Monday, February 12, 2007

February 12th Log

2006, Susanne Bier, Denmark / Sweden
1st Viewing, DVD

After the Wedding is directed and co-written by Susanne Bier, who has earned international acclaim for her work and is regarded among the leading filmmakers of contemporary Danish cinema. Unfortunately this film is the first I have seen from her, but I hope to discover more of her films in the future. This film is currently nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film at this years Academy Awards. After the Wedding is a film that reveals more insight and surprise as it develops. We begin to learn more about these characters and there motives and history. The performances are powerful and the filmmaking is shot in a steadily progressing pace that both hampers and helps the film on an emotional level. Bier’s use of extreme close-ups of mouths and eyes seems to be an expression of heightened emotion, but the performances really make the scenes powerful. Essentially After the Wedding is like a soap opera, but it is really well performed by the three leads that you can easily absorb into these characters and their lives. The film is most concerned with examining the character of Jorgen on a moral level. The film becomes a bit heavy-handed towards its conclusion, but it does raise some thought-provoking ideas on the morality of Jorgen’s intention. Overall, an involving portrait of love and family.

>> Go here for FILMS OF 2006 list

1928, Charlie Chaplin, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Charlie Chaplin's The Circus can viewed as his personal farewell to the silent filmmaking era. An era he believed in and loved with all his genius and passion. Chaplin would continue making silent films (even well after the change over to talkies), but they still incorporated a bit of sound in some way (i.e. the hilarious opening sequence of City Lights in which Chaplin mocks sound). The Circus would be Chaplin's final (completely) silent film. Made in between his two most famous films (Gold Rush and City Lights), this may be Chaplin's most forgotten work. However, it's brilliance is undeniable. In fact, I'd rank this as Chaplin's second greatest film (only behind City Lights, which I consider easily one of the very greatest films of all-time). Like City Lights, this film displays Chaplin at his very best. Perfectly combining a touching emotional connection, wonderful romance, consistent laughter, and meaningful poetic visuals. The final sequence is truly incredible, particularly the beauty within the final shot. The Circus is an amazingly artistic and enjoyable statement from a cinema legend. The silent era may have ended in 1928, but it's impact is timeless and will be cherished for eternity.


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