Jordan Peele’s directorial debut will make you think about your own privileges. In the opening sequence, we see a young black guy walking down a suburban street. While talking on his phone, he gets attacked by some random white people.
White Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) wants to take her black boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) to meet her parents. While Chris was initially anxious, later he agrees to meet her parents. Her parents, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) welcome him in grand fashion. They were very supportive to him initially. At-times, it seems that they are behaving too good. The body language all seems perfectly above board. Why is their basement locked? Why are their two black employees – a housemaid and groundsman – both black appear to be controlled by some unseen force?
What’s the deal with the old white people showing up to a party scheduled during his visit? Get Out is tense, thrilling, and gorgeous. If anything, the film becomes darker and more soul-chilling once the secret is revealed. Get out is very direct and unapologetic about what it wants to convey. There was an unsettling vibe throughout the film. Chris’s friend Rod warned him not to visit the white people’s house. While all this going on, his girlfriend Rose was completely supportive to him. One can find references of many film here starting from Halloween to Rosemary’s Baby. Peele has effectively kept audiences on edge since the beginning, sending occasional jolts through the crowd. During Obama’s era, racism was under the carpet. White people was happy to be pretending as liberal. In Trump’s era, white people are concerned about racism again. Get out shows racism within progressive whites and it does by genre-mixing. Daniel Kaluuya was very good as main protagonist but the surprise comes from Allison Williams. Watch the film to get to know the reason.
“Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.”- Joan Didion. Hedonism refers to the idea that pleasure is the ultimate aim of human life. Sacramento has a charm of old world Americana. It is very much different from rest of California. Interestingly the director of Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig was born in the same place. The film starts with the famous quote made by Didion. It centers on Christine McPherson ( Saoirse Ronan), a high-schooler who likes to live life on her own terms and conditions. She insists that she be called by her “given” name of Lady Bird . She wants to spread her wings. She dreams of bigger things and feels weighed down by her circumstances. More than anything, she wants to break free from Sacramento . She wants to go to a place where culture is omnipresent. Its not that she has great idea about culture itself. She is an average student in school. She doesn’t seem to be an intellectual from any angle. She wants to go to New York as it is famous for culture. Her mother strongly disagrees. Her mother is pragmatic while her daughter likes to live in her own world.
Her father is jobless. They don’t have enough money to recruit her in any college of New York. So, Lady Bird decides to apply for scholarships to east coast colleges with the help from her father. New York is at the core of Lady Bird. New York is the city of Lady Bird’s dreams, but her reality is Sacramento. The film, loosely inspired by Gerwig’s formative years, is a love letter to the city of her childhood. That is why the film is set in 2002-2003. Lady bird not only wants her mother to love her, she also expects that her mother likes her. Lady bird thinks that her mother doesn’t care for her. While her mother thinks that her daughter doesn’t love her. In reality,both of them love each other. Some of the sequences are extremely funny while some are very serious. Calling it a coming-of-age story doesn’t do much justice to the film. The film also questions parenthood as much as it does on adolescence. While her mother fails to understand her daughter well-enough, her father is over-protective of her daughter. Lady bird thinks that she is an atheist. In reality,it seems that she is confused. It doesn’t glorify or condemn religion. In one of the most important scenes,it acted as a trigger which connects Lady bird to her mother as well as to her hometown. Saoirse Ronan is fantastic in the film and brings such heart to the character of Lady Bird. Metcalf is brilliant as the constrained mother that’s trying her best to keep the family afloat during tough times.
“I can’t begin my day with a confrontation.” So says Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), a celebrated fashion designer, who lives and works in a quiet London square, and who despises any threat to his lifestyle. His sister Cyril ( Lesley Manvill) helps him to run his business. One day, Reynolds drives to the coast and arrives at a hotel restaurant. A waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) takes his order, which goes on forever. Alma blushes easily, yet there is no twitch of shyness; she bears herself with confidence, and, when Reynolds invites her to dine with him that night, she accepts the offer. Thus she enters in to the life of an elite fashion designer. We are back in London. With time, Alma has become his favourite model and muse. At breakfast table, Reynolds sits with his sister. Alma is buttering toast, with firm swipes of the knife but the sound disturbs Reynolds attention. An argument takes place between them.
They bicker constantly and one night when Alma attempts to make him a romantic dinner, Reynolds lashes it out over how the meal is prepared. Alma decides to poison his tea with some wild mushroom she has gathered outside the house. It makes him terminally ill and with Alma’s care, he gets cured. That helps Alma to regain her control in the relationship. Were they in love? its not sure. There are implications though. However, the woman had agency of her own. The style and manner in which Paul Thomas Anderson uses silence and long takes is ingenious, and it was most likely inspired from Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. Jonny Greenwood’s music adds another dimension to dramatic moments. The setting has similarity with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Unlike Rebecca, here the woman is much stronger. She is well aware of her own position. DDL has always been a good actor but he was never among the best actors as he was made out to be (Something similar to Naseeruddin Shah in Hindi cinema). But with Paul Thomas Anderson, he gave his best performances. Here he repeats the same thing. But Vicky Krieps stole the show. She was successful in portraying all the vulnerable sides of her character.
A woman violinist suddenly stops performing at middle of her program. Returning home, when she was asked about the event, she replied by saying “shitty”. Bartas casts himself in the lead, a father who is distant from his daughter. He shows her an old video where she can be seen with her mother in a happy mood. The girl is played by Ina Marija Bartaite (Bartas’ actual daughter), and the mother by Katia Golubeva. The father ,his daughter and his partner violinist go to a trip to country side.
Most of the action is set in a small country home not far from Vilnius, where Bartas has actually spent a lot of time. His violinist partner seems to be in depression. Neither she is being able to perform, nor she is being able to communicate well with her partner.
There they find a neighbour who is supposed to take care of the house but spends most of the time fishing. He lives with his wife and their only son is in search of his own identity and desires. None of the film’s characters has a name, just to indicate how symbolic they are supposed to be. All of them are in a state of personal crisis but none of them are aware about their problems. The daughter yearns for the guidance of a mother she no longer has. A lady friend suddenly arrives at his house. She asks him “are you happy to see me? “. She tells him that she likes to be child at-times. Children knows how to be happy at-times. But in the next scene,we see his daughter being unhappy. Father tells her that human spend their lives trying to understand reality. He adds that most of their perceptions are limited in nature. He tells her that it is best to have doubts as doubts help people to grow.
Much of the dialogue, which Bartas says was largely created through improvisations, has a similar ring of undigested philosophy and symbolism. Locked in tight close-ups, Bartas’s characters are constantly trying to reach out to each other in their own ways. All of them are finding it difficult to express their own feelings and desires. Brief, close-up shots of the characters and minimal dialogue, representing their extreme incomprehension and solitude , are contrasted with wide shots of Lithuanian scenery, remarkably photographed by Eityydas Doshkus.
Ildikó Enyedi’s “On Body and Soul” opens on a buck and a doe going through snowy woods, in a fantasy that climaxes with the buck placing it’s head on the doe’s neck in a haunting gesture of relationship. Endre (Géza Morcsányi) and Maria (Alexandra Borbély) both see the same dream at night. Both of them work in a slaughterhouse. Endre is the manager, a middle aged man with a disabled arm. Maria is the new hygiene inspector in the farm. She examines the slaughtered beasts for signs of disease or excess fat. She finds difficult to interact with human beings. In this film,we see some explicit shots of animals being chopped up. Such scenes might give an eerie feeling to the film throughout. Endre and Maria begin to fall in love. Both do share the same dream but when it comes to real life,both of them struggle to continue the relationship. Endre has a disabled arm while Maria finds it tough to communicate with him. Maria watches pornography to know about sex in details. Both are lonely in their own lives. Just like the cows of the slaughterhouse, both of them are imprisoned in their worlds. Endre mostly talks to Jenö (Zoltán Schneider) but he is far from being his friend. One of the most interesting aspect of the film is the way window is used to separate them. At-times, Endre watches Maria through the windows of his office.
At canteen,he watches her through windows. They are so close yet so far. One day, both of them try to sleep in one room together. While doing so,they can’t sleep at all. The film is extremely well-shot. A lot of the imagery is splendidly unsettling. The music is hauntingly beautiful and Ildiko Enyedi’s direction is controlled and intelligent. She succeeds in connecting between human and animal behaviour and depiction of the alienation of modern human being. Géza Morcsányi gives a stunning performance as Endre . He successfully conveys all the emotions with a bit of sophistication. Alexandra Borbély is even better than him. Some actresses perform so wonderfully that it stays in your mind forever. She is beautiful but in most part of the film she acts as if she suffers from inferiority complex. She hardly looks confident. The script is nuanced, poignant and thought-provoking, with some pertinent points made about the subjects it explores.
Philippe Grandrieux’s “Un lac” takes place in a country unknown to us. We know nothing about the place apart from that it is full of snow and dense forests. But before discussing about the film, i will like to explain few things first –
1) The id :- It is most primitive component of personality. It is not affected by reality, logic or external world. It doesn’t change with time or experience. It operates within the unconscious mind.
2) Ego :- It is the decision making portion of personality. Ideally it works by reason whereas id is mostly unreasonable. Similar to id, the ego seeks pleasure and pain but unlike the id ,it wants to develop a realistic strategy to achieve it.
3)Superego- It operates as a moral conscience. It develops during childhood. It is learned through parents and society. Superego tries to control id’s impulses.
Deep in the middle of nowhere, a young man lives with his sister, a brother, his blind mother and father. The young man suffers from epileptic disorders. He has incestuous relationship with his sister but it seems that his sister doesn’t quite enjoy the intercourse process. One day, a stranger arrives but do things really change?. Grandrieux’s film has minimal plot but it deals with too many things- the id,ego,superego (as explained above). It shows a bleak world. Most of the cinephiles have seen films depicting world with hopelessness. However, Grandrieux is different. U will rarely see bodies in their entirely . When u see them arriving, they are usually out of focus. Sometimes, the characters are appearing from the dark. It is shot on an unnerving handheld camera, regularly capturing claustrophobic close-ups of the actors. U will hear every breathing of the characters. They live in such an isolation that incest is not a taboo for them. Grandriuex aims to involve all the senses of the viewer, not only his sight. That is why, the focus is on the heavy breathing of the characters. You aren’t going to feel for any character. None of them appears as good or bad or grey. We are watching a bleak world but we aren’t feeling the pain. The film is made in French but most of the actors are from Czech or Russia. This is cinema of the highest order .
“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” remains Bunuel’s most successful film. It made more money than his famous “Belle de Jour” and it did manage to win Oscar as best Foreign language film. It was released in a year when Vietnam war was going in full form and the upper middle class was an obvious target of disdain. Bunuel worked in Mexico,Hollywood,Spain before again returning to Spain. He spent years in political, financial and artistic exile, and many of his Mexican films were done for hire, but he always managed to make them his own. His characters are often selfish and self-centered, willing to compromise any principle to get their job done.
From the first shots of “Discreet Charm,” we are aware of the way his characters carry themselves. Fernando Rey stars as Don Rafael, the drug-dealing ambassador of a fictional Latin American country who lives in constant fear that one day he will be kidnapped and murdered by the guerilla terrorists outside his embassy. His friends repeatedly convene at the home of Monsieur Senechal (Jean-Pierre Cassel) and his wife, Alice (Stéphan Audran), whose dinners are constantly interrupted. The most amusing thing is that they never manage to dine properly. When the guests arrive for the dinner party, the hosts were having sex backyard. When the guests arrive at a restora to have dinner,they do hear that the owner is dead. Hearing this, they refuse to dine there and soon they leave the place. Elegant ladies sit down for an afternoon tea, only to be told by their waiter that the restaurant has run out of water.
Much of the film takes place in the nightmares of its characters. The protagonists seem to know what they want but they never reach their goal. They have all kinds of knowledge about manners and gestures, but they cannot sit down and eat. In Bunuel’s films, the clothes not only make the man, but are the man. Consider the bishop (Julien Bertheau), who arrives at the door in gardener’s clothes and is scornfully turned away, only to reappear in his clerical avatar to “explain himself,” and be accepted. Meanwhile, the narrative cuts in and out of dream sequences; at one point, one character’s dream turns out to be embedded in another’s. The text falls apart, so we find ourselves focused on the subtext. For all it’s symbols and destructing narrative, it is never a difficult film. Buñuel’s emphasis on the implacable dream logic that drives the film’s forking-paths storyline isn’t what you would call unprecedented. His films have often incorporated dream imagery, leaving even the most melodramatic material with outbursts of oneiric intensity. For the first-time Bunuel was provided with a video-playback monitor. The film employs meandering, unobtrusive camerawork and odd crane shots. There’s an elaborate tracking shot that follows one of the persons across the living room, up the staircase, and along the hallway. All of the performances were wonderful.
Even in the most dramatic scenes,they were never out of line. Special mention goes to Fernando Rey who was effortless throughout.