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I saw this film as part of the Iranian Film Festival in Sydney and discovered that this film was conceived as part of a workshop with the great director Abbas Kiarostami. This film shows the influence of Kiarostami but also has taken an original approach to film making.
Like many Iranian Films the film has a gentle pace, gives a prominent role to its setting and has at is core a riveting dramatic tale. The dialogue and characters are engrossing and unfold beautifully throughout the film.
The direction of the film is great. The use of sound in particular is superb and a real treat which is central to the film. I found myself enjoying the way the director has played with sound and created the sound world of the characters. I wont say anything more to ensure not giving away some of the suspense of the film.
The screenplay of the film is also superb. When a director uses countryside as the setting, often there is a tendency to romanticise the countryside, the rural setting, the people, etc etc (e.g. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia was a film seen recently which is a very romantic view of rural Turkey). This film avoids the romanticism and conveys a real sense of Iranian rural areas. It is stunning, but not without its realities of bad roads, bad drivers, isolation....
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and recommend it.
An intense coming of age film set during an immense period of modern European history. Finding original stories related to the European theatre of World War Two is difficult, however this film brings an engaging and refreshing lens to the period.
The film focuses on the events at the end of World War II including the death of Adolf Hitler, the tracking down of the perpetrators of the Holocaust, the aftermath of camp survivors, and the territorial carve up of Germany. A time of lawlessness, starvation and depredation.
Within this historical period the film focuses on 5 children brought up as Hitler's Youth, who are on a journey to their Aunt's. The journey brings both physical and psychological challenges along the way for the children. Lore as the eldest child takes on the responsibility of guide, provider and parent. The historical events create the incredible physical tension in the film of a fallen 'utopia' with all of its personal dangers, violence, and hardship.
Along the way they encounter Thomas, a recently released from a concentration camp. The ensuing relationship between Lore and Thomas, which is part survival, part attraction, part revulsion and part adolescent, creates the psychological tension that is at the centre of the film.
The film has echoes of the Films Downfall of the Third Reich and Zentropa in its subject material. All three films by necessity are deeply intense psychological films. The end of the world as most in Germany new it and the incredible psychological changes that the ushering of an entirely new political, social and cultural regime brings. In my world it is almost impossible to imagine, but the children that lived through this are still alive, still with us, the living memories of that period of incredible turmoil. Fertile ground for story telling and film telling about our world and our society.
This film is an achingly beautiful Australian story that I hope all Australians see.It tells the story of an Aboriginal community in all of its daily life and daily struggles. The film is a junction point in the life of Daniel. His family life is dominated by parents using alcohol and drugs, a family life that has been destroyed by the removal of children from their families. School is a daily struggle. He develops a friendship with the local drug dealers and the film is about the story that unfolds from there.
The film is important because it weaves a personal story of a community into the wider indigenous Australian story. The themes that this film is dealing with are immense yet at no time do they overwhelm the film. Themes of loss of language, cultural identity, substance abuse, education, the high suicide rate and incarceration of Aboriginal people in Australia are all deftly woven into the story without you even realising.
The director Ivan Sen is a marvel - to have extracted the performances that he has from the residents of Toomelah is simply extraordinary. In speaking about the film he revealed that Daniel was never present during any of the traumatic scenes. Furthermore he revealed how he spent time in Toomelah before writing the film and that almost all of the dialogue is taken from conversations he heard while he was there. Writing the film was about putting a structure to the film and weaving the dialogue into place.
While to many of us the community of Toomelah may be confronting, as Ivan Sen the director pointed out that this is very much in the perception of the viewer. Toomelah is also a place of great beauty. Ultimately it painted a real picture of the despair of these communities because of the lack of hope and opportunities. The film, for me, was all about what does the future hold for a young boy growing up on an Aboriginal community. In this sense the film is both bleak while offering a gleam of hope....
I highly recommend this film, get out and see it whenever you can.
Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (2010)
What can I say. I will never get this two hours of my life back? Something like that. I made a choice to stay awake during this film, but I should have opted for sleep.
It is hard to write about why you don't like a film, especially one from another culture that based on the evidence of this film is utterly foreign to my own way of thinking. This film is based works by a Buddhist monk whose understanding of the world is fascinatingly different to mine. This should have made a great premise for a film. However I found Uncle Boonmee's exploration of this other world throughly uninteresting.
I found the strange characters including ghosts of returned loved ones long dead and children who had runoff returning as human like apes with red eyes bizarre but little more. the movie is interspersed with short stories that appear on the surface to bear no relation to the main storyline. for me the biggest crime of the short stories is that they were boring.
Gonzo Life Coaching - Hesher Style
Question from the audience: "What was the budget for this film?" Spencer Susser speaking at the Sydney Film Festival "About the same as Avatar". Nice. A bit like the film. Ask a freaked up question and I will give you the answer you deserve.
Hesher is great. He has no back story (and you aren't enlightened any further during the film). Part of the joy of the film is wondering who Hesher is. He is completely anarchic in the staid suburbia of Los Angeles. Hesher is the non-conformist and utterly non-politically correct. Hesher is like a Gonzo style journalist. Gonzo life coaching, if you like.
The film is about loss and adolescence. A search of a boy for his mother, his father and a family world that he has lost. A search by the father for his 'huevos'. A boy dealing with school and the onset of puberty. Dealing with that transition to having your family as your whole world to one where friends are starting to take stage.
Check out the full review at http://filmflimflame.blogspot.com/2010/06/hesher.html