We finally joined Netflix. As a result, all evenings in recent memory are devoted to dvd watching. Want to spend a few words on a few movies.
A City of God(2003)
Gangsters in the ghetto of Rio, Brazil. The color was de-saturated but still rich with warmth. The language of cinematography was the most impressive. The way of the lenses was used to narrate the story. We saw people¡¯s idea expanding with wide angle shots on the soccer field, we saw one gangster¡¯s attempt to escape the inescapable as the camera moving across the ghetto languidly from the air, etc.. The innovative ways of cinematography reminds me of Before Night Falls.
¡°Violence is a one-way ticket.¡± I thought to myself as the movie ends.
The movie was all about Charlize Theron, her acting was truly Oscar-worth. The story, somehow, was still too detached. The director wants to inform viewers of certain sides of the ¡°Monster¡± the mainstream media didn¡¯t bother to investigate. But the story didn¡¯t connect. Viewers remained an outsider throughout, examining the life of Aileen as if examining exotic specie in a zoo.
One curious aspect of the movie was the slowly degradation of Aileen¡¯s attitude toward violence. At the very beginning, she CHOOSES her victims. Often she would spare her ¡°John¡±¡¯s life when she deemed him not a bad guy. That was the ¡°honeymoon¡± period of her violent life. She was in control, finally. But soon, the control of her conscience started to slip out of her hands. The violence itself started dominating her. ¡°A violence means can never produce a peaceful end.¡± Someone once said, I guess he was right.
I¡¯ve seen Frida in the theatre. Loved it so much that I put it on my netflix queue again, and also because Mi has never seen it. I, myself, watched the film one more time with the director¡¯s commentary on. It was fascinating to see all the subtle connections the director had intended, such as the two incidents when Diego opened a door into Frida¡¯s home; the prominent role of the four poster bed played in Frida¡¯s life; the prophecy of Diego¡¯s fall told by the skyscraper-climbing King-koon in Frida¡¯s imagination; and all the famous paintings of Frida recreated into three dimensional scenes in the movie¡
Shortly after watching Frida in the theatre, I read a Chinese female journalist (she was known as the most famous celebrity reporter in China then)¡¯s article on Frida. I remember myself being furious with the journalist¡¯s point of view. She basically said Frida proved the vulnerability of female sex, who had always to remain secondary to the male specie. ¡°How could someone mis-read the movie to such a degree?!¡± I remember writing to Gui, ¡°I so want to spank the author to wake up!¡± But then I did have some lingering doubt, could it be that I didn¡¯t catch the undertone of the movie? Maybe I only saw the strong Frida and missed her weakness? Watching it again proved that lingering of doubt false. Frida did has her vulnerability, but her vitality, her strength and her boldness were still the prominent of her life. She was every bit a equal, if not a superior, to her husband.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
I¡¯ve been boycotting this movie due to its conservative supports. But Mi was curious because he had heard how exquisite the production was and how refined the imageries were. So I watched it with him. I¡¯m glad I did, because now I can laugh at it with confidence. The movie was more empty than I had expected. Very similar to Dubya¡¯s campaign platform, the movie is rich in grandeur gestures, but significantly lacking in substance. Not much thinking has been put into the philosophy and history of Christ¡¯ death, all it had was plenty of polished imageries stolen from plenty of religious paintings and sculptures from Renaissance. [Sneer].
I¡¯ve heard so much about this cult classic, now I finally watched it. But I find myself having nothing to say about it. It is an interesting movie. Not very Hollywood. Which means it didn¡¯t try to insult viewers intelligence by explaining every detail to death. But I don¡¯t find it THAT amazing, either. It did remind me of the recent movie Collateral, though. Maybe because both were centered in a taxi cab. Under comparison, I like Collateral better because it has more warmth.