New Acquisitions: White Ribbon, I Saw the Devil, and I Love You Philip Morris
White Ribbon Director:Michel Haneke (2009) LD11-0680
Image courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment
White Ribbon is “The quintessential art film: slow, demanding, and rewarding for those willing to put forth the intellectual effort necessary to puzzle out its ambiguities” (Berardinelli, 2010). Set in a small German village on the eve of World War I, White Ribbon tells the story of a school teacher, who is observing the bizarre and disturbing series of events happening in town. In typical Haneke fashion, the violence in this small community, which will transform into the violence of the Nazis in the next 20-30 years (Scott, 2009), is studied in a systematic, suspended, and puzzling manner.
The film premiered and won the Palme d'Or at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival (2009) as well as the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. WR also received two nominations for Academy Awards: 2009 Best Foreign Language Film (representing Germany) and 2009 Best Cinematography (Christian Berger).
Berardinelli, James. “White Ribbon”. www.reelviews.net. 19 Jan. 2010.
Scott, A.O. “Wholesome Hamlet’s Horror Sends a Jolt to the System”. movies.nytimes.com. 30 Dec. 2009.
I love You Philip Morris Director: Glenn Ficarra (2009) LD11-0696
Image courtesy of LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions
The film tells the real-life story of con artist Steven Jay Russell (Jim Carrey) who is currently serving a 144-year sentence. Russell escaped prison several times, in the most extreme case in a tomb as a dead man, to be with his lover Phillip Morris. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, but has famously struggled to find a U.S. distributor, due to its explicit gay sexual content, for a while although it starred Carrey and Ewan McGregor.
Also may be of interest: Life During Wartime; Todd Solondz’s sequel to Happiness.
I Saw the Devil Director: Kim Ji-woon (2010) LD11-0641
Image courtesy of Softbank Ventures Korea
When it comes to revenge movies, it's getting increasingly difficult to beat the South Koreans. I Saw the Devil, a new addition to the increasingly violent Korean revenge-films, is the complete opposite of White Ribbon. The film is about a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. When he kills the daughter of a retired police chief and the wife of a special policeman’s wife, the psychopath is tracked down by the husband who becomes monstrous himself. Featuring Old Boy’s Cho Min-sik as the epitome of pure evil, I Saw the Devil is a treat for the followers of the genre.
Also may be of interest: Reign of Assassins, Eye in the Sky