Category: Pre-2010 Films

Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960)

La Dolce Vita (1960)
Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) is a paparazzo journalist drifting through Rome, trying to catch the latest scoop and make a living with a job that doesn’t entirely satisfy him. As an aspiring, but rather uninspired writer, he finds himself thorn between what he would love to do, but can’t and what pays the rent. While his job can be exciting and thrilling, he gets to meet celebrities and visit all kinds of places, he just seems to be bored with all the shallow mundanity and the emptiness of the words he writes. On the surface he has no reason to feel this way: He has a steady job that pays well, his girlfriend seems to genuinely care for him, he has many friends and knows all the right people. However something is missing in his life. Nothing feels real. It’s all a big circus with and when the night is over and the sun rises over the Roman hills he is alone, misunderstood and lost.  Continue reading

Kim Ki-duk’s The Bow (2005)

the bow
A sixty year old fisherman (Jeon Seong-hwang) lives on a boat in the middle of the ocean with an almost seventeen year old girl (Han Yeo-reum). The old man has been raising her for ten years. She has never left the boat ever since he found her. The old man plans to marry her on her seventeenth birthday, which is only a couple months away. Everything seems to be going well for them. They make a living by renting out their boat to fishermen and telling their fortune in a rather risky ritual that involves a bow. As a matter of fact this bow turns out to be a very useful tool and not just to for fortune-telling, but also as a musical instrument and to deter pervy fishermen to touch the girl. One day it all changes. Harmony is broken. A young student (Soo Si-jeok) steps aboard and steals the lovely girl’s heart. Consumed by jealousy the old man tries to anticipate the wedding to avoid losing the girl. Destiny however has something else in store for them.  Continue reading

Masumura Yasuzō’s Blind Beast (1969)

Aki (Midori Mako) is a beautiful young model that is starting to get some recognition for her work, after working with a talented photographer. Michio (Funakoshi Eij) is a lonely, blind amateur sculptor, still living with his mother (Sengoku Noriko) in a wearhouse turned studio. When Michio hears about Aki’s alleged beauty he has to find out for himself. He goes to the exhibition where Aki’s body is displayed in gorgeous black and white pictures, but being blind he will have to settle for the clay replica of Aki’s sensuous forms. Since he realizes that he’ll never the able to work with her otherwise he decides to disguise himself as a masseur and kidnap the lovely lady. Aki of course doesn’t like being held captive and decides to figure out a way to escape from the sick man’s clutches.  Continue reading

Lukas Moodysson’s A Hole in My Heart (2004)

a hole in my heart
Eric (Björn Almroth) is a weird troubled kid living with his father Rickard (Thorsten Flinck) an amateur porn actor. Eric spends most of his days cooped up in his dark room listening to industrial rock, doing nothing. While Eric is trying to do anything to avoid his father and not hear him having sex in the living-room, Rickard is concerned that his son is drifting away from him, not respecting him. Geko (Goran Marjanovic), Rickard’s colleague, tries to reassure him. Things start to get out of hand when Tess (Sanna Bråding) an aspiring porn star visits their home to shoot a double penetration scene. The home, isolated from the rest of the world, becomes a microcosmos of its own and everyone seems to be loosing their mind.  Continue reading

Lars von Trier’s Dogville (2003)

Dogville Photo:  Framegrab
Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a beautiful young woman on the run. In her escape from the mob, she arrives in a rural small town somewhere in America. Dogville is a quiet place isolated from the rest of the world. Its residents are simple people who like to keep to themselves and see her arrival with some skepticism. Fortunately for Grace, Tom (Paul Bettany) a young philosopher is willing to help her. His generosity is not completely selfless: He is trying to prove his people a point. Tom wants to teach the town’s people that if they are able to accept a stranger they will only be better off for it. At first reluctant to engage with Grace, the people soon start benefiting from her presence. She offers her services to everyone in town and so after a two week trial period they decide that she can stay. On the fourth of July however, the police issues a fake warrant for her arrest. The people of Dogville know she is innocent, but nevertheless they begin to treat her like she owes them more. Grace is abused, she tries to escape, but fails and is abused once more until Tom has had enough and decides to call the mob. It all ends in an epic climax you’d have to see to believe.  Continue reading

Kim Ki-duk’s 3-Iron (2004)

3-Iron (2004)
Tae-suk (Jae Hee) is a lonely biker breaking and entering other people’s houses. He is not a thief: He just lives in their homes and when it’s time to move on, he does. That usually means the owners are back or the place just got old. So whenever that happens he just looks for a new apartment. One day however he decides to crash at a place where one of the inhabitants is still there, only he doesn’t notice her. Sun-hwa (Lee Seung-yeon) is an equally lonely, but lovely, housewife living in a luxurious house with an abusive husband (Kwon Hyuk-ho). Sun-hwa is intrigued when she notices that Tae-suk isn’t there to rob her. She decides to join him in his adventurous lifestyle. What could possibly go wrong? I don’t know, but according to some guy’s law “Anything that can go wrong usually goes wrong”.  Continue reading

Marcos Siega’s Pretty Persuasion (2005)

Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) is a privileged fifteen-year-old Beverly Hills high school girl obsessed with the desire of becoming an actress and very misanthropic tendencies. After being dumped by her boyfriend, her supposed best friend Brittany (Elizabeth Harnois) has no problems dating him. Masking her unhealthy jealousy Kimberly puts a brave face on things, almost deluding herself that she in fact does not care.
One morning Kimberly notices Randa (Adi Schnall) a new student coming to Roxbury all the way from some Arab country. Kimberly easily manipulates Randa into liking her, taking her under her wing, but of course it is all part of an obscure evil plan involving racism, accusations of sexual harassment and sleeping with a horny lesbian journalist. Will Kimberly’s genius plot work out for her in the end? Or will she just feel more empty and alone? It’s fair to speculate.  Continue reading

Lukas Moodysson’s Container (2006)

Container is “a silent movie with sound”, according to Swedish director Lukas Moodysson. The film does not have a traditional three-act structure or any recognizable narrative. The visuals are only loosely related the monologue read by American actress Jena Malone. It’s more of an experimental/avant-garde/art film intended to elicit a certain kind of feelings, or no feelings at all. Someone described it as an “open letter to God”. Knowing Moodysson’s strong Christian beliefs I would have to agree: The voice over repeatedly mentions themes and images pertaining to Christianity. Just like Moodysson’s other films it is also about celebrity and pop culture, consumerism and the horrors of civilization, namely the Second World War and Chernobyl’s catastrophic nuclear accident.  Continue reading

Lukas Moodysson’s Lilja 4-Ever (2002)

Lilja 4-Ever
Lilja (Oksana Akinshina) is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a depressing, rural small town in Estonia with her mother (Lyubov Agapova). One happy day her mother tells her that they’re moving to the US. Lilja is overjoyed. It finally looks like her dreams of leaving Paldiski are coming true, but then her mother leaves without her. Abandoned with her mean, greedy aunt, left with no money and living the shittiest apartment imaginable things aren’t looking to good for Lilja. As if it couldn’t get any worse her BFF spreads false rumors about her in school, so she turns to the only person that consistently had her back: a little kid named Volodya (Artyom Bogucharskiy). Lilja quits school, occasionally prostituting herself just to get by, not to starve and pay the bills. One night she meets a dark, not so tall, stranger that offers her a ride. Once again it finally looks like things are turning around for her, but they’re just about to get a lot worse.  Continue reading