Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Week of Movie Watching

I’m Not Scared – Wow. This was a real treat. This Italian thriller from 2004 started out reminding me a bit of the great Dutch film The Vanishing, with the way that it prods the imagination – We almost don’t want to watch, because we fear that our worst thoughts might be correct. It concerns a young boy who makes a horrifying discovery, and comes to the slow realization that his father is involved in it. The opening passages are brilliantly macabre, and even though it shifts gears to a more standard crime movie, it’s a wonderful watch. The locations in Southern Italy are utterly gorgeous. Enthusiastically recommended.

The Burmese Harp – I am a huge admirer of the films of Kon Ichikawa, but I had never seen this, the one that put him on the international map in 1957. It’s the story of a Japanese soldier of the Burma campaign who is traumatized by what he sees, becomes a monk, and takes on the duty of burying his dead comrades. This makes a good companion for Ichikawa’s great anti-war film Fires on the Plain. The films mine similar ground, but they are different in style. Where Fires is sharp and angry, this one is quiet and melancholy. A great film, heartily recommended.

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