A great week for movies as far as I’m concerned. The Ninth Annual IMDb Horror-Board October Challenge started, while at the same time there was the 9th Zürich Film Festival, where I got to see two really good films. I also got to re-watch two of my very favorite horror films and write a couple of reviews. It was a busy week for film I must say, but I am happy I get to share it with my readers. I want to thank everyone for their great support and for reading my super-lenghty articles and leaving nice comments!
Shoah (1985) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.8) – Documentary, History, Criterion (France)
Shoah is an incredibly heartbreaking documentary. It is not only an important historical document, but a massive cinematic achievement. I can’t even begin to describe the horrors that went on in the nazi concentration camps during World War II. There are moments that will make you angry, moments that will make you cry, moments that will just completely make you unable to physically move. It’s just a staggering piece. I did however have some issues with the interviewer, I don’t know if it is his “French mentality” and mannerism or if he’s just annoying to me, but somehow I didn’t always like his approach and style. Aside from that the film is perfect, although way to heavy (emotionally) to re-watch and it is also over 9 hours long (it took me three weeks to get through it). I am happy that Criterion picked this one up. I hope people never forget these horrible things that happened. Watching this documentary gives you some great insight into the human mind and history. If you are able to put everything into perspective and not become a misanthrope I applaud you. It is however definitely disheartening and beyond sad. I can’t even bring myself to joke about nazis and that stuff after watching this film, it has just become a dead serious issue for me. I wish they showed this in schools!
Gravity (2013) – 7 (IMDb 7.9) – Sci-Fi, Drama (USA)
Blind Beast (1969) – 9 (IMDb 7.1) – Horror, Drama (Japan)
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) – 7.5 (IMDb 7.4) – Horror (Germany)
After becoming a huge Werner Herzog fanatic recently, I was ashamed to find out that I hadn’t seen one of his most famous works. Nosferatu: Phantom Der Nacht is basically Herzog’s retelling of the story of Dracula. Of course he does so in a way that is typically his and can’t be emulated by anyone else. Klaus Kinski plays the prince of darkness. Both he and Swiss actor Bruno Ganz are amazing in this film which feels more like a Werner Herzog film than a vampire film. From the music to the cinematography all of the Meister’s trademarks are present and shine through to make this a compelling watch of something you’re most likely already familiar with. I also loved Roland Topor as Renfield, who is just another example of Herzog’s love for cuckoo for cocoa puffs characters. Some of the sets felt a little bit off for my taste (maybe too small), but as I understand it he was going for a German expressionist tone and feel so I still appreciate it on that level. Isabelle Adjani is my last complaint, as she didn’t always seem very convincing in the role of Lucy. Overall a great tribute to the 1922 version (Herzog is a self-proclaimed F.W. Murnau fan) that manages to do its own thing and thus is rightfully considered one of the great horror films.
Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) – 8.5 (IMDb 6.9) – Comedy, Drama (Germany)
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) – 7.5 (IMDb 7) – Romance, Drama, Horror (USA)
As you can see there is a new tag called must watch. I don’t want to be telling you what to watch. That’s like the most annoying thing ever. Instead I’ll use this label to single out films that are so important it goes beyond simple entertainment and art, but addresses also social and political issues that make it an essential viewing for every human being that wants to grow and “know more”. Shoah fits that category perfectly, because you just can’t (or shouldn’t) ignore it. It’s like with your vegetables: If you want to be a healthy just eat them, no questions asked.
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