Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013) “Paradoxes of Humanity”

  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 Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013) “Paradoxes of Humanity”

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

The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009) “Iniquities of the Fathers”

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 The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009) “Iniquities of the Fathers”

Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, 2000) “A Mortal God”

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 Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, 2000) “A Mortal God”

Through A Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman, 1961) “Vision of God As A Spider”

In the thirteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, St Paul says: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I also am known”. In these St Paul’s words, practically the whole film Through the Glass … Continue reading Through A Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman, 1961) “Vision of God As A Spider”

The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) “The Psychology of Fascism”

Bernardo Bertolucci's tour de force follows a fascist agent of the secret police whose assignment is to assassinate his former university professor. Set mostly in 1938., it doesn't deal with broader societal aspects of the rulling regime, it is a study of a personality, Marcello's, who willingly serves the fascist regime. When one of the … Continue reading The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) “The Psychology of Fascism”

Youth (Paolo Sorrentino, 2015) “Fragments of Life’s Evening “

To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine. Ralph Waldo Emerson We might add that this applies to the filmmakers like Paolo Sorrentino as well. Sorretino portrays the holiness of days passing and the divine in men with particular … Continue reading Youth (Paolo Sorrentino, 2015) “Fragments of Life’s Evening “

The Lives of Others (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 (2006) “Auschwitz of the Soul”

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Alan Resnais, 1959) “…Nevers Mon Amour”

Hiroshima Mon Amour, directed by Alan Resnais, opens with a close-up of an arm and body amorously entangled. They are in the dark, their bodies are joined and small particles, resembling ashes or sand (as the sands of time), are falling and covering them. They are caressing and soon begin to glow, as they are … Continue reading Hiroshima Mon Amour (Alan Resnais, 1959) “…Nevers Mon Amour”

Death In Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971) “Beauty Amidst Decay”

Luchino Visconti’s Death In Venice is an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novel; it follows Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde), a composer who, due to ill health, comes to Venice. The film explores the encounter of true beauty amidst the decay – Venice is struck down by a plague toward the end of the film. The … Continue reading Death In Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971) “Beauty Amidst Decay”