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Archive for November 3rd, 2008

 

by Sam Juliano

Loneliness and alienation are conveyed with a lucid combination of impressionism and naturalism in a metaphorical new vampire film, Let The Right One In from Sweden.  The director, Tomas Alfredson and the writer John Ajvide Lindqvist have fashioned a coming-of-age story within the parameters of vampire folklore, replete with the traditional issues and pains of adolescence, yet there’s a mysterious nordic beauty to the surroundings, and an oddly intoxicating allure to the central relationship.     

Oskar, a blonde-haired boy of twelve, who is treated with indifference by his family, and bullied around by his peers, develops a friendship with a girl around the same age named Eli, who happens to be a vampire who is fed blood by her father, or a man who serves as her caretaker.  This is never really revealed. In the film’s opening scenes, a boy is abducted by the father and hung upside down to have his throat cut so blood can spout into a pail and be brought back to his daughter.  Other people are attacked and killed, and these events serve as metaphors for the fantasies of young Oskar, who himself is collecting newspaper clippings of violent crimes, spurred on by physical abuse.      (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(USSR 1930 70m) DVD1

Aka. Zemlya

Ode to a tractor

d/w  Alexander P.Dovzhenko  ph  Danylo Demutsky  ed  Alexander P.Dovzhenko  art  Vassili Krichevsky

Semyon Svashenko (Vasil Trubenko), Stepan Shkurat (Opanas Trubenko), Nikolai Nademsky (Old Semion Trubenko), Yelena Maximova (Natalka), Julia Solntseva (Opanas’ daughter), Vladimir Krasenko (Old Peter), Ivan Franko (Arkhijo),

In Mamoulian’s 1957 film Silk Stockings, a composer comes to Paris on the success of his communist piece ‘Ode to a tractor’, which immediately conjures up images of this 1930 film, which really was an ode to a tractor.  Yet it was also a eulogy for the earth.  Dovzhenko’s Earth is one of those films that can justifiably be called a spiritual experience, yet it’s not in any way religious.  Indeed, religion is seen as one of the evils of the world, in the person of an unforgiving self-righteous old priest.  This is a film where there are heroines, but the one real spiritual heroine is Mother Earth. 

            At the beginning of the film, one of a farming village’s elders, Old Simeon, is dying.  He’s lying outside, surrounded by friends, wishing him well for the journey ahead.  One asks him to tell him how he gets on and he promises to do so if he can.  The old man briefly comes to and asks for some food and savours its taste for one final time before returning from whence both came, to the earth.  Yet Simeon’s death is also a milestone, for the world he knew is about to vanish forever.  Under the Stalinist Collective Farms, each village is about to get a tractor to help them increase turnover for the good of the state.  The old farmers dread seeing the earth taken away from them, but one of their sons, Vasil, is very keen on the idea, preaching the benefits to all who will listen and anyone else, too.  However, the rich farmers who lived nearby grow suspicious of the peasants getting better off and they shoot Vasil late at night in cold blood, while he is dancing down the lane.  (more…)

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