Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 12th Log

2006, George Miller, Australia / United States
1st Viewing, DVD

What a wild trip of film this one is! But I mean that in a good way, I think. I know one thing at least, I sure had a lot of fun watching this film. Happy Feet is a strange as you’d expect a film that centers around a penguin who is born different because of his unique love of dancing and lack of singing (something all the other penguins of his tribe excel at). When abandoned by his tribe, he seeks to find the “aliens” that are causing the shortage of fish and ultimately learns that his dancing will be his means of communication and hope. Yeah it is that strange, but coming from director George Miller (most known for Babe: Pig in the City and the Mad Max trilogy), Happy Feet is an imaginative ride of excitement. Of course there are a whole lot of parallels related to a much more important social issue of our environment and Miller certainly uses this film as a reflection of humanity. The film even takes on levels of religion and government making this “family” animation one that is as haunting as it is funny and entertaining. Miller is defiantly a visionary filmmaker and he has made a unique film with Happy Feet. The script (which was written by Miller and three other collaborators) is a bit messy, but I guess it goes with the chaotic spirit of this fantasy, musical, sci-fi, political animated feature.

1919, Mauritz Stiller, Sweden
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Swedish filmmaker Mauritz Stiller is one of the most under-forgotten master filmmakers of the silent era. Sir Arne's Treasure is his masterpiece and one of the most remarkable films in history. Stiller's previous film (Saga of Gosta Berling- which introduced the world- or more specifically Hollywood to a young Greta Garbo) was a bit mixed with me, but I love this film. Both are adapted from major Swedish novelsby Selma Lagerlof. This film is told in five acts. It's a deeply moving story telling the tale of a young woman who is haunted by the death of her sister and who's innocence has her fall in love. Ultimately she is in love with the wrong man and the tragic result reaches it's climax when she is used as a human shield. The film ends with a beautiful final image. Stiller gives the film dazzling visual imagination and camera movement reminiscent of F.W. Murnau, and Mary Johnson is a radiant presence as the innocent Elsalill. I have not seen many Swedish silent films, but this has to be among the greatest achievements of the era. A masterpiece!


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