My Baby Ate Your Dingo and other ramblings

February 26, 2009, 12:15 am
Filed under: DVD review

 I consider myself a History buff and sadly the Civil War is a subject I am not all that familiar with.  I feel like the last time I studied it was in middle school.  I’m not sure why it was not focused upon more while I was in high school considering it is a pivotal part of American History and African American History.  I feel that the Civil War should be studied alongside the Civil Rights movement in order to analysis racism and segregation in the United States. 

     With all that said I would say this film gives a just viewpoint of the Civil War and helps to open people’s eyes to the time and the men who fought during it.  I do not feel that the film was extraordinary by any means and certainly there is room for improvement.  Broderick is well suited for the role as well as Morgan Freeman.  I almost felt like this film would have made more of an impact on me if it was not made by a big name director and did not star known people.  Sometimes star power can ruin a film because you recognize the actors from other roles.  No matter how hard I try to disconnect Broderick from Ferris Bueller he still is always there despite of his roles. 

     I enjoy war films a lot because war is so puzzling to me. One thing I noticed that was different from other war films such as Saving Private Ryan or Deer Hunter is that I did not sense a bond of brotherhood.  I know that this was because it was the Civil War and even though whites and black fought together they still were segregated, however, even among the African Americans I did not get a sense of a strong bond.  This film differs from the above mentioned because when a man was wounded you never saw another man stop to pick him up and move him from battle.  Perhaps this never happened because of the type of warfare.  I presume historians may not even know since it occurred so long ago.  For me when watching a war film I like to see that aspect of brotherhood, the no man left behind motto.  Since this film did not have that I felt a little less moved and questioned the soldiers duty to overcome racism.  

     Another HUGE aspect of the film that took me immediately out of whatever was happening was the music.  I did not enjoy the over emphasized heroic music.  It was not necessary to burst out in song when a “white man dropped his racist beliefs to fight with a black man”.  Music like that makes me laugh and makes me feel like they are almost mocking what is happening.  I rather it be silent when something pivotal is happening.  A perfect example of this is when Broderick’s character charges on Fort Wagner only to be gunned down.  We really didn’t need the added orchestra to feel his sacrifice and belief in the cause. 

     I defiantly think more films should be made about the Civil War, not so much because they will sell tickets because it’s a war film, but because It may help shine light on the race problem in America during the time and sadly race problem that is still going on in America.

 Men fought to restore a divided nation and free slaves but unfortunately African Americans are still facing hardships.  I grew up in a white town in the South. A town where blacks still live in the impoverished parts of town and are less educated then their white counterparts.  It is sad and embarrassing to know that I am from a town where racism is still prevalent and where people still hang confederate flags on their doorsteps and in the back windows of their trucks.  


City of God
February 22, 2009, 8:40 pm
Filed under: DVD review

cityofgod460This is one of my favorite films of all time. That’s a bold thing to state but it really is. I love everything about this film, the direction, the cinematography, the acting and above all the unique and hypnotic story all captivate me. I own this film and probably have watched it fifteen times. Every time I find something more I love about it, and am emotionally entwined every viewing. I think it says a lot about a film if it is able to keep your attention after numerous viewings. I find this story so incredibly haunting. It is so hard to witness pure evil in children so young. I can find sympathy with even the darkest characters in this film because of the surrounding they have grown up in, however, I cannot find means to justify what they do. Rio de Janeiro is possibly one of the most dangerous places in South America. Kidnappings and murder are common sport in this region of Brazil. The poor live side by side with the extremely wealthy. City of God focuses on a young group of Brazilian adolesantes living poverty stricken life of crime. They are children about all. Instead of playing with Wii’s and Playstation 3’s like normal children, they are killing and selling drugs. The two characters who are most focused upon are Rocket an aspiring photographer who wants nothing more than to escape and Li’l Ze the raining drug lord residing in their town. Rockets only way to escape is thru the photographs he takes. War rages on every day of his life and he documents and narrates this through the fantastical pictures. Li’l Ze is pure evil. He has no compassion and seems to never have had any. He kills from a very young age and rises thru the ranks very fast. Although the film is set in the early 80’s Rio de Janeiro is still very similar today. A film like this really lets the world know how complex humanity can be. For someone who is a pacifist and lives a middle class life, it is wickedly surreal to imagine a life living in such poverty were I have to fear for my life. I imagine you would feel suffocated, having to either give in to your futile existence and become a drug dealer, or give up and possibly die.

Forbidden Games
January 19, 2009, 6:34 pm
Filed under: DVD review | Tags: , ,

Forbidden Games   Directed by Rene Clement   France 1952

     Forbidden Games is a clear statement of how war affects every day citizens who are not battling on the front lines. The film focuses on how war effects children most of all.  When Paulette is orphaned due to a Nazi air attack, she is befriended by a young peasant boy while walking around alone carrying her dead dog. Immediately the young Michel befriends Paulette and asks his parents to take her in.  The boy is perhaps eleven years of age but shows great maturity in recognizing the young girls aloneness. The family takes pity on her and accepts her into their home. jeux

The young children in this film are truly amazing. Their performances are beautifully natural. For individuals so young, they were able to capture they feeling unique innocence and drama.  Together the two children escape into a fantasy world all the while being surrounded by violence. 

     My favorite scene in the film is when the children bury Paulette’s dog.  It is so touching as she says a prayer for him and covers him up with dirt.  For someone so young she has lost so much and is still a carefree spirit. They take time to bury graves for everything, they have a huge sense of respect for the dead, the perceive burying as a sort of game, a way to pass the time. 

     The end sequence when Paulette is taken away is one of the most melancholy scenes in the film. It is also one of the most powerful anti-war statements I have seen.  Slowly the camera cranes up to reveal hundreds of orphanages people.  Poor Paulette is running thru the area trying to find Michel.  It is touching and tragic.