gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Category Archives: Film

The Devil’s Mistress

0

devilsmistress

The Gene Siskel Film Center is currently running a Czech Film Festival, which is exciting for me because my mom is Czech. The other night I went to see The Devil’s Mistress, which is a true story about a Czech actress who goes to work in Germany and has an affair with Hitler’s right-hand man, Joseph Goebbels. Hitler’s character is, of course, frightening and awkward, but well-played. The movie is melodramatic, but the starlet, played by Tatiana Pauhofová, is stunning and charming. Her flirtatious spirit is disturbing at times, as she knows she can use it to get what she wants, and the way she falls in love with Goebbels is shocking given his political affiliation and stature. I have to say I much prefer the actor she has a passionate affair with who she leaves for Goebbels, but the heart wants what it wants I guess…

Devils_Mistress_2

The setting of all the scenes is beautiful, as well as the scenery, especially the modern house Lida buys for her parents. All based on true events, it was an interesting historical lesson for me, in addition to being entertaining and visually engaging. Hearing the Czech language was so nostalgic for me and I was surprised by how many words I could understand based on what I’ve picked up listening to my mom speak to my grandparents over the years. I only wish there had been a little less dialogue in German and a little more in Czech!

Save

Paris Can Wait

2

maxresdefault

Can Paris wait? I think most of us would agree it cannot. This consensus that I’m assuming is shared among those in the plot of the new movie starring Diane Lane, Paris Can Wait. Reminiscent of another travelogue starring Lane, the popular Under the Tuscan Sun, this genre really seems to suite her well. She is a classic beauty and there is a carefree, sexy ease about her that makes her the perfect travel companion, even if only through a screen. You hardly see any shots of Paris but at the very end because the movie traces the fragmented journey to Paris, but the places they stop along the way are points of interest in their own right. Lane’s trip to Paris is not with her husband, as one might imagine, but with her husband’s business partner who happens to be a Frenchman, played by Arnaud Viard. Need I say more about the fact that he’s a Frenchman and all the stereotypes that go along with that…he is charming, flirtatious, spontaneous, a womanizer, and let’s just admit, a little selfish. Despite all this, there is a genuine connection between him and Lane, which makes her feel appreciated and desired in a way that she hasn’t felt by her husband in a long time. Classic…

pariscanwait2

The movie is full of scenes of delectable food and artistic shots of whatever Lane sees that she’d like to capture with her old school digital camera. She certainly does have an eye for composition of the unique things she comes across on her trip. There are sad moments as you learn more about Lane’s life, and there are funny moments as she saves the day when their car breaks down on the way to Paris. What I particularly liked was her relationship with her daughter (who we never actually see) because it reminds me of my relationship with my parents – we share the same name, we are both only children, and we are both very close to our parents.

Paris-Can-Wait-Hero

The movie definitely accomplishes evoking travel envy, as I left wanting to take a similar trip, even full of all the obstacles. I also love Lane’s summery linen outfit (seen in all three of these pictures), as well as her seductive evening dresses. Usually Paris can’t wait, but I suppose it can if it means going on a spontaneous adventure like this one.

“Big Little Lies”

0

I’m only one of the millions who was obsessed with the all too short mini-series of Big Little Lies on HBO, but I have to say something about it because I haven’t been this hooked on a TV show in a long time. I watched it religiously every week with a friend and I looked forward to those nights like Christmas morning. The opening credits/intro alone should give you an idea of its dramatic yet somehow relaxing and calming aura – as if the characters are caught up in this ring of drama, yet they’re far too cool for it. It radiates that laid back California vibe (coming from someone who’s never been to California…), but the repeated, endless ocean views these women are lucky enough to have outside their kitchen windows only perpetuates this vibe. How then, do they manage to look so effortlessly and seamless put together? Well, not all the of the characters embody this chill, glam look, but those who do certainly pull it off with grace. And how about that soundtrack…and the cutest kids!

The show is dark. Starting off with the rather serious drama between the kids, then proceeding to the drama between the adults, which is even more serious, it is a thriller that keeps you guessing until the very last second of the seventh episode. Literally. The rumors of a potential second season, or the making of another mini-series based on a Liane Moriarty book are everywhere, but I guess the outcome remains to be seen. We can only hope and pray that it comes true!

“One Kiss”

0

The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago was running a European Union Film Festival for the month of March and I took full advantage. I went to see eight movies and I was sad that I didn’t make it to more, but I beyond enjoyed the ones I did see. I loved many of them, but there was one that stuck out to me for its existential authenticity and realistic portrayal of what it is to grow up during your teenage years and navigate the nightmare that is high school. It was an Italian movie called One Kiss directed by Ivan Controneo.

One-Kiss-1

The protagonist, Blu, played by Valentina Romani, who is relatively new to the acting world, did a marvelous job of taking on a difficult role filled with teenage frustration, as she has to learn to maneuver around the limitations placed on us by others during those high school years that can be so challenging for people to overcome. What helps her overcome this is a friendship she forms with a new kid at school, who happens to be gay, and waltzes in like he owns the place in dramatic fashion. They then take on a shy, quiet guy under their wing and the three of them have adventures akin to those of Jules, Jim, and Catherine in Truffaut‘s Jules et Jim, and Matthew, Theo, and Isabelle in The Dreamers. These parallels are quite obvious, as the three of them dance several choreographed pieces recalling the famous dance in the cafe in Jules et Jim, and run through their high school hallways like Matthew, Theo, and Isabelle run through the Louvre in Paris, in The Dreamers, which is in itself a parody to Jules, Jim, and Catherine running through the Louvre in Jules et Jim.

hqdefault

Their adventures remind you of everything you ever wanted to do in high school but were too embarrassed to do because you were afraid of what others might think of you. But Blu and her two partners in crime just don’t give a f**k and prove how much fun you can have if you liberate yourself enough carry out your wildest dreams. The soundtrack is stellar which only intensifies the freedom they exert, as well as the freedom you feel while watching them and living vicariously through them, even if only for a couple hours for the duration of the film.

one-kiss-review-slide

The three of them don’t live in such a free, happy state all the time though. These moments of bliss are definitely interspersed with the hardships they face, which are truly painful. And at the end of the movie there is a shocking finale that had much of the audience jump in their seats and gasp a sigh of terror. Despite this, it is a beautiful movie about what it is to grow up and it will surely become an Italian classic for a younger generation.

When you host a naked party, but you’re the only one who’s naked…

0

This was the setting of the most bizarre and comical scene in Toni Erdmann, the German film that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year. It did not win, but the dry humor that prevails throughout definitely makes it a good contender. It’s a very long film, which I wasn’t prepared for, rounding out at about 2 1/2 hours, and its slowness makes it feel even longer. I almost left at one point because it started to drag on, but thank god I didn’t because at about the two hour mark, this scene of humorous hysteria ensued.

2_5_14

The main character, Ines, hosts a buffet lunch at her apartment for her consulting colleagues in an effort to encourage team-building. The naked component of the luncheon is not exactly planned, but as Ines has trouble adjusting her tight dress right as the first guest rings the doorbell, she impulsively decides to answer the door naked after she struggles to get out of her dress. First a friend arrives, who then leaves because she does not agree to strip down, followed by her boss, assistant, and other colleagues. As they’re awkwardly standing around naked, Ines’s dad, who is the primary source of comedy throughout the movie, shows up in a looming, furry costume. While those at the party are mostly disconcerted by his appearance, it somehow brings Ines and her father closer together after a tumultuous relationship.This whole scene is carried out in a completely serious manner with everyone maintaining straight faces as if colleagues standing around naked at a party is perfectly normal, which is what makes the entire audience LOL!

Lost and Beautiful

0

09lost-master768

I recently saw a new Italian film, Lost and Beautiful, by Director Pietro Marcello. An ode to Italian neo-realist film, it is a slow-moving film with sparse dialogue and stunning visuals of the Italian countryside. It is told from the perspective of a buffalo calf that we see grow up into an adult buffalo, which is thought to have the power of speech by one of the film’s characters. This power of speech is what saves the buffalo from slaughter early in its life, and what it allows it travel nomadically throughout the Italian countryside.

maxresdefault

A stately abandoned villa is also a central subject of the film, which, in the care of a dedicated groundskeeper, survives total oblivion.  It is not entirely clear where the plot line is headed throughout the film, but the tragic end, at least in my mind because I am so fond of animals, culminates in the beloved buffalo being sent to the slaughterhouse. Though a very sad and melancholic movie, it is worth the watch simply for it’s stretching of time, which affords the opportunity of contemplation while watching something that is visually enriching.

“Swiss Army Man”

0

swiss-army-man-2

I recently saw Swiss Army Man with Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, both of whom I really like (especially Daniel Radcliffe). It was a classic Indie film with bizarre and morbid humor. Much of the film is silent, from a dialogue perspective, but there are interesting sound effects to suggest what Radcliffe’s character is thinking or doing, and the music is happy and uplifting. There are scenes of utter playfulness, like when Dano rides Radcliffe as if he were a whale and when they play with puppets that represent their lives in the forest. There are also moments of utter embarrassment, like when Radcliffe learns about the nature of his male reproductive organ.

160622_mov_swiss-army-man-jpg-crop-promo-xlarge2

There are also moments, particularly those related to Radcliffe’s consciousness, that are compilations of moments in life, tiny moments that we take for granted in and of themselves, but when strung together with other moments, they create some sort of meaning for us. For me, this served as a reminder that we can’t forget the little moments in life and sacrifice them for big exciting moments, because without the little things, the big moments wouldn’t even be possible. The cinematography and the way the movie is filmed make the little moments in between the big ones very evident in a way that is almost dreamlike, which only amplifies their endearment.

Equals

0

EqualsI just saw the movie Equals, and for me, it was one of those movies that really has an impact on you. It’s a beautiful portrayal of intimacy and the kind of closeness that you can have with someone, but not just with anyone – only the kind of closeness that exists between two people in those rare, lucky circumstances. It’s about the inexplicable that draws two people together. It’s about how vital human touch is for our well-being. It’s about allowing yourself to feel things even if they are contrary to what you believe is right according to a standard that is set either by yourself or by what is constructed around you. It’s about how easy letting go is, even though some make it seem nearly impossible, and even dangerous or harmful to oneself and others. It’s about how beneficial having that kind of closeness with someone is to other parts of your life.

equals-movie

Based in a utopian society where emotion is not allowed, two people are drawn to each other by forces that are out of their control. It’s cinematically spectacular, with extreme close-ups to highlight the raw emotion and symbolic colored silhouettes, which somehow speak to every sensory perception. I’m not normally a big sci-fi fan, but this movie is definitely something special. For your viewing pleasure, and to hopefully inspire you to see the movie, check out the trailer!

Pippi Longstocking

0

Pippi-Longstocking-pippi-longstocking-5584307-380-332

I used to love Pippi Longstocking when I was little. I wasn’t a huge reader as a child, and am still not, but I did love the 1988 film version of Pippi Longstocking. I lived in Italy when I was little, and lucky for me, the movie has been dubbed in 18 languages, including Italian. So the movie that I know and love is the version dubbed in Italian. Yesterday, as I was scanning through channels on TV, I came across the movie, but in English of course. I was so happy to just come across it by accident, but I have to say that watching it in English felt very far removed from my childhood viewing experience of it. It’s amazing how much language can affect our perception of things. Recently, I also came across this touching article about Pippi Longstocking by Conni Schultz, which also brought back memories of this childhood icon for me.

This is the trailer for the 1988 film version I’m talking about just to give you a small glimpse into the joys that this Swedish feminist icon brings to kids (and adults).  I challenge you to not have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day…

Kitchen backslashes

0

I recently saw the movie, Mother’s Day, and while not a great movie, it was at least entertaining. What did hold my attention though were the kitchens! As a lover of all things related to Interiors, I was so distracted during the scenes that took place in kitchens because all I could focus on was the backsplash or the light fixtures. What also sparked my interest was the fact that one of the characters is an Interior Designer and lands an awesome project, pictured below (interior designer on the right and awesome client on the left). If only it was that easy! Unfortunately I can’t find any pictures of the kitchens, but I guess you’ll just have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about!

tumblr_inline_o2e6p9Q4XW1tuvuzt_1280