A Hetedik Kör (The Seventh Circle) (2009) – [rate 3.5]
On my festival voting ticket, I scored this movie a whole point below it’s value, at least as I perceived it. The main reason being that this isn’t really a fantastical movie at all, unless you feel that any movie involving religious influence deserves that label. I’m not quite that cynical yet. Nor do I think that anything fictional deserves the label ‘fantastical’.
It’s a tale of a group of early teen friends in a small Hungarian village. All is well for these kids doing typical kid stuff, until a red haired, limping boy arrives on the scene, apparently out of nowhere. His influence on the children slowly turns the story to an inevitable conclusion and you’ll have a hard time hoping for the best, especially if you know that the seventh circle of hell is reserved for the violent against others, self, God and nature.
So, even though I felt it was a bit of out place at this particular festival, I would still recommend you go and see it if you like intense psychological drama without gore against a backdrop of catholicism.
Adás (Transmission) (2009) – [rate 3]
Every festival seems to have at least one: a feature film that would have been better as a lengthy short. Transmission does need some time to get atmosphere across, but in the end I felt that too little had happened and too many scenes in the movie serve no real purpose or show something that was expressed in some other scene.
I did like the way the movie is set up: ‘something’ has happened, some change that apparently resulted in all screens (computers, TV’s, what have you) no longer working. Instead of showing how that happened or giving some elaborate explanation as to the why, it only shows us what it means to normal people and how they deal with it.
If you can take one message home from Transmission, it’s that TV is a very, very bad thing for society. Apparently, the idiot box has us enslaved and has stripped us of our ability to live together normally and without TV (or the net for that matter). At other times, the movie seems to hint that the TV’s not working may well be a metaphor for many other things not working, parts of human social life included.
Transmission is bleak and only humorous if you can dive down into the dark outlook this movie offers on today’s society. It’s worth seeing, but a bit long and talking about the movie during the movie to pass time isn’t really an option either, because it’s the silence and the oppressive feeling of waiting that lend the movie it’s eerie sense of importance.
Monkey Boy (2009) – [rate 4]
Monkey Boy surprised me with its left uppercut, just when I was getting tired of the weak bitch slaps it was throwing from the right. I completely missed the point as the movie was starting to remind me of such duds as Castle Freak, when I suddenly realized what was going on.
Monkey Boy is a deeply layered and interconnected story with only a few characters, reflected and shattered like simple colors in a caleidoscope into a picture worth seeing. From about a quarter into the movie, I had to work hard to remember what I’d seen before to be able to put the puzzle together. And even though the movie leaves you with the feeling that there’s some loose ends that may well be impossible to tie to anything, I think it’s a true original.
Still, I feel it’s no to its credit that it managed to repulse me at first. And some of the acting is a bit off. It’s a low budget production, so there’s no point in going into the special effects, which are pretty good all things considered. But a masterpiece it is not. So, with a 4/5, this is one for the horror-fairy tale fan.
Exam (2009) – [rate 3]
Exam is a good movie if you like films like Cube or The Game. It pulls off a very good story, without ever leaving a single room that contains nothing more than 8 desks, 8 sheets of paper, 8 pencils and 10 actors. Sadly, the plot contains some small holes and a few serious ones, that could have been easily prevented considering the kind of film it is.
Not unlike 12 Angry Men, the subject matter is explored and discussed by the people in the room and as they go along, the viewer is left to form an opinion and make up their own mind about the situation. If you pay close attention, you can pick up quite a few clues and there’s no deus ex machina required to bring it to a good end, so that’s a plus.
All in all, I felt it lacked some originality and some of the flaws in the story really matter for this film. If you haven’t seen Cube or The Game, this one is probably great for you. If you have, you will probably like this one too, but likely not as much as those.
Rope (1948) – [rate 4.5]
What never ceases to amaze me about Hitchcock pictures is that they seem so modern. Rope is no exception. The acting, the camera work, the dialogue all seem well beyond 1948 – though not quite 2008 of course. It’s an amazing feat of cinematography, shooting a psychological thriller in only 5 shots (did I miss any cuts?) with clever transitions. Rope follows all three Artistotelian unities: it takes place in a single appartment, sometimes even shooting other rooms from within the main living room. It takes place in the timespan of a single afternoon and evening. And it just deals with the murder that the movie starts with. Continue reading Rope (1948)