Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα love. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα love. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Πέμπτη, 8 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Ida (2013)




Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Writers: Pawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz 
Stars: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik
Production: Poland | Denmark | France | UK
Duration:  82 min

Ida is a strong, uncompromising film, whose immense power and raw beauty are indisputable. This is a winner film. Magnetic, raw, real. For its direction, its content, its everything. Yes, "Ida" is my favorite 2014 film and a masterpiece. 

1960s, Poland. Anna is a young novitiate nun and about to take her vows. She was brought up by nuns and was nurtured with Christianity. Before she takes the ultimate step she is urged by her superior to visit her last living relative, her aunt. Wanda is a formerly powerful judge of the regime, now an alcoholic and full with guilt. She meets with Anna and unfolds the secret story of her real identity. Anna is Jewish and her name is Ida. 

A lost secret family chronicle will be revealed to Anna - now Ida - frustrating her innocent and pure soul. She will decide to follow Walda on a journey of discovering her past, what happened to her parents and why her aunt is so depressed. 

This poetic depiction of the lost past of Ida guides the narration in a delicate and profound way. The subtle direction, infused with an amazing composition of frames, together with the profound silence offer few clue elements that are mostly hints on where the path of Ida is going in life. 

Pawlikowski chooses to show with his frames - through the cameras of the talented cinematographers Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal - an unprecedented intensity in those two women's lives. This films has such an integrity, it knows what is doing and where is going, and this is one of the things that add up to its greatness. 

The framing of the shots plays a crucial role in the poetic illustration of life and especially of Ida's life. Concealing or intensifying details or even changing the center of attention has unexpected results. You feel there present, but not in the way you think. You feel you see more than you are shown, you sense everything that happens on screen, the characters' pain, feelings and so much more. You get lost but this is the magic of it. 

Ida will be faced with life itself, her choices and dreams, her own destiny. Wanda will be faced with her own past and the guilt she carries for years about choosing the regime instead of her family. Redemption will struggle to find its way through those women's lives and love will unfold again in order to transform the painful past. 

Both Agata Kulesza and Agata Trzebuchowska, the first experienced and the second in her acting debut, synchronize their performances creating a harmonic but intense acting duet. The crudeness expressed with the extraordinary black and white photography helps them achieve what I call symmetrical beauty in the film. They fill each other and their relationship. With the determination of the one and the submission of the other, those two characters evolve, creating something unique. 

This magnetic film talks about the power of choice, the burden of guilt and the darkness of lost secrets. It opens a dialog about desperation, devotion but above all about human connection beyond any kind of religion. Religion is just a shelter, a cover, something to help people define their identities. But people give power to people. And actions fuel people's lives. And we shouldn't forget this. 





Τρίτη, 5 Νοεμβρίου 2013

The sessions (2012)

The sessions (2012)
Director: Ben Lewin
Writer: Ben Lewin, Mark O'Brien (article)
With: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
Duration: USA
Production: 95’

One of the words that pop up in your head watching this movie is heartbreaking honesty.

Characterized as the Festival Hit of the year, “The Sessions” made an impression on the crowd for its obvious - almost unintentionally looking - naivety. It had gained an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for the indeed extraordinary Helen Hunt and some more Festival awards with most important that of Sundance (Audience Award and Special Jury Prize).

Based on the article of Mark O'Brien, the same person we see on screen, the same unique character that suffered from polio at age of 6 and used an iron lung until his death, the true, inspiring story of a man who wanted to experience life in its full extent. A man who was craving for real love, for true feelings of affection and wanted to know everything about the magic of making love.

Mark is living a peaceful life at his house. He has a special lady to clean him up, help him shop his vintage shirts and feed him. After not feeling comfortable with his latest assistant, he goes on a hunt of finding the perfect candidate. Through this process he realizes how much he wants to seize being a virgin.  How much he truly wants to experience sexual intercourse, aka having sex.

He is a devoted Catholic and with the ethical guide of his priest he decides to take this journey and hire a sex surrogate. The priest, such an amusing character given by William H. Macy, is his listener, his way of making amends with God himself, but most of all is his true friend who watches a grown disabled man with a pure heart to wish for something so natural and normal. He deletes any kind of religious boundaries and manages to advise him as a true friend.

After he already decided to act upon his decision to have sex and feel real love, he contacts his therapist who introduces him to Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex surrogate who has a normal, conventional life. The relationship they create will change them both. To his journey towards manhood, Mark discovers how he can love, how he can express himself and his tortured body.

And then except Helen Hunt, you get an astonishing performance by John Hawkes. His facial expressions of a simple, honest, full of humor disabled man transfer the uniqueness of this true story into our own eyes as we watch his life transforming into the beautiful experience it can be. By fulfilling only this simple wish, which for any other is something so “easy to get”, he is finally the person who always wanted to be – complete. Complete with love, sex, emotions, moments, happiness and life, no matter the difficulties. 

The simplicity that accompanies The Sessions’ direction by Ben Lewin can be shown in the clean shots of his characters. The colorful universe Mark lives in, even if for some can provoke pity, Lewin manages to convey exactly the opposite. He makes you feel proud and admire Mark for his integrity, his way of thinking, his romance, his own extraordinary life.

The talent of Mark deleting any kind of awkwardness and taboo concerning sex and its content is also the director’s talent not to make it look weird in any context. Mark and his character win everyone over with his innocence, his ignorance, his unlikeness. He is sweet and so unpredictable beautiful, a beauty that comes from inside and glows on the outside. What if he is marked by the “disabled” tag, the people and their lives he touched with his simplicity are living proof that tags and people don’t match.  


Mark’s story is a constant lesson to all of us who seek perfection and happiness in a life that is most of all beautiful and interesting just the way it is. 

Τετάρτη, 23 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Director: Alain Resnais
Writer:  Marguerite Duras
With: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas
Duration: 90’
Production: France, Japan

Elle is a French actress shooting a movie in Hiroshima. She meets Lui, a married Japanese architect. Together they share their opinions about the war, about life and love, until all of their past is being unraveled.

This movie and its story have a strong sentimental base. At the beginning the war pictures and the words that accompany them are breathtaking. We are being introduced to a couple that met in Hiroshima. The details of their relationship and their background are being slowly revealed.

First everything is about the war. As the story goes the focus changes and goes to the couple’s past, particularly Elle’s past. Then, she will slowly expose herself to buried memories and feelings. The strong and confident French actress will become a scared little girl and nothing can save her. She is exposed to love, sentiments, and strong feelings. Slowly she will remember that once she did fell all these again. The turbulence that the past provokes makes her act in complete denial of the present.

The constant denial of Elle’s lover depicts the general denial of such a destructive war that makes your heart doom. The power of her own story is so magnificent that deletes somehow the struggle of their departure (she has to go back to France to her husband, he is married in Hiroshima).

Several images scattered create the essence of memories tried to be forgotten through the years, the alcohol though, manages to withdraw them from the oblivion darkness to the realistic surface of the present. He listens carefully as the moments of grief and despair she recalls appear, pretending to be the lover she lost once and for all.

All these information she reveals, do expose why she has lived what she has lived, but not in any case justify the actions of her surroundings towards her. Her betrayal is so powerful her own parents lock her in this basement; she is being constantly humiliated for this unfortunate – but so fortunate for her still – affair with the German soldier during the Nazi occupation.

She loved him with all of her human senses. She never regrets her love for him and now this Japanese man makes her relive this strength in her soul. He makes her remember the true love she once experienced and so tragically lost. She is deadly afraid that all these will happen again. Scared and alone she starts drifting through Hiroshima, trying to settle her thoughts, trying to put her own feelings in order.

He is following her, trying to convince her to stay with him, but she – like a dog experiencing a traumatic incident – believes that such a strong love will result to her “imprisonment” again. The loss, the emptiness, the grief of losing a lover were so intense, she never wants to live it again. The unclear ending proves not only that the destinations does not even matter, but also that strong feelings can overcome any type of fear ever existed in one’s mind and soul.


Yes she probably stayed, we don’t know for how long, we will never know, but at least she managed to talk about this traumatic experience, to let it out, there exposed, ready to be judged or dismissed. She managed to somehow accept it deep in her heart, without accusing or regretting, but only sharing it, reliving it and finally discarding it to permanent oblivion