Sunday, August 26, 2007

August 26th Log

1977, Werner Herzog, West Germany
1st Viewing, DVD

Werner Herzog opens the film with a long shot of a man emerging out of a caged cell and into a world of “freedom”. Only the world of freedom within the grim Berlin environment proves be even more trapped. So the man decides to leave for the land of freedom, the United States and the open landscape of Wisconsin, only to discover yet another bleak world. Herzog’s film is a cynical and dark one made with his usual touch of poetic imagery, irony, and morality. Stroszek is very powerful to its tragic closing moments. I would not rate this is the class of Herzog’s best features, but it is a beautifully made and sympathetic film.

2006, Jake Clennell, United Kingdom
1st Viewing, DVD

The Great Happiness Space is an effective film mostly because it takes us into a world and a culture rarely seen but a world in which complicated human emotions and feelings are universally shared. The films full title is The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief and it takes us into the world of Osaka male club hosts, who’s job is to entertain their female clients by offering them their dreams in a night. The films greatest strength is that it takes us beyond the surface of this world and deep into its complicated and psychological reality. The filmmaker takes a non-judgmental approach and even though the material makes it difficult the film remains fair. Ultimately the film is presented with a reflective sense of irony in that perhaps it is the hosts who are the victims of themselves.


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