Call Me by Your Name
Far and away, the best movie of the year.
Seongyong Cho was born in Jeon-ju, South Korea. He did graduate work at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science
and Technology (KAIST) in Dae-jeon. His passion
for good movies continues its primitive rampage, which includes weekly pilgrimages
to the local multiplex. He started his blog in 2008 and writes nuumerous reviews. In the midst of that, he manages to find time for
books, music, exercise (usually treadmill and swimming), and corresponding
with other bloggers.
I have never been to Lourdes, a small town near the Pyrenees in southwestern France, but, considering Jessica Hausner's film "Lourdes," it looks like a nice place to visit. The hotel shown in the film looks good, and they serve visitors with care and respect. The landscape surrounding the town is nice to look at; at the meadow around the tops of mountains, you can see the green land below and the other mountains covered with snow.
Sometimes ordinary people becoming evil are more frightening than Dr. Hannibal Lector or Frank Booth. Villains like them are downright scary, but they are basically outsiders with a monstrous nature beyond our common sense. In contrast, the characters in Sam Raimi's crime thriller "A Simple Plan" (1998) are nice, ordinary people we can identify with, at least in the beginning. We can recognize their human wishes, desires, and motives. We can understand why they are driven into the plot while it's getting bloodier and more complicated. As a result, it is frightening to observe them doing horrible things, and one question immediately pops up in our minds - what would I do if I were in their circumstance?
To anyone who wants to watch an offbeat movie for the upcoming holiday season, "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" can be a nice mixed bag full of the goodies to be appreciated. The movie is a dark, amusing horror fantasy with Santa Claus as a malevolent supernatural entity far different from the one we are familiar with. He surely knows whether you are naughty or not, but, instead of giving a present to you, he will punish you if he thinks you are naughty, and his punishment will not be merely shoving coal in your stocking. I have no clear idea about what exactly he can do to those poor naughty'children put into sacks, but I guess he is as savage as that murderous Robot Santa in the TV animation series "Futurama," one of whose memorable lines is "I'm going to tear off your skin like wrapping paper and deck the hall with your guts!"
While revisiting David Michôd's "Animal Kingdom" (2010), I wondered what it was like for its passive teenager hero to live with his heroin addict mother at their small home. We can only assume that she definitely could not get the Mother of the Year award, considering the mundane but eerie opening sequence. It's around afternoon, and her son is watching some TV show, and she seems to be asleep next to him on couch - but we soon learn she died from an overdose.
"From where did it go wrong?", he asks to his friend in agony, but he will not get the answer for that question, and neither will others, because 1) it is already too late to ask that question due to their shattered relationships beyond repair and 2) everyone, including him, is not so willing to give the parts of the answer while not completely understanding their problems much. What they have here is the failure to communicate, and that ultimately results in the irreversible tragedy at the center of melancholic South Korean movie "Bleak Night"(2010).
It begins on the last day of the semester at a classroom of some Japanese junior high school. Though they will return to their school after a month, most of the students are very excited while waiting for the time to leave their classroom and enjoy spring break. They are mostly occupied with talking with or texting to their colleagues in the noisy classroom. They do not give a damn about what their teacher tries tell to them, while never imagining the terror she will soon unleash upon them.
Sometimes people learn a hard life lesson about their world when they are young and innocent. Molly, a young white South African girl in "A World Apart" (1988), learns it in a way far more hurtful than usual. She wants her normal comfortable life to resume again, but her world is Johannesburg in the 1960s. She begins to grasp lots of injustices in her world, even while confused and hurt a lot by her parents as well as what happens to her and her family.
"'Will you walk into my parlor?' said the Spider to the Fly." - from the poem "The Spider and the Fly" by Mary Howitt.
The crucial moment in George Sluizer's chilling psychological thriller "The Vanishing"(1988) can be summarized with that quote. The Fly cannot resist the offer, simply because of his intense desire to know. The Spider cannot resist making an offer, only because of his cold curiosity about the result. He has a solid prediction based on his careful calculation, but he wants to know the result in his cruel experiment, like he previously tested himself before.
When I went to the Jeonju International Film Festival in this April, I was reminded again that the old theaters at the downtown of my hometown are gone. Most of them are now replaced by a bunch of multiplexes, and I can't say the old theaters were better than their replacements. While there were the big theaters where I could enjoy movies like "Independence Day" or "Starship Troopers," I remember too well how shabby several theaters were in early 1990s, compared to the current standard; I am happy with the comfortable seats, nice bathrooms, and agreeable viewing condition in multiplex theaters.
Is it love at first sight? It's certainly lust at first sight between them in the beginning. Something clicks inside. They soon begin their secret affair, and then, motivated by their common desire to escape from the world they're stuck in, they hatch a scheme to solve their problems once for all. They have a good plan. They can succeed if they carefully tiptoe along the thin line they draw. However, in the world of film noir, it is usually easier said than done.