13 November 2011

This 1967 french film by Robert Bresson is based on Georges Bernanos’ novel entitled Nouvelle Histoire de Mouchette (1937).  I saw this with my twin on a Sunday morning in exchange of listening to 60’s music or attending Sunday mass. Before I had to go out and watch some films at the Italian Film Festival (which I shall blog on later..).

Starring Nadine Nortier as Mouchette,this film tells us the story of a young girl living in a French rural village whose life gets harder and harder as she enters adolescence. Her father and brother who’s always drunk, and her mother dying from cancer, Mouchette struggles to keep herself standing in these unfortunate situations.

Mouchette (which apparently means little fly), is weird and awkward. But her sad life and face, which makes it even more believable whenever she cries silently, sort of represents us as a whole. As Ruthless Reviews puts it:

Her plight, then, becomes the plight of us all; a parable for the world entire, filled as it is with injustice, boorishness, and incivility. As Joan of Arc before her, she is martyr incarnate, and the assault on innocence and decency makes fools and cowards of us all.

This is my first chance encounter with a Bresson film. Set in black and white, I am expecting a sort of a Vittorio De Sica setting of injustice. But Bresson’s Mouchette has proved that his is quite far original. He puts us kindhearted folks into a long, and straining “awwwwwwwww” moment before the end of the film wherein, every suffering that our little heroine has endured finally ends in a splash.

Each scene in which we expect this little girl to at least shed a little happiness in her eyes is being taken away by yet another sad result. Oh and yes, if you have seen The Dreamers, this one’s the last clip shown before that film ends with an unsuccessful suicide attempt from Isabelle (played by Eva Green).


Paranormal Activity 3

30 October 2011

Directors by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman surely have had to up the ante in the third installment of this home-video-horror. Set 18 years prior to the first two films, wherein we trace back where the “activities” begun, I expected this to be a bore.

But alas, I was proved wrong.

True to its form of providing us that raw experience of horror, the film starts like how every horror ride begins. Katie and her younger sister Kristi reunite during Kristi’s pregnancy. Katie delivers a box of home videos to her which ends up being mysteriously burglarized a year later in Kristi and her husband David’s home.

We’re then switched to go backwards to 1988, a young Katie and Kristi live with their mother Julie and her boyfriend Dennis, who makes a living out of video coverages of weddings, parties, and the like. Dennis notices a strange noise one evening and then plans to videotape the entire evening on both his and Julie’s room and the kids’. He then finds a footage of Kristi waking up in the middle of the night talking to an invisible entity.

Like the previous Activities, Dennis videotapes the next few evenings and a couple more strange occurrences are caught on tape including a creepy take on the Bloody Mary game. From strange demons lurking in the closet to the most scariest add-ons to a horror flick: creepy single women cult, Paranormal Activity 3 is scarier than the first, much more sensible than the second.

I Spit On Your Grave 2010

5 November 2011

I Spit On Your Grave

When a beautiful woman from the city goes into a small town and rents a cabin to finish her latest novel, she realises she may have caught the attraction of a couple of locals.

 In a perverted, sardonic, and sick way.

 Adapted from the 1978 film titled Day of the Woman, I spit On Your Grave is a raw, straight-on horror-thriller-sadonistic shocker that’s not a spite of the ordinary film. Absolutely not for the fainted hearted, once Jessica Hills asks help from one of the locals to fix the water pippings, a little peck on the plumber, a stuttering young man named Matthew (played by Chad Lindberg) takes this peck seriously and forgets to get the payment for his services. Along with some sick friends of his who spotted Jennifer earlier at the gas station, they plan to visit her at her home later that night. This unexpected visit from locals she felt she had embarassed earlier at the service station brings an instant nightmare of degradation, rape and violence.

 Left almost dead, Jennifer stands up in a complete mess, naked but never facing her male attackers. She walks almost out of the woods and into a bridge while her attackers slowly follows her from behind. A last glance at them and she jumps off the bridge, miraculously staying deep into the river and never to show up again in more than a month.

The lowlife locals, alarmed that her carcass might soon turn up at the end of the ravine. continue to search for her by the river, burning all of her possessions that may be claimed as evidence. A couple of months after, signs of that day haunt them one-by-one until Jennifer finally returns back to seek vegeance. Sarah Butler performs frighteningly fit for the role of Jennifer as she inflicts acts of physical torture to each of her attackers until the torment has completely surpassed her. Both the actor and the character succeeds in providing us mad solution to the story’s main problem. Here we find a woman who never agrees to be overpowered by her male attackers.

Reminds of Francois Truffaut’s The Bride Who Wore Black, except that the heroine is also the victim of the story, and I guess the physical torture performed by Jennifer is much more grotesque while that of The Bride is a bit more eloquent.

Andrew Howard's Sheriff Storch gets a taste of his own medicine

Cast include Sarah Butler as Jennifer Hills who plays the role perfectly. Jeff Branson as the egotistic Johnny, Rodney Eastman as Andy, Daniel Franzese as the perverted aspiring freak filmmaker Stanley, Chad Lindberg as the insane nervous wreck Matthew, and Andrew Howard (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) as the perverted Sheriff Storch.

Frightening, freaky, perverted, pitiful, disturbing, and sickening. The rape scene, although not as long as the one in Irreversible, is the most unsettling and emotionally eerie performances I’ve ever seen. Granted to give you the chills whether you’re a man or a woman.