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F**k (2005) – 824 Nil by Mouth (1997) – 428 Casino (1995) – 398 Alpha Dog (2007) – 367 Twin Town (1997) – 318 Summer of Sam (1999) – 315 Running Scared (2006) – 315 Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat (2002) – 311 Menace II Society (1993) – 300 Goodfellas (1990) – 300 Narc (2002) – 297 Harsh Times (2006) 296 Another Day in Paradise (1998) – 291 Made (2001) – 291 Dirty (2005) – 280 Jarhead (2005) – 278 Bully (2001) – 274 State Property 2 (2005) – 271 Reservoir Dogs (1992) – 269 Pulp Fiction (1994) – 265 The Big Lebowski (1998) – 260 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) – 248 Dead Presidents (1995) – 247 The Boondock Saints (1999) – 239 The Departed (2006) – 237 Empire (2002) – 236 True Romance (1993) – 234 State of Grace (1990) – 230 My Name Is Joe (1998) 230 Gridlock’d 1997 227 The Devil’s Rejects (2005) – 224 Eddie Murphy Raw (1987) – 223 Suicide Kings (1997) – 222 Black and White (1999) – 215 American History X (1998) – 214 The Original Kings of Comedy (2000) 213 Layer Cake (2005) 210 Scarface (1983) 207 Spun (2002) 203 A Bronx Tale (1993) 200 Foolish (1999) 200 8 Mile (2002) 200 DysFunktional Family 2003 200 I Got the Hook Up 1998 197 Born on the Fourth of July (1989) – 196 Overnight (2003) – 191 Magnolia (1999) – 190 Monster (2003) – 187 Hustle and Flow (2005) – 186 Get Rich or Die Tryin’ 2005 185 Formula 51 (2001) – 180 Flawless (1999) – 178 Superbad (2007) – 176
Ominous, war-predicting dangerous liaisons
Sunset is a very strange movie. Very dicey, as moviegoers would put it (quite mildly) in their jargon. "Decipher me or I'll devour you!" seems to be one of the surreptitious, sphinx-like latent messages that fit into the so-called "Septième Art scene". Sunset's authors are certainly in search of expression. My first question is : what percentage of computer-generated imagery was actually used in here? Second question: what was the ratio of mixed back-projection used? Third : what's the incidence of cast-direction improvisation as passers-by move themselves into the field and then out of the scenery ? Fourth doubt: do such aesthetics follow on purpose the example of Elephant director Gus Van Sant? Or, was it by mere coincidence that the Metteur-en-scène abusively devised plongées, blurs, impressionistic touches, and low-key illumination? Not even Godard used to notoriously film his actors on their backs.
Included premises are (i) a pastel technique of Impressionist paintings and (ii) a cubist plot that blends details, but never focuses on main things or motives. This film arrests the viewer visually - by its imagery intricacy, not by its sheer creativity, though. Dramatically speaking, the viewer understands nothing of what inherently "happens". Either the former deciphers the latter, or else is devoured by boredom. One can hardly solve these anecdotal puzzle pieces according to the logic of narrative discourse. It's ultimately impossible to trace the relation between any particular sequence and the previous one, or the following one for that matter. The succession of scenes is ultra-rough and meaningless, not pleasant, to say the least. Costumes are exemplary and interiors do allow a sense of being in Budapest in 1913. By suggestion, however, never by scenic precision. Ultimate clues, here, are as follows : Sissi was ill-intentioned & no-good, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was criminally oppressive, WWI was inevitably brought in and on by thieves, arsonists & rebel nihilists in order to fix such an intolerably unbearable world. The overall rhythm of this movie is nevertheless very heavy. Its narrative, shall we call it cube-futurist? Its final scene is a kind of homage deus-ex-machina quoting Kubrick's famous traveling in the trenches of 'Paths of Glory.' The Hungarian director, however, reversed the direction of the traveling: Kubrick moved his camera backwards, Laszlo Nemes guided it forwardly.
I know that João Pereira Coutinho liked the film and praised it in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, but unfortunately, because I'm no longer a subscriber of the paper, I could not read the full critique by that brilliant intellectual - whose artistic taste, BTW is often very similar to mine.
Arms and the man in-between
In order to understand more exactly what happened in 1964 in Brazil, you must brush up a little your History. You must at the very least know that in 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels developed a thesis interpreting the world and global life as a class struggle, in which the strongest and most powerful enslave and exploit the weakest, apud social Darwinism. Of course, Marx and Engels did not believe in cooperation and integration between classes. They concluded that the exploited class, which produced the goods, was the one that should reign supreme, rather than that of its exploiters. 116 years later, the events that culminated on March 31, 1964 altered the Brazilian evolution and course, determining an alternative direction for that people and a different future for that country. The relevant ideological, political, social and military movement was termed by some as a Revolution, by others as a Coup d'État, according to their convictions, interpretations, and concerned interests. In my opinion, the movement was neither a Revolution nor a Coup, but rather a Backlash. or Countercoup.
The feature film ¨Brasil Paralelo, 1964 - Brazil between arms and books" is certainly the best documentary ever made on the history of modern Brazil. Actually, it ought to be displayed in every school and every TV channel. There is an ongoing campaign of defamation against it, which started with an article in the newspaper "O Globo" arguing that the film in question defends right wing dictatorial regimes. After watching the movie, I plainly realized that conservatives are really in need of a movement that may occupy the social networks, the streets, the cultural scene, and the press. I can understand the commitment of the so-called extreme-press to denigrate the film's image and message, but, contrary to everything they teach in schools, it does contextualize the context (pardon my emphatic pleonasm) of 1964: namely, the Cold War. As interviewee William Waack points out, "Not a single Communist country chose to become Communist by herself." This is also my advocated point, which I hereby relay to all those who really want to know the truth of the facts, regardless of your beliefs and convictions.
After March 31, 1964, communist militants who then saw their plans foiled unleashed, through guerrilla and terrorism, actions such as a bombing of the Guararapes airport in Recife in 1966, a bombing of Army Headquarters in São Paulo, in 1968, an attack against the American Consulate; the murders of a Danish industrialist and a US Army captain, countless bank robberies, kidnapping of foreign ambassadors and assassinations of inexperienced recruits in barracks attacks.
The Brazilian military therefore reacted. Both sides erred, killed, kidnapped and tortured.
For the record, dictatorships and wars are neither just nor holy. They're dirty and inhumane. Nowadays, 55 years after March 31, 1964, what I note is, those who thought like Marx & Engels, those who wanted to rule like Lenin & Stalin, those live today as Rockfeller & Soros, those who 55 years ago, in the name of an ideology that preached equality and freedom, wanted to change the world, support today the Cuban & Venezuelan regimes. 1964 prevented Brazil from being transformed into a communist dictatorship. Let us say that the Armed Forces intervened with the veins of blood nationalism and a residual love for Motherland. This documentary shows the errors and the hits that occurred in the last 55 years. It also reveals how the process of rigging occupation took place in universities and the media and how, through Gramscism, the left wing has since won the "cultural war". My recommendation: watch it.
Zimna wojna (2018)
Interesting, and a suggestive reminder of Camus-styled existentialism
Here between us, however patriotic a Polish of the 1945 Generation might be, who would prefer the Iron Curtain to Paris? especially Wiktor, an outstanding musician, who had sufferingly left the love of his life, the pretty Zula, behind in suffering Poland. This movie is another flagrant case of style & form to the detriment of content. ¨Cold War¨ may even win an Oscar - it has two basic ingredients - rampant passions and Soviet totalitarianism, - but it hardly reaches a comparison with the best film essays by Wajda and Kieslowski, to name only two Polish masters contemporary of the Cold War era in real life.
The cinematography, the items of the musical soundtrack and the excerpts from ballet folk choreographies are admirable attractions here. An impressive visual treatment evokes the New Waves of the 1950s and 1960s, but the plot is elliptical: loose and barely sketched, neither sufficiently enveloping the spectator nor spelling clearly its philosophical sense or the author's ultimate message, whose protagonist has a weak personality. Wiktor sacrifices his art to Stalinist Jdanovism and his life and his freedom to such an ungrateful, unfaithful partner, Zula, a selfish, spoiled and annoying young girl - herein, supposedly, a femme fatale.
One can try a Camusian approach to this film. Wiktor and Zula had already lived throughout the WWII. The Cold War, which was not properly a war, began simultaneously with the end of the horrors of WWII. The film takes place between 1949 and 1964 and places on the table, even though metonymically and indirectly, the great questions of existentialism, a doctrine that had its apogee and greater popular influence precisely in the 1950s and early 1960s - especially on account of Albert Camus.
Wiktor, an intellectual and an eclectic (folk, classical, be-bop) musician, flees from the Iron Curtain to Paris in 1951 - the year in which Camus published "The Man in Revolt" - L'Homme Révolté or The Rebel. Because he was not a supporter of the Cold War between US/NATO and the Warsaw Pact, Camus was considered an eccentric, and therefore criticized by the right, the left, and the center. His fidelity was towards truth, not ideology. He was opposed to state assassinations, terrorism and wars in every quarter. An artistic anarchist, with a passionate spiritual hunger, an austere and moral Don Juan, a sensual man of conscience and honor who earned a reputation for a lifelong literary meditation on death in all its forms: illness (he suffered from tuberculosis ), murder, suicide, death penalty, war, etc. One of his first novels is "The Happy Death"; death as "happy" as absurd, at one time as sudden as slow. Likewise in the movie "Cold War". Camus's enemies were social injustice, political perversion, the powerful who thought they had the right to make others suffer and die for their perverted purposes, liberal imperialism, Soviet Marxism, and abstract ideologies in general.
Popularly known for his writings on absurdity (which for Camus was only a necessary first step to revolt, and eventual suicide), when he died on January 4, 1960 in a car accident in France having in his pocket an unused train ticket, the press explored the absurdist nature of his death! The media still do so. But did it really happen like that? There is a conspiracy theory that, instead of an automobile accident, Camus might have been murdered by the KGB because of his criticism of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, the massacre of Hungarian freedom fighters and his defense of Boris Pasternak and the novel, Doctor Jivago, among other things.
According to such theory, the accident that cost Camus' life would have been organized by Soviet spies who damaged the tire of the car using sophisticated equipment that cut it, or caused it to be slashed at high speed.
Camus's exegetes soon rejected the idea. But a book called ¨Camus must die¨ recalled another mysterious death, in 2013, of journalist Michael Hastings in the United States, when his car accelerated to more than 100 miles per hour and exploded against a tree on a highway in Los Angeles.
Whatever the cause of Camus's death was, of course we can echo his voice today. He served beauty and suffering, he defended the innocent in this basically murderous world, he was haunted by images that still haunt us, as of 2019 preys of megalomaniacs and paranoids suffering from the Syndrome of Hubris and feeding dreams of conquest. We remain in an absurd prison, threatened by madmen brandishing small and large arms.
The world as a prison is of course a metaphor with a long and popular tradition. Over the last hundred years or more, with the secularization of Western culture and the perception of God's "alienation," the gates of that prison took popular imagination with a growing number of people feeling trapped in an kind of alien universe , unable to unite the abyss between themselves and a supposedly absent God. Death has become for many the symbol of the absurdity of existence and the futility of flight. It used to be, though, for the faithful like Wiktor or Zula, an open road to free eternity.
Maçã com sabor de gasolina (2012)
Nothing but a random example of what's meant to be 7th art yet doesn't transcend Nth rubbish
I do find it hard to believe the boundaries of supposedly creative imbecility. This short is an anti-essay in every way - it's purposely mis-edited, poorly photographed, and - if there were any notion of 'conceit,' I'd say ill-conceived as well. The inclusion of the name of American poet Ezra Pound in the credits is nothing short of a mockery. Pound's voice is merely half-heard for half a second when he recorded a phrase from his Canto on Usury. Of course there will be no admirers of this pseudo-experience. Not even a concrete poet or a fan of revolutionary filmmakers would like it. What ultimately arises therefrom is the will to attack organized society, the defense of graffiti marginality and the sense of rancor borne out of an absolute lack of talent.
Tati moves about & gesticulates with a most exuberant vivacity
With his admirable achievement, Tati returned comedy to its essentially cinematic language: a primitive conception of the genre, i.e. the dynamics of effects is not a-priori related to the development of the theme - it is autonomous, conditioned mainly not to the idea or the intentions of the characters, but rather to their movements. The detail is thus an integral element of the composition of successive scenes. A light, lively rhythm, paced in several passages with burlesque effects, has not the slightest dissonance. "Les Vacances de M. Hulot" has a full gallery of caricature figures: the typical English spinster, a passionate tennis player; the strange old couple in their constant and silent wandering, the husband always a few steps behind, watching closely all that occurs; the waiter and the owner of the hotel, extremely silent, whose worries and suspicions are only modulated by a move of their eyes; the retired military man who is excessively argumentative; the South American who spends his days sipping or playing cards; and finally that extraordinary M. Hulot, who speaks no more than ten words during the unfolding of the film, who walks almost in a ballet step and whose uninterrupted movement comes to disturb the tedious calm of the guests of the resort.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A MILESTONE IN FILM HISTORY
As far as meaning, significance and cultural instigation are concerned, 2001 features innumerable referential approaches: to mankind, to God (and/or to the Demon), to the future, to our responsibility as of 1968 as we faced new realities; to the rediscovery of language; to the brand-new systems of knowledge; to the man-vs. -machine struggle. Stanley Kubrick directed this iconic film, in which mankind finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the help of an intelligent computer HAL 9000, sets off on a quest. Hal is error-proof - his ontology is infallibility. (And Nota bene the homophone pun: Hal is pronounced as hell. Beforehand, during the Paleolithic period, primates faced the mechanics of their primitive, primary life, and their capital objective = simple resistance, at a biological level. Those mankind precursors were not yet fully superior to other animals because they did not have the capacity for symbolic communication; they only communicated through signals. They mastered no connotative capacity at all, only some kinda denotative capacity. Their booming intellect was still impotent for making abstractions. Then an immense, polished, geometric, rectangular monolith, - the revelation of the newly coming Neolithic revolutionized universe (the Polished stone Era) - and subsequently the discovery of the media and the instruments - extensions of our physical members. The unknown monolith is almost an apparition of God. Also the germ of thought. The ape-man assaults the skeleton of a dead animal, picks up a bone (which had previously been used as a weapon to win the battle for a water pool ), begins to brand it euphorically, while disrupting the skeleton, throwing it up in the air and - incidentally the greatest anecdotal ellipse in the history of cinema: - and the bone fuses into a 2001 spaceship, sliding through the imponderable silence of the cosmos, to the sound of Johann Strauss' Blue Danube. The phenomenon is then repeated: the monolith is found on the moon, and the astronauts who approach it exhibit a similar behavior to that of the primates, when they touch it. An expedition to Jupiter, with three crew members in hibernation, only to be restored to their vital faculties when they arrived at the destination, the other two alive, and the electronic computer (Hal), leading the ship. Kubrick & Arthur C Clarke conceived the behavior of the Cyclops-eye machinery by, say, matching Homer's Odyssey. Something like Hal may indeed become reality and be capable of own emotions and mental initiatives. There resides the impasse for mankind, with its philosophical implications.
Fleeing from Tradition
The plot revolves around life in a particular house in the 1930s, an environment completely devious misrepresenting, even defying what the outside world allows. Therein sexual perversions gain inconceivable contours in the eyes of the young protagonist, an ordinary individual. In that house live Lady Hideko and his uncle Kouzuki. When the old housemaid is dismissed, it is for the innocent Sook-Hee to venture out of the apparent hard work before her. We also have the presence of the charming Count Fujiwara who appears as a pretender to the love of the young Lady. The aura emanating from the house is somber, it is not known exactly what happens inside. And it is inserted in this environment that we will have the outbreak of a true game of cat and mouse, where the masks are slowly undoing, revealing the perverse people who belong in the environment.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Often auteurs are hollow just like inspiration is fake
Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella Heart of Darkness was about venturing into the moral depths of colonial Africa. Though it wasn't an immediate sensation, it evidently was not ignored by the literary community. The famous line announcing the antagonist's demise, "Mistah Kurtz-he dead," served as an epigraph to T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men."
Eighty years after Conrad's book debuted, the Coppola film Apocalypse Now hit the big screen. Though lightly influenced by Heart of Darkness, the movie's setting was not the Belgian Congo, but the Vietnam War. And though the antagonist (played by Marlon Brando) was named Kurtz, that particular Kurtz was no ivory trader, but a U.S. military officer who had become mentally unhinged.
The book began and ended in the United Kingdom. Though it recounted Marlow's voyage through Belgian Congo in search of Kurtz and is forever linked to the African continent, Conrad's novella began and ended in England. At the story's conclusion, the "tranquil waterway" that "seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness" was none other than the River Thames.
The well-traveled protagonist, Marlow-who appears in other Conrad works, such as Lord Jim-was based on his equally well-traveled creator. In 1890, 32-year-old Conrad sailed the Congo River while serving as second-in-command on a Belgian trading company steamboat. As a career seaman, Conrad explored not only the African continent but also ventured to places ranging from Australia to India to South America.
Colonizing was then, when the book appeared,all the rage . Imperialism-now viewed as misguided, oppressive, and ruthless-was much in vogue when Conrad hit shelves. The "Scramble for Africa" had seen European powers stake their claims on the majority of the continent. Britain's Queen Victoria was portrayed as the colonies' "great white mother." Since the wise magi saw the star in the East, Christianity had found no nobler expression. Conrad, however, did not echo the imperialistic exuberance. He no champion of colonialism,
Chinua Achebe-the Nigerian author -delivered a 1975 lecture called "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness" that described Conrad as a "thoroughgoing racist" and his ubiquitous classic novella as "an offensive and deplorable book." However, even Achebe credited Conrad for having "condemned the evil of imperial exploitation." And others have recognized Heart of Darkness as an indictment of the unfairness and barbarity of the colonial system.
Heart of Darkness managed to ascend to immense prominence in the 1950s, after the planet had witnessed "the horror"-Kurtz's last words in the book-of WWII and the ramifications of influential men who so thoroughly indulged their basest instincts.
Coppola's film was based on a terrible misreading of Conrad. Coppola turned a brilliant piece of fiction into a visual disaster. The complex narrative was transformed in ordinary Kitsch. The final scenes, involving Dennis Hopper and Marlon Brando , are lame.
What, then, can one see in "Apocalypse Now"?
Little more than all the one-sided anti-American, anti-Vietnam-war stereotypes of those times: Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries subtly suggesting that America might be a counterpart to National Socialism); the denunciation of the "Ugly American" alienation; the irony & smartness of metaphors like juxtaposing warfare and surfer-safaris ; and so on. Hardly "the most honest account of the futility of war." A better description is "a schizophrenic approach to the randomness of guerrilla warfare." An ambiguous fantasy. But people are welcome to read into it any way they want.
A film about the visible and the invisible should only leave uncertainties ?
Investigative journalism commissioned by the Vatican in order to determine whether or not a teenager has seen the appearance of the Virgin, as she claims With films like Xavier Beauvois' "Men and Gods" (2010) and Anne Fontaine's "The Innocent" (2015), French cinema has re-approached religious questions. The Apparition embraces the difficult exercises of (i) filming the imperceptible and the faith & (ii) addressing the exciting questions of belief, religion and existential options & ways. It relies on a virtually fascinating subject - clairvoyance regarding the Virgin Mary - by dealing with the subject of faith through a canonical inquiry, an angle which until now has never been treated in the cinema, which is altogether unknown by the general public, and which is herein approached with sufficient accuracy and twists to interest any spectator. In the role of the photographer on the case of an alleged appearance, Vincent Lindon is convincing as a Cartesian agnostic who questions the truth and doubts during a down-to-earth approach that contrasts with the mystical dimension of the subject. The film finds its interest in an exciting first part where we get acquainted with the young clairvoyant, Anna played by Galatea Bellugi. Too bad then, that it ends up lost in several anecdotal tracks and several different stories where the situations, not really fully resolved, confer to the story a frustrating, and a bit too austere edge, which prevents it from reaching the level of the Beauvois essay. Regretfully Giannoli fails to give a sustained breath to this very much alive and attractive story.
Lula, o Filho do Brasil (2009)
This biopic is dated 2009. Lula was arrested in 2018. His power project is now the theme of other movies and TV series.
Lula is the leading and agglutinating symbol of the "cultural revolution" that gave leftists complete hegemonic control of public discussions, to the point that virtually all ideological opposition disappeared from the big picture. To confirm Karl Marx's claim that historical tragedies recur as farces, one should write a play about Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Any student of Marxism who has properly done his homework realizes that, from the point of view of revolutionary strategy, Lula did nothing wrong. Instead. He followed the recipe faithfully, with a fine dialectical sense of objective conditions, moments and opportunities, succeeding in accomplishing what was almost impossible: to save the Latin American communist movement from extinction, and put it in action in a dozen countries. The FARC themselves recognized it emphatically in a letter of thanks sent to the XV anniversary of the Forum of Sao Paulo. Lula himself, conscious of the work accomplished, celebrated his spectacular ideological victory by arguing that Brazil had reached the perfection of democracy: all candidates were left-wing. It is easy to call him a thief, a con man, a devil. But the fact is, such critique is based on a criterion of administrative appropriateness which only applies within the framework of "bourgeois morality." Lula, like Allende in Chile, had to make alliances and concessions - including the vocabulary of "bourgeois honesty" - with a firm intention of throwing them away as soon as possible. He moved amid the ambiguities of an opportunistic conciliation between the strategic demands of the revolutionary movement and the objective interests of his capitalist allies. Not even personal illicit enrichment can be seriously alleged against him by the canons of revolutionary morality. It is an historical fact that all the major stars of the communist cast enriched illicitly - Stalin, Mao, Fidel Castro, Pol-Pot, Allende, Ceaucescu - and it was a tacit norm that they had the obligation to do so, preferably with Swiss accounts, in order to have the means to protect themselves, and eventually restart the revolution in case of failure of any local project. Only Lenin was unable to enjoy a potentate status because some time after the victory of the Revolution, tertiary syphilis, fulfilling its fatal term, reduced him to a human rag. As per Yakov Stanislavovich Ganetsky, Lenin's financial mentor, "the best way to destroy capitalism is for us to become capitalists ourselves." The revolutionary movement has always relied on robbery, fraud, smuggling, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and, in democratic countries where it came to power, assault on public coffers. Lula did not invent anything, he did not innovate at all, he did not change anything, he only demonstrated an extraordinary ability to apply good old tricks. In the court of revolutionary ethics, therefore, not a word can be said against him. His Party (PT) was not a mere case of "corruption" like so many others, but rather a gigantic plan of appropriation of public money in order to give the communist movement full power over the continent.
O Mecanismo (2018)
Of systematic corruption in Brazil
This Netflix production features a semi-documentary style and its characters are real-life politicians totally renamed à clef. Operation Car Wash (Operação Lava Jato) is an ongoing criminal investigation being carried out by the Federal Police of Brazil, Curitiba Branch, judicially commanded by Judge Sérgio Moro since March 17, 2014. So far, it led to the arrest of 160 people, the indictment of 179 and conviction of 93. The largest corruption Mechanism in history involves 16 companies overall. Reimbursement requests total R$38.1 billion (c. US$11.3 billion). The amount of misappropriated funds reaches R$3.6 billion (c. US$1 billion) Initially a Money-laundering investigation, CarWash expanded to dismount corruption at the state-controlled oil company Petrobras (Petrobrazil in the series), whose executives accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices. That criminal Mechanism is known as "Petrolão". The operation has included more than one thousand warrants for search and seizure, with the aim of ascertaining the extent of a money laundering scheme suspected of moving more than R$30 billion (c. US$9.5 billion. Thus, the Operation Car Wash began as a money laundering investigation to become the biggest corruption scandal in the world. At least eleven other countries, mostly in Latin America, are involved and the Brazilian company Odebrecht (Miller & Bretch in the series) is most implicated. The investigation unmasked 'untouchable' politicians like former presidents Luiz Inácio (Jose Honorio in the series) Lula and Dilma Roussef (Janete in the series). In a semi-documentary style, this IS a story of villains that details the routine in jail, and the persistence of investigators. The Mechanism provided at first a comprehensive understanding of the seriousness in question. Systematic corruption has turned Brazilian democracy into a cleptocracy. Alberto Youssef (here called Ibrahim) and the former director of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa (Joao Paulo Rangel here) were the informers in the plot. Unfortunately, hhowever, the 2nd season of "The Mechanism" was simply pathetic, treating the impeachment episode of Janete as an arrangement of the political elite, whilst everybody knows that they only ed in the process after a million Brazilians, in the streets, pushed for and pressed for impeachment - there was no longer a return to impunity. According to the series' new season, the 2016 impeachment was not a consequence of people staging the biggest demonstrations in Brazilian history, in 2013. Padilha, the producer-director, spoiled 'The Mechanism' by stupidly trying to convince us that Gino (i.e. Lula) was just another thief rather than the number-one corrupt crook in history. This series has - alas - lost its preemptive credit...
Terra em Transe (1967)
¨Ride, boldly ride, the shade replied, if you seek for Eldorado!¨ (Edgar A. Poe)
This one is incredibly listed in the popular reference book ¨1001 Movies you should see before you die.¨ Eldorado was, of course, Brazil. Director Rocha had some talent, although no sense of humor, which might have helped him in this particular instance. Drama, after all, is simply a serious way of being comic and - like the Romans used to say - ¨castigat ridendo mores¨ - punishing morals via laughter. Ironically, however, Mr. Rocha anticipated in 1967 the Brazil of nowadays, 32 years after the end of a military dictatorship regime: as of 2017 Brazil is a true... land in trance... full of corruption , populism & Tartuffe-like characters! In Rocha's 'fictional' Eldorado country, political power was challenged by an idealist-anarchist journalist-poet who opposed two corrupt politicians: a populist governor and a conservative president (suitably named Porfirio Diaz!). There is nothing wrong with politics-fiction provided there is some good story and some sound plot. But this film is ultra-tiring, irritatingly breathtaking as a kaleidoscopic satire on treacherous dictators who delight in cavorting while their naif electorate helps them to reach power. Filmed in the freestyle of the French Nouvelle Vague, Twisted Earth is approximately a hot mess. Its hand-held camera kinematics made it impossible to understand exactly what was happening in its convoluted plot. In 2017, it is a kind of time capsule, no more than a dated experimental-subversive production article with a leftist vision that advocated the 1960's counter-cultural posture.
Dated history revisionism as per the Warsaw Pact tenets
Jancso, a Bolshevik film mentor and beneficiary of state interventionism in the arts in Hungary during the Iron Curtain period, literally followed the classic "September Protocol," i.e. the theoretical, Manichaeist dogma of the Stalinist Era laid out by Zhdanov and then adopted by the Communist Parties on a global scale. The first step in Leninism, after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, was to establish, through censorship and state sponsorship, the complete control of cultural production with the aim of destroying Western thought ("Bourgeois or burzhooi", they called it) based on Jewish- Christian prophecies as well as on Roman law and Greek philosophy. In fact, all red cultural policies were born out of such distortions, namely: totalitarian Zhdanovism, engaged art, demented Gramscism, tenets of the Frankfurt School, Mao's destructive Cultural Revolution and so forth, not forgetting the message that every dictator used to state in the congresses of the communist militancy about the promotion of cultural production: "Comrades, anything for the sake of the Revolution, nothing outside the revolution!" But ¨the Round-up¨ is much more and much less than this, it is an unbearable parade of long shots where each image seems to reflect the hatred that this mediocre director always nurtured against the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
Chelovek s kino-apparatom (1929)
Moscovite random rhythms
A tree. A baby. Machinery. A basketball match. An old lady. Homeless people. Piles of smoke. A busy street. The merry-go-round. A cinema. Another homeless person asleep. A woman who dresses up. In a nutcase, everything is incredibly annoying. This film did not invent the jump cut, the 'montage of attractions,' or the Gestalt-like editing practice. Its 65 minutes seem like 6.5 hours of pure boredom. A waste of time, therefore. A bad example of what has since been labeled 'precursor,' even 'inventive historical classicism.' It's just a succession of random shots, taken by a leisurely director who, in his free time, vaguely edited it. It tried to capture the feel and rhythms of a modern city (Moscow) as well as the joy of living and working in the Worker's Paradise. Stylistically and modernly speaking, the closest comparison would be, for example, with Koyannisqqatsi or Arne Sucksdorf's Rhythms of a City. But Vertov suffers by comparison with any other documentary filmmaker. He is far from being a "must" for filmmakers or film buffs. A revolutionary film? Absolutely not. It did not represent any advance. Berlin: the Symphony of the City, dated 1927, or Joris Ivens' Rain, dated 1929, would best qualify for such epithet, and yet that would be an exaggeration. A documentary? There is a great difference between documentary and propaganda. A documentary generally shows life as it is, while propaganda shows what a filmmaker wants to show in order to make a point and convince others of some idea (usually political or economical). Vertov is frank propaganda. His concept of artistic social responsibility was derived from Stalinist notions and later incorporated into Nazi concepts. His goal was to glorify the Soviet regime. In 1929 Stalin consolidated his power in Russia and was about to embark on what was one of the most brutal and bloody regimes in history. Vertov perhaps did not know then whereto the regime would lead, but he did continue to make films that praised Stalin (Kolybelnaya, for example). Let no artist be condemned just for working for the state. I like Eisenstein, for example. If you must rent and watch The Man With a Movie Camera, do it with a solid perspective, regardless of... taste.
Twin Peaks (2017)
It never peaked, much less blinded me
The first TP was certainly good. Fire Walk with Me was good too. It made sense and had rhythm. The new series, though, is unbearable, charmless and humorless, with countless new nonsensical characters and a series of confusing plots that do not connect with each other. Ridiculous dialogue and too much Actors Studio Method also aggravate the nightmare. The series is total rubbish, without even the esprit of the first, a totally different film: different environments, characters, dialogues and places. The action does NOT occur in Twin Peaks. It is a surrealistic and abstract collage of images that do not make sense. It lacks consistency on all levels. When it comes to David Lynch, this is the worst of his essays. What nonsense is this of Dale Cooper being a zombie? He stumbles all the time, monosyllabic - he cannot even urinate (!) no one takes him to the doctor? Does anyone notice that he acts like someone who had a stroke? All this "symbolism" is agonizing, pseudo-sixties. And, of course, Lynch had to appear in person, as Deaf Albert. What a pity! What may have sounded at first like a great idea - to reinvigorate an icon from the '90s - has not returned what it might have been permissible to expect.
Uncelebrated cultural diversity
Aix-la-Chapelle in France is one among many multicultural cities that exist today in the Western world. It is, like others, segregated, even in terms of geographical division: Asians live with Asians, including Pakistanis with Pakistanis. Apart from campuses, apart from white people who increasingly date Asian people, no one mingles with anyone. Are the two phenomena (1. the growing solitude of contemporary Western man or woman, 2. the growing multiculturalism of society) related? Who can say? Too many changes have taken place since the 1960s, multiculturalism is only one of them. In fact, I think that all the radical phenomena of the 1960s, such as the struggle against traditional values, political extremism, feminism, the loss of religion, the sexual revolution, as well as the disorderly urbanization itself, and the growing immigration flow have been responsible for social disintegration. It isn't correct to blame multiculturalism for everything, but it does create identifiable problems like those in this fine melodrama. People begin to realize that there is something wrong with multiculturalism; that the promised paradise of peaceful integration isn't really happening. Why's that? The idea of a multicultural society arises from (i) liberalism, (ii) the primordial economic function played by immigrants, (iii) university campuses. Western schools are temples of multiculturalism. People from everywhere, regardless of race or religion, mix and coexist almost always in peace. Zahira, 18, is close to her family until her parents ask her to follow the Pakistani tradition and choose a husband. Torn between family customs and her western lifestyle, the young woman turns to help from her brother, sister, friends and confidants. Is their culture so totalitarian in its anti-heuristic traditions? Let us differentiate multiculturalism from immigration. Immigration has always existed, multiculturalism is something relatively new. In the old days, there was the expectation that an immigrant would adapt to the country to which he or she emigrated, adopting her language and customs. This didn't happen in all cases, but it did nearly always. Today, chances are the opposite: an immigrant shall maintain his own culture, and this should be respected by the society that welcomes him, even if it's all about extirpation of women's clitoris, or pre-marital sex, or abortion. Today multiculturalism reigns in the West. It is partly the result of technological and social changes. It's roughly implemented by governments and politicians more interested in votes than in social welfare. Just like pendulums, fashions and societies do change.
O Dia que Durou 21 Anos (2012)
Are we really, completely without bias?
Was the CIA responsible for the military coup d'état in Brazil in 1964? So-called "Operation Thomas Mann" is a reference to the then Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs of the Lyndon Johnson Administration. It happens, however, that nonexistent documents were later forged by a Czech spy who, in 1964, operated in Brazil via KGB: Mr. Ladislav Bittman, who acted on behalf of Czechoslovakia's Service of Disinformation, and later told the story in his book "The KGB And Soviet Disinformation." Bittman wrote: "We wanted to create the impression that the U.S. were forcing the OAS to take an anticommunist position as the CIA planned coups d'état against the regimes of Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and Cuba (...) The operation was designed to create vis-à-vis the Latin American audience a preventive policy against hard-line America, to incite demonstrations of intense anti- American sentiments and to label the CIA as a notorious perpetrator of undemocratic intrigue". Bittman's revelations were made public in 1985, but the Brazilian media never mentioned them, either through ignorance or for not wanting the public to be aware of long-standing lies. Anyway, the basic scenario was told in the 1970s by the American historian Phyllis Parker in her book "The Role of the United States in the 3/31 Coup." Parker interviewed the main players in the episode, having had access to most of the secret correspondence. She came to the conclusion that the 1964 coup was staged by Brazilians, not by Americans. This sounds obvious, but the alternative (leftist) version sustains that the takeover by the military was planned in Washington and included an invasion of Brazil by U.S. Marines. Phyllis Parker actually showed that the U.S. monitored the situation closely, lobbied with her usual aggressiveness, and did have a Plan B in case Brazil suffered a civil war. In the words of that historian, there is no evidence that the United States instigated, planned, directed or participated in the execution of the 1964 coup. In a nutshell, the so- called "Operation Brother Sam" denounced by this film did start, but was aborted as redundant. Democracy prevailed (unfortunately only for a certain time). All interviewees in this film take on a predictably politically correct, anti-American core stance. The film would be less unbalanced or sectarian if it didactically described the big picture, i.e. the broader context of the Cold War, the Foggy Bottom-inspired Domino Theory, the recent establishment of communism in Cuba, the assassination of JFK etc.
Satan's Rites may start with Hunger but then turn into ravenous Carnage games à la Polanski
Christian critics (they still exist, yes, sir) are seeing God in Him (Bardem), Adam in Ed Harris, Eve plus The Serpent in Pfeiffer, Cain killing Abel, and The House being a gateway to hell from Eden (the film begins, after all, with Jennifer painting her kitchen, saying she's building ¨a paradise.¨ Yours Truly, however, rather sees in Ed and Michelle a cartooned version of the couple Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon in ¨Rosemary's Baby,¨ while he also sees in the baby (who in the climax, by the way, is called Angel by one of the Goys!) another Antichrist, be he/it a Jew or not, in an obvious quote re Buñuel's Exterminating Angel - in which movie a lustful dinner took place in a mansion whereto guests didn't stop to arrive until they became kinda allegories of a most Buñuelian apocalypse ... ;-) And yes! Of course, Him = Beelzebub in person ... LL
The Circle (2017)
A dystopia not unlike the Big Brother of Orwell's 1984 or another oppressor with absolute unlimited, autocratic & dominating power, the multinational 'The Circle' makes us miss Hitler and Stalin. At the end of the nineteenth century, Jacob Burckhardt, in the midst of a liberal "belle époque", prophesied: "Authority will again raise its head in the pleasant twentieth century, and a terrible head!" Maybe it is time to make the same prophecy again. Facebook's declared new plan, for instance, is to suppress local communities under the ambition of controlling all interpersonal relationships in the world, and making them the only possible means of bringing people together. Neither Attila the Hun nor Gengis-Khan or Napoleon Bonaparte ever had the same idea...
The Garden of Afflictions (2017)
Film as a viable, didactic, dialectical, high-brow medium
It there is a name that must be quoted when we speak about the redemption, evaluation and cultural recovery in Brazil, as opposed to the recent total domination of the left within the main sectors of society, such name is Olavo de Carvalho, who by now needs no further presentation. Before the hegemony of the 'Lulo-petista' regime in Brazil (2003-2016), the consequent repulsion to the so-called Bolivarian movement, and the combat to generalized corruption via billion-dollar bribe-ducts that stormed the Brazilian nation, both social networks and mass street marches came to adopt , among other signs, the phrase "Olavo is right!", suggesting that the misrule and the debasement at large did confirm Carvalho's "futurological" wisdom, as his geopolitical analyzes and partisan predictions had been proving almost invariably accurate. Carvalho and the late lawyer Graça Wagner were right as they insisted on the importance of the Forum of Sao Paulo, an international revolutionary organization to which Bolivarianist allies have been aligning themselves since the end of the last century. The Garden of Afflictions, an emblematic book, is the favorite of its author. It now gives title to a documentary film directed by Josias Teófilo, produced via crowdfunding collective financing, without a penny of public money. It isn't a filming of the original book, published in 1995. The basic thesis of the original essay was that the history of the West was marked by the idea of Empire and the successive attempts at restructuring it. With different approaches, there was always the same goal - to extend imperial (imperialist?) dominions to the limits of the visible, geopolitical & social world. Carvalho's essay examined whether it was necessary (i) to revise such thesis, and (ii) to assess at what degree it would relate to current world scenarios. In the preface, the poet Bruno Tolentino suggested that the structure of the book was spiral, comparing it the first symphony of Sibelius. The film, consequently, incorporates this symphony to its soundtrack. Its editing also incorporates images from four old (emblematic) films: Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, Ford's Stagecoach, Murnau's Sunrise and Mario Peixoto's Limite. Nevertheless, the Garden's reviewers on dutiful mainstream corporate media, with their infallible airs of sour-puss spite, said the film "is never transcendent." Wow... Whatever has it not transcended? Spiritual elevation, I guess. Only the exact opposite is true. The Garden is a kind of hour-and-a-half master-class on spirituality where Mr. Carvalho's thought is personified by his own presence, routine work and family life. "The greatest force that can exist is personality," he advises us, among other practical, religious, and metaphysical teachings. The film is based on the themes of its eponymous book: (i) the symbolism of gardens in the philosophical tradition, Epicurus' Garden of Delights, the Garden of Eden of the Genesis book, the garden of afflictions of the contemporary world and the 'garden' in Virginia (USA) where the philosopher lives today; (ii) individual freedom and the oppression from the dictatorship of the collective; (iii) Aristotelian thought, and (iv) an eventually central theme in philosophical thought at large (see Plato, Schopenhauer, etc.): death. What ideas are still important to us in the face of unavoidable death? What are you going to do with your life while it's time? Carvalho, just like his predecessor Mario Ferreira dos Santos (1907-1968), is a philosopher that "Brazilian culture" cannot - or refuses to - absorb. Both hover above the institutionalized national consciousness as true extraterrestrials, while beneath them the cultural establishment and its generalized educational forms 'take care of' citizenship. This film does focus on the protagonist. The latter is after all the raison d'être of the former. It makes a point of showing where the speaking voice comes from. It opens out the personality of the philosopher. It lets him lucubrate. It crystallizes his wisdom, elevation, and lucidity in his permanent search for truth, actually the prime objective of every philosopher worthy of such epithet . Accessible to a broad cultural spectrum of the public (not just film critics!), it is an objective, restricted, relatively unpretentious document that revolves around the protagonist and never tries to take the place of him by pushing him out of the spotlight. Of course one cannot judge a person by the size of his library. (Otto Maria Carpeaux's library, for example, was surprisingly small, considering that its owner had written the "History of Western Literature," and was one of the greatest encyclopedic minds in Brazilian culture.) But Olavo's library impresses by itself. Throughout the film, he quickly discusses, in addition to his pillars Plato and Aristoteles, Eric Voegelin, Ortega y Gasset, St. Augustine, Anaximander, Boethius, Josiah Royce, Antonio Gramsci, Raymundo Faoro and a lot of other authors referenced during the interviews. While 'Garden of Afflictions,' the book, is now a classic, this partially-derived film opens a new horizon in the evolution of Brazilian culture via cinematographic routes. It's, to say the least, the highest-brow movie in recent times. The fact that for the first time a Brazilian film is the best release of current year (2017) and the fact that militants from a political party of most fanatical leftists (Partido da Causa Operaria, or the Blue Collars' Party - PCO) did physically assault the film's audiences seem to outline a new pattern, i.e. a reverse event in the ongoing accelerated process of imbecilization, which reminds us of a witty boutade by the writer Ivan Lessa: "Brazilians have both their feet on the ground, as well as their both hands."
Amok (the title of a Stefan Zweig masterwork) meant indeed a temporary, paroxysmal state prone to impulses.
The film, treated in a semi-documentary style with an accentuated preference for plan-sequences (in-camera editing of sequence-like shots), is interesting in itself. But even more interesting perhaps would be to seek, or rather to fantasize, what would have been Zweig's life had he not opted for a terminal attitude. He'd already seen the US joining the War. He probably felt that Germany would inevitably win the conflict, and this would bring about the extermination of Judaism, the end of Western-style democracies, and so on and so forth. Had he lived, however, he'd see the Allies gain the conflict, which would provide him with a breath of optimism and comfort. He'd see his adoptive country, Brazil, leaving (in 1945) a long-overdue dictatorship. Later, already an octogenarian, he'd see Brazil plunging onto another dictatorship - against which Zweig would certainly say nothing, not in the least because he was an anti-communist. One thing is certain: the writer would never live to witness the growth of the largest criminal organization ever invented in Brazil or, for that matter, in any other place. The "Land of the Future" (Zweig's book title) has been since very busy , trying hard to dump her historical promises into the trash cans of History...
The hostess without the mostess
Most pf us can understand the mythical meaning of certain characters, and that's briefly what it's all about. Each club has the myths it deserves, and every TV viewer has the myths he (or in this case more commonly, she) deserves. Mythical is that particular individual bathed by good luck, godlike aura and kinda halo, a fact that science cannot plainly justify through its laws. The myth (as Roland Barthes might have put it) is a symbol of example, attitude, conviction, character, and honor. Fatima Bernardes is probably not THE best symbol for mass myth, but she does satisfy the daily mornings' belief that "a positive thought a day is what we need." Mythical, she personalizes the ideal of the collective mainstream viewers. Her boastful interviews celebrate social inclusion, feminist protest, political correctness, gender ideology, hooligans' graffiti on public walls, sexual (mis)education in primary school, by preaching that any child is born with sexuality, by disrespecting the right "to be a child." Fatima ignores that angels have no sex, so she steals their innocence. Along with other myths of TV Globo network (Regina Casé, Big Broder Brazil, Amor & Sex, etc.) she does help to foster a kinda social engineering nexus.
Captain Fantastic (2016)
not the most tasteful of concoctions
If I only were by myself, I would certainly have gotten out of the theater during the first half hour, because overall this film (which has neither a captain nor anything fantastic) is slow, boring, presumptuous and above all ultra-irritating. To dispute several Oscars re 2016 was an obvious prank from the activist Academy that decided to combat the "trumpamaro chaos" that now prevails in the US. But the film serves to lift & renew some real emotions - of disgust, basically - as well as to uplift that old, picturesque discussion on what would be a right-wing, a center or a left-wing film. The "author's message" says that the anti-hero proves social Darwinism as he proves to be a fittest survivor who trains the family to survive "savage capitalism." In fact, I do not condemn, on the contrary I do approve homeschooling. However, how to promote homeschooling without resources like labs and computers in order to properly prepare the offspring for a future where high technology will be ubiquitous? An all-knowing, adult educated daddy who encourages and trains his children to steal would hardly qualify as civilized. The production, of course, can be labeled far-left (it's nihilist, trotskyist, anarchist, anti-Christian, libertarian, etc.) but one must always distinguish between leftward and simply sinister films... The best of current critics , Mr. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, put this distasteful concoction in its proper place: https://www.theguardian.com/.../captain-fantastic- review-vigg...
Shades of Grey #51, #52 and so on
Most of the characters,needing intensive care from the get-go. are supposedly "borderline." There is hardly anything borderline, however, about them: straight-jacket material, yes, all around. The film shows how unstable people get together, how they multiply existential & sexistential problems for themselves as well as for anybody else they encounter. Are we supposed to care for them? Well, yes, for the current French way of life seems to support a sloppy mental health system which lets psychos roam free & wild, endangering themselves as well as everyone they interact with. "Pretentious," "morbid," "tremendista," are probably accurate reviewer's labels for the picture. Perhaps novelist Djian and director Verhoeven should both get the pillow treatment as well. ;-)
A thinker with an odd, Barthesian insight
The accent is brave, hardly penetrable. Captions are really necessary. But the title of the movie says it all: it IS Slovenian humor at an abstract, high-brow level. The host mitigates the Freudian legacy as he perverts - in a decreasing order - (1) Marx (2) Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt School at large (3) Lacan. His universalizing framework comes from Lacanian psychoanalysis, although he is as 'revealing' as Lacan. The greatest apparent influence on Zizek seems to be that of Roland Barthes's 'Mythologies'. As if he were kinda Roland The Hip Semiologist, Zizek analyzes everything from the perspective of the 'myth,' revealing at every opportunity a new approach, criticizing our surrounding, culturally globalized habitat, and insinuating what might be its intrinsic authenticity. The film is essentially an illustrated conference in the style of other mass culture analysts such as Jacob Bronowski, John Berger, Robert Hughes, Kenneth Clark. Zizek is not interested in the respective ideology of the filmmakers he quotes. He uses fragments of films as illustrative of real life processes and their 'myths', not specifically Nazism or Communism, but rather the way we all shape our lives and the universal themes that connect our 'mythological' subconscious needs.