Wednesday 22 February 2012

À bout de souffle (Breathless) Review:

À bout de souffle (english name: Breathless) is the first feature film by Jean-Luc Godard and I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I had never before seen his first feature film Breathless, which seems to be so often remembered as one of the 'best' films of French New Wave cinema.

Breathless follows Michel Poiccard a character who at first is seemingly a sociopath and early in the film murders a policeman for very little reason. The film quickly cuts to Paris where we see Michel steeling money, cars and anything else he desires. His aim is ultimately to escape and go to Rome with an American named Patricia Franchini, a person whom he had meet only a few weeks earlier and throughout the film the love Michel and Patricia have for one another is highlited and put into question.

In spite of all of Michel's wreckless and at times ciolent behaviour Breathless reamains a story about love, youth and the felling of bieng infallible when in love. It is of course not as simple as that as Breathless not only features several strong performances but also features characters who all have there own unique desires and motivations which throughout the film blurs just how true the two leads love is (and is a questions the characters ask themselves throughout).

In spite of all this to me what is most intriguing is that contradictory to Michel's frequent sociopathic behaviour he genuinly seems to care and love Patricia which becomes more evident throughout the films proceddings. The point and purpose of which i'm sure could be debated endlessly, as is the case with many of themes and ideas present in the film.  But suffice to say there is more to the story then is in most films, especially those that are love stories.

Whilst Breathless is inescapably stylish and no doubt groundbreaking there are numerous jump cuts present (whereby the shoot cuts from one angle to another angle that is extremely similar). Whilst i'm sure many will detest the suggestion, but I personally felt that such cuts destracted from the scenes they where present in and have been left puzzled by the purpose of their inclusion.

Breathless is a film that many will view differently but ultimately is a film that I intend to revisist soon and left me breathless (pardon the pun).

Highly recommended.

-  Gabi

Monday 20 February 2012

Sleeping Beauty (2011) Review:

Sleeping Beauty is a film by Julia Leigh which follows Lucy, a student who struggles to afford her rent, has a strong relationship of sorts with a suicidal alcoholic and undertakes in prostitution. One may think at first that Lucy is struggling, however it becomes clear that Lucy thrives on her self destructive behaviour and her situation seems to be largely a result of her own doing.

Lucy answers an advertisement for work that ultimately sees her working as a 'sleeping beauty', whereby she is drugged and left in a room asleep which is then rented out to (older) men who can do as they please, except have sex. Oddly Lucy never shows interest in being involved for the money, rather her motives are entirely unclear and this is one of the many area whereby Sleeping Beauty in my eys stumbles. In spite of how strong Emily Browning's performance is as Lucy, there is a lack of any depth to the character as motivations are never explored and Lucy is devoid of any personality. Likewise the supposed theme 'present' regarding the desires of men is never explored, rather the film fells comfortable with simply pointing out that men have some questionable 'desires' and never takes it any further.

Sleeping Beauty however is meticulousness shoot and is generally gorgeous to look at, however the editing is often heavy handed and is with far to many unnecessary scenes that ultimately lead no where (much like the film) Sleeping Beauty ultimately fells directionless and without purpose. This is unfortunate as I can't help but fell that with a more focused narrative, more depth to the characters present and and actual exploration of the themes present and what that may mean (rather then a simply statement that men have questionable desires) and we could have had a truly unique and interesting film. Sadly as it is Sleeping Beauty is a film that is undeniably unique, but devoid of anything of interest or anything I could describe as entertaining.

My recommendation, stay far away.

- Gabi

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Hugo Review:

Many film lovers have had times when they have strayed from there love for film.  Reasons for which are varied but in many instances they are drawn back to film and there love for film is reignited.  That is what Hugo has done for me, it has reignited my love for film and reminded me why I love films both past and present.

Hugo is the story of a young boy who lives in the walls of a train station in Paris.  Hugo spends his days ensuring that the clocks continue to work at the station.  He however is haunted by overwhelming loneliness and as events unfold the extent of his search for an escape from his loneliness becomes more evident.  Similar such struggles are present in numerous characters.  Hugo is a film largely about the search for meaning, kinship, purpose and how people lives overlap and in-tangle themselves.  However unlike its advertising Hugo is in no way a fantasy film, rather it is more of a love letter of Scorsese's about films and the power they can hold.

Hugo is beautifully shoot and Howard Shore's score is enchanting.  Likewise performances are simply astounding from both the more veteran actors/actresses (Ben KingsleyEmily Mortimer) and the up and coming actors/actresses (Asa Buterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz).  The story is emotionally touching and the finale whilst predictable is not in any way diminished as a result.  Hugo is a film that works on many levels and unlike the majority of current 3D films, Hugo actually successfully uses the 3D not only to awe the viewer from a visual perspective, but also to help tell and enhance the story.

Hugo is a film that works on many levels and to me fells like a slightly different take on Cinema Paradiso.  Not only that but Hugo might just be Martin Scorsese's masterpiece.  Hence Hugo comes with my absolute highest recommendation.

-  Gabi

Tuesday 14 February 2012

And so it begins...

Having previously run a blog dedicated to films that I went on permanent hiatus for quite some time I had sadly abandoned writing about films for far to long.  However after much contemplation I have decided to restart and reopen under a new name and with a new purpose.  On my previous site I focused more on the technical side of films (in particular the quality of blu-ray transfers) and went on a hiatus that ultimately lead to me closing the site.  The reasons for which where varied but the most notable reason was that I felt that I had almost got lost in said technical 'jargon' and was missing out on discussing my true passion, the films themselves.  Hence in my new blog I hope to focus on my true passion.  I currently have no schedule in mind and at least for the time being shall be posting in an ad-hoc manner, though I do hope to have two postings every week.  In any case I hope all fellow film lovers enjoy what is to come.

- Gabi