Τρίτη, 6 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Deux jours, une nuit (2014)



Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Writers: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Stars: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salée
Production: Belgium | France | Italy
Duration: 95min

It is Friday noon. Sandra discovers that she has been "released" by her duties in her work. Unless she manages to convince her fellow colleagues to give up their annual bonuses, at the end of the weekend she will be dismissed. She has "two days and one night" exactly in order to go on this unusual quest. The results can be destructive or constructive. 

But Sandra is not feeling so good. She has been absent from work a couple of days due to "sickness". All this proves to be extremely hard for her. This cruel dilemma that was put upon all workers is causing her extreme stress. To who wouldn't either way? Standing at people's doors and asking for a chance to keep her job feels like begging to her eyes. With the help of her beloved husband she finds slowly the necessary courage to pursue what she deserves.

The Belgian Dardenne brothers, known for their usual Cannes presence, having won two times the Palme d'Or (Rosetta - 1999, L'enfant - 2005) and being nominated a couple of times for it - the same for the Grand Prize of the Jury - , including this year for Deux jours, une nuit (2014), they have shown a consistent line of work that is acclaimed but mostly impressive. 

Their cinema is raw and intense. It always focuses on realism and the socially underprivileged. It is not happy or shiny, it is how life is below the surface, where financial struggles and social absence are everyday obstacles. You never see something overdone or over-shown in their films. No extra sentimentalities, no extra drama. You only see how life really is with its passions and defeats.  

This nerve-wracking dilemma being put by the boss causes different reactions to people. Some understand, some doubt, others react. It is understandable. What would you do if you were in their position? Would you give up a bonus that would help you pay some extra expenses, would you sacrifice someone's life for that? Maybe there is no need to do that. Maybe you have already decided. 

Here, we become witnesses of a society and its broken ethics. Many of those people are also not so privileged, others need the money to get through the year, others to extend their houses. Sandra is kind and submissive. She understands and doesn't put up a fight. Even asking for their vote is already overwhelming for her. But this action, knocking on 10 different people's doors, reveals a full profile of the average modern European. Solidarity is tending to disappear or was it ever there (?) and today's ethics have been shuttered under the enormous burden of the social and financial crisis. 

Sandra might be psychologically weak, but she demonstrates a huge capacity of perseverance, even if she needs to be pushed. She takes small steps towards the accomplishment of her difficult task and understands gradually the importance of defeat. There is the necessity to win this fight, but ultimately it means only one thing; it doesn't matter if you lose or win, you have at least tried. And it seems that Sandra has already given up before this journey even begun. Now she is learning the importance of getting through it. And Marion Cotillard keeps proving her vast acting talent. Her vulnerability and strength at the same time are imposing. 

Through the unstable movements of the camera, Sandra's unstable state is intensified. However there is no character development. We never learn what happened to cause her anxiety and depression. But this is not important. The Dardenne brothers don't care for that. They care about the decadence of today's world, this moral decay and absence of personal principles we experience today. No judging or blaming, this is left to you to do. 

Πέμπτη, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

My week in movies #3

Winter has definitely arrived here in the Netherlands and what is the best way to get through it? Yes, you got it, movies. So, a nice film, some warm chocolate (probably wine) and good company are the basics you need for this winter. Here, I have a list of some of the films I managed to watch the past week(s). This list can be used as a suggestion for a film when you don't know what to watch and as an informative critical piece about films you might have already seen or planning to – either in the cinemas or at home.

(You can find detailed plots through each title linking to Imdb)

The following reviews are from my Letterbox profile.







Based on the novel of Jack Kerouac, this film unfortunately failed to keep up with the expectations it raised. It is a road movie (?), but the constant drunk and sex scenes dominate the meretricious beat narration. The actors, along with the story, are trapped in nice shots and seemingly meaningful narration. It tried too hard to represent the beat generation and to follow that sense of life. OK, the beats were using drugs and were experimenting in all levels, but this film wanted to show too much of it, becoming that way something very 'small' in the film world. Sex and drugs were something new back then, but today they have become obsolete. And what really matters today is the beat generation's literary heritage.





Two guys are working on a remote highway road, having to deal - except for the solitary challenges of this construction job - with mostly each other. Alvin is the oldest and seemingly the wisest and Lance the youngest, ignorant one. Alvin is maintaining a relationship with Lance's sister, something that complicates their relationship even more. They don't like each other, but they do need each other. To work, to survive, to get over anything that seems to trouble them from their previous urban lives.

The multiple gaps in the story and the many information we never learn about the character's background, are the main disadvantages of this film. It really lacks in content. Some beautiful shots in the remote Texan nature are not enough to elevate this film from a below medium position to a decent one. It is funny at times and the actors show their potential, but again they stumble on the weak narration and the almost absent story. We don't see any character development, anything to prove that there is a story. Only their relationship is shown with long shots and funny lines. But is there really anything more to it?






What can I say for a movie when thousands of reviews and articles have already been written for? Nothing more than my humble and honest opinion. It really amazed me with how much love and dedication Nolan made this film. He didn't do anything at random. He wrote a story, dealing with the exploration of time travel, black holes and gravity, that has a deep human base: love.

He took the logical scientific facts and put them in a frame of purity and tenderness about the essence of our nature. He really knows how to make high quality cinema that also becomes a sensation selling thousands of tickets. But this doesn't really say anything to me. What does is his devotion to his vision, his profound intelligence and his talent to dive into space with total conscience of his abilities, his restrictions, his imagination and most of all his modest humanity.

Space is vast and is mostly depicted with fear and awe from humans. The fact that we haven't discover all its secrets makes it even more dark and mysterious. Nolan managed to unlock - even if it is not completely scientifically correct - this big chest of those mysteries and explore the deepest of our imagination and potential. The key he used to open this chest, the key with which he gave meaning to all the uncertainties of our universe is our own human nature. Our love and affection moves around our existence. Our emotions and memories are the fuel that keeps us moving, that makes us who we are, that makes us humans.






An extremely powerful story about a middle aged woman and a 17 year old boy, who shared a passionate love affair in Post-WWII Germany. After the abrupt ending of this relationship, the - now law student - boy discovers that the woman he fell in love with, almost 10 years ago, is on trial for war crimes.

A deep and emotional film with three different narration points and an extraordinary Kate Winslet giving the performance of her life (she won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Oscar in 2009). I really found this a breathtaking story that blew me away. And when you like a movie so much instantly, you tend to ignore some faults in direction or in narration that might have occurred. To me, it made perfect sense exactly how it was made, even if my critical thinking tries to remind me at times of all the flaws.

I am still amazed of how this proud woman overflows with guilt about her past and actions and prefers to carry the burden of her illiteracy all by herself. Her strength is proving to be her greatest weakness. All those contradictions of her character make sense only though the filter of true love. Because she was (and still is) loved. So intense and so deep by a young ignorant boy that everything else seems trivial. 

This boy will later also be torn apart by this awful burden of guilt because of his choice to turn his back to his one and true love. The tragedy of the story finds peace somehow to its core. Their true love. Because they both shared that in their lives. At least they had the chance to experience each other's love.






I found this film enormously funny and enjoyable. Bill Murray was made for this role. He took it and made it his. Vincent is a filthy old drunk, completely rude and hateful towards everyone he meets. He is bitter with life and sarcasm is his second nature. He soon dries up from money and realizes he can be the baby-sitter of his neighbor's son, when one day the kid gets bullied and with his keys stolen he asks Vincent for help. It sounds like the typical story of bad-grumpy old guy meeting young kid and becoming good again, but here something is different.

Vincent doesn't seem to change and it becomes clear enough that he always had a good heart, he just needs to be reminded of it. The young boy, Oliver, enters his life abruptly and becomes something like the son Vincent never had, somebody to show the filthy world we live in, somebody to trust. Even if Vincent doesn't really trust anybody.

One of the last scenes of the film is one of the most touching- like ever. Oliver is presenting his assignment about a saint he knows, revealing to the crowd that saints are endurable, tough people who are not afraid to be themselves and make a difference in the world. And his saint is Vincent of course.

The story has a lot of ups and downs. A lot of stuff is being revealed about Vincent and his past, the possible reasons behind his behavior. Generally the film contains a lot of info about him, leaving the other characters under his shadow. But we don't care about that, because we only think of him and we subconsciously consider of our own Vincents, or even better, our own Vincent side.

This is an honest film with loads of awesome funny moments, especially if you are a fan of Murray. Let your heart go with it and you will realize its true magic, even if not everything in it is perfect. Just like Vincent himself.




Τετάρτη, 26 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Stories We Tell (2012)





Director: Sarah Polley
Writers: Sarah Polley, Michael Polley (narration)
Stars: Michael Polley, John Buchan, Mark Polley, Harry Gulkin
Production: Canada
Duration: 108'


This is a story of a family and their mother, whose personal life affected everyone around her. She is the mother of the director, Sarah Colley, an acclaimed Canadian filmmaker who decided to dive into her own past, her family's history in order to create one of the most breathtaking and deepest documentaries of our times. 

"Stories We Tell" talks about Diane, a young ambitious actress whose energy and vitality is contagious to the people who know her. One day, at a play she was participating, she met a young guy named Micheal who was meant to be her husband. With him she lived a happy shared life, along with their four children - two from a previous failed marriage of Diane - when Sarah was born. Their life didn't change that much, not until Diane passed away from cancer, when Sarah was still quite young. 

The youngest and most different of all, the director herself, gives the necessary space to her interviewees to unfold their own side of their family story, revealing - what started as a joke in the beginning - the possibility that Sarah might be the result of an short affair her mother had. After searching, Sarah will discover that her mother had indeed an affair when she played in a play years ago. What will she come across after this revelation that changed everybody's life? Who is the father and what will happen to Micheal if he finds out?

The unfolding of the many stories is not necessarily narrated with that order. What starts as a portrait of Diane and a family, slowly turns into a deeper and stronger story. Nothing is what it seems in the beginning and Sarah knows that. The interviews she held with her brothers and sisters, her father and friends of Diane, are revealing, through the powerful effect of the editing, a magnificent story about family bonding and love. 

The main story is being narrated by Micheal, Sarah's father, as a monologue that he wrote himself. He talks about his life and his relationship with Diane with pure honesty, displaying only particles of the stories we are being told. Sarah takes over the narration at times, leaving many of the protagonists to tell their own. Along with the interviews we see real footage of Diane through the years, but also reconstruction of her life with actors. Those glimpses of memory lost in time provide a melancholic and nostalgic tone to the film, like all these are happening to somebody else, anyone in this world, like those images are part of anyone's life. 

The way this personal documentary is filmed and edited is the main core of its importance. How she put the fragments together and how she managed to build this tension and this depth - without even trying to be sentimental - it is remarkable. Pieces of personal stories come together and create a mosaic that talks further from the obvious. It is not just a personal story anymore. Because the stories of each and everyone's lives are a mere reflection of our own current self. 

Sarah manages to talk about her own life with such an objectivity. She magnificently unfolds the stories of her own life without even intervening. It is like she is letting us do the judgment on either what is being told or the characters and their actions. The fact that we don't really see her clear point of view shows only the artistic and cinematic magnitude of her existence. Nobody could ever do this more successfully than Sarah Polley. 

While the stories unfold, we see how Sarah gives equal narration space to both of her fathers - the biological and the one who raised her. This decision does not minimize the importance of the story and it exalts the director even more. Michael is the father who raised her and loved her. A man who put his family first, neglecting at times his wife, is a lonely person with immense wit and humor. The biological father, a drifter who stares now at the past and the life he could have had, is someone quite different and yet a bit the same. The sure is they have one thing in common: their daughter. 

"Stories We Tell" is an immense proof of pure cinematic art and human influence. It changed the way personal stories are told by making the "my story" into an "our story", by making it universal. This documentary talks bravely about true love and life itself. How the course of our lives is so closely connected with the one of our families and our friends. This documentary is about us all, and not Sarah alone. It is about our own stories and the way they influence our very own future. This humanity and universality you discover here is and will be beyond comparison. 







Δευτέρα, 17 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Gone Girl (2014)




Director: David Fincher
Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens
Production: USA
Duration: 149'

It's been three whole years since Fincher's last (average for my taste) film "The girl with the dragon tattoo", but we had the pleasure to see him work for television in the addictive "House of Cards" Netflix series, unfortunately only in two episodes! Well, he is an executive producer, so we guess he soon will be joining the directors chair again. 

David Fincher has returned to his good old ways with some slight changes - towards perfection, let me add - in the way he sees human relationships and the evil that surrounds them. The story comes from the novel of Gillian Flynn - who also wrote the screenplay - and talks about Nick, an average guy, who wakes up one morning only to discover his wife Amy missing. 

Nick is supposed to be in distress, instead he is acting detached like an observer and while he is trying to figure out what the heck is going on, the basic narrative splits up in two revealing Amy's voice, who talks like a ghost from the past through the diaries she left behind. We suddenly witness two different lines of narrative that build up the story with great drama and suspense. You have Nick's side of the story and Amy-from-the-past story. Nick is frustrated and has to deal with both the police, who intensively suspect him, the parents - famous snobby writers - and the media - hungry for indecency. 

Nick is in the spotlight and he hates it. What has he done to deserve this? He lingers in memories and good  old feelings from when they met, when they married and when they both imagined a happy shared life. Amy is helping on that with her narrative. But something went wrong during those years. Or perhaps something was already wrong from the beginning. 

Ben Affleck manages to convey both the detachment and the fear of the character, but also to create a purely doubtful profile. Rosamund Pike has this delicate face and performs as she was waiting to play this character all her life. Raw and dark performances, just how we like it in Fincher's universe. 

The media of the country hunt him down and Nick becomes suddenly part of a media frenzy he can't avoid. A criticism on today's media for the continuous crave for the obscene is one of Fincher's points in this film. It is the obvious one. The other one is much more disturbing. How all of this attraction to obscenity derives from human nature. This is what he claims here. He puts our nature in the spot and acknowledges how drawn we are by the deepest and darkest parts of it.

Through the split narrative and the flashbacks in time, a mosaic of baffled circumstances is created about Amy's disappearance and possible murder, making the whole story even more intriguing, even more complicated. Multiple questions ran through your brain and you are struggling to find the answers that might reveal the reasons of those people's actions. 

This slow-boiling thriller displays an intense and raw direction from Fincher, who is considered the master of twisted turns in the stories he deals with and who knows very well how to deal with his characters. Amy knows all of Nick's secrets, thoughts, moves. He is exposed. Nick understands very deeply his wife. Do they really know  each other? Do they trust each other? The depth of their disturbed relationship emerges to the surface with amazing perplexity. 

Fincher knows extremely well how to manipulate a story and how to create real feelings for the characters. How their behavior is so contagiously affecting and how you as a viewer enter so deep into their reality. You get lost and confused by the ardent actions of those people. You become part of their story whether you like it or not. You can't escape. This is what Fincher does to you. 

One of the greatest things of this movie, in which you don't expect anything less than an absolute mind-fuck, is the fact of misconception and how in a glimpse of an eye, everything changes. Nothing is what it seems. Unfortunately I can't say more, because I will ruin the film experience for you, but one thing I can say is the  supreme greatness with which Fincher deals with his material and how he achieves this deep connection with the characters, so at the end you actually like those bastards, those sociopaths, those weirdos, those nasty nasty people. 

When you see this movie, be prepared to dive into a world of mischief and games. Games that can reveal more than you ever thought about the people around you, but mostly about yourself. 





Δευτέρα, 3 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Reality (2014) by Quentin Dupieux




71st Venice Film Festival 

(first published in the e-book of Nisimazine
http://issuu.com/emiliep/docs/ebook_venice/0)

REVIEW: Reality by Quentin Dupieux (France, Belgium) – Orrizonti

Quentin Dupieux, director of the infamous Rubber (2010), has come to Venice with luggage full of distorted realities or better to say a strange need to explore the idea of mixing everybody's dreams, making us wonder if anything of what we saw was part of a twisted game. “Reality” struggles hard to find the necessary balance between its real purpose – if there is any - and the overachieved surrealism it inevitably shares.

Jason is a peaceful cameraman living in California. He is dreaming of making his own film, where television sets are the most dangerous thing in the whole planet. They produce those weird kind of waves that slowly make humans more stupid, while their ultimate goal is to extinguish them. He approaches Bob Marshal, a film producer, who gets overexcited with his crazy idea. He will sign the deal as soon as Jason gets the perfect groan in 48 hours.

But Jason's is not the only story we discover. A young man working as a TV presenter on a food program has an unstoppable need to scratch himself, thinking there is something terribly wrong with him, while everyone else thinks he is overreacting. A young girl witnesses a videotape coming out of the insides of an animal, while her father cleans it in order to embalm it. Nobody believes her, but we will come to know that this videotape somehow is the answer to loads of questions. All of those stories, as distant as they might seem with each other, they share something in common; the same confusing connection that leads to nothing more than a dead-end.

In the world Dupieux has created, parallel dreams stream like parades of surrealistic thoughts and acts on one's self and the perception of reality. While the first scenes seem indifferent, you do get hooked on the way the story evolves. The head-exploding music makes sure to achieve that in a conscious but also a deep subconscious level, while the physical effect of it can be disturbing for some time after you watch the film. You too immerse in a deep dream along with the characters. You too step by step lose the sense of reality presented to you.

Dreams lost in dreams in an endless maze with no exit signs. A surreal world where nothing makes sense and somehow everything fits in a distorted kind of way. This is what is being achieved through Dupieux's direction and the narrative he has chosen. His images betray his blurry vision though and the fact that none of these has any clear purpose, only to throw us into the endless world of dreaming.

The moments in the film that are meant to be humorous, fail to communicate any connection with the content. This constant attempt to revive the plot with funny moments is not enough to explain any of what is being shown. While Dupieux can't stop mixing his narrative, we keep wondering how such a promising idea of dreaming in a dream got stuck in all those flat characters and their tiresome realities. This flatness is probably used on purpose in order to intensify the hollowness they carry or probably the fact that they are just plain visitors in those dreary dreams.

There are many questions raised about the definition of our dreams as much as the perception that we have for the realities that surround us. For some of us it is complicated – or intentionally complicated - like in Dupieux's mind and for some others is simpler or indifferent. Those questions only meant to be left unanswered in a film that flirts with the vastness of the subconscious and manages at the same time to convey a frustrating self-conscious feeling. If you have never been lost in a dream, this is your chance to discover how that might feel. Are you ready?

Δευτέρα, 27 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Word with Gods (2014)



71st Venice Film Festival 

(first published in the 4th newsletter of Nisimazine
http://issuu.com/emiliep/docs/nisimazine__4)

REVIEW Words with Gods by Guillermo Arriaga, Emir Kusturica, Amos Gitai, Mira Nair, Warwick Thornton, Hector Babenco, Bahman Ghobadi, Hideo Nakata, Álex de la Iglesia (Mexico, USA) – Out of Competition

Religion is part of human history. People always try to define their lives through the temporary answers religion offers. Words with Gods though, deals with multiple questions without falling in the trap to give ultimate answers. It has managed to convey different universal and cultural aspects of human religions creating a respectful and divine whole.

Writer and director Guillermo Arriaga gathered nine acclaimed directors and gave them a mission; to depict their thoughts on spirituality and their perception of God through different religions. Every director chose the religion he/she felt closer to without imposing or manipulating. The purpose of this mosaic was to show truthfully, through a series of diverse stories, the relationship with God. This film is innovative on how it approaches its subject, without escaping being 'heavy'. Every short story is connected visually by the amazing animations of Maribel Martinez and is escorted by the breathtaking score of Peter Gabriel. Those 9 short stories were put in order by Nobel Prize winner writer Mario Vargas Llosa confirming the project's ambition to be remembered beyond Venice Film Festival.

With intense cinematography the first story begins with a pregnant woman walking alone in the Australian desert, in order to find the perfect place to give birth. Having no dialogue, True Gods of Warwick Thornton talks about Aboriginal Spirituality and the strong relation between humans and Earth, expressing how divinity is evident more than ever when the miracle of birth occurs and that true gods are those who have the gift to create those wonders.

A woman after being beaten gathers her clothes and runs out of the house. Her husband will not hunt her down. He will sit on the couch unable to cope with the fact he lost everything. Wandering in the streets of São Paulo, he seeks comfort in his own existence. He has become a lonesome traveler searching for the meaning in life when he discovers a local group of Umbanda and loses himself. In The Man Who Stole a Duck Babenco has managed to give graciously a story about grief and solitude, enhancing the importance of religion to human suffering.

A big wealthy family has just bought a big apartment in Mumbai, arguing over who is getting which room, doubting about where God's rooms should be. Light and colorful, in God's Room Mira Nair talks about Hinduism through the eyes of a young boy, who has trouble synchronizing with his family disputes. He sees through their pretentious behavior the truth about God residing everywhere around us but mostly deep inside us.

Japan 2011. A fisherman has lost his entire family in the destructive tsunami. He is struggling to make amends with why God didn't choose to take him instead of his family. During a conversation with a Shinto Buddhist monk – the strongest scene of the film – he doubts God himself, raising questions of death and loss in the heaviest and most emotional story of all by the hands of horror master Hideo Nakata.

Perhaps the only politically charged film, Book of Amos of Amos Gitai explores, through passages from the Hebrew Bible, Israel's current state in contrast with its past. Words of social balance and equality are said during a fight between soldiers and civilians in a passionate one-shot film, on an attempt to represent divinity and define its essence.

Dark humour and witty dialogues in a story of a ruthless hitman who manages to escape from a failed mission only to be captured by destiny in a self-discovery misfortune. Examining the idea of sin and forgiveness, this tale handles Catholicism without falling into ridiculousness. Comic and smart Alex de la Inglesia's film offers loads of discussion.

A Christian Orthodox priest living in the Serbian countryside takes on a journey of atonement by cleansing himself from all sin. Carrying bags full of stones, he starts climbing on a hill under the hot sun in order to purify himself from the world's suffering. On his way up he will encounter evil, but mostly himself, realizing the necessity of suffering in order to survive. Kusturica purely elaborates on Christian faith, strengthening the importance of torture and distress for achieving grace.

The struggles of conjoined twin brothers on finding a solution between their different desires are shown in an intelligent and divided way in Ghobadi's film. One is craving for a sexual relationship with a woman while the other is devoted to Islam, contrasting lust and faith on a tale about duty and human nature.

The last chapter of Guillermo Arriaga's, God's Blood ends with Death in a poetical depiction of atheism, leaving us with mixed feelings. While the group of the directors has managed to explore courageously their own creativity, it would be useless to compare them or even try to. Whether you believe or not and whatever your cultural and religious background is, you will find yourself wandering about what you saw and coming back to various aspects of this film only to realize the vibrant conversation it manages to open for humanity.



Κυριακή, 7 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Noah (2014)

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson
Production: USA
Duration: 138'

Darren Aronofsky is an artist. He is an artist because he defies his own production company, he tries to stay true to his vision and he really has the need to deliver what he feels he must. He always did that and always will. For me, he hasn't completely succeeded this time. Maybe because he chose a story that was too ambitious. But I understand why he did it. The need to retell Noah's story in a different, totally unexpected way, gave him the freedom to express his own beliefs about religion, nature, humans, wildlife, choices, dreams, family, community and so much more. 

Noah can be read in many ways. It can be read through the clean Christian way and then you can be mad (if you accept it as part of your religion) or it can be read as a new story - based on Noah - giving another meaning in "saving the world from the Creator's fury". But either way I never really understood why Christians opposed so harsh to this movie and the director himself. This story, as all the stories in the Bible, are fairy-tales that carry deep meanings important for Christianity. And this particular one is one of the cruelest. A man is talking with God and decides to build an ark to save only his family and the wildlife of the planet, leaving everyone else outside. Every human being left to drown. Aronofsky showed this cruelty and does not offend in any way any religion. Let's clear that. 

He decided to take this biblical story and turned it into a very glorious project that created a lot of fuzz and made, to most of the crowd, no impression after all. His attempts are worthy of respect, but his script has indeed many flaws. He decided to narrate this story by changing its base elements, keeping the important ones in though, like some names and the plan of saving humanity by building an ark. 

The astonishing first part gives its turn to a totally different second part, where the roles are changing and the narration is weaker. You get a little bit confused, because your mind drifts away back to the "original" story. But wait a minute; Aronofsky already knew that right? And he expected all the negativity - especially from an audience like the American one - but his ambition somehow loses its grip in the movie. There is too much to digest and to accept if you are a Christian and on the other side, there is a whole new story for you to discover. The weakness lies in the fact that he couldn't really separate those two. He tried to escape from the biblical story, but somehow he failed to do that. Either way the result is magnetic. 

The astonishing special effects, the lyrical depiction of Noah's visions, the landscape, the atmosphere, Clint Mansel's gorgeous score, all are harmonically put together. What I love to rediscover is the decline of the characters - it happened so abrupt in the second part - and how Noah from a trusted wise leader turns into a madman, obsessed with his own - imaginary? - Creator inspired visions. Noah and his intentions are in the center. He sees and he decides. What he sees, he interprets it his own way and the rest of the people just watch and obey. But until when?

People around him act differently than the people we know today. They talk differently, they react differently. They share a rare connection with Earth, one that we have lost long ago. They respect and live harmonically with it and they will protect it no matter what. But along goodness and pure purposes, there is always evil hidden, madness, jealousy, revenge. And in the ark the roles ARE changing. The peaceful environment turns into a prison nobody can escape from. 

Aronofksy's creation is ambitious yes, but it also has a deep meaning. Its aggressive environmentalism is for many people hostile and extreme. But I do believe in the kind of art he represents (he is one of my favorites after all) and respect the way he sees the world. He tried to state something truthful through this story. He tried to create it his own way even if he had to stand against his own production company and a very wide - narrow-minded - audience.