I’ve watched a ton of films lately, but I haven’t posted about any of them – and I’ve pondered a bit why that is. Today, after finishing a far too thick and comprehensive anthology about film criticism I struck upon a possible answer. It’s all the film theories fault.
For instance this is what one theorist said in regards to romantic films (or genres of indeterminate space
as he calls them. Don’t ask.): [...]These genres rely upon a progression from romantic antagonism to eventual embrace. The kiss or embrace signals the integration of the couple into the larger cultural community.
I’ve come to suspect that theories like this work in direct opposition to my enjoyment of the film. I mean would you want to contemplate the integration in the cultural community when all you really want to do is watch Mr. Thornton kiss Margareth?
But at any rate, I’ve decided to get my act together, and actually write a bit about all the films I see:Harakiri
(1962) ( poster )
Two things you should now about this film:
1. I think it is possibly one of the best films I have ever
2. I’m a bit loathed to talk about the plot, because there are some twists and turns that really work best if you’re unspoiled.
The story starts with the ronin Hanshiro Tsugumo (played brilliantly by Tatsuya Nakadai) one day showing up at the house of the feudal lord Saito, and asking for a suitable place to commit Harakiri. While readying for his suicide Tsugumo starts to tell the lord his story, and slowly but surely we learn the reason behind his actions. ( +++++ ) Ni Liv
or Nine Lives
(1957) ( poster )
This is a Norwegian film detailing events during the German occupation of World War II. I don’t usually watch Norwegian films, as they are often uniformly bad. (and if you think – silly me, how bad can they be, then picture a film containing a fifteen minuets long, graphic sex scene on top of live herring
! And if you picture watching that film with your class and an extremely religious teacher then you have a bit of my embarrassed youth to go with) But back to Nine Lives
, which has the distinction of being not bad. In fact it is very, very good.
It details the exploits of the resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud, who has the rather unfortunate fate of being on the run from the Nazis in rural North Norway. As a result of this he gets to swin across an icy fjord while being shot at, and in one particularly memorable scene cut of his own toes because they have become infected with frostbite. And that is just the first half of the movie. ( ++++ )