David Cronnenberg's Naked Lunch

⊆ 6/17/2007 03:27:00 PM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Belle de Jour (1967)

⊆ 4/17/2007 10:47:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: Luis Bunuel

"It is possibly the best-known erotic film of modern times, perhaps the best. That's because it understands eroticism from the inside-out--understands how it exists not in sweat and skin, but in the imagination. "Belle de Jour'' is seen entirely through the eyes of Severine, the proper 23-year-old surgeon's wife, played by Catherine Deneuve. Bunuel, who was 67 when the film was released, had spent a lifetime making sly films about the secret terrain of human nature, and he knew one thing most directors never discover: For a woman like Severine, walking into a room to have sex, the erotic charge comes not from who is waiting in the room, but from the fact that she is walking into it. Sex is about herself. Love of course is another matter.

The subject of Severine's passion is always Severine.".....Read the full review on rogerebert.com

Un Chien Andalou (The Andalousian Dog) 1929

⊆ 4/15/2007 01:05:00 PM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

The complete Surrealistic fantasy

Dircted by Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali

No need to run out and rent this one the -- entire movie is here (15 minutes)

300, A Review (caution: contains spoilers)

⊆ 4/11/2007 03:53:00 PM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Caution: if you read the following you wont be able to sit through the movie.

from IMDB

Watched as a comedy, 300 is not bad, but they should have put in more funny scenes. I won't spoil anything, but we were all cracking up when the mutant ninjas appeared. It's as if the film makers were so scared that all the half-naked men might give the audience the wrong idea about the Spartans, that they turned the Hetero up to 11. At first I was offended, but the homo/xenophobia is so over-the-top, it becomes absurdly funny.

Things I learned from the movie:

1) Spartans are kind of like football players except that they all shave their chests and don't wear shirts.

2) If anyone is effeminate, nonwhite, a lesbian, or physically unattractive, they are an enemy of freedom or a slave.

3) Wearing underwear is only for evil people like hunchbacks and God-kings. The army of freedom goes commando.

4) Throwing your only weapon is a good battle strategy, as is slowing time and teleporting from one location to another. (I knew this from other funny action movies though)

5) The aesthetic style of perfume and car commercials from the early 90's is the new cutting edge of cinematography.

6) Rhinos and elephants are easy to ship, easy to train, and easy to kill.

7) Spartan cloaks never get dirty unless you are returning from a son-avenging murderous rampage. The cloaks can also summon wind if the wearer utters a corny line.

8) "Well-written action movie" (or video game or comic book) still means laugh-out-loud cheesiness during every dramatic scene.

So, while it doesn't quite top The Mummy Returns for unintentionally hilarious nonsensical action, it's a close second. I predict that this movie will score well with male gamers, adolescent boys, and ultra conservative patriarchs. I know it was based on a comic, but really, it's like an allegory for the War on Terror written by a confused twelve year old. If you're looking for quality even on par with the mediocre Gladiator, keep looking. 5/10

P.S. Make sure you watch the credit roll for the multiple evil transsexual Asian roles (I thought transsexual Asian #3 did an excellent job).

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:51:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Director Terry Gilliam

The Ninth Configuration

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:41:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Written and Directed by William Peter Blatty (1980)

"In order for life to have appeared spontaneously on earth, there first had to be hundreds of millions of protein molecules of the ninth configuration. But given the size of the planet Earth, do you know how long it would have taken for just one of these protein molecules to appear entirely by chance? Roughly ten to the two hundred and forty-third power billions of years. And I find that far, far more fantastic than simply believing in God."

LEONARD MALTIN: "A metaphysical murder mystery, a gothic war movie and a cosmic love story. You have never seen anything quite like it."

This odd but fascinating film is not for every taste but those willing to accept its challenging style will find themselves rewarded with a one-of-a-kind film that is both impassioned and inventive. Films like The Ninth Configuration are the reason the genre of "cult movie" was invented: its constantly twisting plot line incorporates elements of the psychological thriller, the social satire, the surrealist comedy and the allegorical tale without ever fully giving itself over to one style......Donald Guarisco Allmovie.com

William Peter Blatty’s The Ninth Configuration is a clever, theological drama disguised as a black comedy. This realization initially surprises us, since Blatty also wrote The Exorcist, which is probably the most disturbing horror film ever made, and he insists that The Ninth Configuration is that film’s “true sequel.” Daniel griffin Film as Art

an awesome, magnificent, wonderful, outstanding movie, 13 March 2002
Author: jflagan from Ontario, Canada IMDB

The Reflecting Skin

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:36:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Written & Directed: Philip Ridley

Bicycle Thief (Lardi Di Biciclette 1948)

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:35:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: Vittorio de Sica

Blue Velvet

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:34:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: David Lynch

Gilda (1946)

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:33:00 AM by HT | ˜ 2 comments »

Dir: Charles (King) Vidor

With Glenn ford and Rita Hayworth


⊆ 4/10/2007 12:32:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: Terry Gilliam

Faces (1968)

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:31:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: John Cassavetes

H.P. Lovecraft's RE-ANIMATOR

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:30:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: Stuart Gordon

Jacob's Ladder

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:29:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: Adrian Lyne

Fa Yeung Nin Wa (In the Mood for Love)

⊆ 4/10/2007 12:28:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Dir: Wong Kar-Wai


⊆ 4/10/2007 12:22:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Starring James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, Lynne Gorman, and Julie Khaner

Sci-fi horror filmmaker David Cronenberg's diabolical invader is a television show that seduces and controls its viewers. Featuring rock star Deborah Harry (in her first major film) as a kinky hostess, James Woods as a cable programmer looking for the ultimate in viewing thrills, and special make-up effects by Oscar-winner Rick Baker, Videodrome is a pulsating science fiction nightmare about a world where video can control and alter human life. (Universal)

top ten movies you should see but probabaly don't want to # 8

WRITTEN BY: David Cronenberg

DIRECTED BY: David Cronenberg

What The Critics Said

All critic scores are converted to a 100-point scale. If a critic does not indicate a score, we assign a score based on the general impression given by the text of the review. Learn more...

TV Guide Staff (Not credited)
A fascinating rumination on humanity, technology, entertainment, sex, and politics that is virtually incomprehensible on first viewing and needs to be seen several times before one can even begin to unlock its mysteries. (Review of Original Release)
Read Full Review
Variety Staff (Not credited)
Film is dotted with video jargon and ideology which proves more fascinating than distancing. And Cronenberg amplifies the freaky situation with a series of stunning visual effects. (Review of Original Release)
Read Full Review
The Onion (A.V. Club) Scott Tobias
Its dense mysteries remain more tantalizing than distancing: No other director integrates the creepy with the cerebral quite like Cronenberg. (Review of DVD 9/13/04)
Read Full Review
The New York Times Elvis Mitchell
Though Videodrome finally grows grotesque and a little confused, it begins very well and sustains its cleverness for a long while. (Review of Original Release)
Read Full Review

Dark City

⊆ 4/06/2007 12:34:00 PM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Original post Dark City.com

The Wayward Cloud

⊆ 4/06/2007 12:23:00 PM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

The Saddest Music in the World
Dir. Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan

By Michael Koresky, posted on Reverseshot

through an otherworldly, almost dreamlike logic. The opening images, of Lee Kang-sheng finger-fucking a halved watermelon compressed between a naked woman’s legs, its juices splashing all over the bed in merciless red puddles, prepare the audience for a queasy trip, and Tsai doesn’t disappoint. Tsai has said that he intended to make a film that was very explicitly about pornography, and the porn industry in Taiwan: Lee Kang-sheng, Tsai’s stoic eternal muse, this time doffs all to display his increasingly muscular physique (seemingly gone is the wiry disaffected teen of Rebels of the Neon God) as porn actor Hsiao-Kang, living in the same building as Shiang-chyi Chen‘s introverted young woman, named, naturally, Shiang-chyi. As with the blackout-sketch setup of Vive l’amour (which nevertheless dwindles into ever more profound depths of melancholy discontent). the film flirts with a delicate romantic comedy structure—we secretly hope these lost souls will find each other. Tsai even ups the ante by homaging, of all things, Annie Hall, when the two deal with a case of runaway crabs that just won’t stay in the boiling pot. This precarious balance of the comic and the calamitous isn’t new to Tsai, and the darkness to which The Wayward Cloud descends only has its equal in the final moments of The River, which devised a way for a father and son to unknowingly engage in consensual, neck-wrenched, steam-room sex. Believe it or not, Tsai goes even further here into the horrors of body invasion, using pornography as an incisive launching pad to explore all types of social exploitation. Never has Tsai seemed so angry, which also may account for the film’s odd tonal imbalance.

Interspersed with the nasty sex, masturbation, and watermelon engorging (water is short yet melons are apparently bountiful) are a series of increasingly absurd lip-synched musical sequences, the first involving Lee Kang-sheng transforming into a melancholy mer-man caterwauling at the moon; the final outfitting Lee with a huge penis hat as he maniacally dances around a grungy bathroom with a bevy of Busby Berkeley-esque pink bikini-clad girls in inverted scarlet bucket-hats and clutching blue toilet plungers. Obviously, it’s hit or miss, but how can this balls-to-the-wall stuff work any other way? The balance of the gorgeous and the grotesque is best expressed when Yi Ching-Lu, another Tsai mainstay, gets splooge sprayed across her face by Lee (who, ickily, has often played her son in Tsai’s previous films). Suddenly, we cut to her musical mindscape, a sultry, evocatively lit Kander & Ebb-esque Spider Woman number, entrancingly set in a garage; following her is a cobwebby bunch of male dancers in black unitards, leashed and under her spell. German expressionist, Fosse-esque…whatever you want to call it, it’s a dazzler and a creative apex for Tsai.

If the method to all this madness seems a little hard to decipher, then the final 20 minutes are a terrifying crystallization. The mild courting between Lee and Chen finally intersects with the pervasive sexual exploitation going on upstairs. Yet Tsai’s final, truly shocking images are not bolstered by casual moralizing; rather, we realize we’ve been watching the literal deterioration of a civilization. It’s in the face of Chen Shiang-chyi, and her growing moral awareness, that Tsai finds his emotional outlet. In one of the film’s sole moving shots (if not the only one, but only a second viewing can corroborate this), the camera creeps ever closer to her horrified face as she watches a particularly nasty porn scenario being enacted on the other side of a windowed wall. Her witnessing isn’t voyeurism as much as it is coming to terms with social decline (which she had been staving off through out the rest of the film, endlessly re-filling bottled water and hoarding melons). Here there is no way to reclaim what’s been lost; her head becomes nearly literally impaled on a penis. Nearly dystopic in its portrait of decline, The Wayward Cloud shows Tsai giving up a little restraint. It may be slightly out of control, but the mess suits Tsai well.

The Science of Sleep

⊆ 4/06/2007 10:58:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

La Science des rêves -- Michel Gondry

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

Female Trouble -- John Waters (1975)

⊆ 4/06/2007 10:55:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

New Times (L.A.) David Ehrenstein
It's the hallmark of a classic that must be seen to be disbelieved.
Read Full Review

TV Guide
Robert Pardi
Raggedly produced, savagely funny movie.
Read Full Review

Staff (Not Credited)
Camp is too elegant a word to describe it all.
Read Full Review

An Animated Adventure, Drawn From Life

⊆ 4/06/2007 05:03:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Ed Alcock for The New York Times
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, with whom she wrote and directed the film “Persepolis,” based on her comic book, mugging for the camera in a style reminiscent of her drawings.

Published: January 21, 2007, on the NY Times
Marjane Satrapi/Sony Pictures Classics
Ms. Satrapi’s depiction of herself as a girl in Iran, from the film “Persepolis.”

MARJANE SATRAPI’S life was flashing before her eyes. There she was, a mischievous girl on the streets of Tehran, buying contraband records during the Islamic revolution. Singing the lyrics in her bedroom at the top of her teenage lungs. Fidgeting with her head scarf at the lycée. Mourning the political imprisonment of her uncle. Falling in love for the first time. Saying goodbye to her beloved parents as they sent her, their only child, to find freedom and solace in the West.

“Imagine you see your face everywhere — from the back, from the front, as a girl, adolescent, everywhere,” Ms. Satrapi, 37, said during the making of an animated movie based on her best-selling and critically praised comic-book memoir, “Persepolis.” The original version, in French, includes the voices of the legendary French actress Danielle Darrieux as her grandmother, Catherine Deneuve as her mother and Chiara Mastroianni — the daughter of Marcello Mastroianni and Ms. Deneuve — as Marjane. An English-language adaptation, which will also include Ms. Deneuve, with Gena Rowlands as the grandmother, is scheduled to be released by Sony Pictures Classics this year.

Ms. Satrapi has drawn herself thousands of times. But she found it initially overwhelming to watch her own vivid gestures animated on computer screens in the skylighted atelier that is the film’s headquarters in the 10th Arrondissement. Eventually, she said, she learned to put emotional distance between herself and her character.

“From the beginning I started to talk about ‘Marjane’ and ‘Marjane’s parents,’ ” she explained, “because you cannot do it otherwise. There are people, for example, drawing my grandmother. My grandmother is dead. Here not only is she moving, but I have to look at her, image by image. If I think, ‘This is my grandmother and my story,’ I would start crying all the time. And it’s not easy for the animators if I start talking about me, me, me. I will make them crazy, and they will be walking on eggshells. They won’t let themselves go.

“When my parents came to the studio, nobody breathed. Imagine you are drawing Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and suddenly a big mouse and a big duck walk in.”

Ms. Satrapi’s poignant coming-of-age story is drawn in a simple yet evocative style, which conveys maximum feeling with deceptively naïve images in minimalist black and white. It was first published in 2000 in France, where she has lived in self-imposed exile for 12 years. When the book was released in the United States in 2003, she said, Hollywood executives offered to buy the rights for adaptations that included a “Beverly Hills, 90210”-esque series set in Tehran. An ardent filmgoer who has served as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival, she concluded that making a filmed version of her own story was a bad idea.

“Normally when you make a movie out of a book, it’s never a success,” she said over her morning espresso and cigarettes, wearing all black and her trademark platform heels. But when Marc-Antoine Robert, an acquaintance and fledgling producer, offered to raise money to make the movie in France, Ms. Satrapi agreed under what she presumed were impossible conditions: despite having no filmmaking experience, she wanted to direct the movie herself, in black and white. And she wanted Catherine Deneuve to play her mother.

Ms. Satrapi teamed up with Vincent Paronnaud, a fellow comic book author who has also made a few short films. “We’re like the Coen brothers,” she said of herself and Mr. Paronnaud, who co-wrote and is co-directing the film. “We’re very complementary. I would have made much more of a Bergman movie. But I don’t want something that a couple of intellectuals in Paris and New York will watch and nobody else.”

It was Mr. Paronnaud who pushed her to dramatize emotional and violent sequences that she had insinuated in the book. “Vincent is good at knowing where the camera should go, how to cut to give scenes rhythm,” Ms. Satrapi said. “People were thinking, if you just film the frames of the book, you have a movie. If you just film the book, it would be extremely boring.” She and Mr. Paronnaud picked their moments and condensed the book into a 90-minute film, told as a flashback.

“In no way did we want to betray the book, but we had to make choices,” Mr. Paronnaud said. “The idea was to keep the spirit and energy of the book and to try and find a way to interpret it differently on film.”

Ms. Satrapi said she wrote “Persepolis” as an answer to the relentless and loaded question of what it means to be Iranian. But her book’s success has meant that she has both gently educated those in the West — “Persepolis” is taught in 118 colleges in the United States, including West Point, according to Pantheon, its publisher — and taken part in a larger conversation about the book’s global resonances.

“Little by little, as the book got translated in other languages, people were saying, ‘This is my story too,’ ” she said. “Suddenly I said to myself, ‘This is a universal story.’ I want to show that all dictatorships, no matter if it’s Chile, if it’s the Cultural Revolution in China or Communist Poland, it’s the same schematic. Here in the West we judge them because we are so used to democracy, believing that if we have something, it is because we deserve it, because we chose it. Political changes turn your life completely upside down, not because you are crazy but because you don’t have any way out.”

The executive producer of “Persepolis” is Kathleen Kennedy, a veteran Hollywood producer who approached Ms. Satrapi after the film was in production, asking to buy the rights. Ms. Satrapi declined to sell but welcomed her involvement. Ms. Kennedy found an American distributor, providing an infusion of cash while leaving Ms. Satrapi in creative control, a rare occurrence for a black-and-white animated film in progress from a pair of first-time directors.

“Persepolis” is a rarity in France: an animated feature that was entirely produced here, rather than being farmed out to Asian animators. The filmmakers favored an artisanal approach that includes hand-tracing the images on paper, an art long lost to computer animation software.

“It’s not that they do lesser work in Asia, but it’s complicated to communicate with people 10,000 kilometers away,” said Marc Jousset, the film’s art and technical director, who assembled the animation team. “Marjane is here every day. She implicates herself in every decision. And even if she had never done an animation sequence, she has given us courses in things like how the head scarf is worn at home versus on the street in Iran, things that are important for the rigor of the story.”

Mr. Jousset said it took a few months to find the right style of animation. Characters are depicted in black and white, as they are in the comic book, while the settings are richly shaded in grays that lend them a painterly quality. “The narration had to be somewhat somber and restrained, and I saw a lot of animators with too cartoonish of a style,” Mr. Jousset said. “It’s an animated film, but we wanted it to be rather realistic, as if it was being filmed live.”

The voices were recorded before the animators began work, with Ms. Satrapi coaching the actors one on one. (Aghast at the prospect of bossing Ms. Deneuve around, she said, she downed three cognacs before directing the actress, who turned out to be “funny and intelligent and a big smoker.”) Ms. Satrapi allowed herself to be recorded while acting out the physical gestures for each scene, to give the animation team a physical reference.

“We could do any number of movements to coordinate with the words,” said Christian Desmares, the chief animator, “but Marjane wanted to really personalize each character, to use precise Iranian gestures. And we don’t know how to do that.”

Ms. Satrapi interjected: “I play all the roles. Even the dog.”

It took an adjustment, she added, to transform herself from a solo artist into the co-leader of a 90-member filmmaking team, though she has gotten some practice in group dynamics by lecturing regularly in Europe and the United States.

“I realized I had a talent I didn’t know,” she said. “In France people will tell you everything is impossible. I have the enthusiasm of an American. I tell people: ‘Rah, yes! We’re going to make a great movie.’ And it pays; you can see their reaction. And suddenly you realize they have ideas that you didn’t have. It is hard for me, for my ego, to say this: For me, the movie is better than the book.”

Requiem for a Dream--Darren Aronofsky

⊆ 4/06/2007 05:02:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

imdb metacritic NY Times BBC films requiemforadream.com

Akira Kurosawa

⊆ 4/06/2007 04:59:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

Considering that these trailers were originally produced to advertise the films, they are offered here with the belief that there is no copyright infringement -- please contact me if you think otherwise.

French trailer for Ran


Rhapsody in August

Seven Samurai


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

⊆ 4/06/2007 04:57:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

This is on my wish list.

The European Showerbath -- Peter Greenway 2004

⊆ 4/06/2007 04:54:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

sorry--YouTube has joined flicker and technorati
With the Visions of Europe project, Lars Von Trier and his Zentropa company came up with the idea of 25 directors from 25 different countries in the European Union making a short film pertaining to Europe, with each film lasting around 5 minutes. Peter Greenaway made the United Kingdom's entry, entitled The European Showerbath. It shows us naked men and women of differing sizes, each with the flag of their country painted on their flesh. The first person who enters the shower is a portly man with a German flag painted on him. Next it's a lady with large breasts with the French flag displayed on her. Other people/countries enter the shower, seeming to follow in an order of importance and influence. Eventually the shower is crowded, and the small countries stand on the outside looking in. Then the shower stops. It's too late for them. The music by Architorti compliments.

"Fifteen countries of Europe, brightly identified with their national flags body-painted on their vulnerable naked flesh, and personified in their political economic history by older or younger, fatter or thinner corporeality, step one by one, optimistically into the warm showerbath of the European Community. First the original six; sturdy if plump-bellied Germany, voluptuous if a little over-extrovert France, young introspective Belgium, confident if a little vain Luxembourg, self-effacing Holland and elderly if a little frivolous Italy, followed, in order of membership by the remaining nine, each with their own physical identities, making up a community self-revealing in their camaraderie, all trying to maximise their position in the European warm water community, shoving a little, flirting a little, laughing and joking, if a little self-consciously, exuberantly demonstrating their togetherness a little too over-eagerly, enjoying mutual, frank, self-exposing, self-revelation, all dipping their heads and limbs and exposed bodies into the limited water-shower of benefits.
Waiting in the wings, are further optimistic entrants, ready to reveal their nakedness, eager to strip off their protective clothes…"
Description from the Visions of Europe site press book

Dark City

⊆ 4/06/2007 04:45:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

lso a repost from February 2006

by Roger Ebert/ February 27, 1998

John Murdoch: Rufus Sewell
Inspector Bumstead: William Hurt
Dr. Daniel Schreber: Kiefer Sutherland
Emma Murdoch: Jennifer Connelly
Mr. Hand: Richard O'Brien
Directed By Alex Proyas .
Written By Proyas, Lem Dobbs And David S. Goyer . Running Time: 103 Minutes.
Rated R (For Violent Images And Some Sexuality).
Critical Debate

What other critics had to say

``Dark City'' by Alex Proyas is a great visionary achievement, a film so original and exciting, it stirred my imagination like ``Metropolis'' and ``2001: A Space Odyssey.'' If it is true, as the German director Werner Herzog believes, that we live in an age starved of new images, then ``Dark City'' is a film to nourish us. Not a story so much as an experience, it is a triumph of art direction, set design, cinematography, special effects--and imagination. Like ``Blade Runner,'' it imagines a city of the future. But while ``Blade Runner'' extended existing trends, ``Dark City'' leaps into the unknown. Its vast noir metropolis seems to exist in an alternate time line, with elements of our present and past combined with visions from a futuristic comic book. Like the first ``Batman,'' it presents a city of night and shadows, but it


Jennifer Connelly
goes far beyond ``Batman'' in a richness of ominous, stylized sets, streets, skylines and cityscapes. For once a movie city equals any we could picture in our minds; this is the city ``The Fifth Element'' teased us with, without coming through.

The story combines science fiction with film noir--in more ways than we realize and more surprising ways than I will reveal. Its villains, in their homburgs and flapping overcoats, look like a nightmare inspired by the thugs in ``M,'' but their pale faces would look...... more at home in ``The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari''--and, frighteningly, one of them is a child. They are the Strangers, shape-changers from another solar system, and we are told they came to Earth when their own world was dying. (They create, inthe process, the first space vessel since ``Star Wars'' that is newly conceived--not a clone of that looming mechanical vision.) They inhabit a city of rumbling elevated streamlined trains, dank flophouses, scurrying crowds and store windows that owe something to Edward Hopper's ``Nighthawks.'' In this city lives John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell), who awakens in a strange bathtub beneath a swinging ceiling lamp, to blood, fear and guilt. The telephone rings; it is Dr. Schreber (Kiefer Sutherland), gasping out two or three words at a time, as if the need to speak is all that gives him breath. He warns Murdoch to flee, and indeed three Strangers are in the corridor, coming for him.

The film will be the story of Murdoch's flight into the mean streets, and his gradual discovery of the nature of the city and the Strangers. Like many science-fiction heroes, he has a memory shattered into pieces that do not fit. But he r
emembers the woman he loves, or loved--his wife, Emma (Jennifer Connelly), who is a torch singer with sad eyes and wounded lips. And he remembers ... Shell Beach? Where was that? He sees it on a billboard and old longings stir.

There is a detective after him, Inspector Bumstead (William Hurt). Murdoch is wanted in connection with the murders of six prostitutes. Did he kill them? Like the hero of Franz Kafka's The Trial, Murdoch feels so paranoid he hardly knows. Rufus Sewell plays Murdoch like a man caught in a pinball machine, flipped into danger every time it looks like the game is over.

The story has familiar elements made new. Even the hard-boiled detective, his eyes shaded by the brim of his fedora, seems less like a figure from film noir than like a projection of an alien idea of noir. Proyas and his co-screenwriters, Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer, use dream logic to
pursue their hero through the mystery of his own life. Along the way, Murdoch discovers that he alone, among humans, has the power of the Strangers--an ability to use his mind in order to shape the physical universe. (This power is expressed in the film as a sort of transparent shimmering projection, aimed from Murdoch's forehead into the world, and as klutzy as that sounds, I found myself enjoying its very audacity: What else would mind-power look like?) Murdoch's problem is that he has no way of knowing if his memories are real, if his past actually happened, if the women he loves ever existed. Those who offer to help him cannot be trusted. Even his enemies may not be real. The movie teasingly explores the question that babies first ask in peek-a-boo: When I can't see you, are you there? It's through that game that we learn the difference between ourselves and others. But what if we're not there, either? The movie is a glorious marriage of existential dread and slam-bang action. Toward the end, there is a thrilling apocalyptic battle that nearly destroys the city, and I scribbled in my notes: ``For once, a sequence where the fire and explosions really work and don't play just as effects.'' Proyas and his cinematographer, Dariusz Wolski, capture the kinetic energy of great comic books; their framing and foreshortening and tilt shots and distorting lenses shake the images and splash them on the screen, and it's not ``action'' but more like action painting.


Jennifer Connelly
Proyas directed ``The Crow'' (1994), the visually inspired film that was almost doomed when its star, Brandon Lee, was killed in an accident. I called that film ``the best version of a comic book universe I've seen,'' but ``Dark City'' is miles beyond it. Proyas' background was in music videos, usually an ominous sign, but not here: His film shows the obsessive concentration on visual detail that's the hallmark of directors who make films that are short and expensive. There's such a wealth on the screen, such an overflowing of imagination and energy. Often in f/x movies the camera doesn't feel free because it must remain within the confines of what has been created for it to see. Here we feel there's no limit.

Is the film for teenage boys and comic book fans? Not at all, although that's the marketing pitch.
It's for anyone who still has a sense of wonder and a feeling for great visual style. This film contains ideas and true poignance, a story that has been thought out and has surprises right to the end. It's romantic and exhilarating. Watching it, I realized the last dozen films I'd seen were about people standing around, talking to one another. ``Dark City'' has been created and imagined as a new visual place for us to inhabit. It adds treasure to our notions of what can be imagined.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

⊆ 4/06/2007 04:31:00 AM by HT | ˜ 0 comments »

The truth is that when I made this post back in April -- I wanted to do so much more for the film. Well, now I


Lena Olin
and the hat
can, so I am reposting it with a new life and a new birth date. HT.

To me Kundera has always been a philosopher using the novel form to address his philosophical concerns. He has said that his books "lose their essential qualities in the process of being made into movies, leaving only the accessory stories to produce any intrigue" However, Kundera served as an active (but uncredited) consultant during the making of the film. In fact, the poem Tomas whispers into Teresa's ear as she is falling asleep was written specifically for the film by Kundera. In this case the accessory stories are intriguing enough to create one of my favorite movies of all time.

Here is what Roger Ebert had to say in his original review from 1988. "
In the title of Philip Kaufman's "The Unbearable Lightness
of Being," the crucial word is "unbearable." The film tells the story of a young surgeon who attempts to float above the mundane world of personal


Juliette Binoche not alone

responsibility and commitment to practice a sex life that has no traffic with the heart, to escape untouched from the world of sensual pleasure while retaining his privacy and his loneliness. By the end of the story, this freedom has become too great a load for him to bear. The surgeon's name is Tomas, and he lives in Prague; we meet him in the blessed days before the Russian invasion of 1968. He has an understanding with a woman named Sabina, a painter whose goal is the same as his own - to have a physical relationship without an emotional one.

The two lovers believe they have much in common
, since they share the same attitude toward their couplings, but actually their genitals have more in common than they do. That is not to say they don't enjoy great sex; they do, and in great detail, in the most erotic serious film since "Last Tango in Paris." One day the doctor goes to the country, and while waiting in a provincial train station his eyes fall upon a young waitress, Tereza. He orders a brandy. Their eyes meet. They go for a little walk after she gets off work, and it is clear there is something special between them. He returns to Prague. One day she appears in the city and knocks at his door. She has come to be with him. Against all of his principles, he allows her to spend the night, and then to move in.

Eventually they even get married. He has betrayed his own code of lightness, or freedom.
The film tells the love story of Tomas and Tereza in the context of the events of 1968, and there are shots that place the characters in the middle of the riots against the Russian invaders. Tereza becomes a photographer and tries to smuggle pictures of the uprising out of the country. Finally the two lovers leave Prague for Geneva, where Sabina has already gone, and then Tomas resumes his sexual relationship with Sabina, because his philosophy, of course, is that sex has nothing to do with love.
Crushed by his decision, Tereza attempts her own experiment with free love, but it does not work, because her heart is not built that way. Sabina, meanwhile, meets a professor named Franz who falls in love with her so urgently that he decides to leave his wife. Can she accept this love? Or is she even more committed to "lightness of being" than Tomas, who tutored her in the


philosophy? In the middle of Sabina's indecision, Tereza appears at her door with a camera. She has been asked to take some shots for a fashion magazine, and needs someone to pose nude. Sabina agrees, and the two women photograph each other in a scene so carefully choreographed that it becomes a ballet of eroticism.
By this point in the movie, a curious thing had happened to me, as a viewer. I had begun to appreciate some of the life rhythms of the characters. Most films move so quickly and are so dependent on plot that they are about events,
not lives. "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" carries the feeling of deep nostalgia, of a time no longer present, when these people did these things and hoped for happiness, and were caught up in events beyond their control.
Kaufman achieves this effect almost without seeming to try. At first his film seems to be almost exclusively about sex, but then we notice in countless individual shots and camera decisions that he does not allow his camera to become a voyeur. There is a lot of nudity in the film but no pornographic documentary quality; the camera does not linger, or move for the best view, or relish the spectacle of nudity. The result is some of the most poignant, almost sad, sex scenes I have ever seen - sensuous, yes, but bittersweet.

The casting has a lot to do with this haunting quality. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Tomas with a sort of detachment that is supposed to come from the character's distaste for commitment. He has a lean, intellectual look, and is not a voluptuary. For him, sex seems like a form of physical meditation, rather than an activity with another person. Lena Olin, as Sabina, has a lush, voluptuous body, big-breasted and tactile, but she inhabits it so comfortably that the movie never seems to dwell on it or exploit it. It is a fact of nature. Juliette Binoche, as Tereza, is


Lena Olin
Daniel Day-Lewis

almost ethereal in her beauty and innocence, and her attempt to reconcile her love with her lover's detachment is probably the heart of the movie.

The film is based on the novel by the Czech novelist Milan Kundera, whose works all seem to consider eroticism with a certain wistfulness, as if to say that while his characters were making love they were sometimes distracted from the essentially tragic nature of their existence. That is
the case here. Kaufman, whose previous films have included "The Right Stuff" and a remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," has never done anything like this, but his experiment is a success in tone. He has made a movie in which reality is asked to coexist with a world of pure sensuality, and almost, for a moment, seems to agree.

The film will be noticed primarily for its eroticism. Although major films and filmmakers considered sex with great frankness and freedom in the early and mid-'70s, films in the last decade have been more adolescent, more plot- and action-oriented. Catering to audiences of adolescents, who are comfortable with sex only when it is seen in cartoon form, Hollywood has also not been comfortable with the complications of adult sexuality - the good and the bad. What is remarkable about "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," however, is not the sexual content itself, but the way Kaufman has been able to use it as an avenue for a complex story, one of nostalgia, loss, idealism and romance.