Tag Archives: Bali

The Greencine Five, Part XI: Legong: Dance of the Virgins, My Life as a Dog, Sword of the Beast, Gaza Strip, Pickpocket

legong_dance_of_the_virgins

No movie is this good by accident. It is on purpose. Legong is not only an exotic and gorgeous film, it was one of the last silent films ever released. It was also one of the last which used two-color mixing (as opposed to the three-color approach which is the standard to this day). The story is a sweet tragedy about a love triangles between two girls (dancers at a local temple) and a young man (a drummer). The film is the sort of “south seas” picture that enchanted George Bailey and so many others. The film was made on location in Bali (now an island in Indonesia), with an entirely Balinese cast.

my_life_as_a_dog

My Life as a Dog is a sad but sweet story about a young boy suffering the death of his mother. The film has certainly similarities to Goodnight Mister Tom and A Home of Our Own. The film is slow moving, but paints a convincing picture of rural Sweden in the early years of the Cold War.

sword_of_the_beast

Sword of the Beast is a story about Japan on the verge of the Meiji Restoration, but really about Japan on the verge of defeat in World War II. Samurai give their life for honor and reform, but everything is turned around by corrupt counselors, leaving only death and shame. The momentum for a better Japan is clearly there, but not much is to be done. The vendetta — that is, the war effort — is an excuse for everything. Slow on its surface, but fascinating in its context.
gaza_strip

The centerpiece of Gaza Strip is something that never happened. The film very, very strongly implies that it is documenting the effects of a nerve gas attack on the residents of Gaza. Individuals appearing to be victims of the attack, as well as a woman implied to be part of Medicine sans Frontier, are interviewed. Looking online, the only references to this attack are other people questioning if it ever happened.

pickpocket

No movie is this bad by accident. It is on purpose. The director didn’t like characterization, because he thought it was phony, so he didn’t do it. He didn’t like acting, because he thought it was phony, so he had non-actors just repeat the actions a couple times. He seems not to like his main character, as the guy is a cringing, self-important, coward of a parasite. I wasted 86 minutes of my life I will never get back. Pickpocket is an awful film.