Archive for July 2nd, 2015


by Jamie Uhler

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Book of Revelations, 6:7-8

In a film that borrows its title from the words spoken by the beasts of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse in the Bible’s Book of Revelations, it’d be interesting to note that as the phrase is continually uttered by the beasts (I count no less than four times, once each time one the Horseman open a seal) it’s meant to coerce anyone of shaky faith into belief by the threat of plagues and Armageddon that are surely to come. But, just as each (potential) action implies an opposite (potential) action, there is the promise that if these riders are avoided, or not followed, a paradise for eternity awaits. One not of the flesh or air, but of the afterlife, a reality in need of a tremendous leap. The ‘come and see’ adage as much a fearful warning as a hopeful promise.

But that reading implies what’s to come, and while as a title to a film you’d be about to see that seems fitting (this reading prompts visions of red velvet curtains being drawn as we’re led into the horror show theater, think Dario Argento’s intro in Deep Red), the title here implies to current events (to the film’s World War II setting) and probably what always has happened and always will happen (especially during war). That’s the scary connection to the Book of Revelations; a book prophesying the coming end, here is read as implying it has come and our contemporary post life is akin to nomadic forsaken souls wondering an earth with only sinners. Put differently, the Book of Revelations is pure fantasy, or at the very least, something that is promised to come, just don’t hold your breath, while here is an accounting of events born from actual historical truth. If we are only continually reminded of these horrors, perhaps we’d be struck into action to insure they never happen again. The meek shall inherit the earth that same book says elsewhere, but then who wants to be born and come of age in a burned out husk? Come and See accounts for two choices and they aren’t heaven or hell, but only a life of agony, or death. A title that is an urging to watch this collectively and strike to see this never happens again.

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by Sam Juliano

The plight of Holland during the terrible days of the Third Reich invariably leads to the real-life story of Anne Frank, a gifted 13 year old, who with her family, were captured and sent off to concentration camps in the waning days of the second world war.  The diary she left behind, which stands as an amazingly perceptive coming-of-age testament,  has served as an inspiration for schoolchildren in the intervening decades, and as a lasting monument to the irrepressible human spirit.  Director Martin Koolhaven’s Winter in Wartime, (Oorlogswinter) a visually arresting Dutch film made six years ago contains a number of themes that invite comparisons with the Frank document: age of the main character, betrayal, concealment and maturation in a time of oppression only months before the war’s conclusion.  The major difference aside from the “fact vs. fiction” aspect is that Winter in Wartime concerns the successful clandestine activities of native Dutch townspeople in the final months of the German occupation.

Set in a village in the Netherlands in frigid January, the film presents the point-of-view of 13 year-old Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) the uncooperative son of the town’s Mayor, who mainly out of fear for the safety of his family cooperates with the Nazi gauleiter.   A sense of urgency is imparted in the perspective of having all the events of the film unfold through the boys’ eyes, even accentuating that view by including a number of shots of Michiel looking at other characters through holes and narrow openings.  Indeed it’s what gives this film it’s power and singular focus, in large measure due to the increasing awareness shared by the protagonist and the audience.  And setting plays a large role in advancing the plot.  In this sense the expansive, unmitigated whiteness that is seen in the vast majority of the film’s outdoor sequences serves as a thematic contrast to the caliginous hues of war. (more…)

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