Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Week in Review - 22/3/09

It's been a while, but The Week in Review is back, albeit brief. Not a lot of film-viewing this week: I was sick for a couple of days, during which time I bought a large flat-screen TV. I don't expect to watch much more than the piddling amount of DVDs that I do now (yes, I'm a big screen purist, as much as possible), but at least when I do, I'll have a decent widescreen TV to watch it on.

  • La vie moderne (Modern Life, Raymond Depardon, France, 2008)
  • Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night, Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1955)
  • Nattvardsgästerna (Winter Light, Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1963)
  • Finding Forrester (Gus Van Sant, USA, 2000)
Modern Life
This quiet little documentary screened at the French Film Festival. I've seen a number of films at the festival and regret not having posted about them yet. I hope to rectify that soon and will include more on this film, I thoroughly enjoyed.

Smiles of a Summer Night
I have enough respect now for Bergman that I want to see everything he's done. While this film is enjoyable enough, it's not exactly a major work.

Winter Light
But this one is. It seems to encapsulate everything that Bergman is about, covering many of his big themes like love (or the lack of it), death, god (and the questioning of his existence), death and the meaning of life. Bleak, existentialist, nihilistic even, it doesn't offer much hope to humanity. In its own way, it mirrors the despair that human beings often find themselves in. Depending on one's viewpoint, the film could be seen to be misogynistic or misandristic, though I think Bergman is neither. He just calls it as he sees it, and I think he sees it as it is.

Finding Forrester
I didn't think much of the look of this film when it was first released, but have since become a bit of a Van Sant fan. It was inevitable that I'd watch this sooner or later, and a bout of sickness afforded that opportunity. My original perceptions were right, but it's still worth watching in the context of Van Sant. I don't think much of the story, which is very conventional. But then Van Sant made this as a director for hire, as far as I can tell. It's not really his film per se. It's interesting to see what he has done with it. But I don't think I'll be watching it again in a hurry.

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