Monthly links from the blogosphere: November

Everyone in the blogosphere is reviewing the new 007 film. Sati at Cinematic Corner thought Skyfall was better than Casino Royale. Tippi from On The Screen Reviews was a little disappointed by Skyfall, and prefers Casino Royale. Jaina at Time Well Spent and Ronan at Filmplicity gave Skyfall 5/5.

Nostra is not a big fan of Wes Anderson, but loved Moonrise Kingdom, I have similar feelings about Anderson's latest. Perks of Being a Wallflower is another film he loved, which I'll be posting a mini-review of myself this weekend.
Nostra also was kind enough to help me by making my new banner above. Thanks man! I'll soon be posting a guest post of Nostra's favorite hip hop songs.

Alex Withrow asked How Do You Define a Horror Film? (A great question that started an interesting thread. Worth reading if you are into horror). It could be my favorite article on his blog this year.

Alex at Boycotting Trends shares his ranking of films viewed at London Film Festival

Josh updated his top 100 films list. Tyler is in the process of writing about his top 100, ten films at a time.

Andina reviews Amour

Shala at Life Between Films lists the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees

thevoid99 writes about auteur Sergio Leone (a director I have been exploring in 2012 myself)

Eric reviewed On The Waterfront, among my favorite classic films.

Bonjour Tristesse reviewed Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), a film that is not to everyone's taste, perhaps because of the unrealistic, yet memorable, voice-overs.

Sarah Ward at On Page and Screen shares 10 Morally Ambiguous Characters- Part I

David at Taste of Cinema warms up for the new Hitchcock biopic by listing 10 Most Underrated Hitchcock Movies You Should Watch Now

Chip at Tips from Chip is reviewing time travel movies

Top10films looks at Top 10 Films You’ve Never Seen But Should See

In appreciation: the music of Destroyer (1 of 3)

Album: Streethawk: A Seduction (2001)

Streethawk I - Destroyer

Streethawk II - Destroyer

Album: Your Blues (2004)

An Actor's Revenge - Destroyer

Your Blues - Destroyer

My favorite album of 2011 was Kaputt by the Canadian band Destroyer, and is arguably the group's masterpiece, so this year I decided to check out their previous albums. The early stuff from 90s mostly wasn't my taste, and in a few cases the recordings were not available. Fans may disagree, but I think their best work is from the 2000s and onwards.

Listeners, are you a fan of Destroyer? Which are your favorite albums by the band? Did I miss any great tracks from 1996-2004? Thoughts on the music above? Next week I'll look at 2006-2010

Favorite Twin Peaks moments 15

I love the final episode of Twin Peaks ...Any thoughts on the screenshots? What are your favorite Twin Peaks moments?

The Decalogue (1989) Episode 9

The Decalogue 9

Spoilers occur about the ending, this review is intended for those who have already watched the film.

Following some tests, 40-year-old Roman is diagnosed with impotence, and his world falls apart. He is a doctor who cares very much for his wife, Hanka, and he believes given the circumstances that she must take a lover. Little does he know, she already has a lover, who's name is Mariusz. Roman out of jealousy begins spying on Hanka, listening in to conversations on the phone, has a key made for the apartment of Hanka's mother, the rendezvous of the lovers. One day, Hanka surprises him, when he is lurking in the apartment. She understands that he feels hurt, she cares about him, and was it not her who told him, that love is of the heart and not between the legs? They talk some more about their relationship, and agree on, that maybe they need some time apart. She goes on a skiing holiday, and Roman realizes, that Mariusz is heading for the same destination, but Hanka is not aware of this. When she suspects Roman has put the pieces together, she hurries back to Warszawa, where Roman has attempted suicide.

Kieslowski sees Roman as a person not present in the now, Roman is somewhere else. His impotence is synonymous with a lack of a future, therefore he looks at the world differently.
Roman is not particularly mature for his age, he hasn't really grown up. Roman and Hanka are not interested in kids, his fulfillment you might think would come from his work as a doctor or his emotional bond with his wife or friends, but we realize how much of his manhood and confidence stems from his sexuality, and when Roman's ability to have sex is snatched away from him, he feels lost. We see things through the eyes of the man that is being cheated on, which allows the viewer to pity Roman.

A book is retrieved from the rubbish. There are also scenes where the glove box would not shut, the meaning of what this was supposed to symbolize is not clear. If anyone knows, let me know!

According to Stephen Innes: “On several occasions in the film, we see Hanka sensing Roman’s state of mind (she gives the camera several ‘iconic’ looks to indicate this). This emphasizes the spiritual nature of the relationship: there is a metaphysical connection between them that she seems privy to. This aspect of the relationship is one which only grows stronger as the film proceeds. Another way this is evident is the more prominent role of the ‘mystery character’ in this film. He was present at Roman’s car accident and, more importantly, came to his aid after his suicide attempt. For all the tragedies in this series which imply God’s absence (I, V, VI, VII), here is an example of God’s presence. This film stands as a story of grace: Roman perhaps should not have lived, but he survives (with help, if you will). And the hope we take away is Roman’s renewed sense of commitment as a result of being given a second chance.”

My least favorite of the ten Decalogue episodes.
Connected to the ninth imperative of the Ten Commandments: You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. The main plot focuses on a husband voyeuristically coveting his own wife. The narrative is about jealousy, confidence and love.
A character requesting his partner to take a lover may have inspired Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves. The girl who loves to sing and has a heart condition foreshadows The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

Next time, I'll look at Episode 10. Readers of this review, any thoughts on Episode 9?

Kieslowski on Kieslowski / Danusia Stok


Deciphering The Decalogue

In appreciation: Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry (7 of 7)

Album: Olympia - Bryan Ferry (2010)

(The album artwork features fashion model Kate Moss and refers to the Édouard Manet 1863 painting of the same name. The design is also reminiscent of the first Roxy Music album.)

Song to the Siren - Bryan Ferry (Tim Buckley cover)

Alphaville - Bryan Ferry

Heartache By Numbers – Bryan Ferry

Shameless - Bryan Ferry & Groove Armada (remix)

Reason Or Rhyme – Bryan Ferry

What did you guys think of the music? Share your thoughts in the comments

In appreciation: Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry (6 of 7)

Album: Dylan-esque – Bryan Ferry (2007)

(A fine collection of Bob Dylan covers.)

Positively 4th Street – Bryan Ferry

Simple Twist of Fate – Bryan Ferry

Make You Feel My Love – Bryan Ferry

Knockin On Heavens Door – Bryan Ferry

What did you guys think of the music? Share your thoughts in the comments

The Decalogue (1989) Episode 8

The Decalogue 8

Spoilers occur about the ending, this review is intended for those who have already watched the film.

A Holocaust survivor named Elisabeth (Teresa Marczewska) confronts ethics professor Zofia (Maria Koscialkowska). Zofia once refused to save Elisabeth from the Nazi's by declining to falsify her baptism papers, on the basis of this commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Zofia, a woman in her 60s, teaches ethics at the university. One day, Elisabeth from the United States arrives, who has translated her books into English, and asks permission to follow her lesson, Zofia accepts.
A young student tells a story about a doctor's dilemma, a pregnant woman, who wants to know if her cancer-inflicted husband will live, in other words an account of what happened in Dekalog 2.
Zofia makes it clear, that nothing is more important than saving a child's life. However, it turns out she failed to help a little Jewish girl during World War Two. It's established that the girl in fact survived, and it was Elizabeth. For many years Zofia has had a guilty conscience. What actually happened back then is delved into, and what Zofia's motives were.
A tailor and his wife, who were to be Elisabeth's foster parents, have with time become closed off and reluctant to discuss what happened. When Elizabeth arrives, he is uncomfortable in her presence. Zofia has spoken to the tailor and his wife once since WW2 and said only the words "I'm sorry". According to Zofia, the underground movement she was involved in almost assassinated the couple, because they were thought to be cooperating with the Gestapo. From Elisabeth's perspective, the tailor risked his life to save her. Yet this is not necessarily the whole truth, as Zofia could be rewriting the past.

Analysis and interpretation:
Kieslowski was quoted as saying that it’s a film about justice and injustice. Zofia's life is indelibly stamped by a guilty conscience. On the outside, everything looks in order, but even the moments that mattered along the road have been overshadowed by her past. There is an air of respect surrounding Zofia among her students, perhaps also a professional distance that doesn't allow deeper emotions to reveal themselves in her teaching.
40 years on from the war, Elisabeth arrives, now a grown woman, and Zofia senses a chance of closure. However this matter of conscience was not something she could have predicted would happen as a young woman, logically sacrificing one person to save many makes more sense. There are no easy answers.
Since then she has tried to pay off of her debt by teaching others to live so they avoid such burdens. In a way, Zofia's and Elisabeth’s roles are reversed; the older woman needs redemption, the younger Elisabeth can either give closure to the matter, or refuse to help her. Though you also suspect that redemption works both ways, Elisabeth is in need of closure as well.
The film also alludes to that the reality of war cannot be boxed into simple categories, there is a lot of post rationalization, but also the fact that nothing is more important than the life of a child. It is probable that Kieslowski is saying that it is okay, justifiable, and even necessary to lie sometimes to save precious, human lives.

The picture frame being put back in place several times at Zofia’s apartment is a metaphor I had trouble understanding. Perhaps represents Zofia wanting to maintain order on the surface?

Zofia jogging in the woods we witness twice, for no apparent reason, and could also be a sign of outward order, strength and health, yet subtlety revealing in her eyes, that her mind is not at peace.
Or maybe you could regard it differently, as Deciphering the Decalogue does: “Out of the 5 parts I watched, this is the first time I have seen bright lighting and the use of happier, more peaceful music. I believe this change represents the fact that there is still a possibility for good after sin.”

As Stephen Innes writes at the site damaris:"Early in the film, the touching hands represent innocence and trust, but after this innocence is broken there are images of hands pulling away and a resistance to touch. Towards the end of the film, as the opportunity to reconcile is made available, the image of hands coming together carries a powerful emotional impact. (...) Zofia and Elisabeth have discovered that the only way to bring about good is to love, which fills the void left by trying to always do the ‘right’ thing. Perhaps one can detect a small glimmer in the tailor’s eye as he witnesses this."

As another reviewer points out at IMDB: “the funny thing is that in this one, the drama has already past, which is necessary for connecting to it the idea of the law”.
However, this could also be looked at as a weakness of the episode, that we don’t get to see the vital moments, yet it also adds a mystery to what happened during the war, that is gradually revealed.

Connected to the eighth imperative of the Ten Commandments: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. As with Decalogue 6, again we are dealing with childhood trauma.
Zofia losing sight of Elisabeth in the apartment area was an intriguing plot development, in that perhaps Zofia would receive some of her own medicine of feeling abandoned, as Elisabeth did as a child. Also the classroom scene was quite powerful.
There is a sense of community in this installment, we hear about the moral dilemma from Decalogue 2, and meet a stamp collector who is important in Decalogue 10.
The WW2 angle is an interesting one, that transcends the singular case, and encompasses an infinite number of other situations regarding lying, both past and present.
The episode showcases that lying and honesty are more complex terms than you'd think, that crucial decisions can haunt you for the rest of your life, and that closure is key to leading a happy life.

Next time, I'll look at Episode 9. Any ideas, readers, what the picture frame and jogging symbolize? Other thoughts on episode 8?

Kieslowski on Kieslowski / Danusia Stok

Deciphering The Decalogue


In appreciation: Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry (5 of 7)

Album: Boys & Girls - Bryan Ferry (1985)

Slave To Love - Bryan Ferry

Don't Stop The Dance - Roxy Music

Album: Legend Original Soundtrack (1985)

Is Your Love Strong Enough - Bryan Ferry (feat. David Gilmour)

Album: Bête Noire - Bryan Ferry (1987)

Limbo - Bryan Ferry

Kiss And Tell - Bryan Ferry 

Album: Mamouna – Bryan Ferry (1994)

Your Painted Smile – Bryan Ferry

Album: As Time Goes By - Bryan Ferry (1999)

You Do Something To Me - Bryan Ferry

What did you guys think of the music? Share your thoughts in the comments

Favorite Twin Peaks moments 14

Readers, any thoughts on the screenshots?


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