Archive for the ‘2017’ Category

When it comes to documentaries that expose almost extinct cultures, this one needs a recommendation.

Sure, it’s a bit voyeuristic and sure, it’s all planned and maybe even scripted, but this episode of a French tv series that explores the ‘unknown world’ is fascinating. It has a very positive vibe, the mutual interest of the members of the tribe and the French visitors is genuine and it’s shot really well. We never get to see the camera and sound man. Nor do we know how big the crew is. But they do a great job. The use of drones is extraordinary. The aerial views are fascinating. But the close-ups as well. The tribes people are very photogenic and not camera-shy at all. We don’t get to see the translator either, so it really feels like the conversations happened in a very easy and simple way.

Not even halfway through this documentary you have lots of empathy for the main characters. There’s the documentary maker who is the reserved, observant, relaxing leader. There’s the uncomfortable celebrity who is confused and scared, but very respectful and curious about this different culture. He’s a comedian, famous in France, unknown elsewhere. Apparently his experience was much harder than what we get to see. But it’s easy to imagine his discomfort. We have two members of the tribe who steal the show. A short guy who is very clever and interested, intrigued in learning about our culture. And a tall guy who looks like an androgen diva, but is extremely confident.

By the end of the documentary, you get as emotional as these four people who need to say goodbye. It’s easy to condemn these documentaries. But this really feels like it’s done with respect. A hundred years from now all these culture will be gone. So they need to be documented. Even if it means they get introduced to our culture. They aren’t naive and stupid. This is probably not the only tv team they’ve encountered. Maybe they over-exaggerate showing their traditional ways of life. Maybe it’s real. That doesn’t matter.

When you visit Swaziland, the guys and girls who come and perform a ‘traditional’ show all arrive on their motorbikes with jeans and change into native clothes. That’s how it is in 2018. But this is a really good episode and it makes you want to watch all the other episodes of the show.

And the soundtrack is great with songs by Belgian artists like Balthazar, Oscar And The Wolf and Girls In Hawaii. A bit bizarre to hear them in this exotic landscape, but still cool.

IT’s online on youtube. Check it out if you understand French.

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Django – (*)

Posted: December 19, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Drama, France, Holocaust, Musical

Crap movie #1

There aren’t many movies dealing about the deportation of Roma & Sinti during the Second World War, so somehow, someone thought it would be great to use the story of the most famous Sinti musician, jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, as a tool to make an audience aware of this horrendous fact.

Okay, it’s understandable. Django Reinhardt is probably the only known Sinti in the world. But still, the story shown in this movie is not correct. He lived in France during the war and was quite successful, even when Paris was occupied by the nazis. In fact, there were some nazi officers who liked his music (when gypsy music and jazz were banned by the nazis).  He tried to escape, yes, but never managed to leave the country. So, this story is fictional! Oops. Spoiler. In this movie, Django leaves Paris, with the help of a weird character that is not only one of his lovers, but also works for the resistance and prostitutes herself to the nazis. He ends up near the Lake of Geneva and waits for a possible escape, while a nearby gypsy camp is under the threat of being deported.

This movie doesn’t work. The musical scenes are too long and not captivating at all. We don’t really get to learn anything about this jazz legend. All the side characters don’t really matter at all. The nazis are portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The editing is bad. There’s no drama, no tension, no emotion. It’s bland.

Here you have a jazz artist who is successful in a town that is occupied by people who hate his kind and the music he plays. Yet, he remains successful and is left alone. Now that’s a story worth telling. Not his fictional escape to Switzerland.

Another ‘famous’ Sinti is Marianne Rosenberg, a singer who’s only popular in Germany. Her father survived the death camps, so maybe that story would have more fascinating and a better source to make a Schindler’s List for the Romani people.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6247936

The Crown Season 1 & 2 – ***

Posted: November 30, 2018 in 2016, 2017, Drama, Historical, UK, USA, XXX

The story of a princess unexpectedly becoming the queen of the most famous monarchy in the world is fascinating. In twenty episodes, you get to learn a lot about this remarkable woman in the most remarkable way. This is a great drama series. The story is captivating. The visual details are brilliant. The acting is incredible. The casting is phenomenal. If this series would not have been based on true events, it would have been a flawless show. But they are based on true events and more than often, the creators of the show step away from what really happened. It’s sad because most of the time the facts are correct.

This is of course, the story of Queen Elisabeth II, who’s been ruling (well…) over England for more than 70 years. The Queen is such an iconic person, known by all generations all over the world. But she’s also one of the most mysterious. This series shows a different kind of royal. It shows a monarch who is human, with all the flaws and strengths that a good fictional character should have. Thumbs up for the writers of course, who can only create the character based on news reels and information from insiders. Most of what we see is all assumption. But it’s a believable assumption. And big thumbs up for Claire Foy, who is so good in this performance, that she is the queen.

It’s the kind of show that makes you go online and learn more about the royals and the events taking place in the UK and the world during the fifties and early sixties. This project should be sponsored by google and wikipedia ! unfortunately, thanks to research on your own, you realize that the show still is a fictional drama based on true events. It doesn’t make it less of a drama. It just makes it less real.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4786824/

An improvement to Season 6, but still too much talking. Blablabla. The story stopped making sense a long time ago. It never did really. But now it’s just the details in the story that don’t make sense at all. For six seasons long, the territory behind the wall seems very far away, yet in this season a raven can get a message across the continent in no time and the response to is delivered even faster! Really?

There are fewer main characters killed this season. There aren’t that many left, to be fair. But still…. However, finally, the one that should have been killed in season 1 already, gets his throat sliced. Hooray!

It’s an okay season. It only has seven episodes. The battle scenes are awesome. Lord of the Rings awesome. There’s some sexiness. Some humor. Some excitement. Even some scary moments. It’s just okay though. One more season and then we’re done with it.

Cargo – *

Posted: October 14, 2018 in 2017, Drama, Flanders, X

The trailer is promising. Really promising. The setting (fishermen at sea and in the harbour) looks like a visual treat. The drama looks gripping (brothers arguing about the future of the fisherman’s ship). The thrills look exciting (there’s even a fire!). The soundtrack is very accompanying.

However,

this movie is one rotten fish.

It’s a visually interesting movie. But scenes are cut short. Less dialogue! More longshots! The dialogue is terrible. Maybe West-Flemish isn’t the most poetic of all languages (it’s mine) and maybe the sons of a fisherman aren’t all that educated, but still…that’s no excuse to have people bark out ridiculous lines. Better not have them speak at all. The best scenes are mute. The touching of the hands between father and son, the mesmerizing glare into the north sea… There are only a few characters, but half of them are annoying and all them kill every scene once they start talking.

If you make a movie in West-Flemish, you’ll always come across the same actors. Sebastien Dewaele and Sam Louwyck show a different side to their acting and make it kinda work. The latter may stop playing unsympathetic characters though. The former is the best thing in this movie. But somehow they don’t get the chance to fully explore their characters. They are both sons of a dying fisherman. They clearly don’t like each other. One has been in prison and has a drug addiction. The other has been working as a fisherman all his life and had no idea that the family business had been in debt for years. This clash could have been documented much better.

But the storytellers decided to add a third brother, a closeted gay character, who goes to a Berlin-like gay dungeon club (In Oostende??? Please, they don’t even have a club like that in Antwerp or Brussels) to have anonymous sex. He also has an affair with a transmigrant waiting to get across the Channel to England. Wim Willaert does such a terrible job depicting this character. He acts just like he acts in Eigen Kweek, with the same whining voice, the same gestures, the same sensibility. It’s annoying. There’s no need for this character. I get it, it’s a way to introduce the transmigrant story, but still. They could have found a different way.

This movie had so much potential, but the script and the dialogue ruin it all. But at least they got enough funding! Make a movie about a declining historical regional profession –> funding. Make a movie about a hot topic –> funding. Add an lgbt character –> movie festival selection. Add a French actor –> international funding.

Disappointing

www.imdb.com/title/tt5492502

The Post – **

Posted: October 10, 2018 in 2017, Drama, Political, USA, XX

After the death of her husband, Mrs Graham (Meryl Streep) is in charge of the Washington Post, a local newspaper with an editor-in-chief (Tom Hanks) that thinks he can rival the New York Times. The newspaper is about to go public, but just as that’s about to happen, the staff receives information about a major cover-up in the white house. Several presidents have lied to the American people about the progress that the US troops made in Vietnam. Should they publish the story and risk it all?

Steven Spielberg decided to make a movie about these true events at a moment when freedom of press is again being questioned. The references to the current situation are a bit too obvious. The acting isn’t particularly great. And the story isn’t particularly gripping (you know the end before you start watching). But it’s well-directed.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6294822

This Is Us: Season 2 – ***

Posted: October 4, 2018 in 2017, Drama, TV series, USA, XXX

Ah!

Watching season 1 after having lost a parent was really therapeutic. It was the right show at the right time. There were tears and smiles and good memories. Every episode was a great joy and comfort to watch.

Watching season 2 almost two years later wasn’t therapeutic at all. There were again tears and smiles and good memories. But not every episode was a great joy to watch.

It’s a highly addictive show. Some of the characters are very intriguing. And the way the stories are set up, makes you constantly want to know what happens next.

Three siblings need to deal with the death of their beloved dad. That’s a constant in the show. As we learn about the siblings in their current life, we also get to learn about the siblings in their childhood and in their young adulthood. We also learn about the life of their parents and in season 2 it’s finally revealed how their dad died.

Luckily the producers have introduced other characters than the parents and the siblings and in season two we get to learn much more about them and their past.

As in season 1, the least interesting character in the show is Kate. Adult Kate is a whiner. Kid Kate is awkward. But there’s something really cool about teenage Kate (and a lot has to do with the acting performance). Her brothers Randall and Kevin are the real stars of the show. Their relationship as kids and teenagers and as adults is a joy to watch. And the acting of all of them is great. Kid Kevin is such a hoot. Teenage Randall is so fascinating. The storyline of their parents is less dramatic than in season 1, apart from the death of course. But showing the romance and love between them so often creates for more drama when it ends.

The coolest character of all though is Beth, Randall’s super patient, but incredibly wild and confident wife. Season 3 needs to be all about her.

In the final there are hints to what’s coming next and it does NOT look promising. They will now use storylines in the future? Noooooooo!

It’s a very American show. It works for me. It doesn’t work for many other Europeans. This is soap material. It’s emotional and cheesy. It seems very contradicting that in times where the US is so divided when expressing their political views, there’s a popular tv show in which all of the characters constantly have to talk things through, explain their feelings, explain their actions… and get rewarded for it.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5555260