This Week's Film Reviews (Dec 31, 2010)

30 Dec 2010

Two new films begin their run at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto: ENTER THE VOID and FILM SOCIALISME.

ENTER THE VOID (France 2009) **
Directed by Gasper Noe

From bad to worse to unbearable!  French bad boy did a marvellous trick with his first film – a short film called CARNE (HORSE MEAT).  This was followed by an equally excellent SEUL CONTRE TOUS then IRREVERSIBLE.  Having seen all 4 of Noe’s major films, ENTER THE VOID is the most indulgent but worst of the lot!

The film revolves around the relationship of a brother and sister, orphaned from a car accident.  Oscar promises to look after Linda, even after death and this he does as a ghost.  But as in all of Noe’s movies, this is no harmless tale (of sibling caring for each other).

ENTER THE VOID has Oscar as an uncontrollable junkie who pays Linda’s way to Tokyo only to have her strip for a living.  Incest leads to death to a terribly boring violent and sex-charged movie.  Some viewers may be intrigued by a sperm eyed view of fertilization.  The TIFF version is reportedly 20 minute shorter than the Cannes version, but the press got the full original version.  How unfortunate!

FILM SOCIALISME (France 2010) **
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

FILM SOCIALISME continues the Godard’s brand of don’t give a f*** type of filmmaking that he has championed since the 80’s starting roughly with his NOUVELLE VAGUE and HISTOIRE DU CINEMA.  His films are highly personal and incomprehensible and he really does not care who or whether anyone understands them or not.  This explains the more than half of an audience that would walk out of his film screenings when screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

FILM SOCIALISME is a film, composed, rather than constructed and it is best that the audience reads what the film is about before entering the cinema.  The film uses a kaleidoscope of sound, image and montage to comment on the state of the world – past and present.  Sound may be orchestration, silence, or simply the rush of wind.  The footage stops every few minutes or so with silence.  The subtitles are experimental, or what Godard apparently has called “Navajo English” – i.e. a truncated version of the dialogue.  Most of the time, they do not make any sense.

The film is divided into three movements.  “Des choses comme ça” ("Such things") is set on a Mediterranean cruise ship.  Among the passengers is an aging war criminal, a former United Nations official and a Russian detective.  The second involves a brother and sister, summoning their parents to appear before the "tribunal of their childhood,” demanding answers about liberty, equality, and fraternity.  Indeed, how will the future generation pay for this one’s debts? “Nos humanités” ("Our humanities") visits six legendary sites: Egypt, Palestine, Odessa, Hellas (spelled  “Hell as,” perhaps as a nod to the financial downfall of Greece), Naples and Barcelona.

Godard throws a lot of ideas (though most without any form or purpose) at the audience.  The best one questions the payment of liberty suffered by Ethiopia.  His film looks good and the images are stunning with great sound and or orchestrated music. And at least he is willing to give audiences a taste for their money with experimenting that had put him on the map with his A BOUT DE SOUFFLE.

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