Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

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Thief
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Thief » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:17 pm

Thanks for the recs!
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:17 am

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My initial response was that Haneke was exploring where the support for Nazism came from and how the treatment of many of the village kids helped to influence this movement. As the schoolteacher says, "They could clarify some things that happened in this country". After watching the film though, I looked up some interviews only to learn Haneke denied that this film says anything about Nazism/fascism, so I realized I had to amend my reading of the film. I then came to the conclusion that Haneke was more interesting in exploring the repressive social order of the village and its effect on its inhabitants. While I wouldn't say this is a great film, I'd definitely say it does a great job at painting a bleak portrait of the village, one which is a lot more nuanced and complex than one would expect from reading a summary of its themes.

In the village, the father figures hold the most power, controlling their kids and sometimes even going against their wives. The baron lies at the top of this social order. He has a paternalistic attitude which he displays throughout the film and occasionally lectures to the villagers. Though he isn't popular, most of the villagers are dependent on him. Since he's the employer of half the village, he has the power to fire and refuse to provide work to all the members of a particular family, shown by what happens to the farmer and his family. The next prominent character is the Pastor, who ranges from strict puritanism, seen by how he restrains his son to his bed after he finds out that he masturbates, to authoritarianism, shown with his physical punishments of his kids and even his wife, to a degree. The film's title comes from how he ties white ribbons to his kids to remind them of their innocence and purity, but this motif later symbolizes the oppressive constraints placed on the kids concerning how white ribbon is used to tie the pastor's son to a bed or how ribbon is placed over a kid's eyes after he's savagely beaten. In spite of this, the pastor shows middle ground given a couple tender scenes where he allows his youngest son to care for an injured bird or how he accepts his son's gift of a bird later in the film. Another prominent character is the farmer. While we get to see some of the control he has on his family, he primarily shows us what can happen to a family who gets on the baron's bad side and he reinforces the dependency the villagers have on him. The last prominent character is the doctor. Although you initially sympathize with him, he's later revealed to be emotionally abusive to his wife (and possibly towards his previous wife) and physically abusive to his daughter. Each of these father figures contribute to the film's themes in many different ways. Due to this, it's not easy to pick up on everything from a single viewing and it usually takes a few viewings to grasp everything which goes on.

These father figures effect the children in a variety of ways, presumably causing them to carry out the acts of violence. The connection between these incidents are that they're caused by the repressive social order of the village. For instance, the farmer's son destroys the baron's cabbage field as he believes he was responsible for the death of his mother, leading to the other struggles his family undergoes throughout the film. The steward's son pushes the baron's son into the water as he was jealous of him for having a working flute (he likely had it due to his family's high position in the village) while he had trouble whittling one out of wood. The steward's violent confrontation with his son afterwards was the effect of that. It's likely that the acts we don't see are also carried out by the children. For instance, were the pastor's kids responsible for attacking the baron's son given how their Dad punished them in a similar way? Were the pastor's kids responsible for the rest of the incidents in the village concerning the conversation the schoolteacher has with the pastor at the end? The way the final act handles all these mysteries might disappoint some people, but I found the payoff to be quite unsettling. The schoolteacher's final narration stuck with me for a while after the film ended.

With all that being said, I'm not sure why Haneke chose to make the schoolteacher the protagonist. Where does he fit into all of this? Considering how fleshed out and interesting many of the other characters in the film are and how much they add to the themes, the schoolteacher feels one-dimensional by comparison. His relationship with Eva, for instance, holds such little relevance towards the film's themes, save for an admittedly interesting visit to her family where we see that the repressive social order of the village occurs elsewhere. For the most part though, I thought he was kind of boring. I wasn't quite as bothered with his character the second time around, but he still acts as a detriment to the film and locks it firmly in the really good tier.

In conclusion, I'd say this is an example of a film held back from greatness from one major issue which could've easily been fixed. In spite of that, the rest of it is truly excellent. I imagine I'll get more out of the film if I were to watch it again since there's so much to unpack from it in terms of all the character dynamics (I know I didn't say much about the steward). If you haven't seen this one, I highly recommend it.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:06 pm

Anyways, the first round went pretty well. My rankings for them would go like this:

1) The House is Black - 10/10
2) Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors - 9/10
3) Minnie and Moskowitz - 9/10
4) The White Ribbon - 7/10
5) Greed - 7/10
6) Things to Come - 7/10
7) Forbidden Planet - 6/10

Here's the next set of films I plan to review in this thread:

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005, Puiu)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959, Resnais)
I Know Where I'm Going! (1945, Powell and Pressburger)
Invaders from Mars (1953, Menzies)
Taste of Cherry (1997, Kiarostami)
The Tenant (1976, Polanski)
The Wild Bunch (1969, Peckinpah)
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Ergill » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:34 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:17 am
My initial response was that Haneke was exploring where the support for Nazism came from and how the treatment of many of the village kids helped to influence this movement. As the schoolteacher says, "They could clarify some things that happened in this country". After watching the film though, I looked up some interviews only to learn Haneke denied that this film says anything about Nazism/fascism, so I realized I had to amend my reading of the film. I then came to the conclusion that Haneke was more interesting in exploring the repressive social order of the village and its effect on its inhabitants. While I wouldn't say this is a great film, I'd definitely say it does a great job at painting a bleak portrait of the village, one which is a lot more nuanced and complex than one would expect from reading a summary of its themes.
I haven't read all his interviews on the subject, but a quick search gave an opening quote where he says "It’s important to me that the film isn’t interpreted as being solely about German Fascism." I'd emphasize "solely". I take that to mean he doesn't want to fall into an historical-artistic uniqueness trap where everyone tries to just reduce it to a Nazi allegory. That doesn't mean it has nothing to say about Nazism or didn't have it mind, because I think it's clear that it did. It just wasn't after explaining Nazism full-stop and it had a much more general subject in mind.
Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:17 am
With all that being said, I'm not sure why Haneke chose to make the schoolteacher the protagonist. Where does he fit into all of this? Considering how fleshed out and interesting many of the other characters in the film are and how much they add to the themes, the schoolteacher feels one-dimensional by comparison. His relationship with Eva, for instance, holds such little relevance towards the film's themes, save for an admittedly interesting visit to her family where we see that the repressive social order of the village occurs elsewhere. For the most part though, I thought he was kind of boring. I wasn't quite as bothered with his character the second time around, but he still acts as a detriment to the film and locks it firmly in the really good tier.
I don't have some ready excuse for the guy and his sideplot on the whole, but he worked well enough for me as a partial filter in the film. He's basically a decent and unexceptional guy: Fritz Jedermann. He gives you the sense of the bystander unable to process the forces at play around him, and the fact that he may have unwittingly slipped into complicity just adds another layer.

Anyway, liked your review.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:39 pm

Ergill wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:34 pm
I haven't read all his interviews on the subject, but a quick search gave an opening quote where he says "It’s important to me that the film isn’t interpreted as being solely about German Fascism." I'd emphasize "solely". I take that to mean he doesn't want to fall into an historical-artistic uniqueness trap where everyone tries to just reduce it to a Nazi allegory. That doesn't mean it has nothing to say about Nazism or didn't have it mind, because I think it's clear that it did. It just wasn't after explaining Nazism full-stop and it had a much more general subject in mind.
Okay, fair enough. I didn't catch the part where he said that Nazism/fascism wasn't the only thing he wanted to discuss, but a rewatch of the interview I was referring to earlier confirms your reading. I think that, since the film ends when WW1 starts, this does seem to suggest that the actions of the children will escalate to shape German history in the future.
Ergill wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:34 pm
I don't have some ready excuse for the guy and his sideplot on the whole, but he worked well enough for me as a partial filter in the film. He's basically a decent and unexceptional guy: Fritz Jedermann. He gives you the sense of the bystander unable to process the forces at play around him, and the fact that he may have unwittingly slipped into complicity just adds another layer.

Anyway, liked your review.
I will agree that his conversation with the pastor and his kids provides some depth to him, and I did admire him for what you described. It's just that I'm typically involved in the actions of the other father figures (the baron, the pastor, the farmer, and the doctor) since they shape the kids the most in the village. Seeing his reactions to the affair and his inability to make sense of them serve to show things I'm not interesting in watching. Also, some of his interactions with Eva have a tender feel to them and I'm not sure that's something I want to see considering how bleak the rest of the film is. The pastor also displayed some tenderness, but that wasn't his defining characteristic throughout the majority of the film. Many of the schoolteachers' scenes don't mean much to me other than a couple scenes within the film and the final act. Thinking about him a bit more though, I will take back the word "boring" from my review.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Ergill » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:53 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:39 pm
Okay, fair enough. I didn't catch the part where he said that Nazism/fascism wasn't the only thing he wanted to discuss, but a rewatch of the interview I was referring to earlier confirms your reading. I think that, since the film ends when WW1 starts, this does seem to suggest that the actions of the children will escalate to shape German history in the future.
The kids are also in the generation that provided the front lines for National Socialism.
Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:39 pm
I will agree that his conversation with the pastor and his kids provides some depth to him, and I did admire him for what you described. It's just that I'm typically involved in the actions of the other father figures (the baron, the pastor, the farmer, and the doctor) since they shape the kids the most in the village. Seeing his reactions to the affair and his inability to make sense of them serve to show things I'm not interesting in watching. Also, some of his interactions with Eva have a tender feel to them and I'm not sure that's something I want to see considering how bleak the rest of the film is. The pastor also displayed some tenderness, but that wasn't his defining characteristic throughout the majority of the film. Many of the schoolteachers' scenes don't mean much to me other than a couple scenes within the film and the final act. Thinking about him a bit more though, I will take back the word "boring" from my review.
Hey, if he bored you, so be it. No need to take back the term. I kind of like the tender side he and Eva bring to the movie. A rare thing in Haneke and he does it well. Thematically, I don't really have great excuse for it on hand. I trust Haneke has his reasons.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Stu » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:35 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:06 pm
Here's the next set of films I plan to review in this thread:

The Wild Bunch (1969, Peckinpah)
Yay! First time watching?
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:48 am

Stu wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:35 am
Yay! First time watching?
Yep. It's also my first Peckinpah.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:45 am

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I was planning to check this film out a while ago, but for some reason, I never got around to it. While searching this forum, I noticed that very few people mentioned it, nor do I recall anyone mentioning it in the past. And these are the kinds of films I'm trying to cover in here, so that makes it perfect for this thread! Overall, I was really blown away by it. I initially thought the first act dragged a little, but after rewatching it, I warmed up to it and the film impacted me to the point that it's become one of my favorites of the decade.

Ever since I got into film, I consistently got more and more used to slow paced films as I went along. Now, I sometimes can't even tell if a film is slow as long as I find it to be interesting. After watching this film, I tried to think of other films that used their slow pacing in a better way, but currently, I'm having great difficulty with coming up with much that compares to this. A couple critics felt that this film was too long, but I wouldn't say it dragged at any point as I was thoroughly engaged throughout it. The majority of the film serves as a criticism of the Romanian medical system as it details the various flaws with the doctors, shown in numerous parts where the doctors wasted time performing tests/asking questions which didn't accomplish anything or where it would take a while for them to get to Lazarescu. This repetition comprised the bulk of the film. Instead of becoming less impressed by this point as it went on though, the overwhelming reaction I got from this repetition (intensity of feeling is largely what the film conveys) was that each wasted minute was tearing him down, slowly but at a steadily increasing rate. This is set against how the film continuously details his declining health, shown by how he slowly loses the ability to walk and speak and how he grows less and less conscious as the film goes on. As the night unfolds, it's clear that the problem slowly escalates. Watching the film, you feel a quiet rage towards the doctors he encounters throughout the film, one that hangs on you to the point that it slowly wears you down as you watch it, causing any forms of progress made on him to feel like a catharsis.

Beside these characters lie a couple others who bring a lighter side to the film. The most notable of which is Mioara Avram, the nurse who accompanies Lazarescu throughout the night. While she sometimes speaks up towards the doctors and expresses criticism towards their practices throughout the film and especially with the third hospital, she usually faces verbal abuse in response. As much as she has the right to be mad at the doctors though, she remains calm and passively accepts the behavior they treat her with. At one point, she says she's had her job for 16 years. With all of this, I got a portrait of a woman who, after many years of experiencing the issues with the medical practices in the country, eventually understood over time that there was nothing she could do to help the situation. While she has a few friends in the medical field (one of the women she meets apologizes that he couldn't be operated on in the second hospital), she's largely powerless in the face of them. Despite this though, she still at least attempts to make a difference. Again and again. Other memorable characters include Sandu Sterian, Lazarescu's neighbor who helps him out in the opening act. While I had issues with this act during my first viewing, I enjoyed it much more this time around. Although his neighbor isn't able to help him out that much, it's interesting that, even though he isn't a doctor, he still does more for him than most of the doctors he encounters throughout the night are able to do. It's a good way of showing how flawed many of the doctors depicted in the film are since many of them compare unfavorably to someone who doesn't even have a medical degree.

Overall, I'd say this is a great film given how Puiu did so much with such a simple premise. It hooked me right at the beginning and held on to me firmly throughout the whole film. This one gets a strong recommendation for sure.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 3:43 pm

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The first time I saw this film, I didn't give it nearly enough credit. I really loved the first 15 minutes, but largely tuned out for whatever reason quickly afterwards and wasn't able to get back into it. I chose to revisit it for this thread as I felt like I wasn't fair enough to it when I first watched it. Overall, I really loved it. It's full of a lot of great material, found in Resnais' fantastic direction and the complex romance between the two leads.

As with my first viewing, Resnais' direction impressed me quite a lot. Topped with one of the most beautiful opening shots I've ever seen, the film often cuts between the present and the past, showing images which occur during and after the war. In spite of the occasional violent imagery in some of these scenes (I had to look away from the screen at a couple points), there's a strong sense of lyricism to this imagery, whether you're referring to the opening shots of a rebuilt Hiroshima with people walking through a museum made to commemorate the bombing of the city which seeps with emotion, Riva's flashbacks of a former lover which transitions from tenderness to a biting sense of loneliness within a single frame, or Riva's atmospheric flashbacks to when she was locked up in a cellar. Due to all of these scenes, it's easy to get lost in these aesthetics and swept up by the film. And these are deeply impressive aesthetics to get lost in, concerning the heavy subject of the film.

I also really enjoyed the central romance between the two leads as it made for a compelling dynamic between the two of them. During an early scene, Riva says to Okada "You're destroying me. You're good for me." I think this summarizes their relationship pretty well as two lovers who want to be together but can't. As the film progresses, its handling of their identity gets increasingly cloudy. Throughout several scenes of her discussing her past lover who was killed during the war, she begins to confuse Okada as her lover, oftentimes referring to him as such in several scenes such as their memorable exchange in the Tea Room. With these segments, we get a sense that she's still held prisoner by her wartime memories and maintaining her relationship with Okada will only exacerbate this problem. It's a really powerful dynamic. This culminates in their actions during the final 20 minutes which were a pretty decent way to end the film, even though this is the only portion where I think the film drags. While I wouldn't recommend cutting this portion out of the film, maybe trimming a couple of their encounters out of it would make it flow much smoother.

The romance also works to establish metaphors for the post-war traumas which would've existed back then as, in addition to how Resnais occasionally undercuts their intimate moments (the opening shot, the time they spend together in bed), he also dehumanizes the two leads in a number of ways, which can be observed by how the two leads are referred to as "She" or "He" or with the famous final lines that raises a number of questions. Due to this, their romance feels rather abstract given the ambiguities which underlie it. While they both seem to represent the scars and traumas many people had during post-WW2 (European and Japanese trauma), could the two of them be symbolic of their countries or are their countries symbolic of them? That Riva confuses Okada as her lover can also be read as an attempt that many people would've made to cover their traumas by projecting an image over them in an attempt to overshadow them. These kinds of questions persist after the film ends given that it can be interpreted both ways.

In conclusion, this is a really spectacular film that represents cinema at its most daring and beautiful. Regardless of what direction the last 20 minutes go in, the film which comes prior is wholly evocative and complex, overwhelmingly so at times. While several clips of disturbing war-time footage found at the beginning will keep some people from watching it, if you're able to get past that, you're in for a great treat with this one.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 02, 2020 4:04 pm

Hiroshima Mon Amour was one of the very first movies I watched when I decided I was going to start going on a 'serious film' kick in my mid twenties. While I probably wasn't quite ready for a number of them, they all left an impression, except for this one. I remember the dreaded word 'boring' coming up in my younger mind. I've known for years I should revisit it, but I don't own it like many of the others, and it just hasn't called to me. I do like Resnais' Marienbad, but the fact that I'm mostly unfamiliar with the rest of his work is probably part of the reason.

I was similarly numbed when I watched my first Fassbinder (Love is Colder Than Death), but because I followed that up with so many other films by him that I responded really strongly too (Ali, Fox and Friends, Beware of a Holy Whore, Gods of the Plague) I eventually returned to that one, and liked it a fair bit. Maybe I should check out my copy of Resnais' Muriel to ignite a little more interest in going back to his first film.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 4:24 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:04 pm
Hiroshima Mon Amour was one of the very first movies I watched when I decided I was going to start going on a 'serious film' kick in my mid twenties. While I probably wasn't quite ready for a number of them, they all left an impression, except for this one. I remember the dreaded word 'boring' coming up in my younger mind. I've known for years I should revisit it, but I don't own it like many of the others, and it just hasn't called to me. I do like Resnais' Marienbad, but the fact that I'm mostly unfamiliar with the rest of his work is probably part of the reason.

I was similarly numbed when I watched my first Fassbinder (Love is Colder Than Death), but because I followed that up with so many other films by him that I responded really strongly too (Ali, Fox and Friends, Beware of a Holy Whore, Gods of the Plague) I eventually returned to that one, and liked it a fair bit. Maybe I should check out my copy of Resnais' Muriel to ignite a little more interest in going back to his first film.
Regarding Resnais, I've only seen Marienbad and Night and Fog. I think it's possible to get a lot out of this film without being familiar with his other films, but if you'd rather see some more of his work before watching this one, I can understand that. Night and Fog is a good film to watch before this one (as long as you're fine with all the disturbing imagery in it) as both these films deal with memory in one way or another, so if you enjoy that film, you might like this one as well.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 02, 2020 4:44 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:24 pm
Regarding Resnais, I've only seen Marienbad and Night and Fog. I think it's possible to get a lot out of this film without being familiar with his other films, but if you'd rather see some more of his work before watching this one, I can understand that. Night and Fog is a good film to watch before this one (as long as you're fine with all the disturbing imagery in it) as both these films deal with memory in one way or another, so if you enjoy that film, you might like this one as well.
I've seen Night and Fog. Forgot he did that.

I don't think I need to see anything else of his to get a handle on Hiroshima. Only that if I find a few more movies by him I like, it might make me want to rewatch HMA a little more than a currently do.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 4:50 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:44 pm
I've seen Night and Fog. Forgot he did that.

I don't think I need to see anything else of his to get a handle on Hiroshima. Only that if I find a few more movies by him I like, it might make me want to rewatch HMA a little more than a currently do.
Ok, that's understandable.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Macrology » Sat May 02, 2020 5:28 pm

It doesn't get better than Hiroshima Mon Amour. The opening images are sublime, the first twenty minutes ranks among the finest sustained sequences in cinema history, and I can't think of another film that conflates personal history and political history as seamlessly as this one. You could argue that the last fifteen minutes start to drag, but I'd say that's part of the design, a la Antonioni.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 5:52 pm

Macrology wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 5:28 pm
It doesn't get better than Hiroshima Mon Amour. The opening images are sublime, the first twenty minutes ranks among the finest sustained sequences in cinema history, and I can't think of another film that conflates personal history and political history as seamlessly as this one. You could argue that the last fifteen minutes start to drag, but I'd say that's part of the design, a la Antonioni.
The Antonioni point is a good connection. I'll have to see if I warm up to the final act once I watch it again.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 16, 2020 1:28 am

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It pains me to say that, until this film, I've had trouble with falling in love with the films of Powell and Pressburger. The first of their films I saw, Black Narcissus, didn't do much for me. After I added this film to my watchlist, I decided to give it a rewatch and while my initial criticism (that Sister Ruth's arc was too predictable) didn't bother me, I'm still not sure I liked it other than the gorgeous cinematography and the final act. Maybe another viewing will help to solidify my opinion on it. I then saw The Red Shoes, which I thought was pretty decent, although it wasn't till the 2nd half when Victoria's and Julian's romance began that I was fully into it. However, I did like this one quite a bit, so maybe I'll rewatch the other two as well.

After a fairly cheesy opening (which I kind of like as, since its feel contrasts with the Isle of Mull, I got a sense that Joan was steeping from one world to the next) with a mix of good and not-so-good visuals, the film definitely takes on a unique feel once we get to the island. As we spend time on it, we hear about all kinds of curses and bits of folklore of the area such as a castle which might curse the laird if he ever walks into it or a story concerning a King who attempted to anchor a boat in a massive whirlpool for 3 days in order to marry a princess. While these stories are interesting in and of themselves, what I enjoyed the most about these tales was how they aligned with the present dynamic between Joan and Torquil. While these tales definitely give this feeling during the later scenes in the film, there's a constant mystic air throughout the film. Maybe their relationship isn't really going anywhere because Torquil hasn't stepped foot into the castle? Maybe encountering the whirlpool will have an effect on their relationship? The overwhelming reaction I got throughout the film was that the state of their relationship was informed and impacted by their surroundings and the folklore of the area.

In addition to the folklore, the atmosphere also helps add to this hypnotic feel. The Isle of Mull is shown as a gorgeously atmospheric area with several impressive views of the ocean stretching out to the horizon, large waves crashing against the shore, fog occasionally filling certain scenes, and the constant sound of the wind which is either shown in the way of it violently shaking the tree branches on the island back and forth or how it's quietly heard in the background throughout most of the film, even indoors. I also liked the atmospheric shots of various people standing near the ocean who were covered in shadows, preventing you from seeing their faces. These visual and sensory pleasures further help to give it this unique feel. Other standout shots include Joan imagining her wedding while a transparent scene of it dissolves over her current state (the first shot of this really impressed me since it happens shortly before she arrives to the island, setting you up for the differing tone in the process) and the ship voyage near the end, which contains a handful of jaw-dropping visuals.

Overall, this is a really effective film. Behind the central dynamic between the two leads lies a moody, mystical atmosphere which envelopes the island throughout and gives it a unique feel, one which I can't recall seeing in any other romance film. Even though this is the only film I really like from Powell and Pressburger, I'll definitely keep watching their films. As of now though, it's my favorite of theirs.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 16, 2020 1:37 am

I found I liked Black Narciccus the second time around much more. I also initially didn't click with films by The Archers but have grown to like most of what I've seen. Colonel Blimp I think is just about the best way to get on their wavelength.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 16, 2020 1:39 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 1:37 am
I found I liked Black Narciccus the second time around much more. I also initially didn't click with films by The Archers but have grown to like most of what I've seen. Colonel Blimp I think is just about the best way to get on their wavelength.
I'll consider Colonel Blimp as the next film I see from them then. It might make my rewatches of BN and TRS easier.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu May 28, 2020 7:43 pm

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This was recommended to me by crumbsroom, making it this rounds science fiction film. Overall, I typically enjoy early science fiction film like this one, even when I have some issues here and there. I typically enjoy the look of them and the alien/monster designs which strangely impress me more than the cgi garbage which typically gets produced nowadays. This was another example of such as I enjoyed a great deal about it. There's plenty of solid material to love.
My favorite thing about this film was how so much of it was changed with the ending. Typically, I'm not a fan of the "It was all a dream" ending, but I actually thought this film utilized that twist really well. While thinking about this film, I noticed that certain parts of it felt exaggerated or fantastic (outside of the alien scenes of course) as if it was caught between reality and a dream. For instance, I found it odd how the military was so quick to believe that there was alien activity, that the military would let the kid and the two doctors remain on-site as they prepared to fight the aliens, how the kid and the female doctor were the only ones at the entire site to be sucked underground during the last act, or how the kid knew how to work an alien gun at a critical moment. I wasn't sure what to make of these scenes throughout my first viewing. Instead of taking issue with these moments though, the film resonated well for me upon reflection as I got a sense that it operated alongside the kid's perspective.
The mind control concept was handled really well as I thought the film did quite a lot with it, given how it was able to produce various reactions and feelings from me while watching. For instance, since the opening scene showed that David's parents were nice and got along with him pretty well, this made certain scenes in the opening act such as his parents yelling at or slapping him hard to watch. An uncomfortable atmosphere filled the early scenes. This dynamic of mind control also made certain encounters really suspenseful as it sometimes seemed as if David was at the mercy of them, something I mainly felt during the police station sequence. Finally, I tend to love horror films like this where, once the human characters are "changed", they still keep their human form (the first two Evil Dead films and Night of the Demons come to mind as examples) as this can sometimes make their clashes with the human characters (family, friends, et al) all the more effective.

I also enjoyed certain technical merits, specifically the cinematography and set design. David is occasionally shot using low angles which represent how small and insignificant he is in the presence of those around him. This applies for the adults he encounters such as how he looks up at the police in the police station or how the aliens from the final act are treated as giants in comparison to both him and the other adult characters. I also enjoyed the set design of the alien ship. While something like, say, Forbidden Planet, for example, put much more geometry and color into the set design, I thought the minimalist design in this film gave a rather barren look to the alien ship which I found appealing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. While I can't quite say it blew me away, I still enjoyed a great deal about it such as the childlike perspective, its handling of the mind control premise, and various technical merits, so it gets a strong recommendation from me.
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