Friday, May 10, 2013

30 Countries Part 11 - 13 (Home/Cache/Reprise)

Home (2009) Dir. Ursula Meier

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Part 11 of the 30 Countries project.

For the purposes of this project this movie is classed as at least partially being of Swiss origin as per its listing on imdb.

Idyllic family unit, living in the countryside, next to an abandoned freeway. The freeway is reopened and their lives change forever.

I expected a movie with this concept to be a little more surreal, instead this is a political message film posing as magic realism disguised as kitchen sink drama.

I cannot even pretend to know what this movie is a metaphor for but I would hazard a guess at the perils of modern life, the planetwide disaster that is technological pollution, mental illness, the importance of family.

It looks amazing from start to finish, Meier does a great job of making you feel dirty and claustrophobic as the film progresses with the help of an excellent cinematographer of course. The story is not explained, the characters are not open books, events unfold and the characters react in different ways. There's a certain amount of similarity to the Todd Haynes film Safe both in terms of central character and visual design which leads me to believe that the major statement is similarly about pollution and/or mental illness.

Of all of the films picked for this challenge Home was one I was most looking forward to and I wasn't disappointed, but for once I am left wishing there had been less realism in a movie.

Cache (2005) Dir. Michael Haneke

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Part 12 of the 30 Countries project.

For the purposes of this project this movie is classed as at least partially being of Austrian origin as per its listing on imdb.

"I like the multiplicity of books, because each book is different in the mind of the reader. It's the same with this film - if 300 people are in a cinema watching it, they will al see a different film, so in a way there are thousands of different versions of Hidden. The point being that, despite what TV shows us, and what the news stories tell us, there is never just one truth, there is only personal truth." - Michael Haneke

I guess that told me more about the content of this film than watching it did. I have a lot of respect for the man as an artist and I've enjoyed the films of his that I have seen so far but I am yet to find myself gushing over him like so many others.

This film is an interesting psychological drama bordering on horror that holds your attention throughout by not explaining anything. Well played Heneke as that was obviously your intention. But much like American horror movies this is populated by stupid people who don't behave like normal people when faced with these scenarios. They didn't make Scream for no reason you know. We're all aware that people have to behave like idiots and Haneke is no different, he seems to be trying to subvert the genre whilst following all of the rules of the game.

Reprise (2006) Dir. Joachim Trier

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Part 13 of the 30 Countries project.

For the purposes of this project this movie is classed as at least partially being of Norwegian origin as per its listing on imdb.

Joachim Trier is a very interesting director. He takes a little of the Amelie gimmick and rubs it in a heavy dose of coming of age realism to create a sobering yet joyful experience filled with poetic visuals and somehow succeeded in making a quite lovely film despite it being is debut.

I actually dismissed this film repeatedly back when it came in to the video store, deciding not to watch it as it was heavily promoted by people who thought Control was a great comparison for it. I wish I had just given it a go now. It would almost certainly have meant more to me in my youth than the jaded curmudgeon I am today.

It's an inspirational film for any wannabe film maker too, of everything you can take from this movie that is the one thing that sticks in my mind - if you believe in your story and ability you too can make an inspiring and beautiful debut film without spending a zillion dollars or resorting to gimmick and indie cliche.


  1. Glad you liked these films overall. Cache is one of my favorites, and the other two are on my watchlist.

    1. Am I coming across as too hard to please? I guess when you watch 100 films a month (wait for the may diary, it's going on forever) you start to want more from a film to deserve a higher rating. These were very good movies though and I'm sure you'll take pleasure from Reprise and Home when you get around to them.

    2. No, I think it comes down to how you rate the films you watch. I give out a lot of 4.5's and 5's out of 5, but not everybody grades the same way.

    3. I've definitely solidified my ratings system in recent months since I gave the numbers meanings in words. Means the 4.5 and 5 stars are much harder to get from me these days.