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September Films

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Last month’s films: The Dark Knight, Bottle Rocket, What a wonderful World, Import/Export, Conte de Printemps as well as Husbands and Wives.

The Dark Knight

All the press was totally impressed with the new Batman film The Dark Knight which took its fair time to make it over to Germany. And apart from being a tad too long - which was aggravated by the morons at the cinema chain putting an interval in the middle to peddle more processed ‘food’ - it was in fact a good film.

Perhaps a little overdone in places and a little overacted for the Joker, but still interesting to see the Batman hero character being senselessly ‘driven’ by being ‘good’ while the Joker nicely played out the power of being completely arbitrary. Which of course is what makes him so fun and threatening. I’m a fan. And I’m still disappointed that the people on the boat didn’t blow themselves up. But I guess there needed to be some good people as well…

While it won’t change anything, I also found it refreshing that the film made an effort to point out that what Batman does is essentially wrong even if he is ‘good’ and people like the results. Since the Jack Bauer-isation of entertainment that point needs to be made from time to time.

The Joker and his business card

Bottle Rocket

Wes Anderson’s 1996 film Bottle Rocket is fun entertainment about some friends trying to pull a heist. They’re not particularly good at it but they’re mainly in it for the interestingness of being a robber. Not exactly a great or deep film but still fun to watch.

Sairaan kaunis maailma

A rather strong taste of the 1990s is stuck in Finnish film Sairaan kaunis maailma (aka What a wonderful world) about teenagers getting involved with drugs and drug dealers; and having to smuggle some drugs over to Sweden to pay their debts. But it’s not the drug smuggling which brings in the drama but more the broken lives and families of the kids which make the world they live in. And those Finnish names like Ippe and Papu just sound funny/nice to the middle European ear.


Another Austrian film, another two hours of depression. Good depression, but still depression. Import/Export tells the story of Ukrainian nurse Olga who never gets paid her full salary and looks for more profitable jobs. After looking to please foreigners in live video sex via the internet, she decides to go to Austria where she first works as a maid for a rich family. Having to tolerate their nasty kids and their bitch of a mother who eventually fires her to show who’s the powerful one.

Olga ends up working as a cleaning lady in an old aged home where she quickly learns that she’s just the foreigner and being nice to people is not part of her job. The ‘export’ part is done by Austrians Pauli and Michael who peddle stuff in Slovakia and Ukraine after having failed to work in a ‘security’ job back in Austria, all the while Michael can’t see his neighbouring countries as anything but huge brothels.

The film is chock-full of depressing moments and I thought it was excellently filmed, consisting mostly of non moving head-on views of the scenes and indulging in the depressingly bland and straight lines and greyness of both communist and western suburbian architecture of the 1960s. Both of which are just occasionally coloured by blinks of modern capitalism, seen as work uniforms or vending machines.

Shot from Import/Export

Shot from Import/Export

Shot from Import/Export

Shot from Import/Export

Shot from Import/Export

Conte de Printemps

I thought I’d check out some other parts of Eric Rohmer’s four seasonal ‘Tale’ films, after rewatching Conte d’été recently. The spring part of the series, Conte de printempts still has quite a 1980s feel to it and again it focuses on little could-be romances between people.

The story begins with philosophy teacher Jeanne staying over at student Eve’s place because she has her niece staying in her flat and she feels uncomfortable alone at her boyfriend’s apartment. Then we quickly learn about Eve’s dad’s girlfriend being of Eve’s age and Eve’s boyfriend being the age of her dad. There’s a bit of drama in there and it’s played out in clever but not particularly exciting ways. One comment on IMDB sums it up nicely:

Clever, witty, tasteful, bloodless. Although sex seems to be on everyone’s mind in this post-modern tale, only Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann provide any passion in a film that reminds me more of Satie’s witty piano doodles.

graycat-1 on IMDB

In particular I found it lacked the charme and lightness of Conte d’été. Perhaps because of the lack of sun and beach…

Husbands and Wives

Woody Allen’s 1992 Husbands and Wives explores the marriages of some intellectual Now Yorkian couples break up. With all the intermediate fun and neuroses you might expect. Entertaining but not outstanding.

October 6, 2008, 1:06

Tagged as aaron eckhart, batman, bottle rocket, christian bale, conte de printemps, country:at, country:fi, country:fr, dark night, eric rohmer, film, heath ledger, husbands and wives, import export, michael caine, own wilson, ulrich seidl, video, woody allen.

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