Leon's Movie Reviews.
This is a list of movies that I have enjoyed. These reviews reflect my taste. I’m sure that many of the movies that I’ve seen but left out of this list are good and people with other tastes enjoy them. Here you will only find reviews of movies that I have enjoyed.
My criteria for good movies: 1. A good story. It must ring true even if it is fiction. 2. Scenery can be beautiful or ugly but it must add the right atmosphere to the story. Scenery which is incongruous with the plot or the message of the movie is intolerable. 3. Acting must be convincing and leave us in no doubt as to the kind of character being portrayed.
My best movies are ones that play out like documentaries.
The latest movie that I've enjoyed
Shallow Hal Director: Farley brothers.
Misleadingly titled, this moview is amusing and entertaining but very serious and very deep. You might consider that a conMarty. .Dir: Delbert Mann From the Third Ear at the Jerusalem Cinemateque. Seen. Dec 2015
Leading one’s own life
A man can’t make up his mind because he tries to please all the people who are important in his life, like his mother and his friends. Yet they don’t give him clear directions regarding important decisions in his life, like deciding whether to buy a business or to marry a girl that he likes. Each of these people advises him according what it good for them and not what is good for him. Both his friends and his mother like him and look to him for friendship and support. Their advice, not to buy the business and not to marry the girl he loves, is based on their need for him as a solid person who gives their lives support. I think that Ernest Borgnine shows himself as a brilliant actor in portraying Marty. Esther Minciotti gives a wonderful portrayal of a typical Italian mother and Augusta Ciolli gives a very convincing performance at the hysterical aunt.The movie succeeds in keeping us in suspense regarding the outcome of his inner struggle to come to the correct decision.
400 Blows. Dir: François Truffaut From the Third Ear at Jerusalem Cinemateque. Sat 9th Jan 2016
A faulty social and family environment.
This description of the life of a child in the bustling urban environment of Paris in the 1950’s is amazingly convincing and so absorbingly interesting and entertaining. It rings true as if we are looking at a documentary and not a fiction.
I later read that the movie is really biographical of the life of Francois Trufault, the director and that there are two other movies that go together with this one to create a complete biography.
I was mostly struck by the intelligence of the child that helps him in maintaining a positive self-image in the face of abundant negativism that surrounds him. His intelligence enables him to take actions that help him survive and see himself as a worthwhile, even successful person. Unfortunately these actions are criminal, such as his truancy and theft.
A less intelligent child wouldn’t have been able to take these actions and would sink into a feeling of non-acceptance and become a failure in life, although he wouldn’t have fallen into a life of crime.
The movie is excellent because it presents a balanced view of the way society treats a child. He is not all bad and society’s treatment of him is not all bad.
Although he is constantly faced with attacks on his personality; the teacher, insults him and makes the child appear dumb, useless and lazy. The mother’s makes constant demands on the child to do chores around the house, while also berating him for laziness and untruthfulness. Each time, however after an attack like this, we see him performing a commendable act and this helps us, the audience, to feel that we are dealing here with an unfair situation; society is presented with a good child and spoils him by unfair treatment.
The Flood. Dir: Guy Nattiv. From the Third Ear at the Jerusalem Cinemateque. Seen on Fri 8th Jan 2016
An autistic child in the family.
This is a very positive movie that shows how a family, which is completely disunited, can become united through facing problems together and helping each other to deal with their problems rather than leaving each one to solve problems alone.
Each member is struggling separately with problems, as if the problems don’t affect the family as a whole and as if only the person can solve them by himself. It’s a desperate struggle, where each family member is alone and we see each of them struggling and living virtually separate lives.
At the beginning of the movie we are lead to believe that there are only 3 members in the family. Suddenly the really big problem, a 4th member, an autistic child, which they thought they’d gotten rid of, drops on them, like a flood. Being autistic, he has a deluge of problems.
These problems disrupt the family life so badly that a united effort of all the family is required to deal with them and the problems of each individual member of the family are swept aside, as a flood that sweeps everything away.
Obviously they can’t solve his problems but the effort of dealing with them unites the family. Each member of the family helps the others in solving their problems. They even discover that the problematic autistic child has abilities which help the whole family.
The Marriage of Maria Braun. Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder From the Third Ear at Jerusalem Cinemateque. Seen Mon 25th Jan 2016
Excitement fills this movie from first to last. This is as it should be when one lives life to the full, while the entire time holding on to the feeling of love between a man and a woman. All the upsurges and downwards turns of life are overcome and each event is an opportunity for success, as long as two people love each other.
This movie shows us beautiful people in dramatic situations, which, like all dramatic situations come upon us unexpectedly. Ugliness is in the background and only serves to heighten the beauty.
Diamonds. Dir: John Asher From the Third Ear at the Jerusalem Cinemateque seen Mon 25th Jan 2016
I think that Kirk Douglas was one of my favorite actors because he always played characters that attained success by their own sheer willpower and positive nature. Here he portrays an old man who doesn’t allow negativism to interrupt his drive to overcome problems. In the process he and the brilliant actors with him, such as Dan Ackroyd and Lauren Bacall entertain us from start to finish.
The Night Porter. Dir: Liliana Cavani 1974 Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque. Tue 12th Jan 2016
This movie shows us that once a Nazi always a Nazi, but Nazis, like all humans make certain concessions to their lust for pleasure, especially the pleasure to be had from a woman, especially when she is at their mercy.
From the woman’s point of view her gratitude for the mercy the Nazi has shown her, knows no bounds and she is ready to place herself, once again at his mercy, but this time voluntarily, when she meets him after the war and she suffers the consequences.
These actually could have been good, that is she could have ended up having a happy marriage with the Nazi who had rescued her. But loyal Nazis still thrived even after the war and a pure blood German living with a Jewess was intolerable in their scheme of things. Their pursuit of the couple creates the tension that makes this movie an excellent thriller. This added to raising the question of how we are to relate to Nazis who had mercy on their subjects, makes this movie great.
Chronicle of a death foretold. Cronaca di una morte annunciata (original title) Dir:
Francesco Rosi Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque Tue 5th Jan 2016
Not having read the book I can’t say how close this movie sticks to the story by the great author, Gabriel Garcia Marques. The scenes in this movie are works of art, joined together and put in a sequence that gradually reveals a multitude of plots all woven into one. Long after seeing the movie, the scenes, of their own accord come back into my mind, like a tune that once heard is never forgotten, demanding to be considered the main plot.
A man, on the prow of a river boat looks at the approaching land. The scene, without words, only the thudding motor of the boat, feint sounds of voices coming from the land, the brilliant white of an elegant mansion, contrasting with the dark gold of the water and a glimpse of narrow alley ways opening on to a wide plaza, hints to us that dramatic events, now memories, are going to be revealed here.
Even now, more than a week since seeing the movie, I ask myself, what I can learn from this tragic story.
The town’s folk have just celebrated a fairy tale marriage of a young woman. Immediately her prince like husband reveals her lost virginity on her marriage bed and returns her to her mother as spoilt property.
The lesson I learnt from this movie is that a woman whose honor has been taken away has the right to name the price for its recovery. Her price is the life of the most popular young man in town, full of the joy of life and hope in the future. It doesn’t matter whether it really was he who had robbed her of her virginity. The fact is that a fallen woman is dangerous; she can name the price of her lost honor. She chooses him to be the sacrifice, because he is worthy.
He is killed just like a sacrifice, stabbed to death in the town’s main square, while all the people of the town, his friends look on.
I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion had I continued, like most viewers, I suppose, to dwell on the mystery of whether it was really he who had taken away her virginity. If it wasn’t him, then who was the true defiler? Why didn’t she give him up to be murdered? Was she protecting someone? Who was she protecting? Was it the doctor? Or was it someone in her immediate family? Maybe even her father or one of her brothers?
A Prophet. Dir: Jacques Audiard Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque Sun 3rd Jan 2016.
This is the first movie I saw of 2016. I certainly hope that it’s not prophetic.
I think that movies depicting people being locked up in prison hold us in rapt attention because most of us have conscious and sub-conscious fears of being locked up. I certainly identified with the prisoner in this movie because of my fear of being locked up and my fear of people in authority.
They’re all copies of an authority figure which my father represented to me. Every scene shows the prisoner interacting with authority figures and throws him into deeper complications with authority. His first struggle against authority is striking a blow at a policeman. For this he is convicted to spend the next 6 years in prison.
Here he encounter a worse authority figure than the policeman, who is a criminal authority figure, namely of the underworld who makes harsher demands on his obedience than the authority of the law.
His obedience to underworld authority ends when he’s ordered to murder a Moslem leader. This and the illness of his best friend, also a Mowlem bring him to a realization that there is, after all only one authority to whom he must show obedience and that is Allah.
In fact this movie shows the path followed by a prophet according to the Koran:
'We hear, and we obey. We seek Thy forgiveness, Our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.'" (2:285)
The message of the movie is obey and seeing that you must obey someone it might as well be Allah, otherwise you’ll find yourself having to obey murderous commands given to you by law enforcement personnel or by criminals.
The Lobster. Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque on Sunday 10th Jan 2016
This movie shows, in very grotesque and shocking images that humans are determined to be identical in every way possible to a member of the opposite sex, so that they can realize the urge to mate and procreate the species.
Re-education is necessary for people who don’t understand the importance of mating with someone who is identical to us and for people who think that one can masturbate instead of mating.
Re-education takes place in an institution like a holiday resort conducted under strictly controlled conditions. One of the many requirements, on entering the institution is choosing an animal that one wants to be changed into if all else fails. The movie drives this point home by presenting the hero arriving at the institution with a dog, a cocker spaniel, which is actually his brother who was changed into a dog because he apparently failed to find a matching mate.
The woman shooting the cow at the beginning of the movie is obviously demonstrating the characteristic of being a heartless person, because the mate she desires is heartless. Heartlessness is the characteristic she sets for herself and the man who wants to mate with her tries to demonstrate heartlessness also but fails when she shoots his brother, the cocker spaniel.
Eventually our hero adapts to a woman in very shocking act. One could also say that this movie points a finger of criticism at the romantic idea of chivalry, such as a man showing his love for a woman by laying down his life for her.
The Tenth Man Jack Gold (1988) From the third ear at the Jerusalem cinemateque Mon 21st Dec 2015
The situation of a person, being randomly chosen to be put to death, would be totally unimaginable in any decent society, but it is commonplace in German occupied France.
Being wealthy, the man’s reaction, somewhat shocking in its cold-bloodedness, is to offer all his wealth to another man to die in his place.
In addition to many beautiful moments of love and tragedy and scenary, the movie is also thought provoking, to us the audience but especially to the widow and her mother, who now live in the lap of luxury.
Cul de Sac Dir: Roman Polanski 1966 seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque on Tue 14th Dec 2016
The end of the road is the tragedy of the victor in man’s struggle for supremacy over a world of evil doers, who threaten to tumble him from the heights of his dominions, as in the children’s song “I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal”, is that he’s left alone; the beautiful damsel, who was to be the prize of victory, has disappeared, his castle is in ruins, his loyal followers, having been chased away by him, have left him. He is all alone at the top of a sand heap, which was once his castle, and he’s happy, not being aware even of his tragic situation.
Knife in the Water. "Nóz w wodzie" (original title) Dir: Roman Polanski 1962 Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque Mon 14th Dec. 2015
Most people live mundane, monotonous lives, consisting mostly of routine activities, so it’s not surprising to find that many people dream of exciting or romantic situations. When such a situation occurs, as in this film people may at first be hesitant to make the best of it, but as the situation develops it’s possibilities for a thrill become more apparent and people grab it with open arms. The consequences of having a thrill for a moment can be disastrous, but amazingly the expected disaster is avoided and a big sigh of relief goes up from the audience.
Mein Land dein Land. Hebrew title קו הפרדה Dir: Alexander Dierbach Seen at the Jerusalem cinemateque 12th Dec 2015
As long as the war lasted many Germans avidly supported National Socialism, belonging to the party and participating in its orgies of persecution, while others were simply patriotic Germans.
After the war, however, with the Americans and the Russians controlling Germany, it became a matter of life and death to demonstrate that one had not supported National Socialism and even abhorred the Nazi philosophy.
The German who came under control of the Soviet Union, found that even this was not enough to satisfy the new regime, which built a wall separating Germany into East and West, ostensibly to keep out the corrupting influences of the decadent, capitalistic West.
East Germany was to be the new utopian society of the Soviets, cleansed of any taint of capitalism, National Socialism and aristocratic heritage.
The Germans of East Germany were now obliged to demonstrate support for Communistic ideals, which previously, under National Socialistic Germany of Hitler they had to reject and even detest. Changing loyalties, in order to survive, lead to crises in the community and the family.
The conclusion is that the the Germans and all the world learned that patriotism is not fixed in concrete. One can, nay, must, change ones patriotic feelings according to what is expedient for survival. Regimes care little or nothing for the well-being of the individual, and, in any case are constantly changing. This means that people must take care of themselves or else suffer the vagaries of constantly changing, irresponsible regimes.
Ludwig. Dir: Luchino Visconti 1972 From the Third Ear at the Jerusalem Cinemateque Thu 10th Dec. 2015
Official histories of great personalities are readily available; they give us interesting information about them, like where and when they were born, how they attained greatness, their achievements etc. but our curiosity about what they really were like is hardly ever satisfied.
The result is that people will never tire of reading additional versions of their history.
In his version of the history of King Ludwig II of Bavaria Visconti shows us amazingly detailed descriptions of the colorful ceremonies, the magnificent furniture the entrancing music of the life of Ludwig II of Bavaria. He also shows us how, according to him, Ludwig played a part in making Bavaria a part of a united Germany and how he enhanced the standing of Bavaria as one of the main cultural centers of Europe by patronizing Wagner and building opera houses. Visconti shows how Ludwig made Bavaria a collecting place of architectural splendor, unsurpassed anywhere in any era.
Spending fortunes on Wagner, he enables him to compose his great music. Undoubtedly Ludwig’s spending is a little more extravagant than the money spent by other great national leaders in history, but not much more so. Many great leaders spent fortunes of money on building castles and palaces and giving munificent gifts to people they favored. But it seems that Ludwig outdid all others and his enemies in the government used this as an excuse to have him forcibly removed from the throne.
Nevertheless the people of Bavaria loved him and to this day millions of people visit the palaces he built, like the magnificent, fairy tale palace of Neuschwanstein and others and remember him with great fondness and sadness at his tragic fate.
Rocco and his brothers. Dir: Luchino Visconti 1960. From the 3rd Ear at the Jerusalem cinemateque. Sun 5th Dec. 2015
This wonderful movie focuses on the tragedy of farmers who are forced to migrate to the big city, because of circumstances, in a modern world, where the big cities offer the means of earning a living, no longer possible in agriculture.
The dream of returning to an earlier, ideal world, where one was honored and life was beautiful, even though it was hard and they were poor, motivates the desire to be noble, despite the dishonorable temptations of the the city. This leads to making absurd sacrifices to achieve the the goal of attaining honor and nobility.
The hero becomes like a knight in shining armor, he is a veritable Don Quixote; he sacrifices the object he loves most in all the world, the woman he loves, and who he rescued from dishonor, and so allowing his immoral brother to have her, causing her, in her disappointment, to return to her original immoral situation.
The Rest is Silence. Dir: Nae Caranfil. Seen at the Jerusalem Cinemateque Thu 3rd Dec. 2015
One of the reasons why National leaders, especially dictators, love cinema is because cinema has the ability to perpetuate historic events, like great battles, that inspired the people to pride in their nation and their leader at the time when they happened. A film showing a great battle, for example, can be shown again and again and each time the people will be inspired as they had been at the time of the actual battle. This is the power of the cinema.
The director in this movie succeeds in demonstrating this power to the king of Romania and the cinema industry is set on its way to success. This is why my association with the title of this movie is with the phrase “and the rest is history”.
But it seems that I’m wrong and that its actually taken from the last words of Prince Hamlet in Shakespeare's play Hamlet. This is suitable for several reasons, but mostly because the theatre sees cinema as its death knoll. In fact the movie ends when the most ardent supporter of cinema, realizing the disaster that cinema, that he has ardently supported is going to bring an end to theatre, sets fire to the store of films, kept in a storeroom of the theatre, and inadvertently burns down the theater and the heroine, an aspiring actress burns to death in the conflagration. She is the sacrifice for the success of cinema.
O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
I cannot live to hear the news from England;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
London River a movie Directed By Rachid Bouchareb 2012 Cinemateque Jerusalem 24th Nov 2015 19:00
My friend Shaul sent me a link to a humorous page where John Cleese talks about how different countries classify terrorist alerts. Unfortunately I've lost my sense of humor about these things, especially after seeing a movie last night "London River".
As if we didn't know, this movie demonstrates, or I should say that the events depicted in this movie (because they are true), show that the modern world is, more than ever, guided by religious aphorisms, which in my opinion screw up our sense of moral values.
The movie is directed by Rachid Bouchareb. His biography only tells us that he was born in Algeria, but, judging from message in the movie, I presume he's a Moslem.It begins, naturally, as would befit the message, with Matthew (5:44) "love thine enemy". It seems terrorists, even though they may be Moslems, like this Christian doctrine, because it ensures their acceptance in a Christian world.
It's about two people, coming together (that is very beautiful, like the lion lying down with the wolf) after their children were killed in a terrorist attack in London (that is very bad, like the apocalypse). The one is a Moslem, the father of the boy, a black moslem from somewhere in Africa, looking as if he had just jumped out of a tree, who lives in France and the other is an English lady from the isle of Guernsey. All the people who feature in the movie are Moslem, including the police, excepting the mother of the girl.
The actual terrorist attack is pushed into the background, but cannot be pushed out of our minds.
In my humble opinion. I think that my emotions are jerked into shock, disgust and anger by the juxtapositioning or a ghastly terror attack on the one hand and the pure, idealistic harmony of two human beings from different cultures coming together, on the other. Suggesting that there is good in the bad.
The movie is telling us that something good comes from something bad. As if it was the will of Allah that caused the terror attack and the will of Allah to bring two good people together. The movie suggests that the boy was the suicide bomber, but that information is pushed aside.
Conrack. Director: Martin Ritt. 1974 from Seen: Thu 3rd Nov 2015
Good teachers are rare breeds. Not only is it difficult to find people with the training and ability to be good teachers, there’s a more difficult problem to overcome in finding a good teacher and that is the resistance of communities to accept the change that good teachers bring about in society. They are scared of change because they see it as a threat to their livelihood, which in many communities depends on exploiting ignorant, uneducated people; they are forced by their uneducated situation to accept menial jobs and so aren’t a threat to their higher paid jobs. They are a threat to employers because the more educated they are the more they’d have to be paid. So teachers, who are trying to educate and so raise the poorer people to a higher level in society have a difficult job.
3 Iron Director: Ki-doc-kim 2004 from the 3rd ear at the cinematic Jerusalem seen Tue 2nd Dec.
Extraordinary people, no matter how good they are or how gentle they are towards others, even towards plants and the environment, must live according to the laws that govern society, however harsh these may be, or face the consequences. The law can even mete out cruel punishments to the criminal. The only way a person can live contrary to the the laws of society is by becoming invisible, which is possible as this wonderful movie shows.
The Long Hot Summer. Director: Martin Ritt 1958 from the Third Ear at the Cinemateque Nov 2016
A good man will always come out on top and will eventually confound preconceived opinions, which lead to dangerous hot headedness. The movie proves to be a sharp criticism of the tendency of many ignorant people of jumping to conclusions about somebody’s character. A man’s character doesn’t necessarily match his reputation and we should be careful about pre-judging people on hearsay evidence. That only makes life very hot and uncomfortable as this excellent movie shows.
The Good Heart Director Dagur Kári 2009 From the Third Ear at the Cinemateque. Seen Mon 1st Dec 2016
Mostly it seems that people exploit the good actions of kind hearted people toward them and this turns the kind hearted person into being bitter and not willing to perform any more acts of kindness. Notwithstanding, however, this movie shows that it’s always worthwhile to perform an act of kindness when the opportunity presents itself because the ultimate result can be surprisingly good. This is a most entertaining movie with a good message, conveyed without preaching and melodrama.
Cure - The Life of another Director: Andrea Staka 2014 Cinemateque Jerusalem Wed 25th Nov 2015
Some societies have customs which perpetuate the memory of a loved one, making as if he or she is still alive, like the custom of showing pictures of the deceased or the custom, shown in this movie, of dressing up in clothes that the departed would enjoy, as the widow of a man killed in the war does. She dresses up in a beautiful white wedding dress that the deceased husband loved.
The idea of not accepting the fact of death, is quite foreign in Jewish society. Jews actually have customs that reinforce the idea that death is final; it is a Jewish custom for each mourner to place spadesful of earth on the coffin, all pictures of the deceased are hidden from view during the 7 days of morning, it is a custom that on seeing a grave one must put stones on it. All of these customs tend to reinforce the certainty of death.
This is why Jews might not easily understand why the family is so eager to transfer the identity of their daughter to her friend, who killed her during an argument and accidentally pushes her over the edge of a cliff over the raging sea. The friend is a foreign migrant to Croatia and is searching for a way to be accepted by the people in her new homeland. She readily adopts the identity of her dead friend that the family attach to her, without even being aware, for a while, that she is doing this.
The Bow directed by Kim Ki-duk.2005 The Third Ear at the Cinemateque Jerusalem Tue 25th Nov 2015
The bow is the hero. It is used for playing music and for warfare. It’s the instrument used to protect the chastity of a young, beautiful girl and it plays the music celebrating her marriage. It is the hero because it finally conquers the girl. This struggle takes place on a boat (the mother) festooned with colorful ribbons, as if in preparation for a celebration, floating idly on a calm blue sea. Other boats come and go but the hero remains forever.
Poetry Chang Dong Lee 2010 available at the Third Ear Cinemateque Jerusalem Nov 2015
After seeing this movie I conclude that only a person who has deep feelings about his/her life experiences can write a good poem. The feeling can be about something simple like seeing an apple or a tree or a leaf or it can be about a terrible tragedy, such as a young girl commits suicide, because of suffering caused by our son and the grandmother commits an immoral act to get money to compensate the girl’s parents.
Poetry is the expression of deep feeling, brought on by events and experiences that happen to us, through no fault of ours. Everybody has deep feelings about these experiences, some people hide them while there are some (very few) who record them as poetry for all the world to share.
Spartacus and Cassandra Joanis Nuguent 2014 Cinematque Jerusalem Nov 2015
This documentary is about the lives of children in a family of poor parents, weak in adapting to the demands of a modern society, mostly because of archaic attitudes about education and bad habits such as alcoholism. The family in the movie is from the Roma community, but I think that most of the problems shown in the movie are prevalent in most poor societies. It's especially interesting to note how children try to care for parents and feel responsible for them, even to the point of them choosing to stay and take care of their parents rather than being adopted by foster parents where they would have a good home and a brighter future.
All of Me "Llévate mis amores" (original title) Arturo Gonzales Vilaseñor 2014
This documentary is about the poor helping the very poor. Poor women, practically starving themselves prepare plastic bags filled with rice, stand at the side of railway tracks, where freight trains rumble past with starving migrants hanging from their sides and balancing on their roofs, and hold out the bags so that the starving migrants can reach out and grab them as the train passes by.
The walk. Robert Zemeckis 2015 Tuesday 17th November 2015
I held my breath as I watched this high wire walker balancing on a wire stretched from one high point to another. All this is in preparation for the walk between the twin towers. This is a movie which is full of tense activity brilliantly carried out by a great group of actors especially Joseph Gordon-Levittas the hero, Philippe.
Meek’s Cut off Kelly Reichardt 2010 Tuesday, November 10, 2015
A family of high Biblical morals trekking through the desert on their way to their promised land, is wary of immorality, which they think is all around them in this barren wilderness and suspect their rough looking scout of misleading them into a trap.
Hesitantly they put their trust in an Indian, who the scout wants to kill because he is convinced that he is the one who will lead them into a trap to kill and rob them.
Winter Sleep Nuri Bilge Ceylan 2014
This is a beautiful movie. The story moves slowly but dramatically through the snow. Like all good dramas they happen suddenly.
This movie is full of them and they are highlighted by the ever calm hero, Ayman, the center of all the dramas.
The movie moves slowly and inexorably to its conclusion, which turns out to be an anti-climax but is natural for a practical man like Ayman.
Ushpizin (Guests during the feast of tabernacles) Gidi Dar 2004
This movie is very entertaining, full of joy and kindness, but it’s much more; it introduces us into the life of pious Jews.
It shows their simplicity, their piety and their complete trust in the Lord and the Lord rewards them, although sometimes it appears that He is punishing them, but those moments are only a test of their faith.
The angel Levine Jan Kedar 1970
This is a very entertaining movie, as all movies should be. But I think it offers a theory about what is an angel and what do angels do and where do they come from.
According to the theory presented in this movie angels have regular human appearances, their function is to set aright the eternal imbalance in life of good people not getting rewarded for the good things they do but most of all it’s a test for the angel to see whether he deserves to go to heaven or to hell.
Children of Heaven Majid Majidi 1997
This movie is full of interesting and exciting scenes; they are really unforgettable, such as the opening scene of the cobbler repairing a girl’s pink shoe, which is the crux of the matter.
Later the picture of the little girl, sitting like a Buddha, dressed in vivid red and yellow velvet, with a kind of crown on her head, looks like a princess.
Later she proves worthy of such a title; she is kind, patient and determined. This is especially evident in a scene when she eventually catches up with the girl who wears her shoes.
Then the scene of her chasing her brother’s sneaker, carried away by a stream of water is exciting and brings us to a feeling of relief and happiness.
Throughout the movie we are kept in alternating suspense and relief. It’s like an emotional roller coaster and is great entertainment.
The Bedroom. Todd Field 2001
The mystery told in this excellent movie isn’t about who did it, which is expected and we know who it is.
The beauty of the movie lies in the eventual explanation about why things happened the way they did. This explanation may be obvious to some viewers right at the beginning of the movie but it came to me as a surprise and added immensely to my enjoyment of the move, which also lay in the excellent acting.
Baran Majid Majidi 2001 Sunday, November 01, 2015
This is a powerful movie that brings us into an atmosphere of suffering, like Dante’s inferno; the skeleton of a high level building with fires at each level.
The laborers interminably push wheelbarrows and carry heavy bags of cement from one level to the other. At the same time they live in fear that labor inspectors will have them dismissed.
The film, by showing modern buildings and cars in the far distance, make a point that not everybody in Iran lives like this, only the outsiders, like the refugees from Afghanistan.
The impossible happens and a beautiful, young girl enters this hell and a young man, falls in love with her and this feeling of love lifts him up to feelings of happiness, and he performs acts of heroism for his beloved.
It doesn’t matter that she can’t requite his love, because his life is sustained by his feelings of happiness and love.
The Gunman. Pierre Morel 2015
I’m amazed at how often I can feel tension and excitement looking at movies, showing the war between the forces of evil and the forces of justice. Even though I know that the forces of evil stand no chance of destroying the forces of good, represented by Shean Penn, especially considering that we get regular views of muscular physique.
I’m still tense, because the forces of evil, this time are really powerful while the forces of good have the added burden of needing to protect a beautiful woman (that really proves that they are on the good side).
Our tension is also increased by the knowledge we receive from the doctor that our hero is suffering from a debilitating illness, so even while he’s on top we dread that the deadly illness will strike him down.
Naturally this doesn’t happen, but this does cause us some concern.
The pursuit takes us through Barcelona and Granada, with massive high power shooting, fast driving and amazing stunts, which end in the bullring of Granada, with a magnificent scene, worthy of the defeat of evil; the bull gores the evil leader.
Shean Penn is amazing; he’s a regular one man army. This movie held my attention completely, but it might not for some viewers.
Away from her Sarah Polley 2006
This is a beautiful, clever, unforgettable movie.A man and a woman, who love each other, need to be together, even if they’re married to someone else. This is the reality which a couple have suppressed and hidden from each other in a lifetime of happiness and beauty, until the wife eventually breaks down when she, apparently contracts Alzheimer’s disease and is institutionalized. The movie draws every last drop of our emotion out of us, as it presents the struggle of the couple, especially the man, to face reality and release his wife and take a drastic step so that the true lovers can be together.
The Lesson Kristina Grozeva, Peter Valchanov 2014
This is a brilliant movie, which succeeds in building up tension out of very ordinary events that could happen to any person in the course of an ordinary life. The acting is brilliant in portraying naturalness and reality.
The plot is simple and hits home powerfully in a matter of fact way. The teacher tries to teach her pupils honesty, but instead she is finally taught by the criminals to be a criminal. The lesson, which should have been a lesson in honesty turns into a lesson on how criminals turn honest people into criminals.
The lesson for the viewer is that when criminals aren’t caught and punished they are a danger to society because they will turn honest people into criminals.
The Invisibles. Mushon Salmona (Hebrew/ English subtitles) מושון סלמונה 2014
The movie shows dramatic and tragic sociological situations, arising out of the difficulties of Bedouin societies in adapting to life in a modern Jewish state, like sons going against their father’s dictates, wanting to marry a Jewish girl, rather than a girl from the tribe, wanting to decide for themselves what to do in life and meeting the demands of bureaucracy. It shows that the Beduin want to be good citizens of Israel; to go to the army, earn an honest living, raise a family and generally be a part of Israeli society. But the bureaucratic obstacles are so great that they fall back on illegal and anti-social behavior.
The Buffalo Boy. Minh Nguyen-Vo 2004
This is a Vietnamese Movie about a boy, living in a sea of flood waters. His situation changes according to the alternating dry and wet seasons. His only true friends are the buffalo, who plough his rice field in the dry season and die of hunger in the wet and other people who live in this flooded land. Water dominates everything. People are little specks on the landscape. His life is a constant struggle to keep the buffalo alive and to keep the few friends he meets alive also. The film could be entitled how to keep things alive when everything around you is dying.
Tangerines Zaza Urushadze 2013
An amazing movie that shows the absurdity of war in the midst of a beautiful, fertile land. Everything is lush and green but the people are killing each other. Death reigns in the midst of beauty and richness and we ask ourselves how this can be? But once again we are reminded that living in the midst of natural beauty has no effect on the ugly, murderous side of man’s nature. It is a fact; we humans hate each other and invite death even while we’re surrounded by life.
Ex Machina Alex Garland 2015
Man finally creates a robot, a beautiful woman, naturally, that can think and act for itself, just like a human being and naturally it uses all the wiles of a woman to trick the unsuspecting male into her trap and help her to reach freedom, out of the control of her creator. This is a pretty good movie, with lots action and mystery.
Aloft Claudia Llosa 2014
In this movie snow is the dominant feature, because accidents often happen in the snow, making it an excellent backdrop for the movie’s theme: A man’s life is full of tragic events, which are accidents, partly caused by him, subconsciously and partly by phenomenon outside his control. Sadly people, including him, don’t understand the accidental nature of events and so are moved to self-guilt and to blaming others and so causing much more suffering than the original event. The story is sad, but it’s not a sad movie, because it moves quickly between tragedy and the joys of life. The scenes are well filmed, bringing out the full poignancy of each, making them unforgettable.
The Confession Costa-Gavras 1970
This is a historical movie about the need of Communism to constantly carry out purges. It could be called “showing that Communism is pure” at all costs, even at the cost of injustice to individuals in the system. This could be the motto of all totalitarian societies. A democratic society also demands sacrifices of the individual, but in return it protects the individual from injustice and should always be on guard against any encroachment of injustice in the system.