Link to this Post: http://www.moviewithme.com/blog/archives/1325
Lorna’s Silence (Belgium, 2008, 105 min. dir: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, cast: Arta Dobroshi (Lorna), Jeremie Renier (Claudy), Fabrizio Rongione (Fabio).
So many films about immigrants but so few that drill down to their vast emotional problem: loneliness. The physical hurdles are familiar, but the feeling of isolation is not. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne explored it in Rosetta (1999) and here it is again. Rosetta lived in a trailer camp with an alcoholic mother. Lorna lives with a drug addict she has married to get her Belgium residency papers(she is Albanian).
Like all the Dardenne films, the bleakness of Belgium is the shadow over events. This shitty little country, caught between the French culture of the Wallonia, and the Flemish culture of Flanders is held together with duct tape. Like most other products made in Belgium, it is not very good.
In this land of blight, Lorna tries to move up the social ladder. This means dumping her druggie husband so she can get paid off to marry a Russian. Once he’s got his papers, she is free to live out her dream with a another dubious immigrant who makes a living cleaning the insides of nuclear reactors.
The wonder of the Dardenne brothers is they can take characters like Lorna and Rosetta and make us care. Their genius is in casting. Where did Arta (Lorna) come from? Kosovo is the answer: she is an ethnic Albanian. But she started acting as an exchange student in the North Carolina. Then she was thrown back into the war in Kosovo. Her family fled to Albania (that’s like fleeing to Siberia).
Before seeing the film, read these two interviews with Arta. The one from the Huffington Post will give you breathless details. The one from BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network) is less gushing but more has more facts. Lorna’s Silence is all about Lorna, so you ought to know all about Arta.
Link to this Post: http://www.moviewithme.com/blog/archives/1217
Title: Kiss Me, Stupid
Director: Billy Wilder
Writers: Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond, based on the play “L’Ora della Fantasia” by Anna Bonacci
Stars: Kim Novak, Dean Martin, Ray Walston, Felicia Farr, Cliff Osmond
The Story: When the famous singer “Dino” passes through the tiny town of Climax, Nevada, two would-be songwriters decide to keep him there long enough to hear their work. At first, Walston is afraid that Dino will want to steal his wife, but they decide to hire the town hooker to pose as his wife, so that Dino can have his way with her. If you think it can’t get any more dirty-minded than that, you’d be very wrong.
Why It’s Great: Can we talk about how daring Dean Martin is here? To play any character this callous and depraved is brave, but to do it as himself– using his real nickname, doing his own act, name-checking his real friends, then demanding another character’s wife in tribute as if he were the bad guy in Braveheart?? This was one ego-less actor! He twists his persona into something so casually monstrous that it’s terrifying. You can’t get your jaw off the floor as you watch it. But this is Novak’s movie. She’s funny, sexy as heartbreaking, giving the movie a surprising amount of heart and soul. Her performance couldn’t be more different than her equally great work in Vertigo, even though the roles are bizarrely similar: In both movies, a man hires her to impersonate his wife and then seduce another man!
Two more reasons at Cockeyed Caravan…
Link to this Post: http://www.moviewithme.com/blog/archives/1304
Low Heights (Iran 2002, 115 min, dir: Ebrahim Hatamikia, cast: Hamid Farokhnezhad, Leila Hatami, Gohar Kheirandish)
Iranians hijack a plane to fly to freedom and the woman in the chador is hiding a gun? This sounds like a parody of Airplane, but is a serious action movie that makes points over and over despite its low budget feel. Ghasem has a plan to flee Iran with his little son and pregnant wife.
He’s convinced all his relatives that jobs await at the Total Oil Company if they come too.Packing the plane with your own relatives seems an original way to stage a hijacking. Too bad Iranian sky marshals are on board.
It’s easy to dismiss Low Heights at first. It’s talky like many Iranian movies (watch how much they talk in Farsi to say one line in the subtitles). The airport set is tacky, the plane interior looks like a cheap soundstage. If the plane never seems to really take off, the character do.
Remember this was made around the time of 9/11. Nobody was rebelling in Iran yet, and the country was still recovering from a long, devastating war with Iraq. Director Ebrahim Hatamikia made many documentaries about that war. Perhaps he understood that the Ayatollahs were not going to make life any better. Escape to the west, especially to America, was on everyone’s mind.
His characters seem very contemporary in their desperation to escape the strictures of the state. Even the sky marshals play the role of the tough guys we now call the Basji. But there are a few humorous character distractions that always appear in airplane in danger movies going back to The High and the Mighty.
How can you not sympathize with the guy whose got the gun until his mother comes down the aisle ordering him to give it up or shoot her? “Hijack, Iranian Style” might have been a better title than Low Heights. Titles like this are usual bestowed by sales agents at Cannes whose command of English is about on par with the actor who plays the pilot commanding this aircraft.