Saturday, 28 November 2009

Kino4 film club

As a course we try and have film night every tuesday afternoon, dubbed KINO4 the films are normally chosen by course leader Mack Manning. The film club is intended to do a few things, raise money for our end of year degree show, get some airtime for lesser known films and also just to stop us from stressing out about the difference between paper samples and typefaces.

So far I have seen two films at the KIno4 film evening, 'Le Scaphindre et le Papillon' or 'The Diving Bell And The Butterfly' and scandinavian vampire film 'Let The Right One In'. I really enjoyed both films, 'The Diving Bell...' in particular. My Mother and older sisters had all read the book and seen the film so I was eager to see it for myself. 'Let The Right One In' had some great reviews, and I also bought my mate Matthew along so he could enjoy some alternative scandinavian cinema.

Below are my reviews of both films, written just after viewing them.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Le Scaphandre et le Papillon

I had heard of this film before I realised it was going to be shown on Kino4 film night after my mother and sister read the book of the same title.
The story is the true life story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of French Vogue learning to deal with life after suffering from a life changing stroke. The film manages to deal with some very difficult subject matter in a mixture of black comedy, incredibly well directed cinematography and use of narrative/internal monologue. It is an incredible film I would recommend to anyone.
Jean-Do’s stroke leaves him with locked in syndrome, he has full mental capacity, yet is rendered immobile in the ‘Diving Bell’ as he calls his paralysed body. Left with only ability to blink one eye Jean–Do communicates through a special alphabet, blinking when he reaches the letter he requires to complete his sentences. His rehab is aided by a voice therapist, physiotherapist and a selection of characters from his life before his stroke. Jean-Do’s children, their mother, his lover, father – himself dealing with illness- and friends all make appearances through the film. The relationships within Jean-Do’s family are in truth the real story on display, the stroke is merely an instrument to create the story I feel. Jean-Do clearly regrets the way in which he has acted to the mother of his children and indeed them, yet realises that in all probability he will never get the chance to become a better person to them. The overlaying of plotlines creates a heartbreaking film, yet the way it is directed, written and acted in manages to make it so that despite all the sadness it has aspects of an uplifting film.
Director Julian Schnabel does brilliantly to balance the many emotions and tangents that the story takes on, his background as an abstract painter serves him well with much of the film being delivered from the view of Jean-Do, creating a unique shot. The use of internal monologue layered with voices of friends and family really help to show the turmoil that Jean-Do goes through when trying to communicate. It also allows the use of some very dark humour, which is much needed in such an emotional film.
The film perfectly illustrates many traits that other films have failed miserably at, being too eager to overdo on the theatrics. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly really is an incredible story of strength of character, triumph over adversity, love and finally loss.
I have no criticisms of the film, I can think of no way in which to improve it, a truly great film I will definitely watch again.

Kino 4, Let The Right One In,
27th October 2009.

Let the right one is a very clever film. The initial subject the film deals with is vampirism. Yet the film also deals with the insecurities of growing up, small town mentalities and the stresses they put on the families who live in them, and also bullying. Both standing up to the bullies and being one.

There is brilliant cinematography and music throughout. The angles used often giving a voyeuristic trait to the film, making it seem that you are viewing from inside the set itself watching the goings on of the characters from within the film. This is particularly obvious during the initial scenes of Eli moving in, when Eli attacks Ginia and when Eli has attacked Oskars bullies at the swimming pool in the final scenes.

Having read several reviews of Let The Right One In I found it difficult to be surprised by the film, yet it was still very enjoyable. The subject matter is often displayed in films using overly shocking, verging on ridiculous special effects. Or used for romantic connotations. Let The Right One In fuses romance with the insecurities all children face growing up with the usual themes of vampire films. Eli’s condition is shown as a bad side effect to a virus, creating sympathy for her rather than showing her as the murderous character she is. Similarly Oskar is portrayed as a misunderstood loner who is unfairly treated by his bullies. However, when we are first introduced to him he is studying paper clippings of murders and weapons.

I found it difficult to warm to many of the characters due to the way that shortcomings are so obviously on show. Eli and Oskar develop their friendship along unusual lines, first Eli teaches him to stand up for his bullies, then Oskar learns to accept Eli for who she is. Finally Eli rescues Oskar from malicious bully Conny and his even more vindictive older brother. Eventually we see Oskar and Eli leaving together on the train. Fairly early on the film I thought that we would see Oskar taking on the role of Elis helper, making it harder again to sympathise with his character.

The unusual portrayal of love, friendship and trust is incredibly well told and once again I would gladly recommend it to anyone. I enjoyed the film as a whole but wish I had read less reviews so the plotline wasn’t revealed to me before I had properly watched the film.

No comments:

Post a Comment