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  • The Last Battle (1983)
    Luc Besson's first feature film, a post-apocalyptic vision in which the few survivors lost the ability to speak. Gripping images and mesmerizing acting with almost zero special effects. Yes, before he became the pope of mass-produced B-movie action, Besson was a revolutionary. I thought the film was strongly misogynist, though, with the only two women as mere trophies for the men, without own initiative. Which is rather change when considering the prominence of strong female leads in Besson's later career.

  • Lucy (2014)
    In Besson's latest, Scarlett Johansson plays a party girl who slowly turns into a near-omnipotent and omniscient being due to a mind-boosting drug. The "X percent of brain capacity" pseudo-science is annoying, and there is mass-produced action, but the special effects are beautiful.

  • Days of Glory (2006)
    A film about the forgotten African soldiers of de Gaulle's Free French army in WWII (who actually made up two-thirds of the force). The first half-hour or so is slow, episodic, and slightly boring as in introduces the main cast. But in retrospect I thought this is actually effective later, when the denial of a front leave for the African soldiers becomes a main issue. The all-pervasiveness of racist discrimination slowly creeps into picture, peaking in the self-hating half-Arab officer. The Arab soldiers are portrayed as each believing the French Dream of liberté, égalité, fraternité, with more or less naivety. For the climax, I expected something sentimental, instead, I found it unremittingly cruel when the soldiers don't get the credit for their action (the scene with the weak clapping of the civilians stayed with me).

  • The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)
    A three-hour classic from Poland based on a book from the Napoleon-era (hat tip to melvin for the recommendation). It is notable for its frame story structure: a story within a story within a story etc., and the disparate stories begin to connect towards the end.  The stories themselves are not too deep, centred around the obsessions of a decadent aristocrat. In particular, we have a mix of early-1800s and 1960s erotic fantasies about Muslims, which are rather weird when seen from the present. But the most memorable scene for me was at the start when the enemy officers send away their underlings to jointly read a book they found.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 7th, 2015 at 04:28:00 PM EST
Saragossa Manuscript is brilliant fun.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Mar 9th, 2015 at 02:49:59 PM EST
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