5 Great Films Portraying the Fall of 20th-century Empires and Dictatorships

This list deals with two Asian emperors who lost their empire in the course of their lives, the Chinese Emperor Puyi and the Japanese Emperor Hirohito, and two totalitarian leaders Hitler and Stalin. The first lost his totalitarian empire before he died, while the second died of natural causes and his legacy was swiftly replaced, … Continue reading 5 Great Films Portraying the Fall of 20th-century Empires and Dictatorships

In Robert Bresson’s Words: Life as a Stage and Life as a Dream

Two types of films: those that employ the resources of the theater (actors, direction etc...) and use the camera in order to reproduce; those that employ the resources of cinematography and use the camera to create. Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematographer Robert Bresson, a French director who gave us many masterpieces, Au Hasard Balthazar, … Continue reading In Robert Bresson’s Words: Life as a Stage and Life as a Dream

The Nameless God: Ingmar Bergman’s Mythical Tale “The Virgin Spring”

  Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring is an adaptation of a thirteen century Swedish ballad. Christanity became a state religion in Sweden in the twelfth century, while the process of Christianization of Sweden began roughly in the ninth century. This means that the tale we witness on the screen, portrays an age in which Christianity … Continue reading The Nameless God: Ingmar Bergman’s Mythical Tale “The Virgin Spring”

In Federico Fellini’s Words: Movies = Dreams

Talking about dreams is like talking about movies, since the cinema uses the language of dreams; years can pass in a second, and you can hop from one place to another. It's a language made of image. And in the real cinema, every object and every light means something, as in a dream. Federico Fellini … Continue reading In Federico Fellini’s Words: Movies = Dreams

Chastity and Carnality Shot in Monochrome: Pawlikowski’s “Ida”

  Pawlikowski once said that “Ida doesn’t set out to explain history. That’s not what it’s about. The story is focused on very concrete and complex characters who are full of humanity with all its paradoxes. They’re not pawns used to illustrate some version of history or an ideology.” I find this to be immensely … Continue reading Chastity and Carnality Shot in Monochrome: Pawlikowski’s “Ida”

January – Black and White European Cinema Month

The first article I have published this year on this site was about a contemporary black-and-white Hungarian film Werckmeister Harmonies (2000), with the title “A Mortal God”. In this article, I explored the apocalyptic symbolism behind a decaying whale, and the pessimist philosophy of cosmic proportions presented in the film. Later, another article about a … Continue reading January – Black and White European Cinema Month

Everlasting Iniquities of the Fathers: Haneke’s “The White Ribbon”

The White Ribbon is, as it is proclaimed at the beginning of the film: “A German’s Children Story”. It is narrated by the School Teacher who is now in his late years, and has presumably survived two World Wars. He says “I don’t know if the story I am about to tell you is entirely … Continue reading Everlasting Iniquities of the Fathers: Haneke’s “The White Ribbon”

In Michael Haneke’s Words: Confrontation with the Unknown

“I like the multiplicity of books, because each book is different in the mind of each reader. It's the same with this film - if 300 people are in a cinema watching it, they will all see a different film, so in a way there are thousands of different versions of "Caché (Hidden)". The point … Continue reading In Michael Haneke’s Words: Confrontation with the Unknown

Decay of a Mortal God: Béla Tarr’s “Werckmeister Harmonies”

Valuska, a dreamy, and intellectually “slow” postman, with a poetic understanding of his surroundings, stages a little scene with a bunch of weary drunkards, in a bar, at the very beginning of the film. He arranges the drunkards to act the roles of the the Moon and the Earth, as they revolve around the Sun. … Continue reading Decay of a Mortal God: Béla Tarr’s “Werckmeister Harmonies”

In Béla Tarr’s Words: Evolution in Understanding of Art, Life and Cinema

“At the beginning of my career, I had a lot of social anger. I just wanted to tell you how fucked up the society is. This was the beginning. Afterwards, I began to understand that the problems were not only social; they are deeper. I thought they were only ontological and when I understood more … Continue reading In Béla Tarr’s Words: Evolution in Understanding of Art, Life and Cinema