Foreign May: Day 4 and 5

Day 4: Man Bites Dog

I think I’ve become disillusioned with the message Man Bites Dog is trying to get across. It’s clever: a film crew is making a documentary about a serial killer and they slowly start to get more and more involved in the violence. But there have been so many self-aware movies (especially in recent years) that deal with the responsibility of the artist when portraying violence, that it’s hard to be shocked by a film that was obviously made to shock. I think something like A History of Violence contributes more to the discussion than Man Bites Dog, or, similarly, Funny Games. Maybe because Cronenberg is more subtle about enveloping you in a violent, but entertaining, world where you laugh at/cheer for gruesome acts. Man Bites Dog attempts to shock you rather than implicate you in the violence that you are watching. It seems like more of a “shame on you” to filmmakers while leaving the audience somewhat innocent. That doesn’t seem fair to me.

The mockumentry concept, in this case, is extremely affecting. Much like other “found films” ([REC], Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, etc.), the camera crew heighten the sense of realism, and, thus, disgust. It’s especially disturbing when you align yourself with the people behind the camera, putting your trust in them to present things fairly and objectively, and then they start to become the subject.

Day 4: Yi Yi

I watched two foreign films today. I’m getting wrapped up in the combination of my two favorite things: reading and watching!

What a gorgeous movie. Every shot is meticulously planned to interact with the shot before with overlapping visual, thematic, and audible elements, representing an interconnectedness that contradicts the film title’s English interpretation, which means, roughly, “The Individual.”

As you’re watching Yi Yi, it strikes you as simple and quiet, but, thinking about it afterward, I was shocked by just how much was packed into those three hours (very long, I know, but worth it).

Day 5: Fantastic Planet

Kind of like Harold and the Purple Crayon meets Yellow Submarine. I was expecting this movie to be psychedelic and inaccessible, but there’s actually a clear plot amid a lot of imagery you might need to be just a little bit high to appreciate. (This one’s only 70 minutes, too, so the time lag won’t kill you. Not that I’m recommending drug use. Never.)

Though the animation is very dated, the science fiction elements fit the drawing style and I was completely invested in the characters and their plight. I definitely recommend this French film for sci-fi geeks.

3 Comments

Filed under Movie Marathons, Whitney

3 responses to “Foreign May: Day 4 and 5

  1. I am so going to watch Fantastic Planet! Gotta love that crazy animation.

  2. I fell asleep for the end of Fantastic Planet. Boo!

  3. I have to disagree strongly about Fantastic Planet. I love me some experimental animation as well as science-fiction, but that movie was just pretentious and boring. It seemed to me the filmmakers thought they were making some sort of intelligent art film, but they failed to actually write a script, so caught up in their own egos, choppy visuals, and ear-splitting tonal music. It sounded so interesting and I wanted to love it, but really couldn’t get into it.

    I’ve really got to see Yi Yi, it sounds quite excellent.

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