Director: Óscar Aibar
Writer: Albert Sánchez Piñol
Recommended? Well, we’re the bad guys in it, so… no.
Another fantasy movie set during the Spanish Civil War! I loved Pan’s Labyrinth! What can go wrong?
A lot, apparently.
El Bosc (translation from Catalan: The Forest) follows a small landowning family outside a tiny town in Spain during the war. The lead male is petit-bourgeois and a sexist ass and runs away from the fight into a portal into another world. His wife is, presumably, our protagonist, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lead character with so little agency: she just waits around while men are shitty to her. That’s basically all she does the whole movie.
Continue reading El Bosc (2012)
Directed and written by: Oliver Assayas
Content Warning: Drug use, police brutality.
Something in the Air is a French film that follows about a six-month period in the lives of several radical high school students. The film—which was originally titled Après Mai in French (“After May”)—is set in 1971 and is primarily concerned with how the students negotiate the decline of the political movement following the May 1968 events. In viewing it, you get the sense that it isn’t just about the characters in the film, but rather is a broader commentary on May 1968, its aftereffects, and even the decline of revolutionary movements more generally. For me, it was worth watching on that level alone and the plot seemed somewhat incidental, although it definitely helps that the story is interesting and is far from being just a political essay converted to film.
Continue reading Something in the Air (2012)
Director: Pete Travis
Problematic: Protagonizing the police; protagonizing fascism; villainizing drug users; villainizing sex workers; misunderstandings of class and crime; etc.
Bechdel Test: Pass.
When it comes down to it, this is a film about some white cop who runs around a projects building killing poor people because some of them might be dealing drugs (drugs that honestly look really fun and aren’t presented as having any negative side effects). It’s one of those non-stop-action movies that’s light on complexity but high on moralizing. The protagonists have body armor and high-tech gizmos and the opponents are impoverished. It’s somewhat entertaining, has strange moments of beauty, and tries but fails to be anything but a feature-length accolade of how great the police are.
It’s hard to imagine that this film was written by and for anything other than suburban, middle- and upper-class Americans.
The character Judge Dredd comes the UK comic series 2000AD and is intended to be a black-comedy satire of authoritariansm. This film adaptation, however, seems to entirely miss the point. And, according to the screenwriter Alex Garland, intentionally so: it was written as he understood the comic as a ten-year old boy. So there you go. Unfortunately, while I’m all for black-comedy and satire, this film is direct proof as to why those things are dangerous when they go over people’s heads.
Continue reading Dredd (2012)