Thursday, September 09, 2004

Movie Night!

West Coast Video was having quite the sale this past weekend: 50% off all previously viewed DVDs in a certain price range. Hal picked up two:

Uncle Saddam
Man Without a Past.

The first was a documentary pieced together from footage shot by a French director way before 9/11, with narration written by writers from "Kids in the Hall." Interestingly enough, the production company is the same that put out the Dolomite films. It was interesting as a sort of historical perspective - footage of the gassing of the Kurds, much talk about Saddam's Republican Guard and other units being the most powerful force in the region, the certainty of WMD. Aside from that, did not care much for the film. It seemed that the images were placed (with a fair bit of filler) to follow the narrative. Also, though I understand that it was a low budget film, it did look cheap.

The second film, Man Without a Past, was the story of a welder who is attacked and left for dead after arriving in Helsinki from an unknown location. This one affected me viscerally in much the same way as the Dogme 95 films did. There was the sense of people in hopelessly awful situations who choose to make the best of what they have, a sort of hopefulness along with surrender to fate (represented by the incredible Socialist bureaucracy that seemed to be mocked time and time again?) Details that appealed very much to me were the lighting (that weird summer night light you only get up in the northern lattitudes) and the music (Something that made me recall the Scandinavian rockabilly I'd heard on an 'HRB orgy once, mixed with tango. Had heard once that Finns were crazy about the Tango; it's a new fad.) Kaurismaki's film so reminded me of the final short piece in Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth that I had to look it up to see if he'd worked in that production. No - but I did note that Jarmusch does admire him.

Hal picked up a copy of the HFA's latest schedule. My word, what a treat. Between the Surrealist series, the Satyajit Ray and the Aldomovar, I won't be seeing the light of day these next two months.

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