Tag Archives: heimat

The Greencine Five, Part IX: Bounce Ko Gals, LOL, The Bow, Heimat, Black Snake Moan

It has been nearly two years since I was a member of Greencine. While the price is higher than NetFlix, Greencine has a much wider selection to choose from. Thus, even when I watch movies that are available on both NetFlix and Greencine, I discover more with Greencine, because the broader collection means that it is easier to follow one movie to another, and see webs of connections between movies. NetFlix and Greencine may both have the biggest hit from Korea in a year, for instance, but Greencine is more likely to have that director’s lessor work, as well.

bounce_ko_gals

Bounce Ko Gals is a story on two levels. On the first it is about Lisa, a Japanese-American about to leave Tokyo, and her adventures with teenage Japanese prostitutes. On another it is about generational change, and the way the “aesthetics” change over time. This is seen both in the relationship of the whores to pimps-and-customers, and also their mutual disilluionment with the dreams of generations born before them both.

lol

LOL has no plot. The story is weak, and the characters are unsympathetic. It looks remarkably like a senior project for an ambitious film school student. And it gets one thing person: what around means in a world where everyone has cell phones, text messaging, laptops, and internet access. After watching LOL, my wife and I caught each other engaging in some of the “bizarre” (to an earlier generation) behaviors depicted in the film.

the_bow

The Bow is very similar to Why Has the Bodhi-dharma Left for the East, which I earlier reviewed. However, while the Bodhi-dharma requires a great deal of patience in its slow moving story of a buddhist master and acolyte, The Bow has the good sense to introduce a love triangle. The story of an old man, young girl, and young man is told almost without dialog, though with heavily archery and buddhist symbolism. The film slowly moves from realism to magical-realism and ends with a quotation that helps explain the motivation of the old fisherman.

heimat_disk_2

I watched disk 1 of Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany two years ago. Disk 2 continues the story in two episodes, the first from the mid-1920s to 1933, and the third taking place in 1935. The first of these episodes pains a picture of a society very similar to the rural life in modern China. The second of these, in which the Nazi Party cements its grip by a thousand only vaguely interesting moves, chronicles the transformation of Germany from a dysfunctional republic to a tyranny.

black_snake_moan

If The Bow retells Why has the Bodhi-Dharma left for the East, Black Snake Moan retells the The Bow. The similarities are incredible. A three-way love triangle, a setting in an economic backwater (Korean fisherman, the American South), religious themes infuse both films. While The Bow is heavily buddhist, and preaches that the desire is the beginning of suffering, however, Black Snake Moan is Christian, and dwells on the need for grace given the presence of sin in all human beings.

The Greencine Five, Part VII: Zulu, Fire Walk with Me, Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany, Kontroll, Twin Peaks


The ANSWER of another day

Zulu is a classic, one of the best movies ever made. It stands with Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia as a movie that does everything right. At one level merely the story of the defense of Roark’s Drift by the British against the Zulus, so much is happening as to boggle the mind. Anti-war protests, a 1GW v. 0GW struggle, class and ethnic divisions, and of course heorism are everywhere to be seen. Mind-numingly beautiful, Zulu is an adventure/war movie that transcends both genres. A must see. 10/10.


A drugged-out trollop asking for trouble

On the plus side, Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland play FBI agents for the first twenty minutes. Also on the positive ledger, this movie ties together the three ephocs of Twin Peaks (the immediate fall-out of Laura’s murder, the search for Laura’s killer, and the Windom Earle half-season) together than I had thought possible. On the negative side, everything else. Lacking humor, the most interesting characters, warmth, suspense, dramatic tension, or anything else of interest, it’s no surprise that Fire Walk with Me movie was “greeted at the Cannes Film Festival with booing from the audience and met with almost unanimously negative reviews.” Stay away from this one, unless (like me) you’ve declared finishing the Twin Peaks universe to be your mission.


How bizarre

Like Fire walk with me (reviewed above), Heimat is slow. Unlike Firewal, Heimat’s actually good. A nostalgic look at a lost rural way of life, Heimat Disk 1 is the first episode in a miniseries charting life in a small German town from the end of World War I to 1980. The area is under French occupation as a war veteran returns home and short-wave radio becomes available. The love triangle is slow, and sad, and sweet, and realistic. Worth seeing, but only with patience.


An ex- communist underworld

Set in Budapest’s underground, Kontroll tends toward heavy symbolism, especially Catholic and Communist. The story of of a nation living in purgatory, the young hero does not go upside and has troubling dreams of descending farther. With less screen-time but equally important, a drunk conductor remembers happier times controlling above-ground trains until an accident “that could have happened to anyone” led to his banishment. With an amazing soundtrack and an uplifting if confusing


The Answer

Twin Peaks Season 2 (Disk 6 of 6)
Both LOST and Twin Peaks stumbled badly, LOST in the beginning of Season 3 and Twin Peaks at the beginning of the second half of Season 2. Both took far too long to regain their footing, after distracted producers and meddling network executives degraded a once fantastic TV show. Both came back full force, LOST with Tricia Tanaka is dead and Twin Peaks with “Beyond Life and Death.” Luckily for one and happily for the other, LOST’s resurrection occurred with twelve episodes left in the season; Twin Peaks with their season finale. LOST’s run will stretch over three more seasons, but Twin Peaks was sadly burried after an amazing finale that revealed an apparently unrelated and sub-par story arc to be a continuation of all that had come before.