zondag 2 januari 2011

Best of 2010

My favorite 2010 series:

Tru Blood


Man is trapped in the machinery of his surroundings. It may be true in general, but it´s certainly true in Ajami, a film named after a crowdy & rowdy Jaffa neighbourhood. Core of the comlex plot is Omar’s problem: a vengeful family wants to kill him, because Omar’s uncle killed one of them. This story line provides a thriller-like tension, but in the end the movie feels more like a combination of documentary and tragedy. We are led into several strands of Jaffa life and see christians bugging eachother for dating arabs, arabs bugging eachother for dating jews. 
Omar and his christian girlfriend risk being caught while holding hands.
One of the highlights is Omar’s visit to the vengeful family, who turn out to be a powerful nomad clan. Omar needs an interpreter to talk to them and he is as much as we at a loss about the precize customs of this clan. Some sort of deal is reached: if Omar brings in a large ransom, he won’t be killed. The remainder of the movie shows Omar pursuing this impossible goal: a tragic character in a cruel world. 

Seen on July 20, 2010, in Rialto, Amsterdam. 

zaterdag 1 januari 2011

A Prophet

A prison movie that transcends the genre: harsh, yet poetic. It’s full of life’s contradictions. The protagonist Malik pursues his criminal ambitions quite ruthlessly, but he’s also a vulnerable young man that you feel sorry for. His adversaries are his supporters and vice versa. 
Malik’s personal development is entertwined with social commentary on Arab and Corsican communities in jail. Bloody scenes are alternated with soft ones, about friendship and parenthood. Sometimes Malik has dreamlike visions, hence the title. 

Seen in The Movies, Amsterdam, on March 9, 2010. 

vrijdag 31 december 2010

Soon on this blog

Un Prophete
Michael Winterbottom's Genova
Winter's Bone

The Killer Inside Me

Well told and stylish. Two unpleasant murdering scenes, but no real horror or thriller suspense. We watch from the murderer's perspective, so identification with the victims is slightly discouraged.
Besides, the wonderfully slick fifties styling creates some distance. It's truly, deeply, shiveringly noir.

About western noir and Laura Lippman's shorthand definition (dreamers become schemers): B. Morrison' blog.

Seen in Kriterion, Amsterdam, on November 20, 2010.