“Compare and contrast” is a great framing tool for essay writing. I rarely saw it implemented in films though, which is exactly how “Bird People”–a 2014 French film directed by Pascale Ferran–is built up. The movie is framed with an amazing opening scene and a redemptive closing one. The two, taken together, help create the meaning for the film. In the first few minutes, we can observe people commuting and hearing their inner thoughts. What we are really exposed to is how everyone lives in their own bubble, despite sharing physical space with others. The long sequence of few second thoughts are mostly just banalities, but together they make up a story about us people, who are different yet with similar concerns.Continue reading
Humans are governed by rules and beliefs. How these can be enforced directly and indirectly, with or without violence, and how these intertwine is what I ended up paying attention to while I watched “Night of the Kings”, a French-speaking film from Côte d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast, directed by Philippe Lacôte. The opening scene captured not just the confusion and disorientation we all feel when entering a space where we don’t know the rules, but also the fear one can feel if that space is an infamous prison.Continue reading
How do you think it would have felt knowing in 1942 that the war would be over on May 8, 1945? Relieved that it would be over at one point? Tired that it would last three more long years? Curious, depending on which side you are on, who won the war? Or to put it another way, how would you feel if you would know something about world politics three years from, in 2024? Either way, I think knowing anything in the future with certainty would be a burden and an opportunity. To change or not to change the course of history for the better; or your personal life; or with who and how to share what you know: These questions could weigh you down and at the same time have the potential to free you up.Continue reading
The combined effect of spending the majority of the year at home and the family having a Netflix subscription resulted in me watching much more TV shows than previously. Below is an incomplete list of them.
I have seen every available episode of these shows from the very first to the very last
- Barbaren / Barbarians (Germany, 2020): 6 episodes and there will be a second season
- Better Call Saul (US, 2015-20): 5 seasons, 10 episode each, awaiting the final season, hopefully out in 2021; Season 5 on Amazon Prime
- Biohackers (Germany, 2020): 6 episodes and a second season is coming
- Dark (Germany, 2017-20: 26 episodes, with nice closure
- Hollywood (USA, 2020): 7 episodes and second season is unlikely
- La casa de papel / Money Heist (Spain, 2017-20): had “31” episodes (Netflix recut the first half of the series, not developed by then so 31 is an approximate number.) Final season is in the works.
- Space Force (USA, 2020): 10 episodes, second season coming up
- Unorthodox (Germany/USA, 2020): 4 episodes, no second season, no matter how many people want it
- What/If (USA, 2019): 10 episodes, second season is likely, but not yet confirmed.
- White Lines (UK/Spain, 2020): 10 episodes and then got cancelled.
Most people associate glamour with celebrities like movie stars, models and pop singers. The second association is that all these people make a lot of money. These images are reinforced by the (tabloid) media that regularly shares information about how many millions these kinds of people made. We hear far less often about bankers, brokers and other professions related to handling money and wealth. However they make (often not “earn” IMHO) much more than celebrities. (Before someone points out that there are lots of not too rich bankers I need to point out that it is even more so for actors and singers.)Continue reading
It’s the 12th time that I share the list of movies I watched in a given year. I am sure I forgot to note a quite a few movies, but even with these omissions the number is lower than most previous years’. One reason for this is that in 2020 I watched a lot more TV series that is not on the list.
- 2020: 87 movies, see below
- 2019: 104 movies
- 2018: 119 movies
- 2017: 127 movies
- 2016: 86 movies
- 2014: 105 movies
- 2013: 204 movies
- 2012: 210 movies
- 2011: 243 movies
- 2010: 142 movies
- 2009: 140 movies
- 2008: 153 movies
If you want to see amazing pictures and landscapes, I highly recommend the film Legions. Sometimes I was just sitting there in the cinema (yes there, the last day before the cinemas got closed down again due to the quarantine) and my jaw dropped, quite touched by the beauty on the screen. Jaroslaw Szoda, whose name I want remember, did a fantastic job as a cameraman and cinematographer. It is worth watching the film just for the sights of breathtaking Polish landscapes.Continue reading
Ha olyan képeket, tájakat akarsz látni amitől leesik az állad akkor nagyon ajánlom a lengyel Légiók című filmet. Néha csak ültem a moziban (igen ott, pont az utolsó nap a mozik karanténba zárása előtt) és jobbról balra ámultam, egészen meghatódva a gyönyörűségtől. Jaroslaw Szoda, akinek direkt kikerestem a nevét, fantasztikus munkát végzett mint operatőr. Már csak azért is érdemes megnézni a filmet, hogy lélegzetelállító lengyel tájak látványán tudjunk ámuldozni.Continue reading
Having a few good one liners and an easily identifiable and acceptable message doesn’t save Otherhood from being a predictable, mediocre film. Let me break this down.
I have laughed out about 5 times during the movie, which isn’t bad at all. However, the next morning, when I am writing this I don’t remember any single jokes, which is a sign that they were not that memorable. Here is the one-liner that everyone seems to love from the movie:
Mom: You didn’t call me on Mother’s Day.
Son: I texted you.
Mom: I birthed you.
You see this is cute, but nothing to text home about.
If you just read the short description of the movie you can already guess the message of the film: Moms should let their children grow up, make their own decisions and stop interfering with their children’s lives, although occasional nudging may be helpful. This is a common sense approach, that in the age of helicopter parenting (and then kids staying in the mama-hotel) sometimes gets lost. I am happy to see the idea of parents giving roots and WINGS to their children strengthened; something I identify as a parent with. Like this movie, similar to lots of other American movies, the message is so direct that the viewers have nothing to think about, nothing to “decipher”. I like movies that make me think and not just entertain. This movie did a sufficient job of the latter but didn’t even come close to satisfying the former function.
In my experience great, original art comes from artists — no matter the field they work in — who has a vision and execute them regardless of the potential audience. Sure, lots of bad art is born the same way. However it is a prerequisite for an outstanding one too. This movie feels the opposite of this concept: the authors wanted to give something to lots of target groups. Besides the adult mothers of adult sons it also tried to speak to African-Americans, Jews, LGBT people, urbanites, suburbanites… It gave a little something to identify with and create emotional attachment for all these and possible more types of people. In the process they lost focus and it shows. As a result, because there was no way to depict a deep or accurate picture of so many people they ended up using stereotypes of groups.
I don’t regret watching the movie, although it was more like listening, while I was going around the room doing my chores, because it was entertaining enough to run in the background.
Sidenote: when I checked whether the movie is available on Amazon — it isn’t, although I found its book version — I came across a 2015 book titled “Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness” by Melanie Notkin. It explains how some women who others consider “childfree by choice” are not really so by choice. The reviews are mixed, but it still seems more enlightening as it includes at least some social analysis on how society discriminates against this group.
IMDB: “A grounded, soulful, celebratory comedy about three mothers and their adult sons. The film explores the stage after motherhood, Otherhood, when you have to redefine your relationship with your children, friends, spouse, and most importantly, yourself.”
The banker could and should appeal to so many different kind of people:
- Those who believe in the rugged individualism myth – as this is a story of a person who had a goal and accomplished it through perseverance.
- Those who enjoy the aesthetic of the 1950’s material culture – as it has beautiful cars, stylish clothes, magnificent buildings and interiors, objects of many kind stunningly shot.
- Those who are poor – as it can give them hope that it is possible to rise above if you are hardworking and talented.
- Those who are against racism – as it shows the triumph of an African-American man against systemic racism, although he doesn’t always prevail.
- Those who enjoy learning about history – as this movie very much is based on a true story even if it took editorial liberties.
- Feminists – as it shows strong female characters, although it doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test.