The Wave – 2008

The ingredients needed to create a perfect fascist society, in a simple and realistic narrative.

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Брат – 1997

Брат – это символичный фильм. Он создан в 90-х годах в России. Этот фильм рассказывает о периоде перестройки и после, о проблемах которые затронули Россию. Это часть эпохи чернуха. Но эта темнота не ограничивается только Россией. Это объясняется в ‘брат-2’,который создан в Америке. Вместе этого фильм передает, что деньги могут испортить человека во зле.

Весь фильм был снят с невероятным бюджетом менее 20000 долларов. Хотя фильм посвящен преступлениям и насилию, у него есть прекрасные моменты. Особенно романтические сцены между Сергеем бодровым и Светланой писсмиченко и песни наутилус помпилиус, и сцены Санкт Петербурга.

Стиль фильма Алексея Балабанова может быть слабо связан с кампанией ‘dogma95’, потому что у него тоже был свод правил которым должен соответствовать фильм. Как – низкий бюджет, время съемки фильма максимум три недели, съемки на улицах и квартирах и.т.д. Весь фильм был снят в фильме кодак, который остался от фильма Бернарда Роуза ‘Анна каренина – 1997’.большинство актеров играли бесплатно, в конце концов фильм стал хитом на VHS, и теперь считается культовым фильмом.

Uzak – 2002

The movie was released as “Distant” to the rest of the world, shows the distance between a middlebrow factory worker and wealthy, cultivated photographer which is subtle and piquant.

The character of Mahmut is of particular interest to me. His depression and loneliness, and how he’s trying to efface it with the collection of books which he never reads. We find these characteristics on people around us, in us. For me it was the moment when he uses Andrei Tarkovsky’s movie as a stopgap to drive Yusuf away and instantly to switches to something instantly gratifying. That’s because I’m trying very hard to watch ‘Stalker’, more on that later. So this intellectual life is like a veil that covers the rudimentary expectations in life that would otherwise cut us out as an unremarkable person without merit. So does that mean just being who you are breaks this cycle of loneliness and depression? That’s where Yusuf comes into picture. He’s like this kid who plans to stay in a relatives house for a few weeks. Except that he’s not a kid and that irks Mahmut.

Most of the scenes in the movie are wide angle shots. The viewer has not only more information to process from each frame, but also more time for each scene, which gives a lucid flow to the movie. And the snow and coldness of the winter is beautifully merged with the storyline. I was quiet surprised to see snow in Istanbul, well that’s because when it comes to Turkey I’m geographically challenged. And this is the first Turkish movie that I ever watched. So I guess it is also a good place to start to know about the culture.

Festen – 1998

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Festen or ‘The Celebration’ is a 1998 Danish movie of the farce genre directed by the acclaimed Thomas Vinterberg. At first I preferred to watch this movie because it has generally positive reviews and was awarded the cannes jury award.

I didn’t understand why the movie had unconventional camera angles, crude filters and unclear sounds. I mean, why would anyone want to lose their reputation by going against the well established rules of film making up until 1998.

But little did I know that this is the first movie to be released under the Dogme 95 movement. And then I got curious. So here goes the rules that defines a movie under Dogme 95.

  1. Shooting must be done on location.
  2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa.
  3. The camera must be hand-held.
  4. The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable.
  5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  6. The film must not contain superficial action.
  7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden.
  8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
  9. The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
  10. The director must not be credited.

(source: Wikipedia)

After reading the rules it kind of looks like it is stifling the creativity of a film maker. But here’s what the founder of the Dogme 95 movement which includes Thomas Vinterberg had to say.

These were rules to create filmmaking based on the traditional values of story, acting, and theme, and excluding the use of elaborate special effects or technology. It was an attempt to take back power for the director as artist, as opposed to the studio.

And why would the audience want to watch such a movie? Because they claim it doesn’t alienate or distract them from the movie experience unlike what overproduction does. Seems logical right? But then why did the movement end?

I would say it had no beginning and no end, in fact the concept didn’t even exist. Take for example this movie which is supposed to have followed all the rules of Dogme 95 did have an exception. The film maker confessed to have used a prop. And such ideas were already present in some forms before this movement and is still present in the indie films of today. A movie filmed today with a camcorder following all these rules would look completely different from the ones taken during its initial phase. The reason is technological advancement in film making. In fact a indie movie today can surpass a high budget film of the 90s in many aspects. But this concept is here to stay.

A Separation – 2011

A movie coming out of extreme censorship and appealing to people all around the world is no mean feat. That is why movies from countries like the erstwhile soviet union and Iran to name a few have a very unique character. “A separation” is one such gem.

As the movie progresses you feel more like a bystander observing the scene of action rather than an audience for a movie. This feeling is emphasized by the fact that most of the scenes in the movie has doors or windows or walls partially covering the frame, like the one above. It is like you the viewer is sitting in the adjacent room.

There’s a moment where Termeh gets into her grandfather’s room and kisses him goodbye. But all you see in each frames of this scene is a blurred out door and Termeh enters in bends down and gets out. It will be a completely different response to same scene where the characters and actions are clearly defined in full frame.

The film gives a comprehensive view of the Iranian middle class family, and you realize quite instantly that it is not different from the complexities of middle class families from other parts of the world.

Kidnapping, Caucasian Style – 1966

I’m a big fan of Russian pop music. But movies.. Well to begin with I had no idea where to begin with. Even this movie, I accidentally stumbled upon because of the popular song где-то на белом свете.

I’m glad I started here. There are already 10 Wikipedia pages that are open related to this movie :).

In short it’s a classic rom-com. A simple plot, healthy humor, great cinematography. But there was just one thing that wasn’t simple, it’s release. See back in 1966 at the height of soviet era, all movies released there had to go through a tough scrutiny. And this movie had to be approved by none other than the great Leonid Brezhnev. And what happened? He watched, he laughed and he approved, in spite of the plethora of political innuendos. I mean who wouldn’t love this movie.

I especially love how the lights are used to lit up each characters face. To aid this most of the movie was shot in the bright and cheerful Crimea. The visual just brings in the joie de vivre right at the beginning without even knowing the plot. It’s unique in a way I can compare it to the Eastman color films of the 1960s that were quite famous in South India (case in point – Kaathalika Neeramillai – 1964).

One character that drew my attention in particular is that of Yuri Nikulin. He’s one among the trio of kidnappers. I’ve read about him before, that he was a famous Russian clown and actor. But I’ve never seen his performance. No wonder why he’s so famous. Can’t wait to watch the fun that is Трус, Балбе́с и Быва́лыйрус in other movies.

Zu Besuch – 2015

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Throughout the 12 min of the film, I was waiting anxiously for the moment of tragedy, the moment of Peripeteia. That she gets killed and dumped in his basement. That’s the kind of eeriness the film starts with. The darkness is subtle but very palpable. But it turns out to be a simple film and leaves the ending to your own interpretation. That’s good, because a shortfilm’s success remains in its ability to leave a viewer with the weight worth of a feature film.