This if a perfect example of a film that it so much more than its subject matter, but in a way that is indescribable. It's about vineyards and winemaking, stewardship of the land and discipline. It's about how tradition looks when the same family tends the same land for generations, a sort of contrast to at least three films that have shown people deprived of their traditional ways through some change or other. It is a quiet film, a film that reminds us what it is like to watch the weather closely. One of the wine-makers composes three solo piano pieces for this film, pieces which he plays when the rain prevents working the soil and vines. This is a beautiful movie.
Caesar Must Die
Perhaps you have to like seeing Shakespeare performed, using modern language, to enjoy this film, but I doubt it. This is theater, this is the timelessness, placelessness of pure literature. As a work of art, the film is unlike anything I have seen--smooth and integrated, never self-explanatory, never veering into the petty personal out of step with the grand themes of Julius Caesar. This film pulses with intense power from the opening to the ending. All filming is in Rome's Rebibbia Prison, all parts are played by inmates in the maximum security wing. The lion's share of the dialog is modernized Shakespeare. The scenes play out in varoius institutionalized, rundown halls and nooks of the prison as the inmates rehearse the play. On a few occasions the dialog becomes personal between inmates, the audience never knowing whether the eruptions are real or also scripted. As the set changes from, say a prisoner reciting a monolog in his cell, to a dialog near a high window the viewer wonders if the next words will be personal to the prisoner or from the play. Some of the scenes were filmed as the play was being performed before a civilian audience at the prison. These lifers and mafioso identify closely with the questions of honor, power, and crime--that, or they're just really amazing actors. These guys are good. Artistically, right up there with opera, stage plays, or the finest films. Highly highly highly recommended. Sigh
Plimpton was a fun documentary. I'm not sure how it would be to someone who had not lived through the period--we recognized a lot of faces in the photos, for example. All in all, an enjoyable and interesting ride. The Deflowering of Eva Van End was a goofy, funny but sad film from the Netherlands, shades of Wes Anderson. Definitely an interesting way to spend a Friday night. Kon-Tiki, while perfectly enjoyable, was formulaic in a way that distracted for me. It would be easy to watch it without noticing the techniques I saw repeated. It was a good way to add excitement to a low budget film, but it started feeling too manipulative to me. Many many people will not feel this way, including most of the people leaving the theater with me today. From Norway/Denmark.