Les Dites Cariatides (1984)

Day 28: 28/03/2019

Les Dites Cariatides, Agnes Varda 

There is a cinematheque opening in my neighborhood very soon, and they started showing movies by devoting this month to Agnes Varda and a huge selection of her films. Yesterday, I watched couple short films by her, unfortunately today I learned she passed away.

There are many things about her cinema that affects me, like the way she interacts with cities and uses statues, stairs, objects in comparison to subjects in our lives. Watching these shorts by her made me want to grab my camera and just walk around in my own city, Istanbul, recording everything I love about it and commenting on them. Her take on the caryatids of Paris, how they can be compared to naked people walking around, how they are trusted “to carry” subjects like law on their shoulders, how she strengthened her storytelling with poems by Baudelaire and the music she used with those shots was very inspirational.

Interesting article: http://cleojournal.com/2018/04/11/wandering-in-the-presence-of-womenles-dites-cariatides/?fbclid=IwAR0YkIwlPhm2S_MTVdnmbTTVWsvscA13VW2KOVOsajsUE2QrdKW-IrAOVt8

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La Casa de Papel (2017)

Day 27 : 28/07/2019

La Casa de Papel, Alex Pina

Just started watching this popular series, here is a couple points I want to remember in the future.

  • The Characters: After all, the success of a story always goes back to its characters. La Casa de Papel is full of original and multidimensional characters. Since it is a series and more story hours are allowed on camera, we get so see many different characters from opposite points of views which makes the story even like a documentary in that sense. We have the perspective the team (the burglars), the hostages and some of their private lives, the police and the intelligence services. Usually we are presented with the angle of a single standing point, which makes us empathize and root for their sides. If it’s a story about genius burglary, we want to see the intellect and the ability of the characters, be wowed by it and that’s it. But here, the situation is different. There are many characters whom we can root for, and who stand on opposite sides of the story.

 

  • The Character Dynamics and Facing the Antagonist: Here, the main characters have a genius plan too, it is entertaining to watch. What makes the story more dynamic is internal and unexpected. Their plan goes just as they plan, they can overpower the police and other forces pretty easily because they got prepared for it for months. What they did not prepare for is their dynamics between each other and what makes their whole plan progress with bumps is caused by their own actions towards themselves such as getting into a forbidden love affair or neglecting behaviors of hostages. Presented in the first ten minutes of the show, we know that each team member have strengths of their own in their own field – except the profesor, we don’t really know who he is – and that they are all divergent. We see that among themselves they can become each others antagonists and create tension: like the time Berlin asked Denver to kill a pregnant woman after Denver just helped her or the times the love affair between Tokyo and Rio put them in trouble.

 

  • Motive of the Characters: Throughout the series backstories of every character is revealed and we see that all of them has a motive to rob the bank, and that they have to as a salvation: Nairobi wants to get to her son, Moscow wants to give his son Denver a better life and so on. It is personal, then a group matter to them which creates many dynamic within the story – Nairobi says I won’t let anyone blow up this plan for example. They turn to each other as well as the police at times. It is also an answer to the question: why don’t they let go?

 

  • The Timing: The timing of shows is correlated to their success. This is the case with Breaking Bad (2005) ( a small, masterful artisan succeeding against the big powers, against industrial material with lower quality) as well as Casa de Papel (2017). After a decade of economic crisis in Europe, the protagonists of the show is attacking capitalism, playing Robin Hood in 2017. They are not attacking or hurting the innocent, they claim to get what should belong to the masses of people where the profesor explains it as: “You’ve been taught to see good and bad guys. But what we’re doing is okay to you when other people do it. In the year 2011, the European Central Bank made 171 billion Euros out of nowhere. Just like we’re doing. Only bigger. 185 billion in 2012. 145 billion Euros in 2013. Do you know where all that money went? To the banks. Directly from the factory to the pockets of the rich. Did anyone call the European Central bank a thief? No. “Liquidity injections”, they called it. And they pulled it out of nowhere, Raquel. Out of nowhere”.

 

  • References: From just a glare it is easy to see that the show got influenced by the Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino (in the case of random nicknames picked by a group of people who never knew each other before) and V for Vendetta by James McTeigue (the Dali masks).  Salvador Dali is an interesting choice for the masks they wear, probably because he is a painter who goes against the structure accepted in terms of art forms. Trojan Horse => I love the genius in it and that they reference history. Doubles the power of the move!

 

  • Color Palette: The red uniforms demonstrate boldness and courage to me, also signify a group of people who are not afraid to be right in front of the eyes, they don’t have to hide and sneak out – they are going to master their plans in front of everyone. Also, red contrasts with the theme color of the series, green, the color of calmness as well as cash 💸 .

 

  • SOUNDTRACK : LOVELY ❤ 

 

Us (2019)

Day 26: 27/03/2019

Us, Jordan Peele

After watching Get Out (2017) I was so happy to got to know a new and modern “auteur” director, someone who embellishes his story with symbolism and layers of storytelling to make its viewers rewatch the whole thing, discuss it and research for the meanings in it.

Therefore I was excited about watching Us for about a year now and it did not disappoint me although some parts took me out of the story.

SOCIAL COMMENTARY AND SYMBOLISM

I found Us to be full of social commentary even more than Get Out => that fact strengthens it as a horror movie.  First, even the title itself is Us, written deliberately with a small s, remind of the United States. This is also emphasized when the family asks the shadows who they are referring to their cruel behavior on them, the shadows reply “We Are Americans” – just the ones you have overlooked (Also reminds me of Childish Gambino’s famous This Is America music video).

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Also Adelaide, the main character acts most of the movie with a handcuff – chains – on her hand. The man-made tunnels below our world felt flat at first, but when I think about it as the places mankind made themselves to for people from lower social classes it makes sense. The African American people under white rule lived oppressed and could not move freely, they could only act under their shadows. The message given by the shadows about the tunnels is that “you have made these tunnels, and trapped us there – when we were not different than you at all”. Also the fact that they call the police and it never comes tells a lot about the experiences of African American people living in the United States – the police tells them they need 14 minutes, reminding of the 14th Amendment in the constitution: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”

REFERENCES

=> 11:11: stands for duality. Jeremiah 11:11 stands for “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.” 

=> Animals: The animal figures Adelaide plays with after she comes back, or the white rabbits and the single black rabbit among them, the birds…

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=>The Shaman Door at the beginning of the film that changed the course of everything.

=>The part where Adelaide was going down the escalators reminded me of Kill Bill a lot – because of the lighting, the pale yellow all over the screen, and a woman with a shirt covered in blood holding a fireplace stick like a katana.

FILMING

The fact that they’re fighting with themselves – with a creature who supposedly has the same physical power and characteristics – is interesting, but it could be shown in a more tense way, a way in which you are forced to fight against your strengths and embrace your weaknesses and vice versa.

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I love that at the beginning of the movie they put her backstory along with her adult story without making any transitions or marks.

I love the scene between the two boys, when they are in the wardrobe holding the fire between them.

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COLOR PALETTE

Summer colours – red, yellow and blue in a Rembrandesque tone. Not the usual, bright, happy tone you would expect from a movie that takes place during summer holiday.

The red rompers (which look like they are out of La Casa de Papel) along with golden scissors reminds me of religion and old rituals. Red for blood and sacrifice and golden for a crown, for royalty and governing. Red is the color of power.

SOUND DESIGN

The movie takes place in the 80s and from the start it is obvious that there is going to be many references to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the first horror music video ever made. Also the single glow the shadows wear can be seen as an attribute to the Thriller music video.

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The sound design in the film reflected that, there has been many “horror sounds”, like the ones from the 80s, to underline the thrill but I found them to be too forceful and to take me out of the story. However, the soundtrack of the movie was very enjoyable – African beats mixed with a tense score really felt unique to me or at the song that comes up at the beginning with some religious tones, when we see the rabbits.

It is good to see that Jordan Peele has not changed his style in terms of giving us a horror movie with a lot of exciting underlying stories and symbolism. Although throughout the film  I felt that most points were made by a genius and some points were made by someone who is a lover of clichés.

 

 

 

Snatch (2000)

Although this is an absurd movie, it has one of the most brutal scenes I’ve ever seen in my life, it goes beyond bad and it is unforgettable for me.

Love the pauses and transitions and see how it became an inspiration to other movies.

Everyone’s backstory given in a beat by another character along with a cool transition that carries us to the next scene.

Here is the very cute Making Of video where actors complain about “economic cookies” and where Jason Statham made himself a custom chair with a handdrawn star on. This movie greatly feels like made by very talented bros and the video shows that to be true.