A few films I've seen recently that made more of an impression than usual:

"Lepa sela, lepo gore" feels like the Serbian version of Catch-22. Very nasty, humorous, unflinchingly direct and I liked it a lot (as far as one can 'like' war-themed films that weren't shot through a pink matte filter and with the regisseur on tranquilizers). It's been criticized as being overly pro-Serbian, but I think that as far as its story goes it shows all the combatants simply similarly mad (and what multi-ethnicity civil war isn't mad...).

Another film from that unhappy corner of the world just outside of home is "Grbavica" which I think is at least as good - but lots darker. It covers life in post-war Sarajevo. No gore - nevertheless not an easy film to watch but really, really worth it.

Less strong (and more mainstream), but still quite good was "Savior". The storyline is a bit odd, starts slightly superhero-esque but that doesn't last too long and fortunately the american financiers didn't insist on some kind of cotton candy happy end - which would have ruined the film.

Then of course there's "No Man's Land", which feels like Catch-22 played out in three rooms: a trench, a bunker and the outside. More nasty humour, not as bleak as the previous films. Personally I found it more long-winded than the previous but still very good. (But the Dutch movie about them sitting on their hands during one of the major massacres was better.)

"Welcome to Sarajevo" is great, but I think it could have been darker and then would have been even better. I don't think it showed the horrors of the siege clearly enough, or maybe not well enough for me: I prefer a film that's hard to watch but powerful over an "easy listening" happy film. For example, in my book "Lilya 4-ever" wins over "Come and See", which in turn wins over "Saints and Soldiers".

Finally, the recent film with the most impact for me was "Vengo". A very lean, clean, beautiful film about Andalusia. The story is very Spanish, a deadly feud among families and their men, and it's beautifully filmed. But the music is what makes it extra-special (it won a Cesar) and includes beauties like a mix of sufi and flamenco (complete with some whirling dervish dances). Of course everything ends pretty tragic, but that's certainly part of the magic. Very much recommended, if you are (like me) allergic to hollywood garbage.

[ published on Thu 13.08.2009 00:02 | filed in interests | ]

Two days ago was the eigth anniversary of my arrival in Australia. Sometimes that feels like yesterday, sometimes more like three lives ago.

Today is also the sixth anniversary of moving into this house. For lots of Australians six years in one place is three lives ago; many deal with houses like crab shells: too small, ugly, whatever? then let's molt^Wmove and forget the old carcass. The housing industry obliges by mainly offering shoddily built disposables. sigh.

[ published on Wed 12.08.2009 20:51 | filed in still-not-king | ]

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