La Haine: a Viewing begets more viewings.

Far from the tour de force treatments of similar subject matter often aspire to, La Haine is no less a poetic coup de maitre of filmmaking. Inspired by the mid 80s Paris demonstrations, footage of which is used to open the film, it required a little creative license of Kassovitz to fuel a meandering raison d’etre. Its ending allegedly borrowed from events occurring nearly a decade later after the protests in opening montage. Yet without making too much of disenfranchisement, relegating it instead to a motif rather than its core, la Haine allows other thematic hues to float in and out. It’s a ‘day in the life of’ affair, handled very much like Clerks and Do the Right Thing except the principal trio drift in and out of trouble as opposed to having drifters loiter around them. Unlike both aforementioned films, La Haine is not a prisoner of its locale—the trio spend a large portion of their day outside their element and the comical results are therefore amplified however much the film intends to stay serious. How serious? Police brutality, to keep things simple as possible. Continue reading

Ils (Them)

Olivia Bonamy Ils

Ils is the 2006 French horror film starring Olivia Bonamy & Michaël Cohen. Written and directed by David Moreau & Xavier Palud.

Given how “based on” films are often the telltale signifiers of the dearth of original material to glean a full feature from, Ils is far from the usual fare. One could argue Ils’ writers sought to possibly curb that notion by the relative fleetness of duration. An hour and thirteen minutes to be precise. That is an assumption, that the writers shifted their efforts from, for example, adherence to fact to making it work with less. That’s one thing. Secondly, and although it is essentially a home invasion horror, it keeps its cards very close to the chest for as long as possible, which for a lean run time comes with the risk of either front- or backloading its story. Opening with a tense eight-minute scene packing in stop-and-go, pull and tug action (action as in the antonym of speech), it flies fast. In one fell swoop a good chunk of time is knocked out and the film starts to pick up at the half-hour mark, more or less the halfway point of the film. That makes it a tale of two halves pacing wise; its front and back. It is a unique and subtle structure possibly indiscernible for viewers more used to the three-act flow. And it works. Effectively.

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Brotherhood of the Wolf

The two times I sat in parts of it, I don’t remember Brotherhood of the Wolf being the sloppy hodgepodge I finally saw in totality last night. Like, I’m mad I was so close to posting on Facebook I’ll be watching it. Technically I did see it then, but only finally in its entirety. It’s another movie I stumbled on (but held off on viewing for ten years, I guess) but unlike Irreversible, which also had Bellucci and Cassel and the daughter-fucking Butcher by Philippe Nahon, this was a severe and disappointing deviation from my early impressions. In Irreversible’s case, it was so notorious that I kind of went all voyeuristic rubberneck and prematurely viewed some clips. I had to. But I hold no regrets. I think I’m of the kind that thinks fuck spoilers because the only true ones apply to twist endings, and those are basically an immature plot device, a director’s cop out when he knows the jig is up. They cut both ways but more often than not the wielder will show a few scars too many. Here, films tend to be like a boxing match you know the outcome of but are more interested in how its destination has been arrived to. In film, it is more the cinematic journey, the round by round, blow by blow development that is impervious to some spoilers. But I don’t go around Wikipedia reading the plot section before deciding ‘oh, I’ve got to see this.’ Listen, man.. at what point is spoiler-free truly free? We’ve long learned how to handle the asshole that spills beans every scene — Scarface fans anywhere? — so is it when you abstain from even reading the synopsis? Or watching the trailer? How gullible can you be if your sole source of intrigue is trailers, nowadays? And I never understood going in blind, as if movies were some all you can eat buffet. Was that a subliminal jab at Netflixing? Movies are like fine dining — be that a delicacy or a reputed chef, you don’t go in completely unbiased. There is some deliberation. Okay, so two analogies is enough to show you I know what I’m talking about. On to the review. Continue reading