Friday, June 18, 2010

The Dragon Tattoo, Diving Bell and Visiting Band

For movie folks, we had a pretty dry run since we left for Juneau back in January.  We've seen a couple in theaters, the two experimental movies in Berlin, and we saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last week at Bear Tooth.  J has read the first two books in this trilogy.  She said the movie follows the book closely.  I thought it had great characters - particularly the girl with the dragon tattoo.  It's neat in this US centric modern culture to have a book written by a Swede become a giant US best seller and then have a Swedish team make it into a movie.  It's a looong movie, but I was completely into the film the whole way.  However, it does center on sick violence against women.  I mention this because my daughter has pointed out how many movies include violence against women.  I realized, she's right and what's worse, most of us haven't noticed this as unusual.  What does that say about how much a part of American life violence against women is?

We finally stopped at Blockbusters the other night and picked up some movies in the foreign language section.  The first one neither of us had heard of:

The Band's Visit.

It's a delightful Israeli movie about an Egyptian band of about eight people who fly to Israel for the opening of an Islamic-Israeli Center.  But they mix up the name of their destination, get on the wrong bus,  and end up at a desolate Israeli village.

It's a great story about travel and cross-cultural humanity and while it's an Israeli movie - English is the common language of the Israelis and Egyptians in the movie.  A very low key but satisfying movie in which you slowly get to meet people and then get to go past your initial stereotypes of them and get to really know them.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I'd heard this name over and over again and really had no idea what it was about.  I wouldn't have guessed.  The editor of Elle magazine has had a stroke and now has a condition in which he's fully conscious, can see and hear, but can't move or talk.

The film does a great job of seeing the world from his perspective and I found it totally fascinating.

The therapist works out a method where she reads the alphabet (organized in order of frequency of the letters*) and he blinks his eye when she gets to the letter he needs.  It's agonizingly slow, but they do amazing things with this.  Reminds us how easy our lives are in comparison.   It turns out to be an American movie, but they filmed it in France at the actual hospital where he was and it's all in French with subtitles.  I know that puts some people off, but get over it. 

*After sleeping on the movie, it seems to me they could have come up with much more efficient system.  Just dividing the alphabet into four groups would have cut out a lot of work.

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