Archive | April, 2011

Winter’s bone

7 Apr

It’s often difficult for me to write about new films I see at the cinema. So engrossed in the story, I don’t focus so much on little details and close analysis. My emotions are almost impossible to put into words and I linger over certain images on the train ride home. This is especially true with Winter’s Bone which I finally watched the other evening but I’ll give it a try.

The second feature from Debra Granik based on the book by Daniel Woodrell, it’s an intense and sombre piece set in Missouri among the white trash community. 17 year old Ree cares for her mentally disturbed mother and younger brother and sister. Times are hard and food is scarce but they manage to survive thanks to her strength of mind and a little outside help. Yet when the local sheriff pulls up to announce that both the house and woodland have been put up by her father for bail and that they will lose their home should he not turn up for his impending court case, Ree has no choice but to go out looking for him. Bleak but never depressing, it’s a film that gets under your skin like the cold wind, gradually becoming more powerful until a scene so terrible that it stays with you for days afterwards. I felt the pain of losing the places you grew up in, of needing at least one stable thing to carry on and the fear of being engulfed by the darkness outside.

This isn’t a film for everyone but it really touched me in a way few others  can.

 

 

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Metropolitan

3 Apr

I had never heard of Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan until a couple of years ago when I came across it by chance. Better known for his film “The last days of disco” with Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, this earlier feaure is a forgotten gem which deserves to be dusted off. On the film cover, the cation underneath the title reads “Doomed. Bourgeois. In Love” . The story begins when West sider Tom Townsend unwittingly gets mixed up with a group of priviledged East siders, the Sally Fowler Rat Pack or SFRP, in full swing of the debutant season. Meeting every night to discuss politics, philosophy and literature, the film could be considered a social satire in the way it gently makes fun of the characters and their opinions. One striking thing about it though is that in spite of the audience’s natural antipathy towards this preppy set, we become charmed by them and gripped by every twist in the story. These are young people of the cusp of a dying generation who know that great changes lie around the corner. You could classify it as just another East Coast talkfest but it never becomes heavy or boring, in spite of the serious topics. It’s amazing how with such a low budget and such young, unknown actors, with many of them in their first major role, Stillman could craft such a beautiful film full of terrific one liners and superby developed characters. It’s a film that really stays with you long after the credits roll and one which seems to improve with each viewing.  My particular favourite part is when the group is walking through the streets of New York in the middle of winter and they ask Tom if he isn’t cold with only a trenchcoat on to which he replies that it’s actually very warm because it has a lining.  Classic.