Die Fälscher

Die Fälscher (2007). Dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky

die-falscher-1die-falscher-33die-falscher-15die-falscher-22die-falscher-30die-falscher-10die-falscher-19die-falscher-101die-falscher-23falscherdie-falscher-5die-falscher-14die-falscher-9Die Fälscherdie-falscher-105die-falscher-26die-falscher-17die-falscher-7die-falscher-24die-falscher-18die-falscher-20die-falscher-3die-falscher-12die-falscher-102die-falscher-4die-falscher-6die-falscher-31Die Fälscherdie-falscher-100

Atze (Veit Stübner): “Warum ist Gott nicht in Auschwitz? Der kam nicht durch die Selektion!

Die Fälscher is one of my favorite movies about the Holocaust. It’s an Austrian film where the Nazi pigs bark in German (not English) and the victims speak, cry and pray in German, Russian, and Hebrew (not English). I can’t stand the Holocaust movies where the Nazis speak English with a German accent, no matter how good the movie is. That goes for Schindler’s List and many others (the only exception is probably The Pianist, an excellent film that if it were in Polish and German would be a real masterpiece).

In Die Fälscher one can really breath the brutality of the small Nazi concentration camps (there are no extermination camps shown here). Viktor Frankl wrote that in the ordinary small concentration camps most of the extermination took place. In Die Fälscher we see a Nazi pig kicking to death a prisoner in Buchenwald and we see how little life was worth in Sachsenhausen (you could be shot any time and for no reason). The elegant and cultivated German Nazis could kill and torture as much as they felt like.

The film focuses on the biggest con operation of the entire history: Operation Bernhard. Operation Bernhard managed to counterfeit more than 134 million British pounds and some American dollars. Created in 1942 by the Nazi Germans and developed in Sachsenhausen’s Blocks 18 and 19 by 142 Jewish prisoners who were forced to forge millions, Operation Bernhard could have given a dramatic turn to the war. The Nazis counterfeited not only British pounds and American dollars, but also many passports, identity cards, birth and marriage certificates, other official documents, and stamps. The Nazis were not only cruel and monstrous (we know that they loved to gas men, women, and children, and that they enjoyed massacring people and burning babies alive), but they were also great thieves (they stole many Aryan-looking Polish children –after having killed their parents, of course–) and they were also the greatest common criminals: they organized the biggest con operation of all times (but, luckily, too late). The Nazi Germans possessed all of the disgusting and lowest attributes that a human can have: racism, violence, cruelty, and dishonesty. And all that beautiful pack came from one of the most cultivated countries of the entire world. The Germans, with their amazing philosophy, their amazing poetry, their amazing music and their amazing art produced the most horrific monstrosity of human history: the Holocaust.

Die Fälscher is loosely based on the memoirs of Adolf Burger, originally written in Czech (Komando padělatelů) and first published in 1983. The translation into English was published only 26 years later (in 2009) under the title The Devil’s Workshop: A Memoir of the Nazi Counterfeiting Operation (I didn’t read the book, but I just ordered it). Burger was a Jewish Slovak typographer and Holocaust survivor born in 1917. He was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau together with his wife when he was 25 years old, in 1942. At that time he was making fake baptism certificates to save Jews. In Auschwitz-Birkenau he was tattooed with the number 64401. His wife perished in Auschwitz that year. He survived 18 months in Auschwitz-Birkenau and was then transferred to Sachsenhausen (April 1944) to work in Operation Bernhard. In 1945 he was transferred to the Ebensee concentration camp (a camp within the Mauthausen network) until its liberation by the US Army on May 6, 1945 (that isn’t shown in the movie). Burger died 10 months ago in Prague, age 99 (yes, 99!), in December 2016. 

The casting of the film is superb. Karl Markovics (who portrays Sorowitsch, a character based on the real Salomon Smolianoff, an Ukrainian Jewish professional counterfeiter who died in Brazil at age 76) gives an outstanding performance. I really love this actor. He’s amazing. August Diehl (the famous SS whom Fassbender blew his balls off in Inglourious Basterds) plays the real Burger. He appears super thin and his performance is stunning. Sebastian Urzendowsky plays Kolya, a young Russian painter also involved in Operation Bernhard. His performance is breathtaking (Urzendowsky gave an impressive performance too in the German film Berlin’36). Devid Striesow plays the Nazi Herzog, to my taste a too nice and soft character. Herzog is based on the real Bernhard Krüger, a murderous SS who led Operation Bernhard (the operation was named after him). As the vast majority of German and Austrian murderers, Krüger got off scot-free (after a brief period of detention) and died peacefully in Germany at age 84. Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter (Dolores Chaplin) makes a small appearance in the film.

The tango music of the film (written by Marius Ruhland) is truly amazing. The details of the film are really painful and really well made: the apple, the bloody hands, the second hand clothing, the touching of the clean bed sheets, the reaction of Kolya at the beginning of the shower, the huge humiliation in the toilet, the walking-corps after the liberation of Sachsenhausen…

I am currently working on my Phd in Philosophy. My thesis is about Sartre and Viktor Frankl and their different existential approaches to religion, and about the death of God after Auschwitz. In Die Fälscher I have found one of the best explanations to the absence of God while millions of innocent men, women, and children were being massacred. It is a cruel joke that one of the inmates tells laughing to the other inmates. He says: “Why isn’t God in Auschwitz? Because he did not pass the selection” [Warum ist Gott nicht in Auschwitz? Der kam nicht durch die Selektion!“].

Around 134 million counterfeit British pounds were produced at Sachsenhausen. In 1945 Operation Bernhard moved to Mauthausen. In 1959 some of the boxes with counterfeit British pounds were discovered at the bottom of Lake Toplitz (in the Austrian Alps), and in 2000 the same company who discovered the Titanic pull out from the lake many boxes with counterfeit British pounds and some counterfeit American dollars.

Die Fälscher won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language (Austria). After it won the Oscar, Burger said that he felt happy because now more people would see the movie and will know that the Nazis were not just murderers but also common criminals.

The worst: some small factual errors.

The best: everything else.

 

Some articles and news about Operation Bernhard:

Shifting from Wartime to Peacetime Intelligence Operations (The CIA Library)

Counterf-Hitler: Examples from the £134million in dodgy bank notes Adolf hoped would ruin the British economy expected to fetch £2,000 at auction

Nazi fake banknote ‘part of plan to ruin British economy’

Los Angeles Times: Adolf Burger, World War II prisoner forced by Nazis to forge millions in fake money, dies at 99

DALIT-ANTONIA-JOKER-2016 Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, October 11, 2017

Advertisements

I Am Heath Ledger

I Am Heath Ledger (2017). Directed by Adrian Buitenhuis & Derik Murray

i-am-heath-1i-am-heath-2i-am-heath-3i-am-heath-4i-am-heath-9i-am-heath-8i-am-heath-15i-am-heath-21i-am-heath-19i-am-heath-22i-am-heath-5i-am-heath-18i-am-heath-30i-am-heath-6i-am-heath-24i-am-heath-16i-am-heath-7i-am-heath-11

I am a huge fan of Heath. I actually discovered him after he already died. He struck me and enchanted me, and I suffered a Heath’s fever that lasted more than a year. I bought all his (16) films, and saw his TV series. I also spent more than 3 months writing an article about Heath’s art. Today, my obsession is gone, but the admiration will always be there. So, I was eagerly waiting for the new documentary about him, I Am Heath Ledger, and I bought it on DVD as soon as it came out. I watched it with my husband (who fell asleep) on our cinema projector, and, although the documentary is beautiful and touching, I must say I was a bit disappointed. I wanted more of Heath the artist and Heath the actor. I think that the documentary tends to forget why we all love Heath. We love him because of his movies. We love him because of his art. Also, the image we get from Heath in I Am Heath Ledger is a one-sized-image, not a multidimensional one, and that’s a real pity. Heath was human, and, as amazing as he was, I am sure he also had many flows, like all of us, but nobody dares to mention any of them.

I Am Heath Ledger has a very personal touch. Heath’s friends, ex-girlfriends, parents, and sisters talk about him with love and admiration, which is very nice, but, in my opinion, other angles are missing. I definitely missed more directors, actors and actresses talking about Heath’s art. I would have loved to see and hear Jake Gyllenhaall, Wes Bentley, Shekhar Kapur, Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, Rose Byrne, Bryan Brown, Gregor Jordan, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Billy Bob Thornton, Lasse Hallström, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Todd Haynes, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Terry Gilliam, Christopher Plummer, Andrew Garfield, Verner Troyer, and Matt Damon talking about Heath.

Also, many of Heath’s films are simply missing. Nobody even mentions them: Two Hands, The Sin Eater, The Brothers Grimm, Casanova, and Candy are just not there. Why? How can you make a documentary without mentioning these films? It’s not that Heath made 100 films and you can easily omit 5 of them. He only made 16 films, some better than others, surely, but I definitely think that they all should have been included. The amazing documentary about Woody Allen, directed by Robert B. Weide, Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012) also omits some of Allen’s films, which is a pity, but is understandable and can be forgiven since Woody Allen has made more than 50 films.

In addition, I Am Heath Ledger does not mention some roles Heath took in some TV series, and his uncredited appearances in some movies. Before his first big role for the big screen (Two Hands), Heath appeared in 1992 (at the age of 13) in the movie Clowning Around as an orphan clown (uncredited) and in 1993–1994 in 3 episodes of the TV series Ship to Shore as a cyclist (S1, Ep.12 & Ep.13) and as an actor (S2, Ep.1). In 1996 he appeared in 26 episodes of the TV series Sweat as Snowy Bowles, a gay cyclist (yes, gay!), and, in 1997, in 11 episodes of the TV series Home and Away as Scott Irwin, and in small roles in the drama Blackrock (as Toby) and in Paws (as Oberon). The documentary only mentions Roar (an American production –13 episode TV series– shot in Australia) where Heath stars as Conor (which is a quite bad series, despite Heath’s smile).

And, what about Heath’s death? His death is only mentioned by the way. Well, we don’t have to get stuck on his death, we don’t have to see again those horrible photos of Heath’s body covered by a black sheet carried by policemen out of his apartment that the media loved to show time and again during the days after his death… but to talk a bit about his death, to throw some light about his sudden end, wouldn’t have hurt, would it? The only thing we can feel in the documentary is the fact that Heath was not depressed the days prior to his death, that he was full of projects and wishes, but that was already said by Terry Gilliam and others years ago.

Heath died at the age of 28 (two months and a half before his 29th birthday) due to an accidental overdose of prescription pills (a combination of 6 different painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety pills: oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam –Valium–, temapezan, alprazolam –Xanax– and doxylamine). A real lethal cocktail indeed. Today he would have been 38 years old. Heath appears in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus much thinner. When Heath came back to New York after shooting in London, he said he was a little depressed about not having seen his daughter. Nevertheless, Gilliam and Heath’s co-stars in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus remember Heath’s vitality, energy and strength, and denied that Heath was down.

Although his life wasn’t easy by the time of his death, Heath had a strong love for life and was full of projects. His father shows in the amazing documentary Too Young to Die: Heath Ledger (2012) several scrips of projects that Heath kept for doing in the future. The day after he died he was supposed to meet director Shekhar Kapur to discuss several projects. Heath suffered from insomnia. In addition, he had a strong backache and a chest infection the days prior to his death that didn’t allow him to sleep. Heath had several types of pills prescribed by doctors from different countries. Although no pill taken on its own was extremely dangerous, the combination of all together proved to be lethal. He took 6 pills (which is a lot), but he didn’t take 30, which is common in suicides. Heath died probably without suffering. He just stopped breathing. His death was purely accidental.

A missing figure in the documentary I Am Heath Ledger is the mother of Heath’s daughter. That did not surprised me, because I never found Ms. Williams generous enough to share anything about Heath with Heath’s fans (but, still, didn’t she have anything nice to say about him? Weird). Not that I think she was more special than all the others girlfriends of Heath, but, nevertheless, she is the mother of his daughter. Heath had many girlfriends and none lasted more than 2 years. To fall in love is not difficult, on the contrary, it’s rather easy. What it’s difficult is to keep the love, year after year, and that was something that Heath didn’t know to do or didn’t want to do, because he kept having short relationships one after the other, which is a bit of a pity. There are two ex-girlfriends of Heath who are generous enough to talk in the documentary about Heath: Christina Cauchi and Naomi Watts.

A nice thing about I Am Heath Ledger is that the documentary finally puts emphasis on the creative side of Heath as a photographer, video camera man, and director of video clips. Heath was fascinated by Nick Drake whom also died at a very young age (26), in 1974, and thought about doing a movie about him. And he created a music label called Masses Music Co. (known as The Masses) and directed several music videos. “I do have some wonderful distractions … I have a music label and I direct music videos and so I immerse myself in a different industry which kind of keeps acting really fresh for me”, said Heath once.

I Am Heath Ledger shows us lots of unseen footage of Heath: Heath with the camera and Heath with his friends, which is amazing and touching to see.

The worst: the lack of directors, actors, and actresses taking about Heath, the one-dimensional view of Heath, the missing movies and TV series, and the fact that the DVD does not have English subtitles (so deaf people can’t enjoy the documentary).

The best: the unseen footage, and the human and personal touch.

DALIT-ANTONIA-JOKER-2016 Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, June 26, 2017

Lion

Lion (2016). Dir. Garth Davis

lionlion-6lion-4lion-2lion-12lion-5lion-1lion-60lion-7lion-70lion-8lion-79lion-80lion-503lion-501lion-13lion-99lion-500lion-3

Over 80,000 children go missing in India each year. This is the story of one of them.

Over 11 million children (11 million!) are living in the streets of India. Many die there or have terrible lives, suffering hunger, extreme poverty and child abuse. How many kids like little Saroo are able to tell their story?

Lion is a pure jewel. It is based on a true story (Saroo Brierley’s memoir A Long Way Home, published in 2013). Lion is one of the best movies of 2016, if not the best. The cast is superb, the direction is excellent (this is Garth Davis’ first feature film), the music (Volker Bertelmann & Dustin O’Halloran) is amazing, and the cinematography (Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty and Rogue One‘s cinematographer) is stunning. Lion‘s screenplay is by Luke Davies (based on Saroo’s memoir), the writer of one of my favorite movies: Candy (Candy is autobiographical).

You will not understand the title of the movie until the end.

Sunny Pawar’s performance is breathtaking. He is only 8 years old and he’s a real talent. 4,000 boys were auditioned to play his part. He carries the first 40 minutes of the film brilliantly. We (the lucky and rich ones, who can eat every day and have the luxury of having really superficial problems) immediately enter in Saroo’s extreme reality, and suffer with him. There is nothing more disturbing than the suffering of children. That’s why this movie is so powerful: because it tells a cruel reality that is happening today to lots of children, in the midst of the 21st century. And it’s happening now, in this very moment, as I write this non-important review and drink a delicious hot chocolate, comfy in my beautiful big house with heating, water, and electricity; a house full of books, toys, clothing, DVDs, CDs, food, and plenty of other things that we give for granted and that millions of children cannot even dream of.

Dev Patel’s performance is superb. His accent is perfect. We don’t see him screaming or making big scenes, but his face contains so much pain and so much fear that we really feel for him. Rooney Mara (which I find a brilliant young actress –her performance in Carol was amazing–) is as great as always, even if she appears very little on screen. Her character is not real, and it is a combination of several girlfriends that the real Saroo had back then. Also, in real life, Saroo had two brothers and one sister, not one brother and one sister (I don’t understand why they changed these facts in the movie).

Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, and Divian Ladwa are absolutely perfect in their roles. Nicole Kidman and David Wenham are very good too.

The movie Lion has launched a charity campaign to support the street children of India. You can also help a bit if you want.

Lion is a movie that will go directly to your heart. It is a movie about despair, tragedy, hope, parenthood, and love. A movie for appreciating what you have and for remembering the millions of forgotten children who live in extreme poverty today and who go missing everyday in India and other countries in the world. Lion is a movie that will stay in your heart for many many many days.

The best: the incredible story, the stunning performances by Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel, the music, and the cinematography.

The worst: nothing.

 

dalit-antonia-joker-2016 Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, February 8, 2017

La La Land: An Annoying and Cheesy Torture filled with cliches

 La La Land (a 2 hour cheesy torture). Dir. Damien Chazelle

la-la-land-is-it-over-yet

I love Cinema & Art. I don’t usually write negative reviews, because I like to spend my time and my words on the movies that I love and not on the movies that I hated. But since this movie is stealing all the awards so far, and some people are calling that dull & cheesy film “a masterpiece” I felt forced to write something about it. This is my Blog’s first critical review.

When a movie is bad and nobody seems to care, I never bother writing anything about it. But when bad movies and mediocre actors get all the attention and cast a shadow on really good movies and really talented actors, it makes me really angry.

La La Land is a movie made from plastic. It is full of cliches and it has a fake aroma of nostalgia. The beginning of the film (with that deodorant commercial tone) doesn’t have neither weight nor meaning. The director only wants to tell us here, in case we don’t notice afterwards, that this movie is a musical. Good for him, because who could have guessed that with all the bad singing and the bad dancing!

The love story is completely predictable and fake for the first hour or so, with terrible dialog and a lack of any real emotion, until the first fight (which is one of the very few situations that feels real in the movie).

Somebody has said that this is a super-white film about 2 “baby-dreamers”, and I completely agree. Where is the Art? Where is the real struggle? Is it so terrible not to succeed in a theatre play? There are today millions of people dying from hunger, wars, violence, and incurable diseases, and to sink because a play didn’t turn out how you expected or you cannot be the jazz pianist number one is really childish.

Good things about the film: the cinematography and the flashbacks are very good. The end is the best. That turn is actually original but does not make any sense any way. Let’s not forget that the girl and the boy are where they are because she was depressed about her career failure. As simple as that. So, the twist does not actually make any sense. The jazz is good too (I mean, the REAL jazz musicians). And Ryan Gosling (who is OK in the film but not amazing) is actually playing the piano, which, in a Hollywood movie is already a lot. Apart from that, the film is a 2 hour cheesy torture.

Annoying things: the worst is, in my opinion, Emma Stone. I never understood her “talent”. She is just a “pretty” face with a skinny (anorexic?) body who seems to think she is too good to prepare for her roles. Her singing in the film is awful and her dancing is not good enough. Let’s remember that in Irrational Man (I love Woody Allen!) she didn’t even bother taking a piano lesson for her role as a “pianist”. Her hairdo is very fake (she always seems to have just come out from the hairdresser) and I never understood why she cannot appear in even one frame without make up. How this mediocre actress won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in stead of the amazing Meryl Streep or the amazing Annette Bening shows how Hollywood is losing it. And the fact that she won the SAG Award (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role) in stead of Meryl Streep or Natalie Portman shows how this movie has blinded Hollywood. The most hilarious thing would be that she wins the Oscar (and, sadly, she probably will), being in the same category as Ruth Negga (who made an stunning performance in Loving), Meryl Streep (always amazing and always great), Natalie Portman, and Isabelle Huppert (one of the best European actresses today). But, hey, if Sandra Bullock got and Oscar in 2010, Stone could definitely get one too!

Gosling can play the piano but he definitely cannot sing: his voice does not have any power and it sounds like olive oil. His dancing is, as his partner’s, mediocre. How come he ended wining the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in stead of Hugh Grant (who gave his best performance ever in Florence Foster Jenkins) is a real mystery. Luckily, and for the sake of Art, he didn’t get the SAG Award (who went to the amazing Denzel).

The cliches of La La Land are endless: girl meets boy and at first they hate each other but after they like each other. The detail with the famous actress who enters in the Cafe is also so predictable (and how rude -not cool- it is to refuse an invitation). There are lots of holes in the movie. Boy and girl keep bumping into each other in a city as huge as LA, and many more, but I am not going to tell them because I don’t want to reveal the “plot” of the movie.

14 Oscar nominations? Give me a break! As somebody said, it’s the endless story about Hollywood in love with itself. Pity, I will definitely not watch the Oscars this year. There were lots of really great movies this year and they did not get 14 Oscar nominations: Collateral Beauty, Loving, Hidden Figures, Lion, Moonlight, Elle, Florence Foster Jenkins, Smrt u Sarajevu, Fences… In my opinion, La La Land should have got 1 Oscar nomination only (cinematography, Linus Sandgren). 

The whole movie, even if it features some great black jazz musicians, has a whitish taste that is unbearable. I don’t care AT ALL if the actors are white, black, yellow, orange or green. But this cheesy movie with 2 black actors definitely wouldn’t have got 14 Oscars nominations. Why? Because from the 6,000 and something Academy members, 73% are men, 27% women; 89% are white, and only 11% are people of color (and it’s not even clear which group the Latinos belong to). The world is, sadly, still very racist. That’s why many people are calling this film White White Land for a reason. The age average of the Academy members is 60 years old: that can explain the love for this mediocre musical (I would not call it a musical, because in the musicals the actors actually know both to sing and to dance).

The fact that this film is stealing all the awards and probably will also steal many Oscars shows the decadency of cinema today in the States. Either that or people are really bored and need an empty and cheesy love story to be entertained. I love many Hollywood movies, but I think that Hollywood should learn from the reality that European cinema knows to depict, away from cliches and empty love stories, away from pretty actors with fake hairdos and plastic bodies. If La La Land has achieved something it is that: a new line of decadence, cliches, and cheesiness in American cinema.

dalit-antonia-joker-2016 Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, February 7, 2017

Collateral Beauty

Collateral Beauty (2016). Dir. David Frankel

collateral-beauty-20collateral-beauty-18collateral-beauty-12collateral-beauty-19collateral-beauty-16CB09078.dngcollateral-beauty-3collateral-beauty-5collateral-beauty-7CB36372.DNGcollateral-beauty-13collateral-beauty-14collateral-beauty-11collateral-beauty-22collateral-beauty-23collateral-beauty-30collateral-beauty-24collateral-beauty-9collateral-beauty-2collateral-beauty-10collateral-beauty-6

Amy / Love (Keira Knightley): “I’m the reason for everything. If you can accept that, then maybe you get to live again”.

I have read some (stupid) bad reviews about this amazing film. I doubt that all those people who left bad reviews are parents who have experienced the indescribable, gigantic, and unconditional love that a parent feels for his/her children. Clearly, they didn’t get the film! Also, this is a movie of many layers: there are many turns and twists, and that’s what makes this movie brilliant. But apparently only few people got the story.

Collateral Beauty is a beautiful, strong & deep movie that talks about parenthood, love, life & death. Don’t expect car races, fights, guns & superficiality! This is a movie that will make you think, will make you cry and will make you learn to accept the tragedies of life.

Collateral Beauty arrived to Spain on December 23, and I was dying to go and see it, because I am a huge fan of Will Smith. I find him very cool, sexy and fascinating: he is handsome, he is exciting, he is funny, and he is artistic. But the most sexy thing that I found about Will is that he is a loving father and a loving husband. As much as I love to see his muscles and his beautiful smile in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bad Boys, Men in Back, Wild Wild West, Ali, I, Robot, Hitch, I Am Legend or Focus, I must say that my favorite Will movie is, definitely, The Pursuit of Happyness. Finally, I couldn’t go to the cinema that Friday, because I have three children (A girl, a boy and a little girl, ages 10, 8, and 3) and I had to bring them to the swimming pool and to Taekwondo, so I ran to the cinema only yesterday, Saturday the 24th. And I loved the film.

I stopped watching Trailers before having watched the movie, because the Trailers really ruin the movie for you. So, I didn’t have a clue regarding what Collateral Beauty was about, and I was very touched and surprised.

Will’s performance in Collateral Beauty is breathtaking! He is phenomenal. His eyes have so much pain and so much sadness that you can really feel his sorrow. Edward Norton is OK, Kate Winslet finally managed to get her American accent right (it took her almost 20 years!), and Michael Peña is good enough. I loved the fact that Keira Knightley kept her British accent. Jacob Latimore (I didn’t know him) is great, and Helen Mirren and Naomie Harris are absolutely amazing (Naomie is an spectacular actress: saw her in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and her portray of Winnie took my breath away).

I was very surprised to read today that Will didn’t get a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Howard and that the movie didn’t get any nomination so far. Oh, well, awards can be really stupid…

Go watch this amazing film today! But don’t forget to bring some tissues!

The best: Will Smith, Naomie Harris, the message of hope (stand up after a horrible personal tragedy), and the dominoes.

The worst: nothing.

cropped-antonia-dalit-2.jpg Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, December 25, 2016

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds (2009). Dir. Quentin Tarantino

inglourious-poster

inglourious-beginning-3inglourious-beginning-1inglourious-basterds-16inglourious-basterds-17inglourious-basterds-15inglourious-basterds-110

shosanna_runs_covered_in_blood

Film Title: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDSinglourious-basterds-10inglourious-basterds-43

inglourious-cinema-6inglourious-basterds-130inglourious-basterds-112inglourious-basterds-140inglourious-basterds-116inglourious-basterds-108inglourious-basterds-21Film Title: Inglourious Basterdsinglourious-basterds-33inglourious-basterds-31inglourious-basterds-12inglourious-basterds-14inglourious-basterds-100inglourious-basterds-102inglourious-basterds-101inglourious-basterds-34inglourious-basterds-32

inglourious-basterds-36

inglourious-cinema-13inglourious-cinema-9inglourious-cinema-8inglourious-cinema-7

Michael Fassbender (Ltd Archie Hicox) in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.

inglourious-231

inglourious-basterds-29inglourious-basterds-6inglourious-basterds-27inglourious-basterds-3inglourious-basterds-123inglourious-basterds-125

inglourious-245inglourious-basterds-104inglourious-basterds-35inglourious-basterds-18

inglourious-232

inglourious-basterds-5inglourious-basterds-103inglourious-basterds-105inglourious-basterds-106inglourious-basterds-118

inglourious-244

inglourious-cinema-12inglourious-233inglourious-basterds-28

inglourious-cinema-10

Film Title: Inglourious Basterds

inglourious-cinema-20

inglourious-basterds-37

inglourious-basterds-25inglourious-basterds-122inglourious-basterds-117

inglourious-basterds-42

14_InglouriousBasterds_Waltz.jpg

inglourious-242

inglourious-cinema-15

inglourious-cinema-50inglourious-cinema-14inglourious-cinema-52inglourious-cinema-5inglourious-beginning-4inglourious-cinema-4inglourious-cinema-3inglourious-cinema-1inglourious-cinema-2inglourious-cinema-11inglourious-basterds-8inglourious-basterds-120

inglourious-cinema-30inglourious-basterds-44inglourious-basterds-41inglourious-basterds-40inglourious-basterds-20inglourious-basterds-7inglourious-basterds-4inglourious-basterds-24inglourious-basterds-23

inglourious-246inglourious-240

inglourious-cinema-40inglourious-228inglourious-229inglourious-241inglourious-225inglourious-226inglourious-227inglourious-223inglourious-222inglourious-224

Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt): “Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew hunting, mass murdering maniac, and they need to be destroyed. That’s why any and every son of a bitch we find wearing a Nazi uniform, they’re gonna die”

¡Qué placer ver a los nazis morir! Tarantino hace con su arte lo que la historia no pudo hacer: matar a los malditos nazis.

Inglourious Basterds es una obra maestra. La película es muy violenta (con esa violencia tan característica y bestia de Tarantino que acaba siendo graciosa), pero un poquito de justicia no le hace daño a nadie, ¿verdad? ¡Brindemos por cada alemán y austríaco nazi muerto!

El principio de la película es espectacular. El diálogo entre Christoph Waltz y el campesino francés, interpretado a la perfección por Denis Ménochet, es algo fuera de serie. El diálogo  dura 12 minutos (empieza a los 6’50” y acaba a los 18’50”). Tarantino trabajó en el guión de Inglorious Basterds durante 10 años. La música de la película es buenísima e incluye obras de Ennio Morricone y una canción de David Bowie.

El casting, como en todas las películas de Tarantino, brilla por su genialidad. Waltz nos sorprende hablando a la perfección 4 idiomas, Brad Pitt brilla en su papel de Aldo, Fassbender aparece irresistible en su papel de crítico de cine británico y de espía, con su uniforme de SS. Mélanie Laurent encarna bastante bien a Shosanna, Daniel Brühl aparece macabro y simpático, Diane Kruger es la diva perfecta (su alemán es exquisito) y August Diehl aparece impecable en su rol de cerdo de la Gestapo. Uno de mis basterds preferidos es Hugo Stiglitz, interpretado por Til Schweiger (un actor alemán que siempre se había negado a ponerse un uniforme nazi en una película, pero que aceptó en Inglorious Basterds porque allí se le dio el privilegio de matar a nazis).

Inglorious Basterds obtuvo 8 nominaciones al Oscar (Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, y Best Achievement in Sound Editing), y ganó un Oscar (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz).

Inglourious Basterds es la última película de Tarantino editada por Sally Menke, quien editó todas las películas de Tarantino desde Reservoir Dogs (1992) (murió en el 2010).

Así como Saul fia es la mejor película que he visto sobre el Holocausto (impresionantemente real, deprimente y espantosa), Inglourious Basterds es el gran antídoto contra la tristeza, el dolor y la rabia que se sienten al leer sobre el Holocausto y al ver películas sobre la 2ª Guerra Mundial. Un placer para la vista, el oído, la mente y el corazón. Tarantino hace un poco de justicia a la horrenda historia de la humanidad. Una película entretenida, sorprendente, brutal y divertida.

¡Imprescindible verla (como todo el arte del cine) en VO!

Algunas curiosidades: Samuel L. Jackson es el narrador, Tarantino aparece dos veces como cameo (es el primer “scalped Nazi” y un soldado norteamericano en ‘Pride of Nation’), y el comandante norteamericano que habla con Waltz por teléfono hacia el final de la película es Harvey Keitel. Todas estas interpretaciones no aparecen en los créditos.

En Alemania, la esvástica fue eliminada o camuflada en todos los pósters de Inglourious Basterds, puesto que los símbolos nazis están prohibidos por ley en Alemania, salvo en documentos históricos.

Lo mejor: el diálogo entre Waltz y Méchonet, los nombres que Brad Pitt da a los alemanes nazis, Hitler pidiendo un chicle, la sonrisa irresistible de Fassbender, la música, el script, el estilo 100 % Tarantino, y los nazis en llamas.

Lo peor: la pésima actriz francesa de la taverna, algunos “cuts” y algunos anacronismos.

Inglourious Basterds / Trailer

cropped-antonia-dalit-2.jpg Antonia Tejeda Barros, 8 de diciembre de 2016

Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt): “Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew hunting, mass murdering maniac, and they need to be destroyed. That’s why any and every son of a bitch we find wearing a Nazi uniform, they’re gonna die”.

Such a pleasure watching Nazis being killed! Tarantino uses his art for doing what history couldn’t do: to kill the fucking Nazis.

Inglourious Basterds is a masterpiece. The film is bloody violent (violence which is so characteristic from Tarantino it ends out being funny), but a bit of justice does not hurt, does it? Let’s cheer for every fucking German & Austrian Nazi shot and dead!

The beginning of the movie is spectacular. The dialog between Christoph Waltz and the French farmer, brilliantly performed by Denis Ménochet, is awesome. The dialog lasts for 12 minutes (it starts at 6’50” and ends at 18’50”). Tarantino worked on the script of Inglorious Basterds for 10 years. The music of the film is amazing and includes works by Ennio Morricone and a song by David Bowie.

The casting, like in all Tarantino movies, is breathtaking. Waltz surprises us speaking 4 languages, Brad Pitt glows in his role of Aldo, Fassbender appears irresistible in his role as a British spy cinema critic disguised as an SS officer. Mélanie Laurent plays well enough the role of Shosanna, Daniel Brühl appears both nice and macabre, Diane Kruger is the perfect diva (her German is exquisite), and August Diehl appears impeccable in his role of a Gestapo pig. One of my favourite basterd is Hugo Stiglitz, performed by Til Schweiger (a German actor who always refused to wear a Nazi uniform in a movie, but he accepted it in Inglorious Basterds because there he was given the privilege of killing Nazis).

Inglourious Basterds is the last Tarantino movie edited by Sally Menke, who was the editor of all Tarantino’s movies from Reservoir Dogs (1992) (she died in 2010).

Inglourious Basterds got 8 Academy Award Nominations (Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing), and won one Oscar (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz).

Just as Saul fia is the best movie about the Holocaust that I’ve ever seen (it is terribly real, breathtaking and depressing), Inglourious Basterds is the great antidote to all the sadness, pain and anger that one feels when reading about the Holocaust and watching WWII movies. A pleasure for the eye, the ear, the mind and the heart. Tarantino makes justice to the horrible history of humankind. A cool, funny, brutal and surprising film.

Fun facts: Samuel L. Jackson is the narrator, Tarantino appears twice as a cameo (he is the first scalped Nazi and an American soldier in ‘Pride of Nation’), and the OSS American commander who talks to Waltz on the phone at the end of the movie is Harvey Keitel. These performances are uncredited.

In Germany all the swastikas had to be removed or hidden from all movie posters, since Nazi symbols are banned by law in Germany (except for historical documents).

The best: the dialog between Waltz and Méchonet, the names that Brad Pitt gives the German Nazis, Hitler asking for a chewing gum, Fassbender’s irresistible smile, the music, the script, Tarantino’s style, and the dirty Nazis burning in flames.

The worst: the bad French actress at the tavern, some cuts, and some anachronisms.

Inglourious Basterds Trailer

cropped-antonia-dalit-2.jpg Antonia Tejeda Barros, December 8, 2016

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens (2014). Dir. Giulio Ricciarelli

im-labyrinth-1bim-labyrinth-1aim-labyrinth-4im-labyrinth-11im-labyrinth-2im-labyrinth-3im-labyrinth-7im-labyrinth-5im-labyrinth-13im-labyrinth-19im-labyrinth-9im-labyrinth-10im-labyrinth-6im-labyrinth-20im-labyrinth-1im-labyrinth-8im-labyrinth-12

Major Parker (Tim Williams). En alemán en la película (el Mayor Parker, norteamericano, habla en alemán con Johann Radmann): “You were all Nazis. In the Eastern sector, now you are all communists. Jesus, you Germans! If little green men from Mars landed tomorrow, you would all become green“.

¡Por fin una película que muestra la culpabilidad del alemán común en el Holocausto! El Holocausto no se produjo gracias a 4 psicópatas nazis, sino gracias a millones de hombres (el 90% de los alemanes desde los años 1940-41) que abrazaron el nazismo y que colaboraron felices en las masacres de millones de hombres, mujeres y niños inocentes. Entre paréntesis: dos libros que muestran brillantemente la colaboración de la inmensa mayoría de alemanes en la gigantesca máquina exterminadora nazi son Rethinking the Holocaust, de Yehuda Bauer (una obra maestra) y Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, de Daniel Goldhagen.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens muestra el rápido olvido en Alemania de las atrocidades cometidas por los alemanes tan solo 10 años después de la liberación de los campos de concentración y exterminio nazis, y la impunidad de la que gozaron los millones de asesinos que torturaron, masacraron y gasearon a millones de judíos y no judíos en los años 40. Antes del famoso juicio de Eichmann en 1961, muy pocos alemanes habían oído hablar de Auschwitz.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens se centra en el período anterior a los juicios que tuvieron lugar en Frankfurt del 20 de diciembre de 1963 al 19 de agosto de 1965 (proceso llamado en alemán der Auschwitz-Prozess) contra unos poquísimos malditos SS que operaron en Auschwitz. Los juicios fueron ridículos y un escupo contra las 1.100.000 víctimas masacradas y gaseadas en Auschwitz. De los 7.000 SS que operaron en Auschwitz durante la guerra, sólo 22 perros fueron enjuiciados en los juicios de Frankfurt. No obstante, el intento por una pizca minúscula de justicia fue importante. De los 22 SS, sólo 6 recibieron cadena perpetua, muchos unas penas ridículas de 3 a 10 años, y 5 fueron puestos en libertad.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens muestra la extrema dificultad por juzgar a esos asesinos, debido al silencio de los alemanes y su intento por esconder la verdad.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens obtuvo varios premios (aunque ninguno extremadamente importante) y fue la película que Alemania presentó para la categoría ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ (Oscars, 2016), aunque no llegó a ser nominada.

Siempre he creído que la única manera que tienen hoy los alemanes (y los austríacos) de limpiarse la sangre que sus padres y abuelos derramaron es ser profundamente antinazi. Pero ¿cuántos alemanes y austríacos hay hoy que sean profundamente antinazis?

“Schweigen” es “silencio” en alemán. La traducción correcta del título sería, pues, “En el laberinto del silencio”. En inglés, el título ha sido mal traducido como Labyrinth of Lies, y en español el título ha sido mal traducido como La conspiración del silencio.

Lo mejor: que la culpabilidad en el Holocausto del cerdo alemán común salga finalmente a flote.

Lo peor: que aunque la película muestre a Fritz Bauer (el juez que hizo posible los juicios de Frankfurt), el personaje de Johann Radmann (interpretado brillantemente por Alexander Fehling) sea ficticio.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens / Trailer 

cropped-antonia-dalit-2.jpg Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Major Parker (Tim Williams). Originally in German in the movie (the American Major speaks German to Johann Radmann): “You were all Nazis. In the Eastern sector, now you are all communists. Jesus, you Germans! If little green men from Mars landed tomorrow, you would all become green”.

Finally a movie that shows the culpability of the common German people in the Holocaust! The Holocaust didn’t happen just because of 4 Nazi psychos, but thanks to millions of ordinary men (90% of the Germans from 1940-41) who supported the Nazi ideology and happily collaborated in the massacres of millions of innocent men, women and children. By the way, two books that brilliantly demonstrate the collaboration of the vast and overwhelming majority of Germans in the gigantic Nazi killing machine are Rethinking the Holocaust, by Yehuda Bauer (a masterpiece) and Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, by Daniel Goldhagen.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens shows the fast oblivion in Germany of the atrocities committed by the Germans just 10 years after the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camps, and the impunity millions of murderers enjoyed, people who tortured, massacred and gassed millions of Jews and non-Jews in the 1940s. Only very few Germans heard about Auschwitz before the famous Eichmann trial in 1961.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens focuses on the the period prior to the trials that took place in Frankfurt between December 20, 1963 and August, 1965 (called in German der Auschwitz-Prozess) against very few fucking SS members who operated in Auschwitz. The trials were ridiculous and a spit on the 1,100,000 victims who were massacred and gassed in Auschwitz. From the 7,000 SS members who operated in Auschwitz during the war, only 22 dogs were judged at the Frankfurt Trials. Nevertheless, the attempt for a pinch of justice was important. From the 22 SS members, only 6 got life imprisonment, many got ridiculous sentences ranging from 3 to 10 years, and 5 were simply released.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens shows the extreme difficulty of judging the murderers because of the silence the Germans kept and their attempt to hide the truth.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens got many prizes (although none were extremely important) and it was the film that Germany presented for the category ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ (Oscars, 2016), although it was not nominated.

I always believed that the only way Germans (and Austrians) have today to clean the blood their parents and grandparents spilled is to be deeply anti-Nazi. But how many Germans and Austrians are there today who are deeply anti-Nazi?

“Schweigen” is “silence” in German. The correct translation of the title would be: “In the Labyrinth of Silence”. In English the title has been poorly translated as Labyrinth of Lies.

The best: the fact that the culpability of the German common pig in the Holocaust finally arouses.

The worst: that even when the film shows Fritz Bauer (the judge who made the Frankfurt Trials possible), the character of Johann Radmann (brilliantly performed by Alexander Fehling) is fictitious.

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens / Trailer 

cropped-antonia-dalit-2.jpg Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, November 29, 2016