Hunger, when body becomes a weapon.

The English director Steve McQueen evokes in Hunger the true story of Bobby Sands, political prisoner and symbol of Irish republicans who died on May 5, 1981 after a hunger strike of sixty-six days… Raw and extremely realistic, Hunger is a must-watch.

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1981, Nothern Ireland. Maze Prison is the place where the political prisoners of the IRA are interned. They begin a protest to show their anger : no washing and wearing blankets rather than uniforms. They want to regain their status as political prisoners, instead of simple criminals. We follow the daily life of two of those prisoners : Davey Gillen and Gerry Campbel who are living together in the same dirty cell (they paint the walls with their own excrement). Constantly harassed and beaten by the members of the British police, .but it’s Gerry who soon is going to pass to the ultimate level of revolt, the physical one, by beginning an hunger strike…

I’ve seen a lot of movies about people giving their whole life for a cause (In the Name of the Father, Patch Adams, Freedom Writers…) but this one, in addition of being about a fascinating and striking true story, is a work of art in itself.

Hunger, filmed October 2007

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The narrative is fragmented and the composition is full of smoothness. There are two points of view given by both main characters : prison officers and prisoners. We notice for example that the film starts at the same time as the day of a prison officer. The one we find again later in the movie, more precisely after the riot, smoking a cigarette in the snow with his left hand which is hurts. The director paid attention to all the details, this one symbolizes the violence and proves that the officer, in hurting prisoners, hurts himself.

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The most part of the film is silent, apart the speech of Bobby to the Priest. However, all the images in Hunger are so powerful and so powerful that we are not bored, not even one seconde. Each sequence is a concentrate of voltage. We keep the eyes on the screen throughout the course of history.

Hunger all makes sense during the priest’s scene. The dialogue rapidly turns into a philosophical speech. A lot of questions arise. Where are the limits of the rebellion ? After the no-wash and the blanket protests, it seems that the hunger strike is the only and last resource Bobby finds. This is the last fight, the fight of despair.When the body becomes a weapon (a weapon already used earlier in the movie to hide messages and objects during the meetings with close people). Bobby  chooses to use his body because it’s the last thing he can use, it’s the last way to make things change, even if it’s not going to work (that’s why sacrifice is also discussed).

After this lengthy scene, the movie is nothing but a relevant and strong description of Bobby Sands dying slowly. A period of time when Sands can still decide to stop this hunger strike, to choose life.. But he prefers to sacrifice himself, to undergo all of that than being passive and letting things go on.

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I must admit some scenes were sometimes hard to watch without looking down at my shoes because of its violence and the impressive realistic performances from the actors but it was worth it.

The movie won the Caméra d’Or in Cannes, the Discovery Award in Toronto and the Carl Foreman Award in BAFTA. I am happy Steve Mc Queen received good prices because the movie is an awesome work of art dealing with an intense topic. We are touched by the message of Hunger, most of important historical facts are too often forgotten, it’s good to remind us all of this.

Afterwards, we are obviously completely dazzled by the beauty of the film.

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Savages, a plate of noodles.

The only savage thing about the new movie realized by Oliver Stone seems to be its title.

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Strength and anger, that’s what I love from Oliver Stone ! All this seems to have disappeared .. Where is his genius of the provocation, his ability to create powerful movies ?

Ben and Chon are two friends who grow marijuana in Long Beach. Ben is a pacifist and Chon an ancient soldier who is quite violent. Both of them are involved in a love triangle with Ophelia. A Mexican drug cartel is interested in their business and wants to buy all their marijuana (which is the best in the country). They refuse the offer and the cartel decides to kidnap their common girlfriend. Ben and Chon are going to try to retrieve her, at all costs…

First, the scenario is a bit effete with predictable characters. A man who is violent at first sight but who is going to be discovered as a sensitive guy, the other one who is cool and ready to everything, and a sexy girl for the audience but who is a bit clueless for the cinematic effect ? Come on.

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Also, the film takes too much time to set off with a progress of the story sometimes too slow… The film could have been reduced so we could avoid many unnecessary parts. I was feeling asleep during most of the 40 first minutes of Savages.

Yet, it could have worked in the light of a cast which was very trendy, with some actors like Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson… But it would be good to remind to our little Stone that “cool” is not everything, and “cool” might give a film without any interest…Ophelia for example lacks of charisma and she’s a bit too overrated, so we can’t consider her as an endearing character.

And the end ! When the film is just beginning to get a little interesting, the director decides to destroy everything with an “happy” end. He doesn’t have the courage to choose only one end to his movie .. Damn, after so many years of career …

Hum, well okay when re-reading my review I feel like I may have been a bit too hard. Oliver Stone delivers us a movie which is not horrible but I’m so disappointed. I was expecting more from such a good director. It’s nothing very innovative.

Let’s say that Savages is like a good plate of noodles straight out of the microwave. 


Miles Davis is in my baggage.

Hi to all, I’m leaving for the week-end. Destination ? Galway.

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Taking a breath of fresh air will do me good, and while talking about great air breath, I suggest you listen or re-listen Nuit sur les Champs-Elysees which is in my opinion the best song ever from Miles Davis. 

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He composed this song for the film Elevator to the gallows (Ascenseur pour l’échafaud), realized in 1958 by Louis Malle, who is a french director. What’s crazy is that the American jazz instrumentist has no written score before recording the song. Indeed, he just looked at the images of the movie which were scrolled in front of him and improvised the song while watching those scenes. He has played trumpet in a total improvisation, with as only inspiration the images he was watching. An incredible perfomance.

He crosses the range at full speed, a fury that gives a tragic atmosphere to the movie which would be, without Miles Davis’ compositions, a bit trite for my taste.

I don’t know what would be my life without Miles Davis’ music. I can’t wait to be in the bus to listen to him while I would be watching some beautiful Irish countryside passing over.


IFI, I truly love you

I have been living in Dublin for two months now and I must admit that although this experience of a life abroad is being awesome, I feel a bit homesick since a few days. Ahhhh la France. I’m actually dreaming of a good “baguette” with some good french cheese and a little glass of red wine. The all while seating in my favorite parisian café… Yes I know, it looks like I’m a living cliché of France !

Fortunately and once again, I just made a great discovery that will quickly resolve all my troubles and desires.

The Irish Film Institute is one of my favorite cultural venues in Dublin, and this is not surprising because we can find in this place a cinema but also a book shop and photo gallery. What could be better for me ? Well, A french festival of course !

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The Embassy of France in Ireland and the Irish Film Institute are collaborating together and have created the French Film Festival, and it starts in two days! Okay, I have missed the boat several times because it’s already the 13th edition but it’s better to be informed two days before the festival of this year rather than never, right? Especially when we know this edition is going to be a huge one.

Indeed, the main theme of the festival seems to be “the many facets of love”, very interesting topic ! And the line-up announces a few gems of French cinema such as Catherine Deneuve, Valérie Donzelli or Abdellatif Kechiche but the one whom I am the most enthusiastic is Christophe Honoré who is an incredible director. Making Plans For Lena (Non ma fille, tu n’iras pas dancer) is the movie the IFI has chosen to show and it’s a film I’ve seen in France and would like to re-watch as it’s a very good one.

The IFI Café Bar will also be transforming for the 10 days of the Festival and guess what ? They will propose French cheese with a “charcuterie” board and a bottle of French wine.

I don’t know if I’m dreaming but my taste buds are already on fire.

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Larry Clark says “Fuck” to Hollywood.

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Everybody knows Larry Clark as a talented director but also as an eternal provocateur, the one who created very controversial and raw films on the teenage period such as Kids or Ken Park. Well, once again, he decided to change the rules of the game for the release of his new movie, Marfa Girl (which just won Best Film at the 7th Rome Film Festival).

Indeed, Clark decided to release Marfa Girl on internet. I mean, on internet only. On his website, to be precise. www.larryclark.com will be the only way ever to see this movie. It will be stream, priced $5.99 for an access of the film for 24 hours.

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“I want to say Fuck to Hollywood. (…) I decided to get rid of the middlemen, producers and the like. Anyway, they’re all crooks; I never got paid for my movies. The Internet is happening, people make a video and it gets a million hits, so fuck it, let’s do it.” claimed Larry Clark during the Film Festival.

A film that will never be projected in any cinema, neither on DVD or on television, but only accessible on the web… Is it the beginning of a revolution in the film distribution ? It’s true that we should stop to close our eyes. Soon, all the independents theaters are going to close and the only films we will have the possibility to see in a theater will be the blockbusters because they are the only ones who will still have enough money to do it…

Larry Clark is such a fascinating person because he doesn’t care at all about what people think about him. He dares everything he wants to, as much in cinematic as in photographic work, and it is partly for this reason that the result is always quality.

To come back to Marfa Girl, it will be online tomorrow night and I’ll watch it as soon as possible. The idea of the film was born when Clark went to Marfa (small town in Texas) to visit a friend of him. He discovered a reality which intrigued him : The presence of an artists community coming from New York who are mixed with the hispanic-american community. It’s a very christian town with a strong influence from the border patrol police who spend their time terrorizing the residents of Marfa. Especially the younger ones, as the main character of the film : Adam.

Can’t wait !


Memento

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When people talk about Christopher Nolan (and it is often the case), they usually link this producer with a lot of things but quite never with Memento.

Memen-what? is what you might be thinking right now… Aren’t you ? And it is quite outrageous but I’m going to forgive you. Firstly because this is my first post and it is, in my opinion, kind of early to already get in troubles with my readers and secondly because I used to think the same until yesterday night.

I was laying on my bed, too tired to hang out but not that much to feel asleep. Everybody knows this awkward moment you already watched the news on tv, snoped on all the profils you could on Facebook, told your 32 followers on Twitter that your apple was not really tasty today, and when your brain is obviously unable to wake up and make the dissertation you must have done for tomorrow 8am. In this situation,the best alternative always seems to be the movie.

Here we are. Memento, movie realised by Christopher Nolan in 2000. New century. New wave ? With Nolan, for sur. Brilliant.

Memento is presented as two different sequences of scenes: a series in black-and-white that are shown chronologically, and a series of color sequences shown in reverse order. Nolan chose to innove using this structure. It is a complexe film, you must keep your eyes glued to the screen to understand the whole story but it’s worth it.

Leonard Shelby is a man whose ability to make new memories is damaged after having confronted two people who were killing his life. He devotes his life to finding and killing the attacker… The thing is that with his short-term memory destroyed he’s unable to retain any new information, and must take some notes and polaroid photographs in order to keep track of what happens to him over the course of a day… He has even tattooed himself with a few crucial bits of information he can’t get along without (but don’t worry, it is not a vapid version of Prison Break !).

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What is really interesting with this movie is that it is only the second film by Nolan but we already can find all the elements that characterize his style. For example, the treatment of a character tortured by his inner demons found later in the movie Inception. And if Memento is not well known by people around me, I’ve been reassured when I saw it is at less recognized by the profession. Indeed, Memento got numerous honors (including Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay).

For the rest, I will just advice you there is at the moment a promotion about popcorn in all the spar shops. Enjoy !