Limitless Cinema in Broken English

June 14, 2010

THE GHOST WRITER (2010, Roman Polanski, A+++++)

Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:20 pm

THE GHOST WRITER (2010, Roman Polanski, A+++++)

FUROR LATINO (2003, Pilar Albarracin, A+++++)

THREE MURMURED MASSES (2009, Jacques Santamaria, A+++++)

LETTERS TO JULIET (2010, Gary Winick, A+++++)

THE FARMERS AND THE HELICOPTERS (2006, Dinh Q. Lê, A+)

PORNOGRAM (2010, Ninart Boonpothong, stage play, A+)

DELUSION (MOHA) (2010, Suparirk Kanitwaranun, A+)

DEAR BROTHERS & SISTERS (documentary about the making of DEAR FATHER) (2010, A+)

DEAR FATHER (2010, Q Setthapinit, A+)

JONG-BELL (2008, Suparirk Kanitwaranun, A+)

ENDLESS (2008, Suparirk Kanitwaranun, A+)

THE TROPICS: VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE GLOBE (2010, Alfons Hug, Peter Junger, Viola König, exhibition)

MY FATHER’S FATHER WAS NOT CALLED JIMMY CONNORS (2007, Renaud Guillemet, A+/A)

TRIP TO MOUNT ZUQUALLA (2005, Theo Eshetu, A+/A)

THE LETTER OF MR. COLOUR BLINDNESS (2010, Sorayos Prapapun, A+/A)

BOUBOUROCHE (2009, Laurent Heynemann, A)

DISAPPEAR (2010, Pirun Anusuriya, A-)

RED ROOF (2009, Suparirk Kanitwaranun, A-)

KILLERS (2010, Robert Luketic, A-)

THE GHOST WRITER accidentally affects my fondness/hatred towards KILLERS. It was unfortunate for KILLERS that I saw this film on the same day as THE GHOST WRITER. I like some ideas in KILLERS, especially the idea that your neighbors and colleagues can kill you at any time. I give this idea A++++++++++. Unfortunately, I don’t like the ending of KILLERS. I think the conflict is solved too easily. It is as if political assassination or ex-political assassins can be easily forgiven. But THE GHOST WRITER accidentally makes me feel that political assassination is something that should not be easily forgiven. So I think the ending of KILLERS is something unforgivable. Or maybe I just misunderstand something about KILLERS. I’m not sure. Anyway, I find it hard to sympathize with a comedy in which ex-political assassins are easily forgiven. I much prefer such film as POLITICALLY LAWYER AND NARRATIVE CINEMA (2009, Chaloemkiat Saeyong, A+++++), which seems to say that the viewers should not forget innocent people who are murdered for political reasons. My feelings towards KILLERS are roughly the same as my feelings towards THE DARK KNIGHT. I might have given these two films A+++++, if these two films don’t end with something I can’t approve of.

It is funny that the watching of one film can accidentally affect one’s feelings towards another film. But this thing has happened to me frequently lately. I watched ROBIN HOOD (2010, Ridley Scott, A++++) and DÉTECTIVE (1985, Jean-Luc Godard, A+++++) in the same week, and the experience of ROBIN HOOD accidentally makes me admire something in DÉTECTIVE. ROBIN HOOD makes me imagine how the story in DÉTECTIVE would be like if the film was made by a Hollywood studio. I imagine that the Hollywood version of DÉTECTIVE may emphasize on the oppression of the mafia family, who seem to threaten many characters in the hotel. I think ROBIN HOOD did quite a good job in portraying oppression and the struggle against oppression. Like many good Hollywood films, ROBIN HOOD just says the main thing and there’s not much else. We don’t know much about “other things” in the lives of “the characters under oppression”.

But in DÉTECTIVE, we know that the characters in the hotel seem to have a lot of problems of their own, apart from the threat from the mafia family. Françoise (Nathalie Baye), Emile (Claude Brasseur), and Jim Fox Warner (Johnny Hallyday) have to deal with a serious relationship problem. The Princess of the Bahamas (Emmanuelle Seigner) wants to prostitute herself for her lover. Jim’s friend has a problem with a computer. The boxer seems to be obsessed with fighting with himself. Inspector Neveu (Jean-Pierre Léaud) suspects there might be something between his lover and his uncle. His uncle is too obsessed with solving the crime in the past. Neveu’s lover keeps wondering about the use of the letter “X” in mathematics and in the rate of porn films. In conclusion, I like it very much that DÉTECTIVE seems to pay attention to many things in the lives of the characters, instead of focusing only on the threat from the mafia family.

My two most favorite scenes in DÉTECTIVE are the scenes which seem to have nothing to do with the story in this film. The first favorite scene is the scene in which Inspector Neveu is having some trouble cleaning the floor, because an Italian woman’s legs obstruct his cleaning path. After he shouts in anger because of the legs, the light at the chandelier suddenly sparkles. What does it mean? I don’t know. But it feels like magic. My second favorite scene is the scene in a restaurant in which two unnamed guests poke out their tongues to kiss the tongue of each other.

It is unfortunate for PERE ET FILS (2003, Michel Boujenah, A+/A) that I saw this film after DÉTECTIVE. There is some use of music near the end of PERE ET FILS which seems to try to manipulate the viewers to cry. But when I heard this music in PERE ET FILS, it suddenly reminded me of the opening title of DÉTECTIVE, which makes fun of manipulative soundtrack music. So instead of crying for the ending of PERE ET FILS, I ended up laughing at it, thanks to Godard.

I don’t usually like comedies, but THREE MURMURED MASSES makes me laugh a lot. The acting and many things in this film seem to be presented in an appropriate way, or an appropriate degree. This film parodies priesthood and religion. Maybe it should be screened together with FANCY DANCE (1989, Masayuki Suo) and THE HOLY MAN (หลวงพี่เท่ง) (2005, Bumrer Pong-insee).

PORNOGRAM accidentally reminds me of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films, because PORNOGRAM puzzles me a lot. I’m not sure what this play means. Is it about the soul of art, the soul of artist, and the soul of man? Is it about the exploitation between people, and between artist and his model? Does it imply that “each man kills the things he loves”, like what Oscar Wilde said, or like what DRESSED TO KILL shows? I like the relationship between Hirun and Darun very much. It seems as if Hirun turns Darun into a soulless man. Some scenes in PORNOGRAM are very classic, especially the scene in which Darun watches a video which shows “Darun watching a video”, but with a ghost standing beside Darun in the video. I think this scene is worthy of Atom Egoyan, and accidentally reminds me of the classic scene in THE ALL-ROUND REDUCED PERSONALITY – REDUPERS (1977, Helke Sander), in which a group of people place “a big image of the Berlin wall” beside the Berlin wall. Another classic scene in PORNOGRAM is the scene in which the viewers watch something like a murder via the video camera. There is something about the video camera or the video monitor, which makes what happens in it look creepier than what happens in front of our own naked eyes. I think if the murder scene is played on the stage in front of the viewers’ naked eyes, it might not look as frightening as when it is shown inside the video screen.

The reason why I compare PORNOGRAM to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films is because at the end of this play, I’m not sure about many things. I don’t know who is alive or dead, who deceives whom, why this character talks like that, why this character commits murder if the murder actually happens, where the ghost in the video comes from, etc. This kind of puzzling ending is what I often find in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films. Anyway, I enjoy thinking about it a lot, though I don’t understand it.

I like the ending of MY FATHER’S FATHER WAS NOT CALLED JIMMY CONNORS very much. It reminds me of the ending of STRONG SHOULDERS (2003, Ursula Meier, A+++++), BIG BOY (2010, Monthon Arayangkoon, A+++++), and NOODLE BOXER (2006, Rerkchai Puongpetch), in which the characters realize that happiness doesn’t come with winning the game.

I think my most favorite scene in LETTERS TO JULIET is the scene in which Vanessa Redgrave brushes the hair of Amanda Seyfried.

1 Comment »

  1. This is my replies to some friends in Facebook:

    I definitely recommend THE GHOST WRITER. I think it has a very exciting plot and very creepy atmosphere. The film thrills me with its gloomy atmosphere. I much prefer this kind of thriller to the kind of 3-D thrillers. Hahaha.

    I feel so glad that Olivia Williams and Kim Cattrall star in THE GHOST WRITER. I think this film will benefit their careers very much. At least the film confirms to me that Kim Cattrall really has talent. I like Kim’s character in SEX AND THE CITY, but seeing Kim excels in only one role cannot confirm to me that she really has talent. But when I see her understated performance in THE GHOST WRITER, I feel very thankful to Polanski for giving this chance to her. I also have to admit that I didn’t notice at first that Kim’s character may be the mistress of Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), and “the husband” that she talks about may mean Adam. I only knew it after a friend talked to me about this after the film.

    As for Olivia Williams, I like her very much in THE HEART OF ME (2002, Thaddeus O’Sullivan, A++++++++++). I hope THE GHOST WRITER will earn her the fame she really deserves.

    Another connection between THE GHOST WRITER and MICHAEL CLAYTON is Tom Wilkinson. Hahaha. I think he acts very well in both films. What I like very much in THE GHOST WRITER is the idea that one person can do something by using another person (or his/her ghost). Adam Lang writes a book by using his ghost writer. The first ghost writer tries to reveal the truth to the world by unintentionally leaving the clues to the second ghost writer. Rykart tries to bring down Adam Lang by using Ewan McGregor’s character. And the wife uses the husband to control the country or the world. I think we can say that Adam Lang is, in a way, “the ghost” of his wife. The film reminds us that many political leaders are not really “leaders”, because they are manipulated by some “forces” behind them. The character Adam Lang makes me think that there might be some leaders in some countries who are manipulated by some forces behind them. These forces may be cruel, power-hungry, and believe that what they do is right and appropriate for the country or the world.

    Comment by celinejulie — June 15, 2010 @ 9:40 pm


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