Directed by Ingmar Bergman and released in its home country of Sweden in 1968.
Shame is yet another absolutely magnificent character-driven drama by the master that is Ingmar Bergman. The performances from Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow are among the best of both of their careers even surpassing some of those in other Bergman productions (for example Ullmann’s spellbinding performances in Autumn Sonata and Persona aswell as von Sydow’s challenging performances in The Magician and The Seventh Seal). The lack of music adds a lot of depth that would otherwise have been glossed over had there been a traditional score. It is also very well paralleled with the fact that our two main characters are musicians themselves yet we hear none of their abilities nor anything on the score.
While the screenplay has some minor details that I felt were rushed and could’ve been fleshed out or erased completely before filming began – for example the young soldier who supposedly was living inside their greenhouse for weeks – I still feel that this is one of Bergman’s strongest films, if only for the stunning character development and awe-inspiring cinematography that is so prevalent in any of Bergman’s films that were filmed on this island.
Bergman’s journeys deep into the human soul and heart have always had profound effects on me and my own understanding of human nature, but I’m sure I’ll never be able to display it so vividly and illustriously as Bergman did throughout his career. I can only hope that I never run out of his films to watch… but sadly I know that one day I will.
Directed by Simon Klose and released in it’s home country of Sweden all over the internet on this very day in 2013.
Yet another compelling documentary about the freedom for internet users to do what the fuck we want on the internet and the political powers so dead-set on building the grave it will never rest in.
Following on directly after the short online documentaries Steal This Film and it’s sequel Steal This Film II (aswell as last year’s powerful We Are Legion), TPB – AFK (as it’s abbreviated) follows the trial of four men who run The Pirate Bay. What’s fascinating about this case in particular is that the governmental forces that raided TPB’s Swedish base in 2006 all thought that it was merely a fad and that it would die out quickly. Boy were they wrong.
TPB are responsible for more than 50% of all BitTorrent activity, aswell as having two seats in the Swedish political house. You may think that all they do is provide copyright infringing content for its users to download, but there’s no doubt that their help with the recognition of the well-known whistleblower website WikiLeaks did nothing more than propel Julian Assange’s message to a whole new wave of internet users.
The film closely follows the lives of the four men who run The Pirate Bay as they go through a horribly conducted judicial process that tries and fails to convict them on more than one occasion. The barrage of inside-internet jokes kept me more than amused but I’m 100% positive that people who’ve never even used the internet can get a good grip on the events happening here.
Insightful and truthful, The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard is a great documentary but sadly it doesn’t come without bias towards the four men at it’s forefront. What is admirable really though is the politicians clear whitewash of actual knowledge of what these people are doing, or rather WHY they have done it, are doing it and will continue to do it regardless of the laws you try to impose on them.
Interesting to note, that every ISP in this country blocks access to The Pirate Bay. Luckily for those that use it, there are over nine thousand proxies readily available to combat this block.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman and released in it’s home country of Sweden for Television in 1984.
After The Rehearsal is the closest I’ll ever get to seeing an Ingmar Bergman play. Much like a play (and I’m sure Bergman or someone else has already made this into a play) the film takes place in one setting, a rehearsal studio. Despite the limited setting Bergman manages to span decades and helping that along are, as per usual, three splendid performances from Bergman regulars Erland Josephson, Lena Olin and Ingrid Thulin. Josephson and Thulin spend a good portion of the film arguing in a flashback while Olin sits, unconsciously aware of the argument (the film flashes back and forth between a younger version of her character and an older version).
While it’s weird to see a Bergman film that doesn’t at least in part touch on religious themes, he does explore many other familiar themes present in most of his films – including family and marriage. The exceptional screenplay is just another in the long line of incredible screenplays from a man who is, undeniably, the greatest writer in the history of cinema.
Directed by Lukas Moodysson and released in it’s home country of Sweden in 2002.
Lilya 4-Ever opens with our protagonist, the 16-year-old Lilya, running through the streets. She’s battered, bruised and confused. Rammstein blasts through the soundtrack. She ends up at a bridge, incredibly contemplative of her next move. Then, the scene cuts to Estonia, three months earlier. The industrial metal is gone and heavy techno slowly dissolves onto the soundtrack and you’re left with the ambiguity of the first scene to play on your mind until the very end of the picture.
We meet Lilya on her way to America with her mother and her new boyfriend. All is not as it seems however as soon we realize that she won’t be going to America after all. At first, Lilya isn’t bothered at all but after mulling it over she runs after her mother begging her not to leave without her. Her mother leaves regardless, leaving her in the care of her old fashioned aunt who makes her stay in a dinghy flat as to a lack of money on both parties.
For the first hour and twenty minutes of the movie we come to adore this cute girl and her antics aswell as her growing friendship with the pre-pubescent Volodya – her only friend. As they become closer Lilya runs out of money and decides to take up prostitution, something we’re introduced to early on when she goes to a club with her friend who performs this act first. Little does she know this is something she will regret deeply in the months to come. That’s all I’ll say in terms of plot because that’s about as much as I want to give away.
The film is a testament to ambiguity and deep themes of religion and family run rampant through the film. Lilya never met her mother, is an only child and has just been abdandoned by her mother. The closest thing she has to family is Volodya and we slowly learn that he feels the exact same way about her. There are some absolutely incredibly scenes later on in the film, a montage of men thrusting on top of Lilya is undoubtedly one of the most eery scenes I’ve ever witnessed as it’s sheer power makes it stand out from the majority of the other scenes in the film. The piece comes full circle and the ending is just absolutely fantastic. The circle isn’t complete without absolute ambiguity and we get no less than that.
The final scenes are superb and Lukas Moodysson needs to be eternally applauded for all of his work on this film as does Oksana Akinshina who gives an unbelievable performance that stands out as one of my all time favourite female performances in the history of cinema.