Saturday, November 5, 2011

On the Edge: The Brown Bunny, Montenegro, Downfall

After taking a little more than a week off, I've returned with a few recommendations for films recently added to Netflix Watch Instantly.

Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny isn't nearly as bad as its reputation (and even Roger Ebert modified his stance on the film somewhat after seeing its post-Cannes shorter cut).  In fact it is reasonably good if you're game for a good old-fashioned existential crisis art-cinema excursion.  Self-indulgent?  Sure.  Any time you have a actor directing himself getting fellated in a scene, there's a degree of self-indulgence (and somehow Chloe Sevigny's career survived this).  But I still think it is worth a watch and I hope to catch up with Gallo's most recent film, Promises Written in Water (released in 2010 based on its IMDB entry, but to be honest I hadn't heard of it until I looked it up).

The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, USA, 2004, 93 minutes) 
Netflix: Director Vincent Gallo stars as Bud, a competitive road biker riding from New Hampshire to California for a race. But the journey is also an attempt to erase his memory of the one true love he can't forget, even as he beds other women.  Netflix link.

Dusan Makavejev is a truly great Yugoslav/Serbian filmmaker, and one of his better known films, Montenegro, is now streaming on Netflix Watch Instantly.  If you're not familiar with his work, one of many online interviews with Makavejev is Ray Privett's piece for Senses of Cinema from 2000.  Montenegro is an English-language film shot in Sweden starring American actress Susan Anspach.

Montenegro (Dusan Makavejev, Sweden, 1981, 91 minutes)
Netflix: Housewife Marilyn Jordan (Susan Anspach) seems to have everything she could possibly want -- a successful husband, two beautiful children and a palatial house by the sea ... until she meets a group of Yugoslavian immigrants at the airport. Before you can say "unbridled abandon," Marilyn finds herself swept up in a bohemian world of dangerous pleasures and newfound freedom in this surreal black comedy.  Netflix link.

While certainly a respected film in itself, Downfall is probably best known for its bunker scene with Adolf Hitler that has been re-subtitled numerous times in parody videos (or Hitler Downfall Memes).  We've all seen at least one of the parodies by now, here's a chance to see the original film.

Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel, Germany, 2004, 155 minutes)
Netflix: After introducing audiences to Adolf Hitler's stenographer, Traudl Junge, in the gripping documentary Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary, director Oliver Hirschbiegel brings Junge to life in this Oscar-nominated drama. With painstaking realism, Hirschbiegel's Best Foreign Language Film contender adopts Junge's (Alexandra Maria Lara) point of view to recreate Hitler's (Bruno Ganz) final 12 days in his Berlin bunker.  Netflix link.

No comments:

Post a Comment