Sunday, 21 March 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 186

360 - The Return - 4 stars
A good wee Russian film this, with two boys dealing with the return of their absent father after 12 years. One accepts him with open arms while the other is suspicious of the stranger. A fishing trip to help them reconnect soon turns into a terrifying test of manhood that will have tragic consequences.
Initially unsure as to where this was going, once you realise that it is about the boys and not a mystery about where the man has been and what he has done, it is a tense production with great performances from the two young brothers.

108 - Tree of Wooden Clogs - 1 star
In the words of Craig Revel-Horwood from Strictly Come Dancing... Dull, Dull, Dull!
I never thought this was going to finish! I knew it was 3 hours long but was constantly checking my watch to see how long I had left of this monotony.
This is a film about a farming community in Italy where nothing interesting happens. Actual events of note that happen in this film; poor boy gets accepted to school, woman has a baby, man cuts down tree to make clogs for son, two people get married, pig is butchered, man who cut down tree is fired and family thrown out of house, the end.
Those are the main plot points in 180 minutes of following a bunch of farmers around, and it was scripted like this. It isn't even a documentary. If it was, they would have scrapped it to find a more interesting subject to focus on.
There is a subplot about a guy who creepily stalks a young woman, asks her for a kiss but rejected. An hour later, they are suddenly getting married and adopting an orphan. How am I supposed to care about this when they don't even show more than 5 minutes interaction between the characters.
It didn't helped that it had been re-dubbed in Italian over its original dialect but it proved very distracting.
The most shocking thing about it was not how dull it was but the scene where a live pig is slaughtered and then gutted, whilst still alive and squealing in pain having its throat cut. Distressing to watch and something that would not be allowed these days.

Days remaining - 179 Films remaining - 230

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