17.8.07

2007 so far - movies

Keeping up with my "2007 so far" series, today I'm going to talk about the movies that I've seen so far this year and that I think are worth talking about, and maybe convincing you to see them. It's quite hard to write about movies and books without spoilers, which I refuse to write here, so I'm just giving my relation with each movie. If you get curious about some of the movies, but still not decided to see it, I encourage you to check more info about it on IMDB or such.

On Piracy. I talked about this movie by the time I saw it. This is basicly a movie about what's usually called "Digital Piracy". It shows an imparcial vision, allways talking to both sides on each issue, and focusing on several aspects of Piracy. It is refreshing to see a documentary of this kind, since we're used to see allways the same stuff from the content industry, saying that "piracy is evil and is a form of terrorism", and here we see the real oppinions of both sides, and not only the legal side of the question (what is legal? what is not? what is moral? what is not? what is fair? what is not?) but we also see the cultural issues (Why do people download music? Why does the music industry refuse to reinvent their business model?). To make it even better, this movie is free.

Les glaneurs et la glaneuse is another documentary, but this one reflecting on human nature. Of course, the theme isn't real that one: it's a documentary were we see various examples where people live with what others don't care to see. What is garbage for ones, can be vital for others, or can be used as art (just to give you a pair of examples). Also, with this you see alternative lifestyles, away from what's commonly accepted, and yet, it seems, more human. This movie is, in fact, a reflexion, but the great thing about it is really the fact that, while it explains and explores each argument for that reflexion, it settles the ground for you to do a reflexion of your own.

PlayTime, or my introduction to Jaques Tati. And, well, I'm way too curious to see all the other stuff he made (I actualy didn't stop with PlayTime, as you'll read in a moment). A futurist movie, describing the mechanical world and the mechanical animals. Each angle has ninety degrees, each city works the same way, everything has a place to fit. What happens if someone just doesn't fit in? Probably the world doesn't care. While a far topic from dystopias, I imagine that the fan of PlayTime will be those who are fans of dystopias - specially mathematicly inspired ones, like Zamiatyn's "We".

Fahrenheit 451, an addaptation of Ray Bradbury's book. I was talking about dystopias, so here is one of those stories that I consider the "obligatory four dystopias": We, 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. The adaptation of the book to the big screen is better than I was hoping, and every little storyline change is well justified and justifiable. Also, this story has the particularity that even Ray Bradbury liked to change and adapt it to the medium it was going to be told - from several forms of writting to several forms of playing. I wonder if Ray was living only nowadays he would like Clive Barker's thoughts on art, and release it as a game instead...

Mon Oncle, another Jaques Tati movie. Far lighter that PlayTime, extremely funny, it ends talking about the same kind of concepts than PlayTime - it almost seems that it is a previous chapter of the story (which maybe it is, I don't know the release date of one and the other). Also an excelent movie, this one that tells a story of a family of father, mother and son, and their new home. Of course, there is also the uncle, best friend of the kid but not really into the social standards of the family... It's fun to see that, while PlayTime is "one society black sheep", Mon Oncle is more about a culture clash between social levels, told in the funniest way.

Having Cypher on this list is somewhat like cheating, since this was not the first time I saw it. What made me wanting to see it for a long time was the fact that it was made by the same guy from "Cube" (an awsome movie, IMHO), but I didn't really know much about it when I saw it. When I did, I really liked and it was one of those movies that I didn't forget about, and several times recalled it. The problem is that I never thought of it as "Cypher" but allways as "that movie where 'a' and 'b' happens", so when the movie was being played again in a movie festival in Coimbra, this year, I read the movie descriptionand didn't relate it to the movie itself. I had the same thought, "if it's directed by the same guy who worked on Cube it must be good", and I only recognized it as being the same when I first saw the movie start. And I'm glad, 'cause this is one of those movies I don't mind watching more than once.

Four Eyed Monsters is an exquisite movie: it was made by too persons that met via the web, and the movie is about their story. But that's not it: the movie not only was made, hyped and distributed using a lot of new technology, namedly social networks, blogs and so on, they also focus that new means of connecting and getting toguether in the movie. The movie can still be viewed and downloaded for free on YouTube (I don't know for how long), being the first featured movie on YouTube. The movie was all made with money from a huge bunch of credit cards, that they're now paying for. It's arguably the first "Movie 2.0", and while that would be encouraging enough for you to see it, the story and plot are also very good - even better than the concept itself.

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder is another movie that you can download and see for free, but this time not on YouTube nor because the author lets you do, but because this is a Fritz Lang movie that is already in Public Domain, so you can get it (with subtitles of your choice) at archive.org. As you might remember from an earlier post of mine, I'm a fan of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and I was curious for a long time on "M". Seeing it was a great experience, and I really recommend this movie almost-dystopian movie, that shows a dark side of humanity and society, while telling you a preety easy to follow plot: a child murderer is out there, and everyone is both afraid and wanting to catch him. What scares the most is that the movie is as actual now as it was at the time.

Det Sjunde Inseglet is a movie from Ingmar Bergman, that recently died but will never be dead, and is considered one of the movies that helped defining the European cinema. From 195, this black and white movie was the only one that I've seen from Bergman (yet), but that something that I have and want to fix soon enough. This movie reflects about death, God, religion and myths, and shows, among other things, that Bergman had guts. While the movie itself is excelent, I felt that I need to see more of his works (specially those made near this one) to have a full understanding of what's going on Bergman's mind with some particularities of this movie. But making me wanting to see more of his movies is one good indicative that I liked it, and I really expect to like his other works.