Saturday, May 01, 2010



BIG BOY (2010, Monthon Arayangkoon, A+++++)

SELON MATTHIEU (2000, Xavier Beauvois, A+++++)

TWO DREAMS (2007, Anders Jedenfors + Jamie Stone, A+/A)

THE SCROLL MASTER (2010, Arinchavit Chomsri, B-)

DESOBEIR and BIG BOY are not aesthetically interesting. I love DESOBEIR because it inspires the viewers to do good things, to fight against tyranny, and most importantly, the film doesn't let the viewers forget the truth that you may be severely punished for doing the right things, like Sophie Scholl. Aristides de Sousa Mendes is like Oskar Schindler. He saved many Jewish lives during World War II by disobeying the cruel orders of António de Oliveira Salazar, the Portuguese leader/tyranny. But Sousa Mendes was severely punished by Salazar and he died in poverty, while Salazar claimed after WWII that it was he who saved those Jewish lives. Fortunately, the fascist regime of Portugal was overthrown by the Carnation Revolution in 1974, and the good deeds of Sousa Mendes were rightfully recognized.

I love BIG BOY because the film seems to show that the old must learn from the young and the old must learn to face the truth that they may have lived wrongly for nearly all of their lives. I love some attitudes in this film very much. Before I went to see this film, I expected that the film might emphasize that the young must learn from the old. Fortunately, the film is the opposite of what I expected. I like that the film tells us that "wanting to win" is the cause of misery and unhappiness. The film also shows us that some old people are obsessed with "winning" and try to make young people obsessed with it, too. And when you are obsessed with winning, you are bound for disaster.

BIG BOY also reminds me of some experiences in my own childhood. In BIG BOY, the young guy doesn't want to compete, but his grandfather accuses him that he "runs away from problems". I love it very much that the film proves that it's the grandfather who is wrong, not the young guy. It reminds me of the time when I was 12 years old. I decided not to go to a scout camp at that time, because I don't like scout camps. A female teacher accused me that I ran away from problems. But I don't understand why she wanted me to face UNNECESSARY problems. My life is miserable enough already without these unnecessary problems.

I think THE SCROLL MASTER has virtues of its own, like SIN SISTERS (ผู้หญิงห้าบาป) and many films by Poj Arnon. They are cult films. It's hard to judge them by grades. THE SCROLL MASTER may not be suitable for my tastes, but I think some audience may enjoy it very much. I think one reason why I don't enjoy THE SCROLL MASTER that much is just because it is a male action film, which is not my kind of films. However, I love the first ten minutes of this film very much. It's the semi-documentary part about Noo Gunpai. His presence, his way of talking, and his hairstyle at the beginning of this film makes the scene an instant classic in my point of view. I also think Suebsak Punsueb who plays Noo Gunpai in this film is very sexy.

I think Xavier Beauvois might be as interesting as Arnaud Desplechin and Jacques Audiard. SELON MATTHIEU surprises me a lot because it injects some realism into a revenge story. At first I thought the film might be just a fine revenge story like THE PAGE TURNER (2006, Denis Dercourt, A+), but the characters in SELON MATTHIEU are very human and that means they don't always do what characters in most revenge stories do. It is also interesting to see Nathalie Baye and Benoît Magimel have sex with each other in SELON MATTHIEU, before they went on to play mother and son in THE FLOWER OF EVIL (2003, Claude Chabrol, A+).

I also think that SELON MATTHIEU should be screened together with other films which deal with the exploitation of the working class, such as:

1.MOTHER KÜSTERS GOES TO HEAVEN (1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, A+)

2.SIGNORINA EFFE (2007, Wilma Labate, A+)

3.WORK HARD, PLAY HARD (2003, Jean-Marc Moutout, A+)

4.COUP POUR COUP (1972, Marin Karmitz, A+)

5. MATAHARIS (2007, Icíar Bollaín, A+/A)

I also love DON'T FORGET YOU ARE GOING TO DIE (Xavier Beauvois) very much. It is like three films in one. It is like a dramatic film, a romantic film, and a war film blended into one. I think what I love most in his three films is the "unexpected things" found in his plots. I think he also has some kinds of magical touches. The endings of his three films, including LE PETIT LIEUTENANT, can be easily transformed into melodramatic endings which make the audience weep, but Beauvois doesn't choose that easy path and he can still end his films in touching ways.

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