Saturday, November 21, 2009
Trainspotting chronicles Mark Renton, played by Ewan McGregor, and his struggle with friends and heroin. He surrounds himself with three other “characters,” including Spud, the scapegoat character, Begbie, who’s drug of choice is people, ruining them, that is, and Sickboy, a mischievous kleptomaniac junkie. Renton deals with getting through his addiction, leaving his friends and choosing life, as is referenced in the opening scene, and opens up the end to the audience to decide what he chooses.
This clip is the opening sequence in which Renton explains to the viewer that he can choose life, he can choose a career, he can choose a “big fucking television,” but why would he do all that? After all, he has heroin. The film opens with Renton running from the police after stealing from a store, in order to get cash to buy more heroin. It introduces us to Renton’s life and friends and demonstrates the society with which Renton surrounds himself.
Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo and the Sea is a beautiful retelling of The Little Mermaid, following Ponyo, an adorable yet rebellious fish-girl who undermines her wizard-father’s authority and swims ashore in order to explore the world above. Ponyo quite accidentally gets caught in a glass bottle at sea and gets carried to a shore near the cliff where Sosuke lives. Sosuke finds Ponyo (in the form of a goldfish) and puts her in a bucket, and the two children spend a day together before Fujimoto, Ponyo’s father, forces Ponyo to go back to the sea. But Ponyo wants to see Sosuke again, and so she fantastically escapes from his father’s lair, visually bursting out of her marine home.
When Ponyo and Sosuke reunite this time, Ponyo has grown legs, and turned into an exuberant little girl. The two characters come to share their mutual experiences, and grow to love one another. Unbeknownst to the pair however, Ponyo’s escape from her father’s lair triggers an imbalance in the ecosystem, causing a gigantic tsunami to hit Sosuke’s town. In the final act, the purity of their love is tested, and it is up to them to find Sosuke’s mother, and restore the balance of the ecosystem together.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Requiem for a Dream (2000) is a film by Darren Aronofsky that follows the lives of four individuals, all of whom are addicted to some form of drug. Sara Goldfarb is a lonely, TV-obsessed widow who dreams of being on TV. She becomes hooked on diet pills in a desire to lose weight so that she will look good on TV. Harry Goldfarb, Sara's son, is a heroin addict who dreams of being able to “get off hard knocks.” His girlfriend, Marion, is addicted to cocaine and dreams of being a famous designer while Harry's best friend, Tyrone, is also addicted to heroin. The movie follows them as they pursue their individual dreams, all of which are fueled by their drug use but eventually become unattainable due to that same drug use.
In the sequence above, we see a film technique that Darren Arnofsky pioneered, called the hip hop montage. It is a series of fast cuts one after the other, accompanied by a mix of diegetic and non-diegetic sound.
For more information on Requiem for a Dream: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180093/
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The story of Amélie plays out as a modern day fairy-tale, with elements of magical realism. The year of its release, Amélie took home several top movie honors, including four César awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars). The soundtrack for this movie was composed by Yann Tiersen.
In one of the movie’s more famous sequences, Amélie leads a blind man through a crowded marketplace, describing the sights and sounds all around them. Amélie incorporates stunning camera work and non-traditional narrative techniques and a great cast of actors bring to life a
warm and funny script.