Sunday, September 25, 2011

Todo sobre violence and murder

Echoes in the Darkness: American telemovie about one of the longest murder investigations in crime history. Watched this hoping for some serious badflick potential, and it delivered (the first half in particular is a you-can't-look-away progression of bad dialogue and worse characterisation, and it's filmed so much on the cheap that, despite the action starting in 1979 and ending in 1986, the filmmakers couldn' apparently be bothered to put authentic Seventies clothing on the actors for the early bits); however, the fact that it was a true story made it oddly compelling and gripping, mainly for the lacunae. What was the murderer's real motive? Was there more than one murderer? As neither of those accused are talking, we'll never know, and so you can also get some intriguing speculation out of the viewing experience.

Todo Sobre Mio Madre: Complicated story about a woman, after the death of her son, going in search of his father and building a new multi-generational family unit in the process. The film is a celebration of the way in which we make communities through friendship ties which can be stronger than blood, and of gender diversity (as the new family includes a lesbian couple, a transsexual, a nun pregnant by another transsexual, and a HIV+ baby) but I think you have to be better versed than I do in the cinematic oevre of Bette Davis to actually appreciate it fully.

Faust: Classic of the Expressionist era, and with a brilliant performance by Emil Jannings as Mephisto, effortlessly segueing through the character's various personae-- mysterious, debonair, buffoonish, sinister-- without losing track of the evil underneath. Based more on the Goethe than the Marlowe version (albeit with some input from the Book of Job) this version comes across as a gender-inverted take on the story of Jesus, as Gretchen suffers and dies for the sins of Faust, but, in doing so, Faust himself is redeemed and sacrifices his life in her name. Worth seeing, but make sure you get the DVD version with the original German edit-- the overseas edit is decidedly inferior.

Movie count for 2011: 106