Tuesday, September 10, 2013


There’s always something authentic concealed in every forgery. 

An art expert, his secluded private corner of collection, an enigmatic young woman, her antique inheritance, a mechanical automaton, a strange relationship & tragedy. This interesting latest offering by Tornatore is surely has engaging build up of art, romance & mystery. Though there’s nothing new or extraordinary about plot and though it become emotionally manipulative towards the end (like most of Tornatore), it didn’t fail to serve the beauty, art & tragedy of life in general. The film absolutely deserves better ending  and by ‘better’ I don’t mean happy one but something striking or beautiful that give us lingering after taste and it’s something that Tornatore is capable of. 

Taking the whole film on his shoulder, Geoffery Rush gave another brilliant performance in his shining active career. He plays here an expert man of art living with the rare and most beautiful Master portraits of women still devoid a company of single woman in his life. The man, who perfectly knows forgery in art, fails to recognize one in personal case. The plot becomes predictable & cliché even though coiled under element of mystery but at the same time it shows talent of an actor who pulled it so brilliantly till that very last frame and still made you insatiable. Ennio Morricone is still active and he can still gave the cinema an evocative score. Recommended watch, if not for Tornatore than surely for Geoffery Rush. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

THE OGRE (1996) (German)

‘I want to protect children from grown-ups.’ 

Though not among his best, this is surely another powerful and critical war statement by Volker Schlondorff. Like ‘The Tin Drum’, this is personal journey, not of a boy but a French man named Abel nicknamed in public as ‘The Ogre’.  Born at the turn of twentieth century, his fate keeps playing dirty tricks with his life from its very birth. He’s thrown away child imparting education in school until he made an unpleasant wish and the burnt school take the toil of his best friend. Escaped from school and growing as young man occupied with cars and camera, he faced another unwanted peril. The punishment transported him to war zone of Second World War. The arduous journey of the man keeps shifting from POW to great hunter company of whimsical German field officer, military school and finally a tragic self realization. The film is both personal journey of titled protagonist seeking redemption and critical historical statement of innocence robbed. 

The film starts making impact and grew intense in the second half where Abel starts collecting young kids from countryside to enroll in military school to see how they’re brainwashed with false national pride adding glory to Fuehrer’s egoistic battle.  Children of play age were being trained and sent to the war front to fight the battle tank at such a tender age. The realization of ugly reality came too late. The climax is striking and shocking tragedy with redemptive grace. 

Wonderfully shifted between usual chronological unfolding of plot and first person narrative and between B&W documentary like real & fictional footage and color filming, the film is surely one of well made Schlondorff film of his later career, if not his best.  Schlondorff dedicated the film to Louis Malle, trying to make another ‘The Tin Drum’ kind of powerful  war epic and succeed in it to certain extent. The screenplay here is penned by Jean Claude Carriere, the man who wrote  those brilliant & best films of Bunuel’s shining career. This is the second collaboration between Schlondorff and John Malkowich, after fine adaptation of Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of Salesman’ and this time with all his mature character act Malkowich nailed it hard to screen. This is surely his one of that extraordinary act of lifetime.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

YOUNG TORLESS (1966) (German)

‘Emotion is what rules everything - even Mathematics.’

One of the definite films of New German wave and an impressive debut feature film of Volker Schlondorff. The film is tale of a victimized juvenile boy of boarding school who just to protect his secret of stealing once became the subject for constant bullying and brutal torture by a group of fellow students. However the film emphasized the other boy named Torless, who, though knowing the truth, observing the cruelty and internally feeling disgust but failed to make an attempt to protect him. The film is subtle and meaningful portrayal of inner voice repressed by cowardice, inherent inhibition and escapism of its protagonist. The victimized boy only felt sadist torture physically, it’s the observer of the oppression felt hurt mentally. It touched and explored so brilliantly the inner struggle of body and soul, guilt and humiliation, courage and repression, rational and moral. And I just so admired the ending of the film, its fine example of linking the philosophical truth so introspectively in the story without being didactic or manipulative. And this is ‘401 Blows’, if you know what I mean!  

I think I'll get back to this film once i finished reading the original novel by Robert Musil. 


Edgar Allan Poe+ Vincent Price + Roger Corman. 

How can you avoid combination of terror like that where darkness, decay and doom dominates! When subjects of the kingdom suffering from Red Death (plague), the tyrannical & Satan worshipping Prince named Prospero and his degenerate sycophant courtiers are safeguarded in a luxurious castle. But how long they remain protected against the destiny of death. The film has quite a few flaws but Corman did brilliant job here much like a seasoned gothic champion. The highlight of the film is as expected- the absolutely awesome act of Vincent Price. The man is really anatomy of terror in his heydays!  Towards the end, the film resembles slightly with Bergman’s much celebrated  scene of ‘The Seventh Seal’ where the prince has face to face with the messenger of death, but that’s the only matching element.
Recommended for fans of old school horror.