måndag, maj 31, 2010

Louise Bourgeois dead

Louise Bourgeois the French-American artist and sculptor has died at the age of 98.
She has been very influential on younger artists and not least female dito.
She is - among other things - known for her 'spider structures' earning her the nickname 'Spider Woman'. She is said to be the founder of 'Confessional Art'.

Clint Eastwood 80

We celebrate this 'icon' within film, not least being a very talanted director. We do this by displaying the first film he participated in and the - up til now - last one, a film he also directed.

Revenge of the Creature
(Jack Arnold 1955)

Gran Torino
(Clint Eastwood 2008)


In this humorous science-fiction film the main characters are Ben Crandall (Ethan Hawke), Wolfgang Müller (River Phoenix) and the third 'musketeer' (or 'gremlin') Darren Woods (Jason Presson).

The first two are obsessed with outer space, 'aliens' and the recurrent question: Could there be life 'out there'?
Wolfgang is the technical genius - the nerd - who, in his very particular home has a 'laboratory' of his own, in which he invents all kinds of more or less useful gadgets.
Ben is also very brilliant in his own way but the more adventurous of the three - the explorer - aiming high above the stars in his quest for the 'ultimate truth' about the Universe.
Darren becomes their friend after having saved Ben at school when being bullied by other schoolmates.
This bad behaviour from other schoolmates is due to the fact that both the latter and Wolfgang are regarded as 'earthly aliens' in their school
Wolfgang and Ben succeeds in creating an interplanetary space ship that takes them - and the first hesitating Darren - far away from their suburb, finally meeting extra terrestrials with whom they become friends.

It's a harmless, charming story about adventures, the quest for an eventual 'truth', the will to discover new worlds and other life forms, creatures not resembling us.
The film tries to tackle the question of how to approach others who you initially are afraid of, due both to the fact that they look and act differently and that our knowledge about others is limited and often built on prejudices or imaginative ideas of 'the others'.
Of course it's three children almost being able to achieve this goal and the extra-terrestrials they meet, are revealed being children too, whereby the communication is based on a mutual interest and curiosity - until father E.T. arrives!
Is it the naivety and open-mindedness of children - as long as this still exists with children - that is needed in order to overbridge the communicational boundaries, both on earth and in the Universe?
Stephen Hawking recently said that if we were to be approached by 'aliens'/extraterrestrial life forms, we should be very careful not being to friendly, as there is a greater risk that they are hostile rather than friendly.
On the other hand, Stephen Hawking is not a child!

Ma petite entreprise

This is an amusing story starting with a tragedy. Sometimes tragedies can be amusing too.

Ivan Lansi (what a name?!) (Vincent Lindon) is the owner of a woodworks and he works hard to make it profitable.
Unfortunately a fire brakes out, devastating a major part of his firm.
He now finds himself in troubles as his insurer - Maxime Nassieff (François Berléand) - has swindled him.
Facing catastrophy he assembles a couple of friends - including Maxime - to try to sort things out.
Sami (Roschdy Zem), is very skilled at climbing buildings, using mountaineer equipment and he's equally skilled at braking in to buildings. His son is a computer 'expert' and together with them Ivan now creates the 'master plan' to save his skin.
They are going to break in to the insurance company and make changes in the computer system, making it look like he is assured - even though he's not.
This is the start of an adventurous 'escapade'.

This is not a pretentious movie but - as I wrote initially - a rather entertaining, confusing story with a lot of misunderstandings and mishaps.

söndag, maj 30, 2010

Quelques jours avec moi

'Quelques jous avec moi' is a film about people in different social stratas, with different ideals or at least they think so and how they meet and blend almost perfectly.
It's also a film about lack of responsibility, the thought that you can buy everything and everyone with money, the fact that you almost can.

The main characters are 'Martial Pasquier' (Daniel Auteuil), his mother 'Madame Pasquier' (Danielle Darrieux), 'monsieur and madame Fonfrin' (Jean-Pierre Marielle and Dominique Lavanant), their housemaid Francine (Sandrine Bonnaire), her boyfriend Fernand (Vincent Lindon) and their friends among whom we see Georgette (Dominique Blanc).
Martial's mother is the proprietor of a chain of supermarkets and as her son has spent some years in a mental hospital(!) because he was seen as pathologically indolent, she now wants him to get started in her firm.
He is assigned to visit a couple of cities where their supermarkets are situated and in doing so he finds that one manager (monsieur Fonfrin) has taken a 'loan' from the cash desks whereby the latter prepare himself to be discharged.
However Martial let him stay but take advantage of the situation and let himself be invited to their home and there he meets Francine and falls in love, or does he?
Martial invites her to dine with him but this by telling her that he is throwing a party and that he wants her to work for him that night.
The Fonfrins - not least madame - are not found of this but when Francine arrives she finds that the only guest is her.
Martial proposes that she stay with her and leave the work at the Fonfrin's place, something that makes Francine wonder why. Obviously Martial is in need of company and maybe some physical love, or is it more to it?
He buys her new clothes and supports her in every way. At the beginning she questions this arrangement but gradually she accepts it and get accustomed to this life.
Fernand - Francines boyfriend - becomes aware of this but as Martial arranges with a job for the unemployed Fernand, at the supermarket, he accepts this and Martial's friendship.
Martial now get to meet some of Francine's and Fernand's friends, more or less criminal individuals but with a good heart.
Martial also arranges with a party for them, the Fonfrin's, a sister to Francine with her fiancée who is a policeman and during the night these different characters are getting more and more acquainted, not least through the influence of Champagne!
In the shadows lurks Rocky, a tough figure who's interested in Francine and when Martial is fooled to go back to his mother as she is very 'ill', Rocky takes his chance and Francine doesn't say no.
Martial's mother is not ill at all, this was just an excuse to get him back to the office and sort things out.
Francine starts to work in the little café Rocky runs but ther relationship is full of violence.
Fernand is also jealous and this shows to be dangerous in the end when he takes the step over the line, using violence.

On the whole this is a rather well structured film although the first two thirds are better than the last third, where the director - Claude Sautet - seem to have lost the apetite for creating an interesting end.
A lot of fine French actors and actressess as you can see and their acting is very good, creating different types of people with different styles, being challenged in their views on how 'the others' function as individuals.
One can say that this is a film about how dramatic changes in life can lead to another approach to life and people and also how it can unite people when they see what is hidden behind the mask.

lördag, maj 29, 2010

Sea of Love

A film about the dangers with Lonely Heart's Columns - today in the form of internet but at the time through newspapers. Beware!

Detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino) has become a bitter man after his wife left him for his colleague Gruber (Richard Jenkins) with whom he works on a everyday basis.
He can't let go of this story and reminds Gruber as often as he can.
Now they are investigating a murder where the victim - a naked man - has been shot in the neck lying in a bed faced down, with a record playing the song 'Sea of Love' as the only visible or auditive clue.
Another victim is found in the same way and now Frank starts cooperating with Det. Sherman (John Goodman) - instead of Gruber - as the latter murder was committed in Sherman's operational area.
As both victims (and later ones) has written poetry in the Lonely Heart's Column in order to find the 'right one', the two policemen figure out that if they do the same thing they could perhaps get their hands on the suspect, when she(?) is answering the add.
Said and done.
Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin) - a manager of a shoe store - answers the add but unfortunately Keller falls in love with her, jeopardizing the whole investigation and maybe his life?!
Sherman understands that Keller isn't playing with open cards and he's worried about the outcome of this plan.
Is Helen actually the murder or isn't she, that is the question as Hamlet would have said.

This is a rather traditionally told story about the daily police work, more or less dedicated cops, using methods 'on the limits', interfoliated by side stories about their private life, very popular during the 70's but not least the 80's when trying to create a story with greater depth, making us acquainted with the man or woman behind the mask.
In general I don't think this approach add anything significant to the story and it doesn't deepen our understanding of the main characters reasons for acting in one way or another.
It's af is the directors want us to remember that this is 'ordinary people' with 'ordinary lives', including family conflicts, divorces, sorrow and pain - but that we already know.
The acting was however good and this goes not least for Ellen Barkin, in one of her best roles.

Director: Harold Becker.

fredag, maj 28, 2010

Easy Rider

This film doesn't need to much of an introduction wherefore one simply have to say as in the commercial: "A man went looking for America...And couldn't find it anywhere".
To this one can add that roughly speaking we get to meet two groups of people, those who think they know how one should behave, how to lead the life, to work hard, earn your money, pay your tax and have a hair cut and those who seek something else but not finding it because their visions doesn't correspond to what society needs and they themselves doesn't believe they need the society - or rather: Doesn't believe in society in it's (past 1969)/current form.
Both are of course right in their own way but the problem seem to be that neither side can accept the others, something they have in common and an attitude leading up to intolerance and marginalization of the group being in minority.
Both are of course also wrong as they are unwilling to take the best part of one opinion and mix it with their own.
Fundamentalism, extremism, fascism, idealism, patriotism and a lot of other 'ism'-s are represented in this film and the actors are (among others):
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper (who also directed the film), Phil Spector, Jack Nicholson.

Revolutionary Road-what's revolutionary about it?

This is another film about the 1950's in the USA and the bigotry, the aim for a 'perfect life' with a 'perfect family' in a 'perfect house' etc etc... (Far from Heaven).

The film focuses around Frank and April Wheeler (Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet) and their very self-assured attitude, looking down on everyone else, not at all "being like them".
Frank dreams of Paris and he doesn't initially want to settle down and April finds him being "one of the most interesting persons she has ever met".
However they do settle down in a suburbian house, he starts to work at a computer company with tasks he dislike but this just in order to support the family financially.
Helen stays at home like a 'good hosewife', even though this is not what she wants.

They have children as everyone else, they have their party's as everyone else and their life eloigns more and more from their initial dreams of a life, living free, independent, travelling, living at different places in the world etc.
Driven to this point in their relationship their family life is starting to crackle and they blame each other, making it necessary to initiate a change in life, moving to Paris, the dream they've always nourished.
Unfortunately - for their plans - Frank is promoted as his work is appreciated at the company, whereby they stay on in their house trying to make the suburban life as agreeable as possible towards the dramatic turning point in their life.

The script is not bad but on the same time, we've several times seen similar themes in films, about people leading rather good lives but still not being satisfied as their dreams about an even better life always eludes them.
Having dreams is important but also having a somewhat realistic vision about how these dreams should be realized is also equally important. In this case we see a family who wants to eat the cake and still keep it.
It's like Kierkegaard said, one have to make "the great jump" into the unknown but in this case that jump should have been undertaken before they settled down, had children, house and mortgages. At this moment 'the great jump' is becoming more and more unrealistic.
Although the story could have been more interesting I don't find this film more than mediocre, with a mediocre story about a mediocre couple, not able to decide what is important in life.
The acting is good but I must say that compared to e.g. Danish actors and films, displaying family tragedies, the American way of acting always becomes more sentimental and less credible, a bit to polished.

Fanfan la Tulipe

Fanfan la Tulipe - Bande Annonce FR
envoyé par _Caprice_. - Regardez des web séries et des films.

Fanfan la Tulipe - Gérard Philipe - is a handsome young peasant, skilled in using his sword.
He escapes a marriage he was forced into and meets a young gypsy woman - Adeline - Gina Lollobrigida - who predicts that he will gain the daughter of the King if he joins the army.
The gypsy woman happens to be the daughter of the recruiting officer so now he has been fooled the fool!
He joins the army anyway and nurture the dream of meeting the daughter of the king, Louis XVI - Marcel Herrand - and marry her!
In meantime he is engaged in a lot of adventures and wars but when he finally breaks into the castle standing face to face with the kings daughter at last, he is caught and sentenced to death.
Adeline persuades Louis XVI to free Fanfan but the king wants something in return, Adeline in the bed!
She escapes and Fanfan saves her but later on she is kidnaped by the kings men and now Fanfan starts chasing them to get her back.

This film is a very charming but innocent story about the adventurous Fanfan and the dictatorial Louis XVI and his intrigues, a criticism towards the sovereign king and the war.
Gérard Philipe died very young (37 years old) but at the time he was one of the most popular actors well to compare with Jean Gabin e.g.

onsdag, maj 26, 2010

Gunnar Bjursell by Gabriella Novak

This is the second drawing made by Gabriella Novak, depicting me. She was displeased with the first one.
It's always interesting to look at portraits picturing oneself made by others and when I saw this one I said: "The wrinkles are there!" To many? No not at all, according to Aurore, who added:
"No Gabriella has actually forgotten the wrinkles on your forehead!"
I told Gabriella that she didn't have to add those wrinkles.

Gunnar Bjursell in progress by Gabriella Novak

This is a painting - in progress - depicting me, made by the artist Gabriella Novak, a woman I once worked with as an extra in a Swedish tv-series (Livet i Fagervik).

Stylistically I find her painting reminding me somewhat of Nils Dardel and his artistry.
She keeps this and other paintings in her appartment near Paris - I think - and she told me she is going to complete it later, putting specs on my nose, among other things.
To my knowledge this is the first time anyone has made a painting of me and I wonder when I will be able to look at it at Le Louvre?!

Thank you Gabriella!

tisdag, maj 25, 2010

Shallow Hal alias Jack Black

This film is made by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, starring Jack Black as Hal (not the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, although this film was made in 2001) and Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosemary.

Hal is a real male shallow (of course) chauvinist, only dating women who are regarded as being 'beautiful' according to some standard protocol, that is to say rather slim and looking as the models in 'adult magazines'.
How to look at women and who do date are the advices given to Hal by his father and he is following these advices to the letter.
One day however he meets the 'guru' Tony Robbins (Anthony Robbins) who hypnotize him, making him see only the 'inner beauty' of women.
When Hal meets Rosemary, a 'heavy-weight' woman and a woman that other men never looks at, he falls in love as he only is able to see her inner qualities.
In the beginning she thinks that he makes fun of her but he is serious, even though he wouldn't be serious if he hadn't been hypnotized.
Their love story continues and in the end it' s time for marriage between the two even though neither Rosemary's family or Hal's friends seem to understand how they can be drawn to each other.
His qualities as a man isn't to obvious.

Will their love survive? This is a question that becomes acute when Hal's friend Mauricio (shallow too) - Jason Alexander - arranges that the hypnosis is undone and Hal for the first time get to see Rosemary as she really is - physically.

It's an uncomplicated story but rather amusing, not least when we as viewers get to see her undress, throwing her pants in his face, big as an elephants.
During hypnosis Hal can't understand how she can be wearing these tents as he sees her in another way.
There are other amusing scenes as when they uses a pool and she is going to jump in to it, almost emptying the pool! Hal can't understand how she does that but he accepts the fact that this woman is rather special.
On the whole a quite entertaining piece of work and I must say that I'm fond of Jack Black, even though he might never win an Oscar or La Palme d'Or.

måndag, maj 24, 2010

Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeniality is a film by director Donald Petrie.

The film tells the naïve but rather comical story about the tough female FBI-agent Gracie (Sandra Bullock) - knocking her classmates already as a nine year old - who, in order to find a mysterious serial killer threatening the Miss United States beauty pageant, takes on the task as an undercover agent, disguised to a beauty queen.
As Bullocks character lacks all the finesse neaded to succeed, one have to hire a make over expert, a beauty agent - Victor Melling (Michael Caine) - who does everything in his power to make her into a worthy contestant.
Will he reach the goal and will the FBI-agents and not least Gracie find the serial killer?
When they seemed to have catched the killer, Gracie is not convinced and requires that she stays on in order to investigate the matter.
Her boss says no but she can stay as a "civilian" if she wants but without authority and a gun.
In the role as the main responsible for this event - and also the somewhat suspicious figure Kathy Morningside - we see Candice Bergen.
As her assistant - Stan Fields - William Shatner.

The charm in this film is of course Sandra Bullock - Aurore would say Michael Caine, as she thinks he's good looking and sexy.
Of course I like Caines acting, he's seldom bad but on the other hand, Sandra Bullock is not an actrice that receives the attention I think she is worth, as a comedienne.
I know she won the Oscars for best female actress recently but she is a very fine comedy actor using small means to create a some good laughs.

söndag, maj 23, 2010

We Own The Night

The film uses the contrasts created by the fact that - in this case - two brothers choose opposite sides of the law.
We're in Brooklyn, New York and Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix) is a manager of a succesful nightclub often frequented by Russian 'gangsters' and a drug lord by the name of Vadim Nezhinski (Alex Veadov). The club is also owned by Vadim's uncle.
Bobby's father is a police deputy chief - Burt Grusinsky (Robert Duvall) and his brother Joseph (Mark Wahlberg) is a police captain.

The police hasn't succeeded in hunting Vadim down and all of a sudden the latter strikes back, shooting Joseph who survives but is hospitalized for four months.
During this time Bobby visits his brother and becomes aware of the fact that blood is thicker than water (not always, God knows).
Bobby decides to work under cover in order to help his father and the other police men in capturing Vadim and his uncle.
During an attempt to protect Bobby and his girlfriend, the police convoy in which they are transported is attacked and Bobby's and Joseph's father is killed.

Bobby now decides to join the police force officially and during a last raid against Vadim and his gang Joseph is unable to continue, due to the memories of his fathers death whereby Bobby goes into a building and kills Vadim.
After this Bobby continues within the police force as a patroling officer but Joseph changes into the administrative department, still being strongly influenced by the death of his father and wanting to spend more time with his family.

This film could well be built on a 'true story' even though there are more 'action' and less administrative work in this film compared to the 'real life', perhaps.
On the other hand the struggle between the police and criminals contains at least as much violence as this film and often more. Reality is always worse than fiction, seldom better!
It's quite a habile film and one can feel the conflicts within the family, within the criminal gangs and the rivalry there but in this film it all ends well for the less bad guys(?).

tisdag, maj 18, 2010

A Swedish New Wave?

A site called Nordstjernan recently wrote about Swedish film and what they called the "New Swedish Wave".
They saw a resurgent interest in Swedish film, interviewing people working at the Swedish Film Institute.
How did they exemplify this?

They mentioned - among others - the director Tomas Alfredson who directed Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in), a film that have won more than 60 awards worldwide and God knows why!

This is the film adaptation of the book (with the same name) by the author John Ajvide Lindqvist (an author we had the opportunity listening to earlier this year at the Swedish Institute in Paris) and we bought it but I haven't had the opportunity read it yet, whereby I can't say anything about it as a book.
The adaptation for the movies - in spite of all the different prizes it has won - was a great disappointment I think!
Not least as the rumours had it having become a 'Great' film. Personally I thought it was a 'turkey'.
Creating a vampire movie wasn't to original in itself but the action situated in a boring suburb of Stockholm (I've been there several times), didn't make me to excited and it didn't work out well at all, I think.
It's not the idea of vampires in a suburb of Stockholm as such but...
Maybe it's depicted in a more exciting way in the book.
I believe - I can't know as I haven't read it as I wrote - that the book is written in a more symbolic, metaphorical way, using expereriences and references from the childhood of the author himself. Lindqvist grew up in that very suburb, was bullied by his schoolmates, maybe also having a 'fantasy friend' who he could talk to.
Maybe also symbolic in the sense that the young (or not so young in reality) vampire girl (boy in the book) symbolised the immigrant and the outsider, exposing the conflicts she/he would be subjected to but also the solidarity with the boy being subjued by the others.
Such a solidarity and empathy emanating from personal experiences of violence and the vulnerableness he/she might have experienced being a 'foreigner' - in every sense of the word - in herself as well as in a new country - had she/he been an 'ordinary' girl/boy.
Now we know that this is not an ordinary boy/girl but someone slightly different and in this environment more or less unique.
Being pursued either because you're a vampire or a romani or not having the 'right' clothes, being 'otherwise' is of course a universal phenomenon.

The second name mentioned in the article is Daniel Espinosa, director ot the film Fast Cash (Snabba Cash), built on the novel with the same name, written by Jens Lapidus.

I can't say much about this film as I haven't seen it and I haven't read the book.
The only thing I know is that the action takes place in Stockholm among young money making businessmen and criminals, not least around the huge 'hot-dog-stand' Stureplan in the heart of Stockholm.
For those of you not familiar wtih Stockholm, Stureplan is supposed to be the 'coolest' plays in the capital with a lot of fancy restaurants and clubs in one of the most expensive areas in town.
However, I think it more resembles the 'hot-dog-stand' you find in small Swedish cities where the locals gather to eat and talk.
Anyway, my impression from the things I've heard about the book, the fact that a lot of people have read it (often indicating a book for 'each and everyone' and thereby of less interest for the bibliophiles) and the information I've found concerning the movie, doesn't give me the impression that this is a specifically interesting scenario but more a film of a certain entertainment value.

Pia Lundberg (Director of the International Department at the Swedish Film Institute) said the following in an interview:
"There’s a renewed interest in Swedish film today, and once again Sweden is exporting actors and directors to Hollywood just like in the good old days. Directors like Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”) and Daniel Espinosa (“Fast Cash”) and actors like Alexander Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny and Joel Kinnaman are hot."
She continues:
“American talent scouts are always courting us. They keep an eye on our actors and directors, even our technical behind-the-camera personnel. Sweden is in right now.”

This has been said before in Sweden and elsewhere and when it comes to actors we have some good actors but compared to our neighbouring countries - Norway, Denmark, Finland and to some degree Iceland - they're not at all more brilliant than the actors in these countries, rather the opposite, sometimes.

The "technical behind-the-camera personnel" should however have their share of 'glory'.
When I occasionally has participated in a film, tv-series and commercials (as an extra), I've always been more impressed by the work carried out by the technical staff - 'behind the camera' - than that of the directors or actors.
We have a long and succesful history of very competent camera men and other technical staff in Sweden - not only Sven Nykvist - and it seems as if this is an ongoing process.

Other names mentioned in this article were:
Lasse Hallström, soon (or already?) shooting a film built on John Le Carré’s novel “Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy”;

Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, who has played major parts in the HBO series “Generation Kill” and “True Blood”and now preparing for the filming of “Straw Dogs”;

Alexander’s brother Gustaf who has a lead in Peter Weir’s action drama “The Way Back” where Colin Farrell and Ed Harris also participate;

Joel Kinnaman (who plays JW in “Fast Cash”) who's also preparing for a career in America (set to play the lead in a new TV series called “The Killing”);

actress Tuva Novotny will soon be seen with Julia Robert’s in the drama comedy “Eat, pray, love”;

Helena Mattson, who has previously been seen in series like “CSI”, has gotten a part in “Desperate Housewives” and the upcoming film “Iron Man 2”;

Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium films) is also getting a lot of proposals from Hollywood, as well as Europe.

What can one say about these actors? The Skarsgård brothers (not to be mixt up with the Marx brothers) are talented but I can't say I've been impressed by the roles I've seen them create.

The same goes for Tuva Novotny who's a competent actrees but to static in her acting.
That goes for many Swedish actors. Compare with the Danish and Norwegian counterparts, it's a higher quality in their acting.

Noomi Rapace was perhaps the foremost actress/actor in Millenium but as the acting was mediocre (except Michalis Koutsogiannakis, Georgi Staykov - and why don't they get an offer from Hollywood or other European directors? They are good actors - and Per Oscarsson), it doesn't tell us much.

They also mention the already established group of Swedish "talents" in Hollywood, most notably directors Lasse Hallström and Mikael Håfström, and actors like Max von Sydow, Stellan Skarsgård, and Peter Stormare.
Well Lasse Hallström made his most interesting film(s) when not living in Hollywood.

When it comes to Mikael Håfström it's harder to predict the future but his adaptation of 'Evil' ('Ondskan') was better than the book written by Jan Guillou.

Max von Sydow has made a lot of interesting and remarkable roles but his most interesting interpretations are of course those he made under the auspice of Ingmar Bergman, thereafter there has been a lot of stereotype roles as nazi-officer or the Devil (even if I exaggerate somewhat)! He is though one of our foremost actors ever.

Stellan Skarsgård has succeeded quite well even if he also tend to be typecasted sometimes. On the whole he is also among the group of Swedish actors having succeeded in his career as an actor, often making interesting role interpretations.

Peter Stormare has unfortunately been all to typecasted and this is a pity as he is a very good actor, beginning in the theatres and later on displaying a talent he never gets the opportunity to prove in the films by the Coen brothers.

There are however interesting directors (both feature-, documentary- and short films) in Sweden but they are not mentioned in this article:
Roy Andersson - of course;

Stefan Jarl - of course;

Lukas Moodyson, (first and foremost for his film Container);

Johan Kling;

Patrik Eklund;

Johannes Stjärne Nilsson,
Ola Simonsson;

Nahid Persson Sarvestani;

Simon Staho (Danish-Swedish).

Of course I have not mentioned all talented directors and it's very obvious that my list lacks female names (besides Nahid Persson Sarvestani).

That some of our Swedish œuvres - like Millenium - is being remade by American directors doesn't have to mean that they thought the Swedish versions were great, rather that they think themselves being able to do it better!?
As one example I can mention David Fincher with the Millenium film(s). I'm looking forward to his version.

I think that we have some very good directors, notably within the short film sector (besides the above established ones).
The problem seem to be that when going from short to feature films, it doesn't always turn out well.
What this is due to I don't know.
Lack of interest and engagement from SFI and producers/distributors? Envy? Lack of money?

I'm looking forward to see if Sound of Noise will be well received tonight at Cannes Film Festival.

(Photo at the top copied from: http://www.nordstjernan.com/resizer/resizer.php?i=image-9560.jpg&w=700)
(Photo Pia Lundberg copied from: http://www.sfi.se/Global/Press/Bilder/Nyckelpersoner/PIALUNDBERG_M.jpg)
(Photo Sven Nykvist copied from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_C6yl7vJvUZ8/RbFVZeSoYFI/AAAAAAAAAEQ/BSMm5Mp3b4o/s320/sven_nykvist.jpg)
(Photo Lasse Hallström copied from: http://content6.flixster.com/photo/32/57/60/3257604_tml.jpg)
(Photo Alexander Skarsgård copied from: http://www.trueblood-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/alex_4.jpg)
(Photo Gustaf Skarsgård copied from: http://skarsgardfans.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/gustav-skarsgard.jpg)
(Photo Joel Kinnaman copied from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_OHl7qcqQy4Q/TQJiGACG2CI/AAAAAAAAAKI/-et1NmgM6Z0/s1600/joel-kinnaman_58526017.jpg)
(Photo Tuva Novotny copied from:http://cdnstatic.expressen.se/polopoly/bilder/2007/11/15/1.927699TS1278156257792_slot100slotWide75ArticleFull.jpg)
(Photo Helena Mattson copied from: http://lantbruden.blogg.se/images/2010/hu_84642012.jpg)
(Photo Noom Rapace copied from: http://static.cinemagia.ro/img/db/actor/14/27/62/noomi-rapace-689704l.jpg)
(Photo Roy Andersson copied from: http://www.amafilms.gr/img/_movies/Andersson_Roy/youtheliving/roy-andersson.jpg)
(Photo Stefan Jarl copied from: http://www.gp.se/image_processor/1.391195.1276511182!/image/4216980332.jpg_gen/derivatives/wide/4216980332.jpg?maxWidth=440)
(Photo Lukas Moodyson copied from: http://sverigesradio.se/diverse/appdata/isidor/images/news_images/3421/1727889_520_346.jpg)
(Photo Johan Kling copied from: http://www.muenster.org/filmwerkstatt/filmfestival/12/f/20-Johan-Kling-thumb.jpg)
(Photo Patrik Eklund copied from: http://www.gp.se/image_processor/1.294264.1264405702!/image/3420470005.jpg_gen/derivatives/wide/3420470005.jpg?maxWidth=440)
(Photo http://kpitalrisk.free.fr/images/stars/109000/s_sound_of_noise_-_simonsson_et_nilsson_reduit.jpg)
(Photo Nahid Persson Sarvestani copied from: http://www.parstimes.com/film/director/sarvestani/01.jpg)
(Photo Simon Staho copied from: http://www.sansebastianfestival.com/admin_img/img/img_800x500/img_481.jpg)

måndag, maj 17, 2010


This icelandic film tells the story about Kalli, a young boy who lives with his mother in a suburb of Reykjavik.

During Christmas he is though sent far north to spend the holiday with his father - from whom his mother is divorced - his fathers new wife and daughter.
Kalli and his step sister doesn't get along to well as she is more inclined to deal with spiritism and he likes to submerge himself in the computer world. Of course this could blend well but in this case it doesn't.
When Kallis's pregnant step mother has to go to hospital, as her aches are getting worse, his father goes with her leaving the two children alone with each other in a cabin during a snow storm (responsible behaviour?).
Even though Kalli is the more technical among the two, he seems to be more sensitive to 'the other world' as a green phantom in form of a boy - long ago dead according to history - haunts him at night.
The phantom wants to direct him towards something but what?
Adventures await the two children and their 'ghost friend' including being hunted by a polar bear.

This was a graceful little story about the more or less developed receptivity among children - not always among those you might think being most likely to respond to it. The world has many dimensions and to stay in only one, limits the possibilities.
A story about friendship during hardship and how this can evolve when no other solution is at hand.

Director: Ari Kristinsson.

söndag, maj 16, 2010

R.I.P. Ronny James Dio: Don't talk to strangers

måndag, maj 10, 2010

V for Vendetta

This film - V for Vendetta - is adapted from David Lloyd's graphic novel with the same name, a novel I (and Aurore) read a year ago in connection with the Small Press Expo in Stockholm.

This is a story about the mysterious V (Hugo Weaving), a freedom fighter using violent means to fight the oppressive and fascistic society England has become, ruled by the dictator Adam Sutler (John Hurt).
In doing so he is wears a mask resembling Guy Fawkes, a freedom fighter during the 16th century in England, wanting to restore the catholic monarchy and in doing so he tried to kill king James I. He was captured when guarding the gunpowder he and his accomplices wanted to use in order to blow not only the king away but also the parliamental building.
He was caught the 5th of November 1605 and the plot became known as the Gunpowder Plot.
In this film the V of course symbolizes both Vengeance, Victory and also alluding on the date and year (in latin) Fawkes was captured.

He rescues a young woman - Evey Hammond (Nathalie Portman) - when the security police tries to capture her for some offense.
She becomes fascinated by this figure and they now cooperate in order to overthrow the tyrrant but throughout this 'journey' she again and again asks herself why she actually do this and who V really is.
She lost her father and mother when they were captured and killed by the security police and could this be her father - or mother or is it someone else? A man or a woman or neither one of these options.
Later on V tells the story about his/her life and the experiments he has been sujected to but she still can't find out who this character is and there is no question what so ever of removing the mask.

We both thought that the adaptation to the movies was very succesful and remembering the cartoon, we could see that the director had read it carefully and even captured the ambiance in this story.
The directors name: James McTeigue.

söndag, maj 09, 2010


This is a film with a Short Cut-structure, that is to say, different people and their life stories intertwines and by following them we get a full picture of events to some degree affecting each other.
This techic is by now way new and have been used in a lot of movies, though Robert Altmans Short Cuts is the most famous one. Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu.

In this case we get to meet a couple - Richard (Brad Pitt) and Susan Jones (Cate Blanchett) - who's on vacation in Morocco (Marocko) in order to get their marriage function better than before.
On the same time their two children are left with their Mexican nanny who desides to bring them to Mexico, to the wedding of her son.
A Morrocan shepherd (herdsman) buys a rifle to his two sons so that they will be able to keep the jackals away from the herd.
In Japan a young woman tries to cope with the fact that her mother is dead (suicide or murdered?), her father emotionally very distanced, herself looking for love in any kind. As she's deaf she meets som prejudices on the way, leading her to become more and more audacious.
What combines these stories?
Well the father of the Japanese young woman sold the rifle to the herdsman, who gave it to his sons, who accidentally shot Susan and Susan and Richard who left their children with their Mexican nanny, are unaware of that the nanny took them to Mexico, leading to a lot of trouble for her and the children.
The japanese father is also suspected of having murdered his wife.

The film speaks about guilt and responsibility.
How extensive is our reponsibility for our actions and what consequences are we able to overlook and foresee?
In this case I think the film displays a number of grown ups who lack a great deal of sense of responsibility when undertaking certain actions in life.
The Japanese man selling a rifle is of course aware of that this weapon could be used to kill someone, not only the animals he accepts being killed but also humans;
the Mexican nanny doesn't show any sense of responsibility when taking the children (not even her own) to Mexico, something she never told the couple that she intended to do;
the couple leaving their children behind, escaping their responsibility for their marriage, a relational problem that can not be saved through a journey - if not, as in this case, something extraordinary happens;
the herdsman leaving the rifle to his two young sons must be held responsible for what happened when they 'played around' with it;
the two boys must also be held responsible for their actions as they were'nt to young not to understand;
the young Japanese woman, causes herself problems when seeking love and affection through displaying herself in a way that jepordize her health and life.

On the whole this question of how our choices in life affects not only ourselves but other people as well, is very interesting.

The film is well produced and quite well made with some good acting, not least the less known (to me) actors besides the two mentioned above.
It was by some people regarded as the best film of the decade but that is a huge exaggeration as it's all to conventional, in spite of the interesting subject and the different angles of the problems the film tries to tackle.

lördag, maj 08, 2010

George et Fanchette episode 2

I have written about this tv-serie before and this was the second and final episode depicting the story about Franchette (a person whom George Sand has written a book about) and how she gradually becomes a part of George Sand's family, though initially being a 'servant'.
We also get to see all the characters surronding Sand, like Frédéric Chopin, Alexandre Manceau (the engraver), Gustave Papet (her favourite doctor and a great help to Chopin, both sick but also being somewhat of a hypocondric), Eugène Delacroix and others.
It's a well produced and well staged story. The question is who Fanchette really was, it's not totally clear, at least not in my mind.

(Photo copied from: http://tele.premiere.fr/var/premiere/storage/images/tele/news-tele/george-et-fanchette-un-telefilm-sur-george-sand-bientot-en-tournage-pour-france-3/22319999-5-fre-FR/George-et-Fanchette-Un-telefilm-sur-George-Sand-bientot-en-tournage-pour-France-3_image_article_paysage.jpg)

fredag, maj 07, 2010

Le bonheur

This film - Le bonheur - by Agnès Varda was made in 1965 and it opens like a very beautiful and harmless story about a young couple - François (Jean-Claude Drouot) and Therese (Claire Drouot) and their two children (a family in 'real life' too).
However it seems to be a to happy and harmonious story and the music gradually tells us that there will be clouds in the sky.
The clouds start to role in when François meets another woman - Emilie (Marie-France Boyer) - and falls in love with her.
It's not as easy as that though. François doesn't want to leave his family and in fact his feelings for his wife and children are deepened through this new love.
Now he wants to explain this to his wife but will she understand?

Varda explores the different choices of paths in life and particularly in a marriage.
Normally a situation like this leads to that the two lovers try to hide or that the husband/wife finding a new love wants a divorce.
François wants to eat the cake and still keep it. Egoistic or realistic and honest? That's up to each and everyone to decide.
In some relationships I know the wife and husband (or wife and wife/husband and husband) make an agreement meaning that they accept that the other part is having an affair (or more) à côté and in this case this is of course not a problem, at least not initially. If one of them in the end finds out that he or she actually love the other one more than anyone else, but the other part wants to continue this arrangement. What happens then?

In this case it's the husband who thinks that his idea will work out without consulting his wife and this makes it somewhat more complicated for her, of course.

Franska filmfestivalen 2010 Le Festival du Film Français 2010 Stockholm


Idag startar Franska filmfestivalen i Stockholm och via länken kan ni se vilka filmer som skall visas, vilka gäster som frekventerar festivalen samt vilka kringarrangemang ni kan tänkas vara intresserade av.
Det finns också en Facebooksida (klicka på länken) med information om festivalen om ni är 'Facebookare'.

Detta är den tolfte upplagan av Franska filmfestivalen och fortfarande tycks fransk film attrahera svenskar (som stora delar av världen i övrigt).
Erinrar mig dock att svenskar och fransmän ibland skrattar vid olika tillfällen i en fransk komedi, speciellt nutida komedier.
Här framstår ibland de kulturella skillnaderna väl.
Detta har jag upplevt de tillfällen jag besökt festivalen genom åren och det kan bli ganska komiskt eftersom man varje gång detta sker tittar lika oförstående på varandra: "Varför skrattar dom just nu? Det var inte speciellt roligt!".

2007 deltog jag som volontär och Aurore arbetade som filmkoordinator
2008 innehade
Aurore ungefär samma funktion och jag var bl.a. ansvarig för volontärerna och deras arbete samt till del marknadsföring och en Facebook-sida jag skapade.

Eftersom jag nu bor i Frankrike har jag tillgång till fransk film varje dag, dels via den lokala bion, dels via alla filmkanaler på tv dels via Aurore's DVD och VHS-samling.

Årets filmfestival pågår t.o.m. 20 maj.


Today is the first day of the French Film Festival in Stockholm and through the link you can take a look at the films being screened, the guests visiting the festival and other arrangements that might interest you.
There is also a Facebook-page with information about the festival for those of you being 'Facebookers'.

This is the twelfth edition of the French Film Festival and french film still seems to attract Swedes (as the rest of the world more or less)
I do remember though that Swedes and Frenchmen sometimes laugh at different occasions when looking at a French comedy, especially contemporary comedies. The cutural differences is dispalyed.
This is something I've exeperienced throughout the years when visiting the festival and it tends to be rather comical as one - each time this happens - gaze at each other with the same inappreciative look: "Why do they laugh now? This wasn't particularly funny!"

In 2007 I participated as a volunteer and Aurore worked as film coordinator.
In 2008 Aurore occupied the same function and I was responsible for the volunteers and their work, some of the markeeting and a Facebook-page I created.

Since I nowadays live in France I have access to French film everyday partly through the local cinema (movie theater) partly through all the film channels on TV and partly through Aurore's collection of DVD:s and VHS:s.

This year the French Film Festival continues until the 20th of May.

Below a couple of trailers and pictures from some of the films being screened during the film festival:

(Photo Cinéma Sture copied from: http://www.stockholmfilmfestival.se/fileadmin/images/content_images/sture.jpg)
(Photo 'Coeurs' copied from: http://www.franskafilmfestivalen.com/site-en-fran%C3%A7ais/coeurs/)
(Photo above copied from: http://www.franskafilmfestivalen.com/site-en-fran%C3%A7ais/arte-2-musiq-papa/)

Tjajkovskij 170 years old. Eugen Onegin our first opera together

(Some bars from Romeo and Juliet, overture-fantasia after Shakespeare's drama /B-minor/, 1869)

Today we celebrate the birthday of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who would have become 170 years old today.
Time flies!
He is perhaps best known for his ballets but as we know he wrote operas, symphonies, concerts for different muscial instruments and more.

Personally he had problems in exepting the fact that he was homosexual or at least bisexual and it's said that his marriage was a disaster.
His parents didn't want him to pursue a career within the muscial domain but he did and became rather succesful, don't you think?
He died in cholera according to some historians while others say it was a suicide.

The first opera Aurore and I saw together was a Tjajkovskij-oeuvre, namely Eugen Onegin (Yevgény Onégin).
It was at the Stockholm Opera House and in one of the roles we had the pleasure listening to the soprano Maria Fontosh.

(Photo Maria Fontosh copied from: http://www.axess.se/public/upload/images/tv_programs/234.jpg)

torsdag, maj 06, 2010

Astérix et les jeux olympiques

As behaving been - and still am - a fan of the cartoon books with Astérix and Obélix, I wondered if the difference between them and the film would be to great, in a negative way.

I must say though that the film was quite charming.
Gérard Depardieu in the role as Obélix is congenial, not least thanks to the similarities in body size.
In the role as Astérix we saw an actor I like very much, namely Clovis Cornillac (saw him for the first time in Le Serpent/The Snake) at the French Film Festival in Stockholm a couple of years ago).
Besides these two actors there are other famous or well known French actors like Alain Delon (Julius Cesar), Benoît Poelvoorde (Brutus) but also non-actors like Michael Schumacher (the F1-driver), Zinédine Zidane (the fotball player - for those of you never watching fotball), Amélie Mauresmo (the foremost French tennis player among women) etc.

A lot of humour and I think they succeeded in capturing the spirit of the cartoons.

Le crépuscule d'une idole

In this book Michel Onfray writes about one of our many religions, namely that of psychoanalysis (psychoanalyses) and more specifically the freudisme.

In an earlier work by Onfray - Traité d'Athéologie (Treaty of Atheology) - he besets the monotheism, finding it obsolet and more or less unacceptable.
In this book it's the God of psychoanalysis who is being attacked from different angles.

Onfray first establish that Sigmund Freud wanted to build a "science" and secondly that he never achieved his goal.

Freud wanted to prove that the unconsious mind had its laws, its intrinsic logic, expressed in "experimental protocols" but according to Onfray Freud was obliged to lie a little - or a lot? - in order to defend the scientificity of psychoanalysis.

In investigating this theory we need an expert opinion from someone else than Freud and it's Onfray's 'expert opinion' we are being served in this book.

Trying to achieve this goal, Onfray had to study all the major works by Freud and in a television programme in France called La Grande Librarie, I remember him mentioning that he had read some 6000 pages in order to give his opinion.

The conclusion is that the psychoanalysis only stands in a dependancy state to the "ordinary" psychology, the literature and the philosophy and consequently by no means being the "hard facts"-science its founder wanted it to look like.

The ideas put forward by Onfray are not new and Freud has been discussed since the dawn of the days his theories became public but in this case Onfray also puts forward more or less solid proofs demonstrating that a great deal of the, so called, scientific work carried out by Freud was never correctly documented. There exist hidden freudian files who can not be opened before a certain date (2050?) in which the hard facts or the lack of hard facts, will be revealed.

A lot of the work carried out by Freud of course emanated from his own imagination and his own sexual frustration(s) and one should ask oneself how much of his work actually was founded on a more solid scientific-critical approach.

Onfray could of course be accused of not having dealt with his own unconcious or subconcious mind leading him to attack Freud and this could be true in a Freudian sense. On the other hand, this kind of reasoning has always followed fanatics, and those devoted to idolatry, may it be Freud or any other god or semi-god.

This is also often the technique psychologists have used and still use during therapies when a patient starts to questioning their analyses, trying to tell the therapist that they are wrong: "You're just trying to suppress [this or that] side of yourself..." might be an approximate answer from the therapist.
This might be a valid argument for those being convinced of the truth in these theories - as with all fundamentalists - but not valid from a more objective or intersubjective point of view and it's often very degrading for the patient, being confronted with these arguments or pseudo-arguments.

Onfray has taken this kind of reasoning into consideration and in the beginning of the book he refutes these arguments.

Even if we don't have to believe that the theories put forward by Onfray is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it seems to be a very interesting and - I believe - beneficial work for both psychoanalysts, patients and others who still seem to think that psychology or psychoanalysis is a strict science with measurable results.

On the contrary, the brain and our mind/psyche is something so complexed that neither psychiatrists, psychologists or the neuroscience ever will be able to exhibit all its intricate functions and effects on our body and psyche/soul, though it seems to be a goal some scientitsts believe they will be able to reach.

Finally I must admit that I haven't read this book - yet - but the things I've written about the book is taken from the presentation of this œuvre in La Grande Librarie in French television the other day.

I wish you a pleasant reading!

(Photo copied from: http://tpprovence.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/aleqm5gbs-udcpmjmamfrgspji_o1qva3g.jpg)

onsdag, maj 05, 2010

Inspecteur Lavardin

Je connais bien les œuvres de Claude Chabrol mais c'est la première fois que je vois ce film et j'ai trouvé l'histoire assez charmante sur un inspecteur, Inspecteur Lavardin, qui parfois utilise des méthodes peu orthodoxes. En même temps, il mène ses enquêtes un peu à la Poirot ou Sherlock Holmes.

De très bons acteurs et actrices : Jean PoiretJean-Claude Brialy, Bernadette Lafont parmi d'autres...

This is the first time I see this film, although I know the works by Claude Chabrol, the director, quite well. It's a charming story about a police inspector, Lavardin, whose methods sometimes differ from others.
On the other hand, the way he conducts his investigations resembles the way Poirot and Sherlock Holmes work to some degree. The same 'school'.

Good French actors, mentioned above.