Monday, May 2, 2011

Mission "AFAD" - April 2011

With 24 films, this month ranges 2nd in this year's record - 7 films less than January. Though I did cheat a little bit by watching 2 short films, just to increase my film list for this month.
Some of my achievements include "breaking in" to a new film industry by watching a South Korean film, going to the theatre three times (and it were three different theaters), watching my second Telugu film and also checking out some Parallel Hindi Cinema films.
This is also the first month that I've seen more non-Indian films than Indian ones, for this year. And, if you're following me on twitter you already know: I bought the highest amount of DVDs at once, that I've ever bought. I think it were about 40 DVDs.

24 films... and I know, these are only 22, because there were no posters for the short films

Bheja Fry (2007) Sagar Ballary
India, Hinglish - First view
I reviewed this film in my "Introduction to Hindi Parallel Cinema", a post that I worked on for a rather long time, and that I thought (and still think) is my best post until now, though sadly, I gained very little response for it. Okay, I didn't receive any kind of response for it. But never mind, I'll get over that.
Shortly: A good film. Earned three Lime Stars.

Mixed Doubles (2006) Rajat Kapoor
India, Hinglish - First view
And this is the second film, that was featured in the article. I think I made some kind of Parallel Cinema evening at the start of the month. It earned four Lime Stars, and I think it's a particularly well-done film of the newer Hindi Parallel Cinema.

Bommarillu (2006) Bhaskar
India, Telugu - First view
I chose "Bomarillu" to be my second Telugu film, for I had initially planned to start my career as a Telugu-watcher with Siddhart-films, because I already know him. But, as you all know, a certain "Arundhati" interfered that plan. Contraire to "Arundhati", "Bomarillu" is completely blood-free, and there's even just a very tiny, small, little dishoom-scene. The film also saved my personal Siddhart, meaning, well, we had some trouble after "Striker" because I didn't like his looks in that one, but he's back again, all mine. I found his character in this one a bit too daddyrules-like, but he still did a good job as an actor. Genelia was also sweet. Maybe the film was a tad too long, but it was still enjoyable and funny.

The Wild Bunch (1969) Sam Peckinpah
USA, English - First view
After Jack L. wrote about Sam Peckinpah (he even watched his entire filmography - I think I should do that with some classic Indian directors, too...), I recognized I had not seen any films of this famous director, so I instantly decided to watch his most known one: The Wild Bunch. It is a very classic western film, also very calm in a way (yes, despite the frequent bloodshed), so you have to be prepared for what you're going to watch. If you are, you will hopefully enjoy this film, because it is a great study on male friendship, men getting old (or should I say: cowboys)... and some other things.

Almanya (2011) Yasemin Samdereli
GER, German/ Turkish - First view (theatre)
While I was in Hamburg for my internship, I watched almost no films - and it was a 2-week-internship. The phrase "I can count them on one hand" (don't know if it exists in English), is very fitting for this matter: I did watch 5 films, only. Three of them in a theatre - actually, in three different theaters. Oh, how I love exploring new cities, and new theaters - as a matter of fact, exploring various theaters in a new town is a great way of getting to know the town.
The film is about Turkish immigrants in Germany, and is narrated in a very light and funny way, reminding me of my forever-favorite TV-series "Türkisch für Anfänger".

Så Som I Himmelen (As It Is in Heaven) (2004) Kay Pollak
Sweden, Swedish - First view
While I was on vacation in Sweden last summer, with my mother, sister, best friend, and best friend's mum, we watched the start of this, but found it very strange and turned it off again.
Indeed, it is a film not particularly appropriate for a DVD-night, or even for watching with many people at all. I watched it by myself, and I must say... Well, it's a typical Swedish film. Very philosophic, rough at times, but also with a great sense of humour to it.
The search for perfectness in art is something that has always intrigued me. I'm a perfectionist myself, even though I can be chaotic in certain situations, and I find that films dealing with this subject are exceptionally interesting. The last time I saw this, was in "Black Swan", and in this one it was a little different, because it's about music. But not only that: while in "Black Swan", the un-perfect happens to be perfect, this is not what we see in "As It Is in Heaven".
I can recommend this film to those who like to explore the topic I mentioned, and who are into films that are... well, a bit different (though, since I've seen "Harold & Maude", I haven't really been actually surprised by any film).

Ek Hasina Thi (2004) Siram Raghavan
India, Hindi - First view
I even did a real review on this film. If you want my opinion, you can read it.

Hanyeo (The Housemaid) (2010) Im Sang-soo
South Korea, Korean - First view (theatre)
And here we have the mentioned Korean film. As I said, it was my very first one to see. I watched the trailer in another theatre, and in that moment I decided: I want to watch that film. I have to.
Artistically, it is an incredibly precious film. Furthermore, it is great for those who are curious for new film industries. But when I had just watched it, I felt a bit disappointed. I felt that the makers focussed so much on the artistic perfection, that they forgot to drag the audience into the film.
Now, about two weeks after watching the film, I've had much time to think about it, and I've come to the conclusion, that this is just what the makers wanted. They wanted the audience to really feel that coldness of the Korean upper class. And it is real upper class. Not what you see in, well, old Jane Austen films, or "Match Point". No, this is modern, modern, really modern and incredibly rich, snobby upper class. And it's fascinating. It's like another world, so scary, so cold. So... intriguing in a way.
This is one of the most interesting, and thought-provoking films I've seen for a long time. Already, I have spent much time on thinking about it, and I can still go on. It's one of those films that will follow you forever, I think.

Never Let Me Go (2010/11) Mark Romanek
UK, English - First view (theatre)
After hearing that the novel I'd just read had just been made a film of, I was very happy, and very curious. Because it was starring Keira Knightley (and Carey Mulligan, but that wasn't what interested me most). And because the book was incredible.
Then, after the abroad release, I read some mediocre reviews, and began to get worried. But when it finally released in Germany, I still went to the theatre, and the old excitement came back up to the surface. I might also mention, that it was my first time to ever watch a Digital Cinema film, which is basically a film that "comes out of the screen", meaning there's no projector, but the film is somehow digitally saved somewhere. While the quality of the film was excellent, I still have some doubts about this new "project", because I think that it will make film piracy much more accessible.
The film itself did not disappoint me. It was my first Carey Mulligan film, and she was great in it - "An Education" is calling "watch me!". Keira Knightley was fabulous as ever, and Andrew Garfield made a good contrast to his breakthrough role in "The Social Network".
However, even though it was a great film (you really need some warm, romantic, true-love films once in a while - especially after watching "The Housemaid" the day before), I found it much more prude than the book. Don't get me wrong: the film did involve some open-minded sex scenes - but only between Andrew and Keira. The leading character, which was played by Carey, did not have sex until she was about 30 years old (at least it seemed to be that way). In the book, she has sex with various boys when she's about 18, in "The Cottages", but in the film, we only see her listening to Tommy and Ruth having sex, or sometimes listening to music so that she would not hear them. I think including those scenes from the book would have given the film a bit more credibility and open-minded-ness.
Nevertheless, it's definitely one of the good films that are based on books. You can also watch it, if you haven't read the book - but make sure you do read it afterwards.

Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007) Sanjay Khanduri
India, Hindi - First view
Read my review here.
A weird film that I did not complete, though Abhay was cute as ever.

Action Replayy (2010) Vipul Shah
India, Hindi - First view
Read my review here.
Didn't expect I'd like it - but I did.

How I Met Your Mother - Season 2 (2006/7) Carter Bays/ Craig Thomas
USA, English - First view
Maybe you know that I love HIMYM - or maybe you don't. Well, you know now. I watch all the episodes chronologically. But I don't rush myself - what'll happen, when I'm done? No, I'll rather take it calmly.

Anari (1959) Hrishikesh Mukherjee
India, Hindi - First view
Read my review here.
Lovely Raj-Kapoor classic.

Sønnen fra Vingården (1975) Morten Korch
Denmark, Danish - First view
Danish classics are another thing I love. Especially the kitschy Morten Korch ones. That's what I call high quality mainstream entertainment. How come mainstream films were so much better back in time?

Faded Secrets of Yesterday (2008) Bahaish Kapoor (short)
India, Hindi - First view
I don't usually watch many short films, but I felt like doing so this month. They're an important part of the film industry, and, well, short, which is great. This one was cute, but a bit too old-school. A bit trying-too-hard.

The Mexican (2001) Gore Verbinski
USA, English/ Spanish - First view
Let me first tell you: Mexico is not always exactly how it's portrayed in the films. Firstly, it can be incredibly dense, and not as dry as many think. Secondly, Mexicans can be really nice and friendly. Many of them are.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed this thriller-comedy. I never knew that Brad and Julia made a film together. They're cute as a couple. I don't know if this film would have worked without them, the way it did (it was planned to be a Indie-film without stars).

Qivitoq - Fjeldgængeren (1956) Erik Balling
Denmark, Danish/ Inuuit - First view
Ah... there's a big story behind this one. It was shot in the home village of my Danish guest mother, who is actually a Greenlander. But, in some way, they are Danish, right? However, her parents are in this film, and her mother is pregnant with her. That's funny to see. There are many other people in it, who she knows. Not to forget the biggest star of old Danish films: Poul Reichhardt. Isn't it funny, that the film was shot in exact that village? By the way, I'm going to Greenland for a month in... 7 weeks, and we're going to visit the village. We'll stay there for two weeks, I think.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award and a Palme d'Or.
Oh, and it's a very good film.

The International (2009) Tom Tywker
UK/ USA/ GER, English - First view (only start)
Boring. Incredibly boring. It thought Tom Tywker was a good director - he's known to be one of the good German directors who made it in Hollywood. But... it was boring. That's why I turned it off after 20 minutes.

Wild Target (2010) Jonathan Lynn
UK, English - First view
... Just to tune into this amazing British comedy with some of my favorite British actors. I think I'm really falling for the English humour and films! It's hard to describe, why this film is so good, because it's a comedy, and just like a joke, you can't explain a comedy.
Oh well, just watch it. You won't regret.

The Lovely Bones (2009) Peter Jackson
USA, English - First view
My mother and I were very excited for this one, when we saw the trailer in the theatre, but she went watching it and told me it wasn't that good. So that's why I didn't watch it back then.
I'm so glad I watched it now, because I liked it very much. Peter Jackson is one of those names that can almost guarantee for a good experience, and Saoirse Ronan is one of the child/teen actors that I find the most promising at the time. The "between"-scenes are beautifully made, and make you think about death - and also life. Also the screenplay is very well-made, and the search for revenge never gets boring, even though you know who the murderer is, from the start. There are some really stress-filled scenes, like the one with the diary, and I'm always in awe of a director, who can manage to transform a film-viewing-experience into a sports.

Ahista Ahista (2006) Shivam Nair
India, Hindi - First view
The only Indian film I watched and didn't review this month. Abhay Deol was - how often can I say this - cute as ever, and he had a good chemistry with Soha Ali Khan, who I haven't seen for a long time. The story was light and easy... I was sick of heavy dramas this month. But the end wasn't good... Crying...

Aftermath (2008) Bahaish Kapoor (short)
India, Hinglish - First view
Heard a lot about this. Was okay. But I've seen better.

All About Steve (2009) Phil Traill
USA, English - First view
This month was also a month for comedy. After finishing the second season of HIMYM, and after "The Mexican" and "Wild Target", I decided to try this little known comedy. Mainly because the story sounded funny, and because I adore Sandra Bullock - Bradley Cooper's not bad, too. I was actually surprised by how funny it turned out to be. I didn't even expect a real comedy, I thought it would be a normal, decent rom-com. But I forgot, that Sandra Bullock never makes a "normal" film - she's contributed something new to every genre she played in.
The idea itself (a funny, "unnormal" person is in love with someone and follows him/ her) maybe wasn't completely new, but the director added some fresh air to it, also with the quirky side characters.
This is a throughout born-and-bred feel-good-film. Why? Because you feel good while, and after, watching it. Recommended.

Wimbledon (2004) Richard Loncraine
UK, English - First view
After last months' "Match Point", already one of my favorites, I once again watched a British film about tennis. You're right: "Match Point" isn't really a film about tennis. But there's a lot of tennis in it.
We thought we should watch a British film on the day of the royal wedding in London... Just kidding: the television channel thought they should broadcast a British film on the day of the royal wedding.
But not even this is really a film about tennis: it's more what "All About Steve" wasn't - a rom-com. A good one, I'd say. Predictable end, but funny moments, and entertaining sports sequences with some thrill.

Crocodile Dundee (1986) Peter Faiman
Australia, English
I told you: this was my comedy month (at least the last two weeks). I'm almost entirely sure about having seen this classic before, when I was much younger, but I didn't remember most of it.
I must say that this is a real good old-school comedy film. It's probably been copied many times, and that's why the plot seems so familiar: adventurous wild-life-man falls in love with city girl and tries to live in... hey! That's "Tarzan", isn't it? Wow, honestly: that thought never crossed my mind until just now. Interesting.


I also found out during my internship, that I do not want to work in the fashion industry - at all. And that I don't want to do something that has to do with crafts (which is almost the same, right?). Not that I'm not good at it - everyone praised my work - but it's just not me. I need more thinking logically and abstract, and more... don't know. Travel, other people. Okay, I know that this is what many people think the fashion industry is all about. But it's not. And it's not me. 

The thing I'm best at is school... However, I'm considering pilot as an option at the moment...
That would be cool, don't you think?
Different people, other cultures, travels - and the flying itself!
That's more likely to be me.

I'm sorry - somehow I tend to ramble a lot in the AFAD-posts.


  1. Wow, massive post!
    a lot to read here!

    I'm glad you watched The Wild Bunch, it's quite a film isn't it? Although I can understand if you didn't like it as much as I did...

    Very interesting thoughts on Never Let Me Go, I really want to watch that film!

    Will you be watching the two sequels to Crocodile Dundee as well ? I heard they are not as good as the original...

    Also your introduction to Hindi Parallel Cinema sounds interesting, I'll be sure to read it sometime tomorrow! I can't believe I missed it before.

  2. Great post. I really must see The Housemaid.

    I really enjoyed Never Let Me Go too, after that and An Education, I think I'm falling for Carey Mulligan.

    About the Digital Cinema thing, it still uses a projector to put the image on screen, but instead of film reels, the movie is on an encrypted hard drive.

  3. Wow! So many films in one month would kill me! Where do you get the time? :)

  4. @ Jack L: I know - we had spring vacation this month, so I had plenty of time to think about the films. The Wild Bunch is a very good film, though off course, I know you loved it genuinely. If you want to watch NLMG, I can only recommend doing so.
    About the sequels: I don't know yet. I've also seen no more than Shrek 2, because I'm scared the sequels aren't that good. I also don't know, if I should watch Scream 4... I'd be happy if you read it :)

    @ Bonjour Tristesse: Yep, I think that's one you'd like. Carey Mulligan really is enchanting :). And thanks for the explanation - I'm not expert in that field.

    @ Gaja Gamini: I didn't watch many films in the first two weeks, but then we had Spring holiday for the last two weeks, so I had a lot of time. My guest family in Denmark also has some great TV Channels from Norway and the UK, which is fantastic.
    Otherwise, I tend to always try watching one film a day. Most of the time, I can manage finding time - but not always.

  5. Good post, and I am so glad you followed me otherwise I might have never discovered your blog!

    I have been meaning to get into Bollywood films for quite some time, and now I can just hop on over to your blog and get some really good recommendations. It's definitely one of the areas of film where I have absolutely no clue of, so it's great that you're blogging about a part of cinema that needs recognition.

    Again, thank you for the follow, and I am definitely following back.

  6. @ Cherokee: Aw, thank you for comment. It's always nice to hear of people who are interested in Bollywood, or new film industries at all. I hope you'll find what you need, and have fun reading.
    Looking forward to it!


Let the discussion begin!