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The Brown Bunny (2003)
One word: BEAUTIFUL
As already mentioned here, not to everyone's taste, this beautifully photographed film. In my humble opinion a true, modern masterpiece. Although Gallo's own fault (advertizing the picture with huge billboards that showed the fellatio-act), it's unfair The Brown Bunny will always be remembered for that one, pornographic scene. Besides of the fact that the pornographic scene is so extremely important for the dramatic development near the end, the film has so much more to offer. The sadness, the roads, the landscapes, the soundtrack, this film is TRANCE in capital letters. Gallo is a talent, highly underrated because of his impossible behaviour, but probably without his controversial, impossible behaviour this film would never have been made. Thanks, Mr. Gallo for this highly unique and beautiful cinema experience!!!!!!!
Thought-provoking, very strong debut film
I discussed this film with some friends of mine and it's amazing to see how strong and negative some reactions are.
***SPOILERS*** A simple story (group of terrorists kidnap a famous TV-personality and kill him) is just an excuse for the film its real deeper thoughts about our society that creates extreme unacceptable behaviour. Edwin Brienen chooses for his debut film a very manipulative way of telling the story and blocks every emotional involvement of the viewer on purpose with a theme like political terrorism. Rather than dealing with drama and deep emotions, he quotes Nietzsche and De Sade. Showing off his intellectualism is sort of irritating but seems also a trick to distract us viewers from the emotion behind the deed: the TV-host is a victim, but portrayed by Brienen (at the beginning of the film) as a conservative judgmental old prick. I understood some actors in this film come from the commercial TV-world in Holland (Mental Theo had a happy hardcore hit here in Germany early nineties) which make things even more bizarre (the bizarre political dialog they have to speak). The film questions moral and consequence and although hysterical during a lot of moments (Brienen's take on Lynch's the red room in Twin Peaks here transformed into a green room is way over the top and annoying), the attacks on 11 September and the murder of Theo Van Gogh (reading from the Koran while a couple is having sex) prove Brienen (unfortunately) right. In that sense is Terrorama a prophetic film (Brienen wrote and filmed it in 2000), one with an extremely bitter aftertaste though.
On an acting level is Esther Verkaaik amazing in her portrayal of a woman torn apart between emotions and political idealism. Kiki Classen (absolute beauty) makes a strong impression as the assistant of the TV-personality. Her scene in which she questions religion ("I'm searching for my own revelations") during a dinner date with him is the highlight of the film.
The film gained some positive reputation over the last years and was released on DVD as part of the Brienen-collection in 2008. The rough style of Terrorama is continued in Lebenspornografie but Brienen certainly became more Hollywood after. It's a pity though that this collection uses an old and very dusty copy of the film instead of a remastered one. I read they will release a 10years-anniversary DVD so lets hope they spend some money on a pixel-clear-copy as Terrorama absolutely deserves it!
Cicciolina amore mio (1979)
Great seventies flick!
First showcase of the future Italian porn star and politician. The film, in Germany known as 'Cicciolina's Sex-Politik' tells the story of radio moderator Cicciolina (Ilona Staller), helping radio listeners to experience their ultimate sexual experiences. As you can imagine, it's not the story that makes this rare seventies gem a great one. It's the entire atmosphere of the movie that turns 'Cicciolina amore mio' into a fantastic seventies experience: great cinematography, dazzling filter effects, lots of neon colors and a very charming Cicciolina at her very, very best! The soundtrack, partly composed by the underrated Gianni Marchetti, deserves to be released on CD and contains the cult classic 'I was made for dancing' (also released on Cicciolina's debut album from 1979).
The best part!!!
Highly underrated last part of the Eis am Stiel series. For the first time, it feels like watching a professional film. Benny and his friends keep their pants unzipped for a change, and like to open a beach bar. This change of formula might be annoying for die-hard fans, but at least it creates space for something called a 'story line'. The focus is mostly on the Johnny character, which was a good decision as Zachi Noy is clearly the best actor of the three. A welcome surprise after the horrible parts before.
By the way, the actors in real life are completely disgusted / traumatized by the Eis am Stiel films and deeply regret playing in them, as they felt exploited by the producers. Oh well. You can read all juicy details at the Eis am Stiel fan site (in German): http://kasi69.ka.funpic.de/eis-am-stiel-domizil/index-hauptseite.htm
I love the soundtrack!!!
I'm always surprised to see comments here like 'duh, the director just wants to provoke'. Of course, Gaspard Noe likes to provoke his audience! Now give me a good reason why he shouldn't. We never question art that is just made to be beautiful. So why should we question art that is made to be thought-provoking? A lot is already said about 'Irreversible' so I especially wanted to mention the soundtrack of the film, composed by Daft Punk mastermind Thomas Bangalter. This soundtrack still makes a huge impact on me, every time I play it; the dark monotony of the electro songs, highly original mixed with classical pieces (Beethoven) and French chansons (Etienne Daho).
Serious, moody and broody! Just like the film.