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Profile for Thorkell Agust Ottarsson > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Thorkell Agust Ottarsson (Norway)

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PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, THE [LA PASSION DE JEANNE D'ARC] (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray) [1928]
PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, THE [LA PASSION DE JEANNE D'ARC] (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray) [1928]
Dvd ~ Renée Maria Falconetti
Offered by bestmediagroup
Price: £8.99

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wonderful Blu Ray version from The Masters of Cinema series!, 3 April 2013
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This is IMO the best film ever made. I don't know how often I have seen it but every time I watch it I go into a trance. I just got the film on Blu Ray and wanted to check the quality. Well, I got sucked into the film and could not stop. Before I knew it I had watched the whole thing and while I'm writing this it is running again on the screen in front of me.

The face of Maria Falconetti is burned into my soul. She probably never knew that she was acting in (one of) the best film of all time and that she would never ever be forgotten for just this single film role. This might just be the best acting in a film ever. The same actually goes for most of the actors. They are all so authentic.

One of the things I love about this film is the symbolism. Here we have one of Dreyers favorite motives, the wheel, symbolizing time, eternity and life. We see it also quite often used in Vampyr (one of Dreyers best film). And there is more symbolism here, like the lamb (as the lamb of God, the sacrificial lamb or Jesus), the child sucking a mothers breast (God's greace) and so on.

Dreyer always wanted to make a film about Jesus but never got around to do it, even though he had the finance to write the script. To me The Passion of Joan of Arc is a Jesus film. Joan of Arc is one of the best Christ figures in cinema history. There are scenes in this film that are lifted straight from the New Testament, like the scene when the guards mob her, put a crown on her head and call her the daughter of God. And then there is the sacrifice and the victory in death, when the onlookers rise up and protest, believing her to be a saint.

One can also read this film from a feminist or even gay perspective since what seams to threatens the church most is the fact that she wears mans clothes. Cross dressing and a woman doing a mans job and holding a mans position was dangerous in the eye of the church.

There are so many great scenes here. One is a scene where one of the onlookers has modern classes. Dreyer wanted it that way to make Joan a part of all times, her story connected to ours. It is a beautiful touch. I also love the expressionistic building and those beautiful and often scary close ups. But if I had to pick one scene then it would the the torture chamber scene. The editing is just perfect.

I watched the Blu Ray version from The Masters of Cinema series. The image is unbelievably clear. It was a little strange to see the film with Danish inter-titles since I'm so used to watching the Criterion version with French inter-titles. What surprised me the most however was the music. I thought I would not be able to watch this film without the Voices of Light soundtrack (I often play the film just to listen to that heavenly and pitch perfect score). Well, not only could I watch the film with a piano score performed by Japanese silent film composer Mie Yanashita, I actually loved it!

You can also watch the film in 24fps playback speeds with a radical accompaniment by esteemed American avant-garde musician Loren Connors. Well the speed put me off (silent films should only be played in 18 to 20fps) and I found the music rather repetitive and not in harmony with the subject matter. It did not drag me into the film, it dragged me out of it.

If you have not seen this film, which is by most critics considered one of 10 best films ever made then do your self a favor and do so now! You will not regret it and what's more, you just might gain a life companion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2015 10:47 AM BST

Level Five [DVD]
Level Five [DVD]
Dvd ~ Chris Marker
Price: £9.97

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from Chris Marker!, 17 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Level Five [DVD] (DVD)
Here is another film from Chris Marker about memory, this time the memory of a nation (Japan), the computer age (the Internet, called OWL in the film - Optional World Link) and relationships. It is about how humankind does not deal honestly with the past, which in turn forces us to be haunted by it forever. The only way out is honesty, confession and forgiving oneself, something Japanese have not been able to do.

The heart of the film is the battle of Okinawa where the inhabitants committed mass suicide. Parents would kill their children, then the husbands their wives and then finally themselves, all out of "love". There is an interview with a man who killed his brothers and sisters and his mother. This story (which is true) is so shocking, horrifying and heart wrecking that one wonders why it is not as well known as the concentration camps in Europe.

This is a very poetic film. I often wanted to stop the film just to write down the beautiful and thought provoking monologues. One could almost call this a avant gade version of Hiroshima, mon amour (1959). The connection is even made in the film, but Laura says she'd call her pain "Okinawa mon amour" so that it would sound like a movie.

Another masterpiece from Chris Marker!

In The Realm of The Senses - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD) [1976]
In The Realm of The Senses - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD) [1976]
Dvd ~ Tatsuya Fuji
Price: £12.78

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film is good when you can't stop thinking about it..., 11 May 2012
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And when you buy more films from the director to see other films he has done. In the Realm of Senses is one of those. Does it have pornographic images? Yes! It goes so far in showing sexual intercourse that many of the scenes could be taken out of a porn film, BUT and this is a huge but. These scenes are very very important and the film would not have worked without them. Here is a film where explicit sexual scenes are not an excuse to but necessity. Also, sex has probably never been filmed in such a beautiful way.

The whole film is in fact a fascinating love story. It is based on a true story about what any normal person would call insanity but Nagisa Ôshima manages so well to show us their own logic that the whole thing becomes a mixture of beauty and terror.

The Blu Ray transfer is perfect, both sound and image and this is the uncensored version.

If you are easily offended then stay away, but if you like challenging and artistic films that stay with you for a long time then this should be on the top of your list.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2013 4:31 AM BST

The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Blu-ray] [1975]
The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Blu-ray] [1975]
Dvd ~ Tim Curry
Price: £7.75

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Blu Ray transfer I have ever seen!, 23 Oct. 2010
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Want to be blown away by Blu Ray quality? Watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It is like watching it for the first time. Amazing! Best transfer I have ever seen.

Ip Man (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] [2008]
Ip Man (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] [2008]
Dvd ~ Donnie Yen
Price: £8.99

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good film, so so transfer, 29 Dec. 2009
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Well the plot is the same as in most martial arts, with a little nationalism mixed in. That does not have to be bad. Most romcom's have the same plot. Anyway it is easy to forgive the lack of originality because the fighting scenes are so good, and that's coming from someone who is not a big fan of martial arts films. The main problem with this Blu Ray disk is the transfer. Black is usually dark gray and there is a lot of ghosting on it. It would be ok as a DVD but I expect more from Blu Ray that an average DVD quality. I have not seen the DVD version of this but I would have bought the film on DVD if I knew how bad the transfer was on the Blu Ray disk.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2010 10:18 PM BST

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