20
Sep
09

Films

Three films I’ve seen in the last couple of days, one new and two old.

  • District 9 deserves the hype. A pretty impressive first major effort from director Neill Blomkamp, aided immeasurably by Peter Jackson’s production clout. There are some familiar allegories (aliens are people we fear as different from us, but we’re all the same inside) and a bit action-movie at the end. But it was a relentless tale, well told.
  • Nil By Mouth was also relentless: relentlessly bleak. Not so much a story as a series of snapshots of a London family that live in a grim whirlwind of drugs and violence. Gary Oldman’s directorial debut is a gripping film, for sure, if not feel-good.
  • Persona, Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film, could be the instigator of all those art-film stereotypes: half-lit faces, a frontal close-up with another perpendicular face behind, flashes of sexual and crucifixion imagery, and a descent into madness. Watch carefully, though, and you’ll see that it’s not a descent at all, but a skillfully filmed struggle. And that struggle may not be between as many people as you think.
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