L’Amant | Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1992
L’Amant shows the story of a weary love, transformed from a pick-up scene to something that leaves the lovers restless and in memories for all their lives. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Marguerite Duras, and is on her own life story, when she was 15 in the erstwhile Indo-China. Set in colonial Vietnam, the film stands out for the way Asia is shown, and it’s easy to feel Marguerite Duras’ love for the region through the camera of Robert Fraisse (he would team up for several films with director Jean-Jacques Annaud, including the highly impressive 2001 film Enemy At The Gates).
PS: We have the book by Marguerite Duras.
Tokyo Sonata | Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2008
Set in contemporary Tokyo, Tokyo Sonata is a story of an ordinary Japanese family of four. The father, Ryuhei Sasaki, like any other Japanese businessman, is faithfully devoted to his work. His wife, Megumi, left on her own to manage the house, struggles to retain a bond with her oldest son in college, Takashi, and the youngest, Kenji, a sensitive boy in elementary school. From the exterior the family is seemingly normal, save for the tiny schisms that exist within.
Les Chansons d’Amour | Christophe Honoré, 2008
Ismael and Julie are beautiful twenty-somethings who have been together in Paris for eight years, and finding that their relationship is becoming a little flat they bring in Alice, Ismael’s collegue.
A comfortable menage-à-trois ensues but this, although happy, makes underlying issues more apparent. Then tragedy strikes, and Ismael and those round him struggle to make sense of their lives and move on.
Fateless (Sorstalanság) | Lajos Koltai, 2005
Imre Kertész was a teenager when he survived the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buchenwald. The ordeal of a 14-year-old boy who survived the German death camps is also the subject of this Hungarian Nobel prize-winner’s major literary work.
Told from the point of view of the adolescent Gyuri Köves (Marcell Nagy), this meticulous screen adaptation tells the story of the experiences of the Jewish population in Budapest during the Second World War: from the compulsory purchase and sewing of a yellow Star of David onto their clothing, to deportation and their ordeal at Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz, as well as the liberation of the camps and the return of survivors to post-war Budapest.
PS: We have the book by Imre Kertész, in Indonesian.
Moeder Dao, de schildpadgelijkende | Vincent Monnikendam, 1995
This interesting Dutch documentary offers a look, via archival film clips, at Dutch colonialism in Indonesia during the early 20th century. These old films were made to educate people in Holland about activities in the West Indies and include shots of native religious ceremonies and daily habits, as well as propagandistic shots of the natives being “civilized” by the colonists who avoided native ways as much as possible during their stay there. The film is not narrated so as to let viewers draw their own conclusions. The soundtrack is comprised of Indonesian music and songs as well as several spoken poems.
This film has been screened at C2O and reviewed here.