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Dzi Croquettes (2009)
Hyped up beyond belief.,
I expected more actual performance footage, instead 90% of the film consisted of reminiscences about the group by those who had known the performers in the past which was not enough to hold the attention of an audience for nearly two hours of screen time. Being a fan of things Brazilian especially music, I was looking forward to seeing a generous sampling of both that and performances by those who effectuated the changes in the seventies. Watching a selection of friends and acquaintances of these people, mostly repeating or rephrasing what was already said, was extremely disappointing especially in view of the fact that this film was given various awards, such as best Brazilian documentary for that year. (What were the others like if THIS was the best???) The short little glimpses of performance footage only whetted my appetite and increased my frustration about this experience. Given the subject matter this was an opportunity greatly missed.
I was hoping to hear some good samba and other Brazilian music, but each time some musical number began, the commentator returned to the totally uninteresting interview subjects, who may have been terrific musicians but unfortunately one could not find that out from this chopped up mishmash of interview fragments of people who had nothing interesting to say. The same subjects were gone over and over again without culminating in any substance. The subtitles were, for the most part, illegible since they were written in white script over white surfaces. Picture quality was uniformly poor and the entire production was amateurishly done. It is a pity when Brazilian music has such a rich history and past.
Polvere di Napoli (1998)
DeSica has nothing to worry about
This is a disjointed mishmash of five unconnected vignettes which shows that Italian cinema is more or less beyond resurrection. It may be possible that their best does not reach our shores. It is also understandable that this film has not been distributed commercially. After the first day's showing word of mouth publicity would close it down forever. (I saw it a museum screening.)
It is pointless to use as a point of departure DeSica's "The gold of Naples" as the maker of this film is doing. The comparison only accentuates the huge difference between the two film makers.
The protagonists of all the stories are lost souls one way or another who have not future in Naples or elsewhere. The actors do the best they can with the material, but there is not enough to work with here.
Shi mian mai fu (2004)
Not (but almost) a total waste of time.
The only thing that saves this movie from being a total waste of time is some of the visual effects, which after a while also become tedious and repetitive. This movie is for the verbally impaired, in fact it would be more enjoyable to watch it without a sound track since the dialogs and the plot are so silly that they only detract from the visual effects. Alas at the end the whole thing falls apart when the two main male characters slooooooooooooooooooowly hack each other to death while the object of their affection briefly comes back to life with a dagger in her heart to finally breath her last in the arms of her true love. The only thing that saved me from falling asleep in the seemingly endless last scene was the ear shattering sound effects.
Éloge de l'amour (2001)
the emperor's new clothes
This film has almost no merit. It is the pseudo-intellectual, senile gibberish of an impotent, burnt-out one-time maybe genius. What some reviewers view as highbrow filmmaking is nothing but a compilation of name dropping (Hannah Ahrendt, Simon Weil, Iris Berry, - if you don't know who they were, so much the better, if you do, you ought to be verly impressed), vicious anti-American tirades so fashionable these days among the French ("Americans have no past, therefore they borrow others' history") semi-allusions to historical figures and events. The story (?) itself is incoherent and incomprehensible, the characters repulsive, full of bellyaching, Weltschmerz, negativity, lack of irony or humor. The only good thing is the stunning black and white photography of the first part of the film.