The Girl on the Train (A++++++++++, André Téchiné, 2009)
Émilie Dequenne might be the best actress of her generation. I am looking forward to see her performance more and more in the future. Her Cannes award from Rosetta is not a one hit wonder. Before the Girl on the Train, she just gave a very good performance in superstitious Chabrolic thriller Écoute le temps as a daughter solving the crime from the past.
Back to The Girl on the Train, in term of structure, this film is like a companion piece to Techine’s The Witnesses. It has ensemble characters and storyline with a background from the real incident that happens in the (recently) past. Normally Techine loves to have subplot about Algerian, this time is about anti-Semetic. Techine’s pacing is always fast. I think his pacing is faster than The Bourne Series. Paul Greengrass’s visual and editing might drive my adrenaline but the story is very slower than Techine’s. Paul Greengrass might use 20 minutes to tell the story that happens in one airport, but Techine will spend his 20 minutes on telling 45 different stories of his characters.
By the way, there are many interesting supporting actors. Techine’s regulars like Deneuve and Michale Blanc are always good. And there is Ronit Elkabetz, the Israeli actress/director of To Take a Wife and Or. The one who surprise me most is Nicolas Duvauchelle. He is very good looking. And a good actor too. I check from imdb that this is the forth time I saw his movies but I don’t recognize him until this film. The film of his that I saw are Beau Travail, Troble Every Day and Inside. 2009 would be his great year because he has a part in Denis’s White Material and Resnais’s Wild Grass!
The Girl on the Train is based on the real event about a girl who told a lie to the media and caused the national sensation like Nathan Oman in Thailand. I wanna see this kind of film in Thai film industry. I mean, the film that is based on the real event but can bring the audience deep down than the headline of newspaper or internet hate trends and understand the particular situation in human scale, economic scale, national politics and anthropological roots.
Bright Star (A++++++++, Jane Campion, 2009)
A perfect film. This might be one of the film that really makes me think about heartbreaking and the madness of love that could link to my first love/first pain experience.
The Mourning Forest (A+++++++, Naomi Kawase, 2007)
I saw it in Japanese Film Festival @ Paragon Cineplex and the surprise thing is, there is no English subtitle! I think the staff didn’t check the print so the film has French subtitle instead. But what surprise me most is that, only 20 percent of the audience left the theatre. The other 80% sat and watched this magnificent film which could appreciate only in theatre. This is the first time I see this film and I think I understand everything in this film. No need for subtitle, the film can tell the story and soul by its visual and sounds.
Some said Naomi was inspired by Tropical Malady, If it’s true I think she did a very good work because she found her way to shot the forest. The visual and sound of the forest in this film is very different from Tropical Malady while Nymph, another Thai film that refuse the same kind of accusation, looks familiar to (and worse than) Apichatpong’s film. The difference between the forest in Tropical Malady, Mourning Forest and Nymph is that the first two have a soul but the third film doesn’t.
The Son (A+++, Dardenne Brothers, 2002)
Murder by Numbers (A+, Barbet Schroeder, 2002)
Saw it in HBO. Very very good detective Thriller. The visual in the climax scene on the balcony reminds me of the eclipse scene in Dolores Claiborne (which I think is Taylor’s Hackford’s best film).
The House of Yes (A+, Mark Waters, 1997)
A++++++++++ for Parker Posey. She plays an evil psychopathic sister that has incest relationship with her twin brother. After he studied in other city for a long time, he comes back with his fiancé and it drives her mad in a very funny way. The actors of this film are so queer. Besides Posey, Tori Spelling plays the innocent fiancé and Freddy Prince Jr plays an autistic little brother. There are some funny conversation like…
Parker Posey : U should let your bother get the ice.
Freddy Prince Jr : Will he know where we keep the ice.
Parker Posey : Everybody know where the ice is!!!!!
Freddy Prince Jr (to his brother) : Before bring it here, please check that the ice is cool enough.
By the way, Mark Waters is the director of Freaky Friday, Head Over Hillm, Mean Girls, Ghost of the Girlfriend’s Past. The House of Yes is his first film and his only independent film, i guess.
Katalin Varga (A+, Peter Strickland, 2009)
The scene on the boat is amazing. After Katalin Varga walked for 2000 miles (LOL) she found the one she longed to meet. She sat on the same boat with him and his wife and then she reveal her real intention. That scene is so frightening and the way the director shot the scece is amazing. Despite that there are 3 characters on the boat, the director shot only Katalin Vargar ‘s face for a long long time and has the face of the man she wanted to revenge as a reverse shot.
La promenade (A+, Marina De Van, 2007)
The comic story about the son who just married and his old father who wanna have sex again so the son must take him to buy a service from the prostitute. The most funniest thing in the film is Marina herself. She played a “beautiful and sexy” wife and she danced and stripped until she showed her body full frontal.
The Fourth Kind (A+/A, Olatunde Osunsanmi, 2009)
Super scary but I think some part are too fake. If the director didn’t perfect the images too much, it would be more real.
One Million Yen Girl (A+/A, Yuki Tanada, 2008)
Lots of good idea but bad ending. The ending changes the film from “the girl’s precious journey” to “typical Japanese love story”