O.P.E.N. Film(s) #4. 

(Last film I caught as part of The O.P.E.N. It was a good film to end the season for me, personally, since school has resumed and my days are going to go by as fast as the first six months.)

  • Citizenfour by Laura Poitras. 

Words to describe: thrilling, relevant and frightening. 

The film follows the event of the grand public reveal of the US government’s monitoring of all sorts of information, data and communications of everybody in the name of National Security thanks to Edward Snowden and the individuals that helped him do so. 

The film does not exactly provide anything new, but it does show you a more personal view of the matter from Snowden’s perspective. Or at least, what goes on in the minds of the journalists and the people involved. 

The possible abuse of power to shut people up, how news are just news but not necessarily the truth and how we are basically sheep under the rulings of wolves. 

For me, it came as another reminder of that event that occurred two years ago that I have almost forgotten. I have made many realisations as well. 

All the “Find My iPhone” applications, the personalised Facebook advertisements and all the websites you visit that require you to “sign in” are all ways of tracking what we are doing and what we are like in real time. 

Growing up with these devices and functions, sometimes it does not occur to us how these minute details feed into the bigger picture of surveillance and the invasion of privacy. 

What is privacy? Does it still exist in this day and age? Is outrageous invasion of these personal boundaries worth it or justifiable in the name of the law? Why is there no transparency? 

Now that it has been years, what has the system become? Bigger? Better? More invasive? 

Why are these questions no longer bothering us and no longer asked on a national level?

Are the people not entitled to ask such things to try and protect themselves? 

It is funny that we are busy fighting against each other to pass some laws on Human Rights and being pro-choice or not when this basic right of everyone is not even accounted for yet. 

It makes me wonder what else can be done in the name of security and how many lines we are willing to cross before we all cry out and say it is too much. 

Will we ever be able to? 

That’s the question that the film left etched in my mind that scared me the most. 

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O.P.E.N. films #3. 

  • The Act of Killing (Director’s Cut) by Joshua Oppenheimer. 

It was a wonder to see the death squad leaders re-enacting “Crush All Communists” tragedies willingly and happily even. 

Reopening the case of Indonesia’s history, this documentary sheds light on the gangsters or “free men” that carried out killings that wiped out one million people in the name to rid communism from their land. Genocide. 

For moments, I felt so strongly for these individuals – sometimes sympathy, sometimes pure disgust. It seemed like the decisions they made were all they knew how. Is that a valid excuse though? Do they even need an excuse? 

Call them heroes. Call them murderers. Call them what you will. 

But this documentary will show you that they do have hearts. 

They do suffer. They might have unspoken regrets. They might seem to delude themselves into thinking what they did was right to avoid being haunted for the rest of their lives. 

Beyond the “cinematic fever dream” these men sought to pursue, revealed a painful truth and stripped them of all facade. 

  • The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer. 

Sister film of The Act of Killing, this documentary follows an ophthalmologist named Adi on a mission to get answers from the genocide leaders. 

The confrontation and the tension kept me on the edge of my seat. After all, Adi does not ask surface and simple questions. He wants something they cannot give – the truth, the responsibility and the burden of the genocide. 

And with Adi’s older brother dying one of the most cruel deaths throughout the genocide, the stakes were even higher. 

It was an extremely heavy watch with my heart sinking deeper with every minute.

The documentary left me with so many questions about morality, responsibility and the endless struggle for power, riches and status. The cruelty and the lies said without a blink of an eye. 

Absolutely mind-blowing and a reflection of what we have become. 

– 

These two films left such an impact on me. Just watching these two almost back-to-back was so much for the heart to handle, and to think that this is the reality of some is unbelievable.

Please take the time to watch these documentaries. You will not regret it. Really. 

O.P.E.N. Films #2. 

(I think the volunteers at The Projector are starting to recognise me. I am wondering if they are wondering why I am there almost every night.)

  • Johanna by Kornél Mundruczó

A slightly absurdist, baroque style play in a context of a crumbling Budapest hospital – rusty sinks and the sun never shines in. 

The opera was a pleasant surprise (for me because I do not really study the films before I watch them) and I enjoyed the quality of it, especially when juxtaposed with relatively naturalistic style of acting. 

There were many poetic lines, especially in the singing and the ideas presented were unconventional but beautiful in a sick and grotesque way. 

“Be like oxygen.”

  • PABLO LARRAÍN TRILOGY: Post Mortem

Following the journey of the main character (mortician) was a joy, because of how quirky, or rather, socially awkward he is. 

With a love affair unfolding with his neighbour, a cabaret dancer, while Chile dives into chaos following Pinochet’s 1973 coup, it is a film with a slow burn. 

The true beauty of this film is in the subtleties and treatment of them. Towards the end, the conflict arises and the words as well as actions show the true intentions of them as people. 

There was always a conflict – be it internal or external – and the struggle is worth watching. 

  • The Tribe by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy

So far, out of all five films I have watched and experienced, this is my favourite by far. 

Teenage gangs, crime and prostituition, the deaf students studying at a rundown school in Kiev would find none of those surprising. After all, those fill up their lives more so than books and academia ever will. 

Thoroughly silent besides ambient sounds, audience members sit through conversations in sign and body language with no subtitles whatsoever. 

But I never felt lost. 

This film made me realise how much can be said with the physical alone, and how reliant we are on our speech and that might actually impede us. 

How we tend to view deafness as a handicap but watching them feel empowered by it, even to the point of abusing it, was fascinating. 

Absolutely stunning. It was a piece of art and I would gladly watch it again, despite its length. 

    O.P.E.N. Films #1. 

    • This Is Not A Film – Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. 

    How passion for film-making, taking a stand and trying to overcome the system does not stop at a mere house arrest. 

    The seemingly every day conversations reveal so much about the situation in Iran and leaves just a little bit of space to the imagination. With the space used the director’s own home, there is just a vulnerability and an openness that comes with it. 

    The risks of doing this really hit me when the credits came out and no names were mentioned besides the directors themselves. 

    Simple yet powerful. 

    • Horse Money – Pedro Costa.

    Absurd, abstract and dark. 

    Possibly some words I would associate with this piece of work. The director does not shy away from the sinister and messier parts of the human mind. It almost seemed like a horror film. 

    Though I found it too heavy a watch in one-sitting and felt restless from time to time, it was so uncomfortable that it was good in a certain way. 

    It challanges you, and tells you truths in a way that makes them hard to ignore. The presence of the actors, the themes and my own thoughts while watching were really strong. Breath-taking. 

    – 

    I don’t really have the time to do full length reviews unless they are for other websites. So I will keep things simple from now on and just type skeletal thoughts of them. 

    Feel free to hit me up and we can talk about them over coffee sometime. If you are interested in nerdy stuff, like me. xx

    (Book) The Last Skin.

    BarbaraRasCover(Barely catch movies anymore because I just don’t have the energy or the time or the company to watch them at cinemas. It is quite sad, but books serve me well too. And the best thing about poetry books is that you feel, learn and imagine so much with so little. It’s beautiful.)

    Simple and beautiful, I think The Last Skin really stripped poetry down to its essence for me. Maybe it is also because of the themes she wrote about, such as love, loss and places she visited that spurred thought. Each and every poem painted an image in my mind and not only can I see it, but I can feel it on my skin as well as taste it in my mouth.

    Sometimes bombastic words are not needed to evoke emotions.

    Out of the entire read, I think my most loved piece of writing from Ras would be “Now All The Fears”. You can try searching for it online or borrow the book to read the entire collection. I can tell you now that this book is definitely worth your time.

    My favourite takeaways:

    While beside ourselves, our shadows flicker, in despair, in laughter, the same trembling.

    All day the train chases understanding, all night understanding’s ghost.

    Maybe we loved you, but not always. Now, please. Let us go like a meadow of balloons let loose to the sky.

    Someone else said, “Words are blankets.”

    The swiftest heartbeat, the sheerest bones.

    Where the lingering rain imperceptibly returned to the sky.

    Nights fall. Days fall harder.

    While I am tossed over and over by the ocean that holds me ransom.

    So when we taste, we taste bitter, forgetting the flavour of truth.

    -Lake Titicaca-

    Just as the lake called to draw blue out of the day’s sky and later the night’s black.

    A constellation of islands.

    Its edible heart.

    And what could she possibly know beyond a door, a colour of a little bit of heaven with some darkness added, and the right amount of oil to make it shine.

    Who fears water and talks like a river that will never be broken.

    In the dimness of starlight.

    The faces we have touched and lost, their eyes mute now in memory.

    -Part Three-

    I wanted to surrender their beauty, craving some nature beyond human.

    The sun will be weightless and the rain silky.

    Death is the mother of beauty.

    And its emptiness exhaled the truths and lies of secrets.

    Give me your whole hand so it opens the way dreams bloom at night.

    Words, not for me like truth written on skin.

    While we draped our weight on each other in a bond adults would call filthy, but was really only lostness clinging to lostness.

    If it’s the remnant of a love letter, the rest gone, just the anonymous kiss I wish had been mine.

    Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson.

    This is one song that is buried so deep in my heart, but it never fails to draw tears to my eyes to water the flowers on my cheeks and deepen my breathing so breath can wake my bones.

    Honestly, I do not really know why.

    But this song really speaks to me and it makes me sad that I am unable to articulate the feelings dancing inside clearly.

    (Book) Schadenfreude: The Little Book of Black Delights.

    12990302 This is a super quick read for me and well, now I kind of know the names for certain qualities I have as a really horrible person.

    It was a fun discovery, anyway.

    I also particularly liked the way the book was categorised. It made sense and was easy to understand. It had a nice flow to it.

    My personal list (according to the sequence in the book):

    1. Alavellophilia: delight in spoiling a child’s game when unseen.
    2. Boretopilia: delight in having a good memory (when all around you are losing theirs).
    3. Calicurrophilia: delight in the team that knocked you out being beaten.
    4. Creverophilia: delight in believing one is right. (P.s. Indiverophilia)
    5. Indiverophilia: delight in being proven right.
    6. Salmophilia: delight in wearing loud clothes as a privilege of age.

    Before I end this off, I would just like to clarify that I do not delight in these ALL THE TIME. I am only like that in very specific situations or scenarios.

    For example, I do not engage in 2. in a classroom scenario, because that is just a mean thing to do. I only do that when I am recounting past memories with friends or what I read in the news and things like that.

    Really.

    Anyway, it was just interesting to place a name to these strange delights I happen to have every now and then.