriller. It gives me as much surprise as FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. The female protagonist is very brave, and I always like this kind of female protagonist.

BLACK SILK is a good classical film, but the female protagonist in this film is too good for me to identify with. Hahaha. She behaved like Penelope, Odysseus’s patient wife. I like this film as much as I like GOLDEN MARIE (1952, Jacques Becker), which also concerns with the love of a gang member. I think both films are perfectly crafted. Everything seems to be in the right place in the right proportion. The story is nicely told. But it doesn’t make me feel very exciting.

DARK HEAVEN is a nicely told melodrama. It is adapted from SEVENTH HEAVEN (1927, Frank Borzage). I like DARK HEAVEN as much as I like some of Aki Kaurismaki’s films. These films are about poor people with pure hearts who try to be happy together against all odds. But DARK HEAVEN is a little bit ‘loud’ compared with Kaurismaki’s quiet tone.

CHUFAH DIN SALAI is my most favorite among these four films, because Marut, the director, can make very good use of the sex appeal of the handsome leading actor. I don’t know anything about Marut, but this film feels much more ‘sensual’ than the three films of Pestonji that I saw. I also like the character of the leading protagonist. She is a very bad girl, like the one in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. Though the leading characters in this film are bad people (practicing adultery), I couldn’t help siding with them and prayed that they could win in the end. That’s why I think this film is great. It tells a romantic story of immoral couple, and can make the audience sympathize with them.

CHUAFAH DIN SALAI is also an inspiration for today’s Thai filmmaker. This film is strongly referred to in the short film called MIAMI STRIPS, HOLLYWOOD DREAMS (1999, Lee Chatametikool, A+). Lee Chatametikool now works as an editor in SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY, TROPICAL MALADY, and BLISSFULLY YOURS.

Rattana Pestonji was born in 1908, so I hope that there should be a centennial anniversary for him next year.

There are also some films by Pestonji that I would like to see very much. They are:

1.THAILAND (1958)
This film shows some historical places in Bangkok and the ordinary life of Thai people, which are very connected with Buddhism

This film shows Dhammachakra, which is an important symbol of Buddhism, and some stories related to Dhammachakra.

This film shows Khon, a Thai traditional dance performance. The performance is adapted from some Hindu mythology called Ramayana. It is about Nontuk, a loyal gatekeeper in heaven. By doing his duty well, he is given magical powers by the god Shiva. He is given a diamond finger that can point death to anyone he wishes to kill. So he points it to many deities and creates havoc in heaven.

This film collects many old advertisements for old products by Diethelm company.

This one is like an industrial film. It shows the process of work inside a factory of alcoholic drinks.

THAILAND, THE WHEEL OF THE LAW, and DIAMOND FINGER are short documentaries that Pestonji made for the Thai government, so that they can be distributed to foreign embassies. They are about Thai culture and many aspects of Thailand.

50 YEARS OF DIETHELM and SURA are documentaries that Pestonji made for some business corporations.

The four short documentaries (excluding SURA) have something connected to one another, and are very important in documenting Thailand in the past.

The information about these five short films by Pestonji is from an article by Manotham Theamtheabrat, my most favorite Thai film critic. The article appeared in a Thai magazine called THAI FILM QUATERLY, July-Sep 1999.

I also like Yoshida Yoshishige, Werner Schroeter, and Alexander Kluge very much. I saw WOMEN IN THE MIRROR (2002, Yoshida Yoshishige, A+), A PROMISE (1986, Yoshida Yoshishige, A+), THE DEATH OF MARIA MALIBRAN (1972, Werner Schroeter, A+), and MALINA (1991, Werner Schroeter, A+). As for Alexander Kluge’s films, the one that I like the most is FIREFIGHTER, E.A. WINTERSTEIN (1968). It is very crazy.
My retrospective wish list

He belongs to the SIXPACKFILM group.











I have heard that The National Film Theatre in London showed 21 films of Gosho in 1986,



16.PHANI MAJUMDAR (He is an Indian who is very important in the Malaysian film history.)





My retrospective witch list (for female filmmakers):







I’d like to see TRANSFORMATION IN THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT, which she directed with Corinna Schnitt and Alice Koenitz.

I’d like to see her film called TRUST YOUR FATHERS, IGNORE YOUR EXPERIENCE (1982).




Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:50 am





her  photo from THE FREE WILL (2006, MATTHIAS GLASNER)










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