22-28 December 2008

December 31 2008 at 7:28 am (The list)

Despite all the relaxation over Christmas, last week’s films took the theme of labour and graft. However, I was too busy eating chocolates and getting drunk to discover any more than one new film.

 

metropolisMetropolis (1927)

Many people only know of Metropolis because it was used in Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’ video but it’s so much more than a film about a robot who turns human. Fritz Lang’s masterpiece has lost none of its magic over the last 81 years and the themes are universal. Freder Frederson (Gustav Frolich) is the son of Joh (Alfred Abel), the lord and master of the titular city. When Freder meets benevolent prophet Maria (Brigitte Helm), he goes on a voyage into the depths of the city and learns some harsh truths about the way things work and the savagery of man. With some then-incredible special effects (the birth of the Man-Machine with the semblance of Maria in particular) and truly amazing sets it is a visually arresting achievement of colossal proportions – the magnificent cityscapes were obvious influences on the likes of Blade Runner and the Batman films. With some great scenes including a disturbing dream sequence and a gripping finale atop a church, this visionary piece of work really deserves a more mainstream audience. If you haven’t seen it, watch it quickly before Hollywood decides that a soulless remake is in order.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Shame list total: 1,226

 

I also watched:

 

factotum_ver4Factotum (2005)

Based on legendary drunk Charles Bukowski semi-autobiographical novel, Factotum is a slow and steady indie comedy. Protagonist Henry ‘Hank’ Chinaski was Bukowski’s longstanding alter ego, appearing in several of his works. In this, Hank (a gruff Matt Dillon) meanders from job to job and from woman to woman. He and his sometime girlfriend Jan (a squeaky Lili Taylor) live a simple and joyless life of poverty (breaking into cars to steal cigarettes, trying to work out the time by a broken clock). Chinaski lives a seemingly joyless life – he rarely smiles and spends most of the time he’s not working writing short stories. It’s quite atmospheric but the film is as nomadic as Hank – it has little sense of direction and is ultimately a somewhat bleak experience.

 

Rating: 3/5

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