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In a nameless city deluged by a continuous rain, three rabbits live with a fearful mystery.
Starring Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring and Scott Coffey (though you wouldn't know - they all wear rabbits heads) this short series set in one room with an unmoving camera this Lynch series is possibly the weirdest thing he has ever done. With a screenplay given the Burroughs' cut-up treatment the answers come before questions or the answers come episodes after the original question and occasional episodes featuring singing cut-up monologues (one featuring Rebecca del Rio) this is obviously meant to baffle the viewer. Luckily, like all Lynch works, it doesn't matter whether you understand or not (I sure don't) you're moved by it anyway. It takes a few episodes to get into the swing of it (at which point you'll want to rewatch the first few) but by the end of it I was sure what I had just watched was absolute genius
Karins ansikte (1984)
Bergman's poignant tribute to his mother is made up entirely of photographs from his personal family album. With no voice-over and only the occasional inter-title Bergman lets the photos speak for themselves, aided only by a sparse musical track
If a picture is worth a thousand words then this film is worth a million. Beautiful, haunting and sad Bergman's photo-montage tribute to his mother is incredible. As good as, if not better than, THE SEVENTH SEAL.
Citizen X (1995)
Pales next to "M" but is still a solid, well made movie
CITIZEN X (1995) Dir. Chris Gerolmo
In all genres there are benchmarks, exceptionally made films that all future films made in the same genre are measured by. Films about child killers are few and far between, perhaps, apart from the obvious almost taboo subject matter, this is due to this particular sub-genre's benchmark that was, remarkably, made around sixty years ago. This film, a true classic, is Fritz Lang's 'M', quite a film to live up to. Yet Gerolmo has great confidence in his ability to direct and has chosen to make a film with some startling parallels between his and Lang's films.
'Citizen X', too, is based on a true story, told from the point of view of the would-be captors and occasionally, for the murders and brief character developing scenes, from the point of view of the killer. Sound familiar? Anyway, the story is set in Communist Russia where an unknown man, 'X', is partially through his 8 year killing spree which left 52 people (mostly teenagers) dead. Viktor Burakov, the man in charge of finding the killer has found that the more he tries to get into the case, the more he is buried by government red tape. Trying to cut his way through all of the tape, Burakov does a move almost unheard of before and brings in a psychologist (Max von Sydow) to build up a picture of the killer.
'Citizen X' is a well made film although uninvolving and cold. I never really could feel for Rea's character as the whole film was a bit too distant for me to connect with. Everyone's acting is fine, if nothing to write home about, and the script is decent if, again, nothing special. Unlike 'M' 'Citizen X' has to use graphic imagery and violent descriptions to horrify which is a bit of a cop out. Show any murder of a child and people will be horrified, Lang managed to horrify through the subtlety of his imagery (who can forget that child's rolling ball?) which required a lot more imagination and talent than just having a shot of 'X' drooling blood over an (unseen) body. Gerolmo's bluntness is also shown in his powerful anti-capital punishment ending but is no match for Lang's equally powerful if slightly confusing (you can't fully tell which side he's on) ending which requires entirely Lorre's acting skills and a few choice words. Still, if you enjoyed 'M' then there is no reason as to why you shouldn't watch 'Citizen X'. It should keep you fairly well gripped but expect nothing more of it than an extremely well made dramatised documentary.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Fantastic, if emotionally draining, movie
DANCER IN THE DARK (2000) Dir. Lars Von Trier
Von Trier seems to court controversy with whatever film he chooses to make. 'Breaking the Waves' his debut film stirred up people for his frank depiction of polygamous sex. His award-winning Dogme movie 'The Idiots' horrified people for its subject matter and brief shots of real sexual activity between some of its stars some four or so years before the so-called 'groundbreaking' 'Intimacy'. 'Dancer in the Dark' contains no such pornography or indeed any sexual activity whatsoever. Instead Von Trier has chosen to make a musical about the death penalty. Which is nice.
'Dancer in the Dark' tells the tale of Czech-immigrant Selma (Björk) brought up in her country on American musicals. Entranced by the depiction of America in these movies she emigrates hoping for a better life. Selma, however, harbours a dark secret. She is afflicted with a hereditary blinding disease that eats away at her sight as she grows older. She works horrendous hours of every day and night to save up to pay for an operation that will give her son the chance of a life free of blindness. To keep herself from slipping into a deep depression, every time she hears or feels a beat she imagines herself breaking into a spontaneous song and dance routine like she had seen so many times in her childhood. As the movie progresses we get to witness her life crumbling and falling apart around her.
The film, as you would have guessed from the synopsis, is relentlessly downbeat but what makes this a film worth seeing, however, is its almost technical perfection. The songs created by Björk are beautiful and entrancing; the acting is incredibly realistic, great, believable dialogue with shaky documentary-esque camera work, which just heightens the deception that these people are actually real. The only flaw in Von Trier's otherwise perfect film is the choreography during the song and dance routines. Whereas in the golden age of musicals, in which Selma was brought up in, magic was given out by the bucket-load in here there is much less magic, it seems to be subtler. Perhaps this was what Von Trier intended and most people would probably be able to give him the benefit of the doubt. If you like watching movies just to be entertained then give this movie a wide berth, if however, you enjoy watching great movies then this one is absolutely unmissable.