It’s Only the End of the World (2016)
This is my second post for the amazing O Canada! Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy (check out some of the amazing entries here).
“There I was…after twelve years of absence, and in spite of my fear, I was going to visit them. In life, there are a number of motivations…that force you to leave, without looking back. And there are just as many motivations that force you to return. So after all those years, I decided to retrace my steps. Take the journey…to announce my death.” Such are the thoughts of a young man named Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) as he takes a plane journey to visit his estranged family after twelve years of absence. Louis suffers from a terminal illness, which means that death is at his doorstep. Few directors working today can convey the depth of emotion through a cinematic lense as masterfully as Xavier Dolan can, and “It’s Only the End of the World” is yet another film which is a proof of that statement. In this movie, Dolan demonstrates that he can exercise visual restraint, but “It’s Only the End of the World” still ends up being as potent, emotionally-moving and convincing as his previous work.
Eastern Promises (2007)
“Eastern Promises” is David Cronenerg’s 18th big film starring Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel and Naomi Watts. The script is written by Steven Knight, better known for “Amazing Grace” (2006) and “Locke” (2013), and the movie starts with a young Eastern European girl dying during childbirth, leaving her baby girl and a diary behind, which is then taken into care/examination by a nurse called Anna (Watts) in a London hospital. Upon the diary’s examination, Anna discovers that it is very probable that the young girl has suffered badly at the hands of certain individuals, which takes her deep into the seat of a London-based Russian mafia and its operation.
Tale of Tales (2015)
Directed by Matteo Garrone, best known for his raw crime drama Gomorrah (2008), “Tale of Tales” or “Il Racconto dei Racconti” is a fantasy horror film which comprises three main stories seemingly running in parallel. The first story starts with the Queen (Salma Hayek) and King (John C. Reilly) of the kingdom Longtrellis, desperately wanting a child but who are unable to have one, thereby resorting to extreme clandestine measures of killing a sea monster and consuming its heart to have a son, whose identical twin is also the son of a servant woman. Another story tells of the King of the kingdom Highhills (Toby Jones) arranging a tournament to wed his only daughter Violet (Bebe Cave) by making participants guess the large creature whose skin is on the display – the skin is that of a flea. The third story centers on two elderly sisters who live calmly away from the public eye only for their peace to be shuttered when one of the sisters becomes bewitched and transformed into a young beauty (Stacy Martin) who, in turn, becomes the centre of affection for the lustful King of the kingdom Strongcliff (Vincent Cassel).
This may not be Jean Cocteau classic, but something must explain its current opening success in Italy. There are things here I like: Vincent Cassel as Beast/Prince, a powerful soundtrack and great visuals. I hear the story does not live up to all the visuals, but it’s a rule, rather than an exception today. Apparently, there is another “Beauty and the Beast” movie to be announced with Emma Watson in it, but we will also see other Disney animation-themed movies soon. Joe Wright is directing “Pan” (2015), “the origin” story of Peter Pan staring Hugh Jackman; “Maleficent” (2014) with Angelina Jolie is coming soon, and we anticipate (for years now) “a darker version” of the fairy-tale “Pinocchio” (2016) – an animated film directed by Guillermo del Toro.
Modern era and in no particular order:
1. La Haine (Hate) (1995)
A Dangerous Method (2011)
With “A Dangerous Method“, David Cronenberg (director) has the plan to immerse the audience into the world of a forbidden love affair and an intellectual discourse on the fascinating topic of human psychiatry. The film follows the complicated working relationship between two of the most prominent psychoanalysts of the 20th century, Professor Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Dr Jung (Michael Fassbender), as well as shows Dr Jung’s sophisticated affair with his “hysterical” Russian patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). Although nearly all the actors in the movie give praise-worthy performances, the film is also emotionally empty, predictable and, ironically, generally uninteresting.
Black Swan (2010)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky (‘Requiem for a Dream’ (2000)), ‘Black Swan’ is an ambitious psychological horror film promising to submerge the viewer into the world of classical ballet, game of sexual seduction and pure psychological delirium, but has it delivered?
In ‘Black Swan’, Natalie Portman plays Nina, a ballet dancer in a respected dance company headed by Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel). Leroy is to stage a new production of ‘Swan Lake’, and chooses Nina as his Swan Queen. Although Leroy is sure that Nina can dance the beautiful, fragile and innocent White Swan, he is not convinced that she can dance the Black Swan, who is a confident, strong, seductive and lustful ‘twin’ of the White Swan. There is also another ballerina in the company, named Lily (Mila Kunis), who seems to fit the Black Swan image perfectly. She is more in-tune with her sensual nature and is more relaxed on stage than Nina. There is also Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder), a retiring ballerina, who is both the source of Nina’s inspiration and a warning for her. As Nina’s debut in ‘Swan Lake’ approaches, Nina’s domineering mother (Barbara Hershey) exert more and more pressure on her, and Nina’s acquaintance with Lily produces some unexpected results, leading to Nina’s rapid physical and psychological breakdown/metamorphosis.