Friday, May 31, 2013

Escape from Sobibor

The only rebellion in a WW2 concentration camp occurred in Sobibor, Poland. The grim subject of the holocaust has spawned a genre, such being its macabre fascination. It shows us human behavior at the very boundaries. The topic being well documented, the present film makes box office capital, albeit with expertise and within the bounds of taste.

Out of the Past

1947, 90m
Cigarette smoke enfolds the radiant black and white. Romance, crime and double cross improbably entwine to beguile you in aromatic nostalgia.

Ebert on cinema noire

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Visitor from the Living

1979, Claude Lanzmann

An ICRC representative (Maurice Rossel) visits a notorious concentration camp in 1942. Meanwhile, months of preparation have already gone into putting in place an elaborate deception so that the representative is completely fooled into thinking that nothing terribly wrong is going on. More than anything else it is the victims-to-be themselves, who have been terrorized into staging the drama of deception.The film is an offshoot of the footage of the classic Shoah, Lanzmann's definitive study of the holocaust.



2008, 90m, Steve McQueen

Bobby Sands, an Irish nationalist, died on the 66th day of his hunger strike, in 1981,while in custody of British authorities,during the tenure of Margaret Thatcher. He was in mid twenties. His mother visits him in prison and tells him he is looking fine. In a conversation with a priest trying to dissuade him from his course, the ethical dimension is debated. In another sequence, we are informed of the physiological aspects of starvation. A riveting drama.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Karski Report

48m,Claude Lanzmann
 An extension of the film Shoah. Jan Karski is a Polish American professor and former member of Polish underground in WW2.


1944, 88m
A nostalgic b/w murder mystery with sufficient twists and turns and swinging of the needle of suspicion to keep one glued till the last bullet is fired.
Quoting Roger Ebert:
"That “Laura” continues to weave a spell -- and it does -- is a tribute to style over sanity...the whole film is of a piece: contrived, artificial, mannered, and yet achieving a kind of perfection in its balance between low motives and high style."

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Life to Live

Godard, 1962
Divided into twelve brief episodes accompanied by narration, starring Godard's wife, the film chronicles the life of a streetwalker. This is a poignant, compassionate film, about a person distinguished only by her ordinariness.
Quoting Ebert:
"With her porcelain skin, her wary eyes, her helmet of shiny black hair, her chic outfits, always smoking, hiding her feelings, she is a young woman of Paris......She plays pinball. She works in a record store. She needs money. She tries to steal her flat key.....but is caught and frog-marched to the street, her arm twisted behind her. She has no home and no money. Is this her fault, or fate? Why did she leave Paul? Has she no feelings for her child?"