Vulcan’s Peak

Summer movies, part 2

July 4, 2006 3:34 pm

After an off-and-on arguement with my computer about connecting to the wireless internet here, it seems that Pug has finally got the upper hand. Hurrah!

The end of my list from yesterday is a truly bizzare collection of films. In no particular order: real penguins, allegorical death, and moving castles.

…before I left home, our last Netflix flick was March of the Penguins, the documentary that garnered such a surprising amount of attention…was it last summer? Yes, last summer. The penguins are, of course, adorable, and the filmmakers’ journey is as much of an adventure as the penguins’. Granted, the penguins do this every year; the filmmakers got to go home. But still, pretty amazing all around. I thought they did a pretty fair job of not anthropomorphizing the penguins most of the time — the exception was a recurring reference to love. But it’s made by Frenchmen, so go figure.

From France (slash Antarctica), we go to Sweden for Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, which revolves around a knight who plays a game of chess with Death. Not with Satan, mind you, Death, so the placing of Good and Evil is not quite so clear cut. It was made in black and white in the late ’50s — one of those movies that wouldn’t be half so striking in color. Internal struggles about the existence of God in a world full of war and plague are balanced by a group of wandering actors. One runs off with the blacksmith’s wife; the other two are a sweet young couple with an adorable baby (and it probably isn’t insignificant that the couple are named Jof and Mia — diminutives of the Swedish versions of Joseph and Mary). Though they become intrinsically involved in the chess game, they are responsible for the presence of humor and lightness in the movie. Also involved are a woman accused of witchcraft, the village blacksmith (not the brightest candle in the chandelier), the knight’s cynical squire, the apparently mute girl he rescues, and the fallen priest from whom the girl needs rescuing. The girl’s unexplained muteness bothers me most — I’m not sure what to make of it. A compelling film.

Our last stop on this foreign film tour is Howl’s Moving Castle — the version Liz and Elf have is Japanese with subtitles. I won’t spend as much time here; I’m finding that everyone else seems to have seen it already! The world of the film was fascinating — a sort of place I feel tempted to set a story in. And though the chacters were occaisionally worth making fun of, and the plot once or twice got confusing, overall it was a really well-told tale.

And that’s that for the moment. Plans for the 4th include grilling and finding fireworks somewhere south of here!

One Response to “Summer movies, part 2”

Tae wrote a comment on July 6, 2006

Hmmm, as far as “The Seventh Seal” is concerned- Vincent Price did quite a few Poe adaptations for the screen- my personal favorite was “Mask of the Red Death” and they had some interesting visuals to them as well- plus Poe and Price’s voice. Same sort of thing. 😉

Care to comment?