Tag Archives: black and white

The Missing Sun (2017)

Director: Brennan Vance.
Starring. Gera Pobuda, Sally Wingert, Peter McLarnan, Lawrence Sutin. USA. 1h 19m.

The journey is sometimes more interesting than the destination, and in this curious black and white drama, the journey is both beautiful and at times deeply bizarre. Looking back on the movie a dark and scary experience is definitely portrayed as something pure and wonderful, much like how Death can be seen as a goodbye or indeed as a celebration of life.

Alma wakes up one fateful morning to find her husband comatosed in the sunroom, a beer bottle and glass by his bed, but he’s not responding to her calls, all the electrical items have shorted, and she assumes they have been hit by another solar flare. Continue reading The Missing Sun (2017)

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Metropolis (1927)

Director:Fritz Lang
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein Rogge, Fritz Rasp, THeodor Loos, Brigitte Helm. Germany. 2h 28m

Despite the age and the various cuts of this groundbreaking movie it’s still a powerful and disturbing film, it’s one of those titles that a lot of people are aware of but haven’t really watched and I have to admit that I’ve only seen it 3 times and each time it’s been a different cut but the darkness of the story remains constant, Regardless of HG Wells comments about the plot being “silly” it’s hard not to see how it’s a forerunner for those stark dystopian projects such as 1984 (1949), High Rise (1975-2015) and dare I even say Terminator (1984).

Opening with lavish scenes of an efficient and idealist future cityscape, the Metropolis is busy and filled with beautiful people, one of these stunning hipsters is Freder (Frohlich) his father Joh Fredersen,   is a rich and powerful man who basically owns the city and runs the world above and below from his penthouse office. While Freder is playing with his friends in a pleasure garden, their playtime is interrupted when Maria (Helm) intrudes with a group of children who exist in the underground, who have come to see how the other half live, Freder is bewitched by Maria’s beauty and follows her into the depths of the city, and into a world which he’d been kept apart from all of his privileged life by this rich father who just happened to own the city.. Continue reading Metropolis (1927)

Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988)

Director: Guy Maddin
Starring: Kyle McCulloch, Michael Gotti, Angela Heck . Canada . 1h 12m

With a lot of surreal movies, I don’t assume to fully understand them, but I do find their unpredictability evocative. While this film is visually different there’s a lot to puzzle over with the linear but a bashitcrazy story.

Seemly inspired by the Directors childhood memories heightened by a DMT trip, there’s a lose connection. Madden does have Icelandic heritage and a lot of vocal history does get tainted over the years but for part it’s a realistic situation at first..

While their mother lays dying in a hospital bed, a pair of siblings are being confronted in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital by their grandmother. She tells the children a long and convoluted story about the Gimli of old, a tale about Einar the Lonely and his best friend Gunnar and the angelic Jofridur.

Einar (McCulloch) has contracted smallpox and is resting in the old Gimli Hospital when he makes friends with Gunnar (Gotti), the pair really appreciate the company in their time of sickness and the bond grows between them, but only for  a short time.

While divulging personal information with each other their tales start to get weirder and the men’s testosterone really gets them going once a sexy nurse catches their eye and they really start to outdo each other to gain her adoration.

Independent movies with a surreal flaire are fairly popular but none of them quite have the same creepy and yet riveting atmosphere as the Gimli Hospital. It’s dark and at times intensely creepy but at times it has a bit of razzmatazz slapstick.

Some scenes are filled with characters babaliese with a gentle overture and smooth poetic voice overs. Juxtaposed with the harsh black and white shadowy photography that flickers as if lit by candle, the film “feels” scary but nothing will jump out at you.. Apart from some of the most bizarre but engaging cinema you’ve ever seen.

It’s impossible to guess what’s coming next and there’s no sense in trying to look for themes, it’s erratic but yet at the same time you begin to expect the unexpected. The imagery is pretty powerful, from buttock bloody manly wrestling (not like that you fiend) and milk dripping from the ceiling of the hospital, there’s a deep motherly aspect that runs throughout the film but if you didn’t guess it’s in the strangest way.

Guy Maddin seems like a pretty laid back normal guy, and has a very fine tuned appreciation of film and the arts.It really shows in his works, the detailed attention and courageous scenes are out of bounds with what it usually attempted to be shown on film. Definitely not something easily forgotten and certainly something new, no matter what you’ve seen in the past.

Rating: 7/10

R: Eraserhead (1977), Archangel (1990), the Heart of the World (2000)

A: Where’s the fish a short and incomplete guide to surrealist cinema Vol. 1

 

The Bunny Game (2011)

Director: Adam Rehmeier
Starring: Rodleen Getsic, Jeff F Renfro, USA. 1h  16m

Bunny Game is one of those movies I kept seeing when asking for a list of Disturbing movies but not one that anyone really rated. Supposedly based on a true story experienced by the leading lady Rodleen Getsic, who co wrote the story, there’s a harrowing experience laid out that I feel deserves a lot of credit.
The broad stroke of the  movie details a terrible event for a young prostitute looking for her next date and a hot meal. Bunny, as she’s later known, opens the film with a blowjob, it’s an actual blowjob which is probably the reason why this film is so unliked, there’s some real sex involved, something you’d expect from a movie about a prostitute right? But obviously not something film goers actually want to see?

Bunny is doing ok, scoring some dates and drugs, she take a break, has a snack and gets back to work, later on in the day she does a bit too much oh the ole white and is robbed, coming around she realises her last date took all her cash and stash. Devastated she sobers up a little and heads out to start all over again. But her luck has run out and she end up climbing into a van with Hog. At first he appears to be a an old trucker who might be interested in a bit of old relish but soon he’s huffing gas, and chasing Bunny through the desert wearing his leather pig mask. Continue reading The Bunny Game (2011)

Eraserhead (1977)

Director: David Lynch
Starring: John Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Judith Anna Roberts. USA . 1h 49m

A cult classic surreal black and white masterpiece… to some.. But not for me! I’m not going to bullshit, I’ve never been really into Eraserhead, I adore black and white movies and I really love surreal art (something I paint myself) and films. I’ve never been heavily into Lynch and for me this film is creepy, unusual but nothing all that special. I feel that there are two types of surreal movies, the first is a movie which is all out surreal, no easy to follow story line and completely wacky, for argument sake Dali’s Un Chien Andalou (1929), and there are other films which have a pretty liner storyline but just go about it in random ways.. Much like this one. Continue reading Eraserhead (1977)

The Seventh Victim (1943)

Director : Mark Robson
Starring : Kim Hunter, Jean Brooks, Tim Conway, Hugh Beaumont, Erford Gage, Isabel Jewell. USA.  1h 11m

With all respect I have to say I found this movie via a Tumblr post about lesser known film noir goth chicks and I have to say I was intrigued to know the goth chick in question was a Satanist on the run from her cult. Continue reading The Seventh Victim (1943)

Sanjuro (1962)

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Book: Shūgorō Yamamoto novel Hibi Heian
Starring: Toshiro Mifune,Tatsuya Nakadai,Keiju Kobayashi,Yūzō Kayama. Japan. 1h 95m

After the raging success of  Yojimbo, Akira Kurosawa, adapted Hibi Heian,  to incorporate the lead character and developed Sanjuro. A sort of pseudo sequel,  while carrying on all of the comedy antics from Yojimbo, this film only has one classic full on Samurai scene and it’s very end,   but it’s generally entertaining throughout, if only a little off key from the original.

A group of young Samurai,  gather together the temple to discuss the Lord Chamberlain who they believe is corrupt,  one of them tells the superintendent and he agrees to intervene and meet the secretly at the Shrine to discuss the problem.  A Ronin (Mifune)  emerges from another room where he’s been resting,  overhearing the Summarise discussing their plan, he suggests that it’s the Chamberlain who is  corrupted, they feel insulted by his claims but soon find themselves surrounded by the superintendent men proving that in fact the Ronin was correct. He persuades the men to hide while he goes out at face the  superintendent Men full on, in this altercation he manages to save the young gullible Samurai, a manager’s to win rust on both sides. Continue reading Sanjuro (1962)

Repulsion (1965)

Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. UK. 1h 45m

In Polanski’s highly thrilling black and white drama that kick started his tenant trilogy (which consists of  two other classic films  The Tenant (1976)  starring Polanski himself,  and the Cult classic Rosemary’s Baby (1968) ,  and this dark thriller, a young beautician drops deep in a claustrophobic insanity possibly spurred on by a suppressed family trauma as her feline sexuality sparks great interest from many suitors.

Repulsion is strangely enjoyable, and is a deep internal  nightmare that transpires through any age, and is easily relatable to. Adapted by Gérard Brach it is fantastically brought to life by Polanski and on a meager budget of £65,000, this debut  English film the budding director lost his footing at first, but as the dialogue vanishes he turns up the atmospherics and the results are quite dark and bold.

A beautiful timid girl Carole (Deneuve) is left alone in an apartment shared by her sister and her sisters husband, they are off to Europe for their holiday, leaving her some outstanding rent money for an angry landlord they skip town. Instantly the first cracks start to show in the relationship with her boyfriend  and soon she starts making mistakes at work. Very slowly we see the layers of Carole’s psyche peel away leaving a vulnerable kitten and murderous vixen.

It’s quite easy to write off Carole in the early throes of the films, you hardly notice the little mouse in contrast of her sisters sultry boldness overwhelms her and she spends a lot of the time hiding behind her bleached blonde 60’s bouffant hair, but as her character changes, she starts to give up the goods and her performance is tremendous, her charisma teamed with the reclusive scenes of the apartment and shocking effects persuades the

viewer to miss the realities of what’s going on. Blending themes from Dementia 13 (1963) and Persona (1966).

The ingenuity of the effects are really beautiful not only do you literally see the cracks appearing in Carole life but her fears are coming out of the walls and dark shadows of her apartment. Polanski plays the art house card now and again, there are silent shots of rotten vegetables and dirty plates that co exist with the knife wielding madwoman episodes, but

these are short and frantic, but cause as many ripples as any Hitchcock Psycho scene and emphasis her meltdown and the effects it’s having on the real world.

It’s hauntingly stark at times but a real tour de force once it gains momentum, the horrific faces of the returning couple finding their apartment in disarray reflects the faces of any avid viewer. It’s very unusual for this style of horror/ thriller to have a knife welding psychotic serial killer but with several hints at previous sexual abuse and possible incest it’s no real shocker that this girl is this fucked up.. Her next step would be Haute Tension (2003)

Rating 8/10

R: Haute Tension (2003) , Dementia 13 (1963), Persona (1966), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Tenant (1976)

L: Black and White Thrillers, Femme Fatals
5s : Roman Polanski

Post Discussion.

 

Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alive Roberts. Germany / Austria. 1h 49m

This iconic film is deeply based on Frank Wedekind’s play “Lulu”, and despite it not being popular at the time of release, it now remains; nearly 90 years after its release; one of Europe’s silent cinema’s crowning achievements. A catastrophic portrait of sexual obsession, that the American actress Louise Brooks provided an outstanding performance as the prostitute Lulu, a femme fatale who unleashes uncontrollable desires in the people around her. Continue reading Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

New wave of silent films – an introduction

It pains me when people say they will not watch a Silent film, because there is no speaking at all, and they won’t give these movies a chance. There is so much beauty to behold . Do they not understand how much talent it takes to be able to convey emotions without a single word uttered…that is art, beauty, a kind of magic.

Still from “Vampyr” Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932

Its not a popular style of movie anymore but its very interesting to see that there are regular silent movies reaching through the market on a regular basis. We see black and white movies all the time but even if a film is in colour but has little in the way of dialogue it’s not as popular, it’s not classed as being as entertaining!? Why is that? I know a lot of people like to be force fed a story, if they have to interpret it for themselves then they think something is suspicious!? It’s alright to make up your OWN mind about a movie, the intentions the meanings etc.

It’s quite funny when there is a quiet moment in a movie, a moment that hangs on for a few more seconds than usual and people start looking around, not quite sure if the sound has gone wrong, they struggle to understand what’s really going on. I remember the beginnings of There Will Be Blood (2007) and No Country For Old Men (2007), confusing the crowds I watched it with. It’s impressive that the lack of sound can be as vital as what is heard.

Most silent movies have an impressive soundtrack, long are the days of the single piano player tinkering on to a damsel being tied to a railway track (although I’d like to note that there was such a movie shown at the Abertoir film festival in 2012). But lots of the emotions and dialogue are replaced by music, films like THX1138 (1971) and Last of the Mohicans (1992) have instrumental versions, which I think are quite inventive and should branch out to more movies, like Blade Runner (1982), the Piano (1993) or Flash Gordon (1980), after all the composers of these movies are also highly regarded for their musical abilities.

Here’s a list of a few movies regarded as being silent in the modern age. (as always no particular order)

  • Belleville rendezvous (2003)
  • The Artist (2011)
  • Essential Killing (2010)
  • Valhalla Rising (2009 )

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