Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and released in it’s home country of Denmark in 1943.
A visceral portrayal of a woman finding love in amongst a set of violent witch hunts in seventeenth century Denmark. Not as nearly as chilling as Dreyer’s earlier Vampyr but just as powerful, if not more so, than his much earlier work Passion Of Joan Of Arc.
Carl Th. Dreyer is well known for many things, one of which is the performances he gets from his actors and it is no different here. The entire cast display fine ranges of abilities throughout the picture. Despite the 17th century setting, it stays similar with many of the themes brought up in Ordet (although a later work of Dreyer) mostly concerning religion, beliefs and family ties. The lighting is pitch perfect in every scene and the cinematograpy is astonishingly atmospheric – the camera is almost a character itself the way it glides alongside the characters.
Not a complete masterpiece but among my favourites of Dreyer’s work. I am positive that his silent works along with his last film Gertrud are the films I will connect with most but I have still yet to see these.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch and released theatrically in it’s home country of America in 1986.
Put simply, Down By Law is the finest film that independent cinema has to offer, and also the best work that it’s director Jim Jarmusch has to offer. Already cemented as one of my favourite films, Down By Law is a story about three guys from different walks of life who are thrown together in prison and the story of their escape.
The film is led by a performances from Roberto Benigni, John Lurie and Tom Waits. The trio are all fantastic to say the least and they play off of each other brilliantly. Aswell as acting in the film, Lurie also provides the splendid blues score and there are some great songs by Waits spread out sporadically through the film.
The black and white element gives it a much more prison-y feel but in that sense it’s more similar to Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise than any other prison film ever made. Regardless, Down By Law isn’t exactly a prison film… it’s more a black comedy about three different personalities working together to get out of prison before the system eats them alive – something that was clearly already beginning to happen before they broke out.
The final 15 minutes are just a testament to the genius of Jim Jarmusch, and we can’t forget all of those Benigni one-liners now can we? Walt Whitman anyone?
Directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau and released theatrically in it’s home country of America in 2012.
The first film from director Chris Kentis (and Laura Lau) since his somewhat-chilling Open Water, I wasn’t surprised when I realized that he was approaching his remake of the low-budget Spanish horror film Silent House with the same attitude.
While the first film itself is flawed, it was original and enthralling and took you on it’s twists and turns in real-time with the lead character…. surprisingly Kentis and Lau’s remake is pretty much a carbon-copy which is ambitious for any remake (especially considering Gus Van Sant’s Psycho from 1998).
Camera tricks will have you believe it was filmed in one shot, but that isn’t the case – much like the first. Remaking an already flawed film means that your film is going to be flawed too, and this is. I do prefer the original mostly for the lead performance – here, Elizabeth Olsen over-acts terribly. Throughout I just wanted to sit back and watch the original again. The ending is somewhat skewed but it sadly is much worse than the ending of the original.
Ambitiously remade and well-done, but having already seen the original there’s not much left to the imagination.