A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2009) “The Comedy of Job”

What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls to tears. Seneca, To Marcia On Consolation The veracity of Seneca’s words can be debated upon, but they seem to fit to describe the Coen brothers character Larry’s fortune in the film. Yet, A Serious Man is a comedy. We… Continue reading A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2009) “The Comedy of Job”

Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, 2010) “Path to Completion”

  Title card: The breakthrough in medical science came in 1952. Doctors could now cure the previously incurable. By 1967, life expectancy passed 100 years. Never Let Me Go is based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro; the film describes the dystopian reality which takes place more than 50 years before the film was made.… Continue reading Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, 2010) “Path to Completion”

Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962) “Bloody Code”

Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri belongs to the jidaigeki genre (period piece). It follows the period shortly after the battle at Sekigahara and the establishemnt of the Tokugawa shogunate (1630). The film begins with a short exposition by the official of House Iyi, who talks about the everyday life of the samurai warlord. It is a perspective… Continue reading Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962) “Bloody Code”

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) “Purity of Earth”

From the very first scene of Nausicaä we can see that we are in a place of magical beauty. The trees, a windmill and the surroundings are coated in what looks like a spider-web or frozen snow; the flakes are falling around a man riding strange creatures, wearing a mask, looking bird-like. The man breaks… Continue reading Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) “Purity of Earth”

Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) “Ship of Fools”

Dr. Strangelove, based on the Peter George novel Red Alert is clearly deeply rooted in its own time; shot when Cold War was in its zenith, yet it manages to speak to us. It will speak to us as long as Doomsday Machine in the form of the nuclear arsenal possessed by the major world powers… Continue reading Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) “Ship of Fools”

Lion King (Walt Disney Animation Studios, 1994) “Circle of Life and the Other”

  And all through the house we hear the hyena’s hymns Nick Cave Lion King opens with a song accompanied by beautiful scenery, showing the animals ranging from ants to elephants living in perfect harmony and joy: But the sun rolling high/through the sapphire sky/keeps great and small on the endless round/It’s the circle of… Continue reading Lion King (Walt Disney Animation Studios, 1994) “Circle of Life and the Other”

One More Time With Feeling (Andrew Dominik, 2016) “Nick Cave Speaking the Unspeakable”

  William Faulkner once wrote: Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders. These words, from the novel Light in August, have the quality of a prose poem. Their meaning eludes me, just like the understanding of this documentary eludes me. Its elusion is associated with its nature, the articulation… Continue reading One More Time With Feeling (Andrew Dominik, 2016) “Nick Cave Speaking the Unspeakable”

Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) “Tragic Character of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz”

Preliminary remarks: There are several different versions of Apocalypse Now, including the theatrical release, the Redux version which is 53 minutes longer than the original and the 259 minutes long “VHS” version, which is now all but lost. This article is based on the Redux version, while the ending of the VHS version will be… Continue reading Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) “Tragic Character of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz”

The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmack, 2006) “Auschwitz of the Soul”

Introductory remarks: The painting selected alongside the headline of the article is Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's "Mountains and Houses In the Snow". His expressionism conveys the overstressed colors which are on the verge of puncture. For this article, white and its sublime horror presented in the painting are particularly interesting. The symbolism of this use of… Continue reading The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmack, 2006) “Auschwitz of the Soul”

Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2013) “Nature or Nurture?”

Hirokazu Koreeda's Like Father, Like Son explores the meaning of the proverb in the film's title and whether it can be the justification and the solution to the tragic choice characters in the film are forced to make. Ryota is a workaholic and a successful businessman, hardly spending time with his family; his wife tells him… Continue reading Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2013) “Nature or Nurture?”