the good, the mediocre and the ugly

I’ll start with the ugly; on revising my film list I had a quick count of the film’s I’ve seen this year and discovered to my horror that something was amiss. There was a disparity between the number of films I’ve seen in total and the number I had seen from my every 50 total. I will explain… basically to keep track of numbers I write a total next to the film after every 50 I’ve seen, but according to my list the 700th film was Brief Encounter, 15 films apart from my 707 film Julie and Julia. I had to start from the very beginning and after a long-winded recount it appears I haven’t even watched 700. It breaks my heart to say it. I might have to recount again its so hard to believe, it appears somewhere in 2006 I forgot how to count. So now my numbers for the blog are messed up, but never mind, it looks like I’m the only one who reads it anyway. But enough with the pity prose, I have two more films to write about.

Firstly, was saturday night’s viewing; the mediocre. Best Picture nominee at the Oscars; ‘District 9’. I’ll come right out and say it, but sci-fi’s aren’t really my thing. I was the wrong generation for Star Wars and despite enjoying films such as Star Trek and Sunshine they just don’t excite me the way a powerful, gripping drama does. I can spout out the usual comments about how original and technically superb this film was; it makes a change for it to be set in South Africa rather than a suburb in America, but I still can’t say very much. The issue is I’m indifferent. I know I’m probably more filmically wise for having seen it, but I figured I’d probably be just as knowledgable if I hadn’t. I didn’t really find it affecting, the main guy ticked me off with his smarmy ways and the aliens were violent and disgusting. Yes it may well be allegorical for the exploitation of minors at the hands of a corrupt government, but at the end of the day this is a smart, pacy, state-of-the -art sci-fi and nothing more. I enjoyed the CGI and the documentary style, but this is just another film on the temporarily faulty list.

From the slums of South Africa to the favelas of Brazil on Sunday night I watched ‘City of God’ and it would be a vast understatement to simply call this film good. Having watched the opening sequence in film class, I knew I was in for a treat. Not the indulgent, uplifting kind, but the extraordinary, eye-opening, electrifying kind. City of God is one of the films that from the very moment is starts it has your gripped and doesn’t let up until the moment the credits rolls. This is powerful stuff because it documents a story rarely told in a way that its brutal and shocking, but at the same time poignant. My dad walked out of half way through because he’d had enough of films about drug dealers for one week, but its sooo much more than that. Of course that sounds slightly hypocritical after my comments about District 9, but never mind. The opening sequence just sums it all up; the music, the editing, the symbolism. I loved the non-linear narrative and how it weaved all the stories into the main one; whilst to a Brazilian kid in the favela this would be an ordinary coming of age tale to us its a violent gang warfare epic. This is the kind of film I would need several essays to cover in depth why I loved it and how good it is, but in a few short words, when you watch something like this it makes you see truth. Yes its a dramatised representation, but its also refreshingly honest about the type of world we live in. The kids who killed Lil’Ze at the end are what leave this film with a haunting resonance. Its the kind of film that upon owning you just look as though you have good taste in film. I will definately be going out and purchasing it.

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