January 15, 2012

Diva (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1981)

Some films are like old friends. "Diva," for me, is one of those. I first saw this film in the mid-1980s as a young teen. Before watching this film I would have told you there were two styles of music I didn't like...country and opera; after watching this it was just country (and then once I got a bit of Hank and Patsy in me, I had to admit there was some country I could stand as well). "Diva" is every teenage boys dream. To meet the woman in your dreams and give her that which she desires. To live a life of adventure and intrigue. Certainly not what you'd expect from the life of a moped delivery boy. Interesting to watch this film today when cassette, reel-to-reel, vinyl recordings are nearly obsolete. When everyone is carrying a hi-quality recording device in their pocket. But nonetheless, 20 years later this film still retains its charm. I watched it most recently with my 16-year-old son. He too enjoyed the film. It was fun to catch Dominique Pinon, who we'd just watched recently in Delicatessen, Micmacs and The Oxford Murders). I also love Richard Bohringer and Thuy An Luu as the savior and his angel who come to our main character Jules' (Frederic Andrei) aid. I used to dream about having a warehouse with a great stereo and a steel clawed tub.

Rating: 7/10

To think ask of this flm: What does this film tell us about our modern-day selves? How much have we changed in 20 years? What's your take on Cynthia Hawkins? What qualities does she represent in the film? What about Jules (Andrei)? Alba (Luu)? Gorodish (Bohringer)? How might this film look if remade today?

January 7, 2012

Flammen & Citronen/Flame & Citron (Ole Christian Madsen, 2008)

This film focuses on two members of the Holger Danske resistance during World War II. Thure Lindhart, as "Flame," is always on edge and quick to the trigger; his decision-making faculties are eventually impacted by his choices of lovers and friends. His closest friend, "Citron" (played by Mads Mikkelsen - Casino Royale, Valhalla Rising, Clash of the Titans), has issues of his own - a broken marriage, a penchant for drunkenness, but loyal to the core. Enter Copenhagen, 1944 as Nazi occupation weighs heavy on the Danish ideal. Citron & Flame are widely known for their Nazi killing sprees and seen as heros by the populus. They meet their match in Gestapo leader Hoffman (played by Christian Berkle - Valkyrie, Inglorious Basterds). The blend between their violent encounters and their reality moments makes the film tangible. Worth a view.

Rating: 7/10

Questions to ponder while you watch: Who are your friends? Who are your enemies? What is of value to you? Where do your loyalties lie? Toward your country? Toward your family? Toward your friends? How far are you willing to go to defend your loyalties and allegiances?