World Cinema Series 2013 – Wrap up and Winner Announcement

While I’ve not been an active participant in my own event, others have made quite a few contributions, especially Novia (Polychrome Interest) and Ruth (Flixchatter).

As I said at the beginning, the person who covered the most countries will win a DVD for up to 25$ or an amazon voucher.

And the winner is Novia from Polychrome Interest, who reviewed eitght movies from 6 different countries.

Congratulations!

Here are all the reviews

Intro posts

Novroz (Poychrome Interest)

Reviews

Austria

The Wall – Die Wand (2012) – Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat)

Chile

No (2012) – Fariz (Vampibots)

China

The Flowers of War – Novia (Polychroem Interest)

Red Cliff (2008) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

France

Those Who Remain – Ceux qui restent (2007) – Guy (His Futile Preoccupations)

Holy Motors (2012) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

The Untouchable (2011) – Novia (Polychrome Interest)

Germany

Three Penny Opera – Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

Lola rennt – Run, Lola, Run (1998) – Akbar Saputra (Me on The Movie)

The Untouchables (2010) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

Funny Games (1997) – Novia (polychrome Interest)

The Edge of Heaven (2007) JoV (JoV’s Book Pyramid)

Indonesia

King – Dhitz (Across Dhitz Universe)

Belenggu (2013) – Akbar Saputra (Me on The Movie)

Iran

About Elly (2009) – Fariz (Vampibots)

Japan

Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below (2011) – Dhitz (Across Dhitz Universe)

Twilight Samurai – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Detroit Metal City – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Shinjuku Incident (2009) JoV (JoV’s Book Pyramid)

Korea

Perfect Number – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Norway

Headhunters (2011) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

Palestine

When Pigs Have Wings – Le Cochon de Gaza (2011) – JoV (JoV’s Book Pyramid)

South Korea

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…. Spring (2003) – Akbar Saputra (Me on The Movie)

Spain

Bolano cercano – Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

UK

The Beatles – Help – Novia (Polychrome Interest)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Novia (Polychrome Interest)

The 39 Steps – TBM (50 Year Project)

Her Majesty Mrs Brown (1997) – Ruth (Flixchatter)

Vietnam

The Scent of Green Papaya – TBM (50Year Project)

The Wall – Die Wand (2012) World Cinema Series – Austria

Die Wand

Reading Marlen Haushofer’s Die WandThe Wall was one of the most profound reading experiences I’ve ever had. Weeks after I finished it I was still haunted by the story and urged everyone to read it as well. Over ten  years later the book is still in my mind as if I’ve read it yesterday. The story of a woman who is invited to a lodge in the Austrian forest and finds herself cut off from the world by an invisible wall made an incredible impression on me.

At the beginning of the story the narrator’s friends go back to the village just after their arrival. When they do not return, she goes to bed. When she wakes she expects to find them but they have not returned. She decides to walk to the village and find out what has happened. On the way she dashes into an invisible wall. She will find out later that the wall forms a circle around her and a relatively large forest and mountain area. The few people she sees outside of the wall look frozen in time. Obviously they are dead.

It is immediately clear to her that there is no escaping her condition and that, with the exception of a few animals – a dog, a cow and a cat – , she is completely alone. At first this is so overwhelming, that she thinks of killing herself but then, feeling responsible for the animals, she pulls herself together. After a time of adjusting, learning to survive, hunting, gathering and planting, she becomes self-sufficient. She even loves to be alone with her animals and so close to nature. She becomes one with the nature around her.

One day she feels that something is wrong. At first it’s just a hunch, then she finds signs. She might not be alone after all.

Marlen Haushofer did an amazing job at showing us that being alone may not be the worst. The end of the book is harrowing.

When I saw that The Wall has been made into a movie, starring one of my favourite actresses, Martina Gedeck, I had to watch it.

The Wall is an amazing film and Martina Gedeck does an astonishing job. She’s almost the only actor in this film and most of it is narration.

The movie is as harrowing as the book, maybe even more so. Plus it adds spectacular images of the Austrian mountain region.

The book and the movie explore the human condition and the curse it harbours. Humans are not only the only beings to be aware of death but they are also the only ones capable of evil. Book and movie say a lot about the relationship between humans and animals. The profound friendship that can arise, as much as the horror of having to kill animals if you want to survive.

While I loved the film, I think it’s not easy to watch if you’re not familiar with the book and not a very literary person as there isn’t much action but a lot of narration instead. The protagonist tells at the beginning of the film that she writes down everything that has happened to her in order to stay sane and so we see everything and hear the voice describe her thoughts and feelings at the same time.

As I said, it’s a harrowing book and some of the very sad things that happen affected me even more when I watched the movie. Still it’s excellent, very philosophical and profound.

I found an English trailer which puzzled me a bit. It’s not dubbed. It seems the movie is available in two version, one in which Martina Gedeck speaks in German and one in which she speaks English. I think they chose this approach as a subtitled version would be very tiring as she speaks almost constantly.

The book will be reissued this summer. Unfortunately with a really awful cover. I find it sad that they used a cover like this and that’s why I would like to emphasise that The Wall is a classic of Austrian literature, not some dystopian YA novel. (As you know, I personally like YA literature, but I think there is a huge difference between this literary novel and a YA novel.)

Don’t miss watching this stunning film or reading the book.

The review is part of the World Cinema Series 2013 and Foreign Film Festival 2013.

World Cinema Series 2013

I suppose one could say that the World Cinema Series is back by popular demand. When I posted the wrap up, I realized that there really were quite a lot of contributions and just because I wasn’t highly active, that didn’t mean others were equally inactive.

There were comments and questions about whether or not it would take place again. And so the World Cinema Series is back.

The rules are really simple. The idea is to watch movies from as many different countries as possible. It’s also possible to pick a lot of subtitled movies from one country like some of you have done last year. However in order to make points and win a prize, you would have to cover as many countries a possible.

Like last year, the person who covers the most countries will win a DVD or a 25$ amazon voucher.

I will collect all the reviews on the World Cinema Series 2013 page. Please leave your links there or in this post.

I hope for as many participants as possible and to discover a lot of great movies. And I also hope I will manage to review more than last year myself.

I would also like to post at least bimonthly wrap up posts.

Like last year, Richard from Caravana de recuerdos is hosting a similar event, the Foreign Film Festival. You are free to submit your reviews to both events.

To put you in the mood I attached a trailer of a movie I’d like to watch one of these days.

World Cinema Series – Wrap up and Winner Announcement

I’m not sure what happened to my wish to watch a lot of foreign movies. I did for a while but didn’t review them and then I stopped. This means that my own participation in the  World Cinema Series and Richard’s (Caravana de recuerdos) Foreign Film Festivval  never really took off. While Richard and I were not that active, others were. Especially four people have contributed quite a lot of reviews. At the beginning of the year I had said that

At the end of the year  I will give away a DVD to the person who has managed to cover the most countries.

The winner can choose between a DVD for up to 25$ or an amazon voucher.

And the winner is Guy (Phoenix Cinema/His Futile Preoccupations) who has contributed reviews from 12 different countries.

Congratulations, Guy.

Collectively we have managed to cover over 30 countries. Not a bad result at all. Thanks to everyone who has participated. I hope you will join again next year.

Here are all of the reviews

Argentina

Bar “El Chino”  (2004) – Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

Australia

Animal Kingdom (2010) – TBM (50 Year Project)

Austria

Klimt (2006) – Obooki (Obooki’s Obloquy)

Brazil 

At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul  (1963) – Obooki (Obooki’s Obloquy)

Besouro aka The Assailant (2009) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Canada

Familia (2005) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

China

Sleepwalker 3D (2011 Hong Kong) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

House of Flying Daggers -rtm (Flixchatter)

The Road Home (2000) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

In the Mood for Love (2000) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Happy Together (1997) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Colombia

Bolivar is me – Bolívar es yo (2002) Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Czech Republic/ Fromer Czechoslovakia

Protektor (2009) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Larks on a String (1969) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

Capricious Summer (1968) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

Denmark

In Your Hands (2004) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

The Inheritance (2003) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Open Hearts (2002) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Pusher (1996) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Melancholia (2011) – Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat)

Aftermath (2004) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Dancers -Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Murk (2005) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

France

C’est La Vie (1990) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Love is my Profession – En cas he malheur (1958) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

La Ronde (1950) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

Amélie – TBM (50 Year Project)

Persepolis (2007) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

When Pigs Have Wings (2011) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Germany

Soul Kitchen (2009) – Sarah (what we have here is a failure to communicate)

100 Years of Adolf Hitler (1989) – Obboki (Obooki’s Obloquy)

Little Dieter Wants to Fly (1998) – Séamus (Vapour Trails)

Der blaue Engel – The Blue Angel (1930) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

NaPola (2004) – Novia (Polychrime Interest)

Hungary

Szinbád (1971) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

Iceland

Heima (2007) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

India

Shaapit:The Cursed (2010) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Indonesia

The Raid: Redemption  (2011) – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Pintu Terlarang aka The Forbidden Door (2009 ) – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

The Raid:Redemption (2012) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Ireland

His and Hers – Ronan (Filmplicity)

The Guard (2011) – Sarah (what we have here is a failure to communicate)

Ireland (then and now) through Cillian Murphy’s movies The Wind that Shakes the Barley and Perrier’s Bounty – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Israel

Lemon Tree (2008) – Caroline Beauty is a Sleeping Cat)

Kalevet – Rabies (2010) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Italy

Cinema Paradiso (1988) – rtm (Flixchatter)

Bicycle Thieves – Ladri di biciclette (1948) – Seamus (Vapour Trails)

Life is beautiful (1998) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Rome Open City – Roma città aperta (1945) Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

The Conformist (1970) – Séamus (Vapour Trails)

Japan

Whisper of the Heart – Ronan (Filmplicity)

A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

13 Assassins (2010) – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Kuroneko (1968) – Richard (Caravana de recuerdos)

Woman in the Dunes (1964) Rise (in lieu of a field guide)

Way of Blue Sky – Slice of Life Teen Movie – Dhitzunako (Across Dhitz Universe)

Arrietty (2010) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Korea

The Fox Familiy – Gumiho gajok   – Obooki (obooki’s obloquy)

War of the Arrows (2011) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Lebanon

Caramel – Sukkar banat – Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat)

Malaysia

Alamak…. Toyol (2011) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Mexico

Miss Bala (2011) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

La Zona (2007) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Norway

Happy Happy (2010) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Peru

La ciudad y los perros – The City and the Dogs (1985) – Guy (His Futile Preoccupations)

Philippines

Aswang (2011) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Poland

The Hour-Glass Sanatorium (1973) -Dwight (A Common Reader)

The Doll (1968) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

 Faithful River (1987) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

Ashes and Diamonds (1958) – Dwight (A Common Reader)

Katyn (2007) Fiona (The Book Coop aka Popcorn Pictures)

Russia

Torpedo Bomber  (1983) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Shine, Shine, My Star – Gori, Gori, Moya zvezda (1969) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Tsar – Ronan (Filmplicity)

Father & Son (2003) -TBM (50 Year Project)

Senegal

Moolaadé (2004) – Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat)

South Africa

District 9 (2009) – rtm (Flixchatter)

Spain

Cell 211 – Celda 211 (2009) – TBM (50Year Project)

Julia’s Eyes – Ronan (Filmplicity)

Cuadecuc, vampir (1971) – Obooki (obooki’s obloquy)

El abuelo- The Grandfather (1988) – Dwight ( A Common Reader)

La ciudad de los prodigos – City of Marvels (1999) – Diwght (A Common Reader)

Why Do They Call it Love When They Mean Sex? (1993) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Sweden

Let the Right one In – Låt den rätte komma in (2008) – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Everlasting Moments – Eviga Ögonblick (2008) – Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat)

Thailand 

The Unborn Child (2011) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

Shutter (2004) – Fiona (Popcorn Pictures)

Turkey

Cehennem (2010) – Nekoneko (Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox)

UK

Route Irish – Ronan (Filmplicity)

An Education (2009) – rtm (Flixchatter)

Nowhere Boy (2009) – rtm (Flixchatter)

Amazing Grace (2006) – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

US

Prometheus (2012) – Novroz (Polychrome Interest)

Venezuela

Manuela Saénz (2001) – Guy (His Futile Preoccupations)

Yugoslavia

When Father Was Away on Business (1985) – Guy (Phoenix Cinema)

Moolaadé (2004) World Cinema Series – Senegal

I used to read a lot of African literature and watched a lot of documentaries as well but hardly any full-length movies at all. I had completely forgotten that Sembène Ousmane wasn’t only a great writer but also a highly acclaimed film director if Tom (Wuthering Expectations) hadn’t reminded me. I tried to find some of his movies and found the last film he made before his death.

Moolaadé is an exciting movie because it offers such an awesome combination of different elements. It is life-affirming, optimistic, critical, humanist and very esthetic at the same time.

Moolaadé is a movie about female circumcision, tradition, change and the status of women in a polygamous, patriarchal society. One cannot watch this movie without being profoundly disturbed but it’s thought-provoking and not depressing at all.

One day, four little girls, seek refuge in the compound of Collé. She is the favourite and second wife of her husband. It is known that her daughter is the only girl in the whole village who hasn’t been circumcised. Her daughter is the fiancé of the eldest son of the village chief who has studied in Paris and is soon to come home. Collé knows that there will be conflict if she shelters the girls. In order to protect them she pronounces Moolaadé, magical protection. As long as one person grants another one Moolaadé the person cannot be touched or the consequences would be fatal. In order to show that Moolaadé is at work, a coloured rope is tied over the entrance of the compound.

The uproar in the village is incredible. They threaten Collé but to no avail until her husband returns and they force him to whip her in public until she revokes the Moolaadé. She remains steadfast and is, at the end, helped by an outsider, a travelling salesman.

Moolaadé shows what a trap circumcision is. The girls know how painful it is, even lethal and that many will never be able to give birth without Cesarean section. Sex will always be agony for them. Still the men do not want to marry a woman who isn’t “purified”. The girls are afraid that they will never find a husband but even more afraid to be maimed for life.

The way the movie shows how horrible circumcision is, is well-done. We don’t see anything but what we see is enough to illustrate it. The most problematic figures in the film are the women who perform the circumcision. They are truly scary.

The strength of the movie however isn’t only to show all the aspects, beliefs, traditions and conflicting interests related to circumcision but to show a way, a solution. The women decide to not accept the horrors done to their bodies anymore. In the movie it’s the act of one courageous woman, who decides to break with tradition, who triggers a wave of change.

It’s a disturbing movie but it’s optimistic as well. There are not only  frustrating but a lot of comical moments too.

Western cinema, with a few exceptions seems to have forgotten that film making can be a means to trigger change, that there could be more to art than entertainment, that being engaged is an important value. Moolaadé reminded me of all this and much more.

It’s precisely movies like Moolaadé that I had in mind when I started the World Cinema Series. Movies that open a door to a world we hardly know. I liked it a lot and am pretty sure it will be one of my favourite movies this year.

Moolaadé is also a contribution to Richard’s Foreign Film Festival.

World Cinema Series and Foreign Film Festival

I realize this is awkward and a bit funny. I did already kick off my series last week but I never wrote a proper introduction because I didn’t think anyone would join. Meanwhile there have been two introductory posts, one by Novroz (Polychrome Interest) here and one by TBM (5o Year Project) here and quite a few people who said they would like to join us as well as you can see on the World Cinema Series Pages.

As a result, the World Cinema Series is now officially an event and you can sign up on the page which I will amend slightly, adding parts of this post.

Coincidentally Richard (Caravana de recuerdos) has started a Foreign Film Festival on his blog which is open to interested participants as well.

Just a few words on the “rules”, similarities and differences of our events.

I will, as I stated already, review up to two movies per month and add the review links to my page. The aim is to take a trip around the world in movies. This means I’m personally interested in movies that open a door to another culture. I wouldn’t review a Turkish crime movie that is set in the US. Not sure that exists but you get the idea. However I will review a German movie whose topic is Cambodia and I also plan on reviewing documentaries. But this is my interpretation. If you like fantasy movies and want to explore how different countries handle this in different ways, that’s a neat interpretation as well. All a participant has to do is link to my page and add a comment with the link to their review so I can add it. I will try to do an occasional wrap up post but nothing scheduled.

I’m glad if anyone has suggestions. I’m not very familiar with African filmmaking for example.

Richard’s Foreign Film Festival, in which I will participate as well, works a bit differently. Foreign is interpreted depending on your country of origin. No French movies for the French. You can sign up with Richard here and post links to your reviews on his blog. While I will just collect links, Richard will do a monthly wrap-up. The two projects are really two faces of the same medal. Movies can be entered on both sites.

What we decided off-line is that we will maybe organize the one or the other watchalong. The movies will be announced early on and we will post our reviews and discuss the movies on a set date. Suggestions are welcome.

At the end of the year  I will give away a DVD to the person who has managed to cover the most countries. Old reviews are not considered as an entry.

Other introductions

Dhitz

Here are the links to all the reviews

 

A Few Plans for 2012

Happy New Year to all of you, my readers, commenters, subscribers and friends.

I wish that 2012 will be a wonderful year for all of us!

*******

This is the year in which I will

– Buy fewer books

– Read at least three books from countries I’ve never read a book from (most likely: Nigeria, Vietnam, Portugal)

– Read fewer novels

– Read plays and poetry

2012 Fearless Poetry

I will participate in Serena’s Fearless Poetry Exploration Challenge. It’s not a very demanding challenge, all you have to do is, read two poetry collections or participate in her Virtual Poetry Circles.

– Translate poetry

– Read more fantasy and YA

– Read more life writing including diaries, memoir and letters

– Pursue some of my reading projects that I had abandoned like

  • Native American reading project. I have a huge pile and have already read one book during the last week of last year.
  • African American reading project and as part of this the
  • Zora Neale Hurston reading project

– Start the new movie series World Cinema. The idea is to take a trip around the world in movies.

– Work on my About page. This page is actually clicked a lot and I was mortified to find out that since the day I started this blog, I hadn’t changed it which means it’s still a draft version. And it almost reads like a job application. It’s embarrassing.

– Write far less reviews and drastically shorten the summary sections

– Write in different ways

– Finally learn how to upload photos. I know you are dying to see my cats, my messy apartment, the view from my windows and oh the book piles. No worries, that’s not what you will get (or let’s say, the cats, yes, but not the mess and the shamefully high piles). I’d like to explore the medium photography and here is the moment to mention one of my very favourite blogs Mrs Pearl’s aka Carole’s Pearls and Prose. All of her posts are like gifts. Not only does she share her beautiful photography, she also shares a lot of tips and tricks.

– Read less, write more. No, not blogposts. Don’t get alarmed.

– 6/12 cities project. I want to travel quite a bit this year and, if possible pair this with some reading. The planned destinations so far are

  • Stockholm
  • London
  • Paris
  • Milano
  • Istanbul
  • ?

As I’m notorious for overthrowing my vacation (and other) plans it’s possible the final list will look very different. Milano and Paris are the most likely as they are close (4 respectively 3 hours by train). Why these 5 cities? I haven’t been in Paris for over a year and ususally went there at least a few times per year. Milano – The famous cemetery and I need clothes. Or rather a style change is overdue and how to best achieve that than with Italian fashion, right? Stockholm – I’ve never been there. Istanbul – I’m sure I will love it.

These are my blogging related plans. I spare you the others, the list is three times as long.

How about you? Are you making plans or just go with the flow (which I will eventually do as well but I love plans)?