The Milk of Sorrow / La Teta Asustada (2009): Bi-level rare disease

From: Peru, Spain

Director: Claudia Llosa

This is the perfect example of how innocence is easily marred and beauty easily disfigured.Fausta, played painstakingly brilliant by Magaly Solier, has one of the most beautiful faces I’ve seen but the film does not give room for its appreciation since she herself despises her womanhood because of fear. She tries her best to disallow herself to receive any attention from people because she thinks it’s a way to protect herself. She lives in fear but it is not her fault. She is pure of heart but her mind is tainted with fear of sin. What a single sin can do to a whole generation of women. What years and years of tradition can make you believe. Although she suffers from a rare disease called Milk of Sorrow, I think it’s more of self-inflicted sickness of the body brought about by a sickness of the mind due to solemn fearful conditioning.

The slow deliberate pace makes me feel like I’m  hauling a huge trunk of mommy issues but with heart wrenching spikes. But in the end, I realized it’s a slow revelation of emancipation.

 

What this film holds for me:

What: potato potato potato

Where: in a place where potatoes aren’t supposed to be

Who: actors who are non actors

Amores Perros (2000): Less humourous Pulp

From: Mexico

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

It was released as its original title, but loosely translated, it means Love’s a Bitch. Appropriately so since it touches both on the canine theme and the love theme organically. It doesn’t seemed forced or somewhat.

A lot of reviews describe it as the Pulp Fiction of Mexico, backed up by the theory that Quentin Tarantino’s magic has swarmed to countries even outside America at that time. Maybe so. As a personal opinion though, I don’t think it’s even near the Pulp Fiction league. Plot, acting, and cinematography are all superb. The way the three stories overlap and interject with one another is fluid and does not feel forced. It’s cohesive and overall impressive, but what I think it lacks, that alternatively lends Pulp Fiction its power is one important thing: humor. Pulp Fiction is funny, in the violent sarcastic kind of way (the best way!) and that just pushes the limit of movie-making for me. Quentin Tarantino is one hell of a joker and that’s why he is master of violence.

It’s the first in Iñárritu’s trilogy of death, followed by 21 Grams and Babel, so let me watch those and I’ll get back to this.

 

What this film holds for me:

Who: Gael García Bernal. That man can never do no wrong

What: dogs and blood. I’ve never seen so much together. 

 

Animated Short: Logorama (2009) : I see what you did there

From: France

Director: H5

It’s creative, witty, and creative. It’s unconventional. It’s one huge I see what you did there. Very well thought of, extensively researched, and perfectly executed.

So creative. Oh and did I mention it won the Academy Award for best animated short film. A bit of an unorthodox choice, but why wouldn’t it? It’s overwhelmingly impressive.

 

What this film holds for me:

Who: I knew Ronald McDonald was an evil clown.

What: Just the magnitude of research and creative thinking is mind-blowing.

What: Reminded me of whenever I watch Shrek, and they inject contemporary brands into the fairytale Disney world. Witty.

 

The White Ribbon (2009): Terrorism, perhaps forever

From: Germany

Director: Michael Haneke

Rarely does a film stay with you forever. Okay, maybe not yet forever, maybe only two days as of now, but this has the forever potential. It says something about the film when my dad spontaneously utters philosophies about the film over dinner or while driving, even after two days. He cannot get over it. I cannot get over it. It’s the kind of film that secretly steals your brain while you are watching it, stays there, and without warning, reveals itself as an impetus of dumbfounding theories while you’re ordering a cup of coffee or looking for a parking space. Trust me, it happened to me. Two days it has been doing that and I therefore bravely conclude, this movie will stay with me forever.

On a more serious note, The White Ribbon is bleak and haunting. I read somewhere that Mr. Haneke wanted to represent in some way the root of evil, and a less subtle way of depicting it would be to set it against the eve of World War I. These kids will be the ones following Hitler during his term. Why? Perhaps The White Ribbon can help elucidate. Perhaps not. Nonetheless, it speaks of terrorism, abuse, cruelty, and disempowerment. What makes it doubly haunting is that it deals with children. What makes it triply haunting is that it is shot in black and white.

 

What this film holds for me:

Who: the children, both the characters and actors – it disturbs me that they are so good in being evil

What: black and white – things are black and white and things are not black and white

How (I felt): searching for answers still after a few days, which I am truly happy about

 

 

The Graduate (1967) : That time when I was drifting

From: USA

Director: Mike Nichols

I am Benjamin. I am Benjamin Braddock a few years late, one gender different. Why, you ask? See below.

To sum up what state I think Benjamin’s in, I shall take one of my favorite conversations from the movie:

 

Benjamin’s Dad: Ben, what are you doing?

Benjamin: Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.

Ben’s Dad: Why?

Benjamin: Well, it’s very comfortable just to drift here.

 

Dear self, remember that on that day, at that moment in your life when you saw that movie again, you felt like Benjamin did. You were a drifter. and you were drifting. because it’s very comfortable to drift. But you were confused because you were also worried about your future. For Dustin Hoffman to have related to your circumstance must have meant something. Goddamn,  it did! Here’s more proof:

Remember that the genius of Dustin Hoffman  in the movie was that he could reveal the world inside him without even speaking. Every shot of his face told you more about what he’s going through than any dialog. You too had those looks. If you would make a montage of your facial expression in the past year or so, people would say you got it from Dustin.

9shot - the graduate

And the geniusXgenius of this movie remember, was the last scene. REMEMBER. A photobooth strip of it would prove to you how fleeting emotion was, how uncertain everything was. See that ecstasy – happiness – relief – calmness – worry – fear. That was all in less than 5 minutes. Genius but sadly, true.

photobooth the graduate

What this film holds for me:

Whole entry is a letter to my future self. See above. 

Hopefully you’re not drifting anymore.

Animated Short: Hunger / La Faim (1974): Gluttony will eat you

From: Canada

Director:  Peter Foldes

I know I know I’ve been posting a lot of animated shorts lately, but I just love them. This one is disturbingly grotesque but hauntingly hypnotizing. It’s gluttony and greed and nausea and good beats all in one fluid color blocking. It makes you want to reach for that pizza, or not.

What this film holds for me:

What: love food, don’t waste

Who: the  linear drawings in pure fluidity 

Animated Short: Jojo in the Stars (2004) – Freaky hearts day

From: United Kingdom

Director: Marc Craste 

Just have to put this on here, being Valentine’s day and all. Love love films that trick me. It starts out as a nightmarish freak show with creepy versions of Dumb-Ways-To-Die-like creatures, but ends as a somber love story. It’s archaic black and white style is as much part of the narrative as the story itself.

Reminded me of the original Phantom of the Opera. But with Frankenstein and evil ringmaster as costars. Totally worth 13 minutes of my Valentine’s Day.

 

What this film holds for me:

Who: Madame Pica – star of the show in all honesty

What: There will be no comfort. Close the doors.