Showing posts from January, 2017

Carmen (film)

Carmen is one of Carlos Saura’s flamenco trilogies alongside Bodas de Sangre (Bloody Wedding) and El Amor Brujo. Set in 1980s Spain, the film follows the development of the opera Carmen performed by a flamenco dance company in almost a documentary-like style.  The film spends considerable time showing the beautiful inter-mingling of the delicate and seductive opera , Carmen, accompanied by the fierce and soulful energy of the flamenco dance and songs. It contains numerous scenes of flamenco performances and provides a glimpse into the flamenco culture as a traditional Spanish art form. The stomping heels, castanets and hand movements are amazing to watch and gets you clapping in your seat (if you’re that way inclined). So if you’re not into rhythm and dances, this film might not be for you. I also loved the minimalist yet colourful costumes dancers wear in the film. As most of the film is set in rehearsals the dancers were not in full glitzy costumes, which can be a bit dist

A woman under the influence (film)

This film makes a disturbing and sad viewing but it's a bitter-sweet lesson about how we treat those that are eccentric or with mental health illness.  It's set amongst a working class family in 70s Los Angeles, the husband Nick Longhetti (Peter Faulk) works for the city water works and lives with his wife Mabel (Gena Rowlands) and their 3 children.  It's not easy looking after 3 small children as well as the neighbours' kids, but Mabel takes it all in full force. She has child-like energy and earnestness, and the film does not dwell on that diagnosis the medical profession would label her with. Instead, it portrays the blurred lines between eccentricity and mental illness and how society treats her in different ways to even the most odious "normals". Cassavete shows how people become awkard or don't know how to deal with someone that is not boring and polite. Some who are more tolerant just go with the flow and treat Mabel with respect and hav

Tokyo Trial (Netflix)

Tokyo Trial is a new Netflix miniseries created in collaboration with NHK. It follows the story of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) trying the war crimes of the Japanese military post WWII. The series focuses on the Tribunal membership, the political interests revolving around the tribunal and, legal arguments that have been advanced and considered. This show is tailor made for legal historians! The creators of the show carefully weaved the legal arguments and political influences as well as the internal battles within the tribunal. The show includes actual footage of the trial and what Japan was like at the time. The seamless movement between reality and fiction makes this show a fantastic watch as viewers get a glimpse into Japanese society at the time. This relatively short series (only 4 episodes) was deeply thought provoking and it took me a while to gather what I wanted to say in this short review . It reminded me of what Foucault talks about i

Bernie (film)

This seemingly unpretentious comedy by Richard Linklater that I picked without much thought on Netflix proved to be a masterpiece of satir e. The film wrestl es with the ideas of justice, crime and moral decency, which all plays out among some flamboyant characters in small-town America. Bernie is about Bernie Tiede, a single man in his mid 30’s living in Carthage, Texas who seems to be just about perfect at everything. Jack Black is absolutely amazing in this role and I think this is by far his best performance. It really shows off his acting, comedy as well as his powerful singing. We hear of Bernie's skills, relationships and how he was “pretty much the most popular guy in town”. The movie mixes between the fictional story of Bernie as well as mockumentary - style interviews with the local people of Carthage. But alas, where there is good, there is also evil. Bernie befriends a cranky old widow Mrs Nugent who has been left with enormous wealth following her oil bar