Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Phase II Day 27: Your favorite documentary -- COLD HOMELAND (1995, Volker Koepp, Germany)

This is what I wrote about this film in imdb.com in 2001:

"The movie begins with a mesmerizing shot, and it never lets me down after that. 'Cold Homeland' is so warm with humanity and shows many ordinary people who can hold my attention entirely with stories of their lives. But it's not only their stories that are captivating; more importantly, it is mainly the magical directing talent of Koepp which makes this movie extraordinary.

What makes this movie so special to me is that while I was watching it,I felt so drawn into it as if I were also in that place. Koepp can make me really 'feel' the place, not just seeing it. He can transform the screen into a magical door and makes me feel if I walked into that door, I would step into that faraway land at once. He can really capture the sense of the land with his subliminally powerful scenery shots. There are many shots in the movie which represent only landscapes. These scenery shots are not there to show how beautiful this land is, nor they are there just to inform the audience about how this land really looks like. I feel these scenery shots are much more than that. By inserting these shots appropriately in the movie, Koepp let the landscapes speak for themselves. He can make the landscapes-- the trees, the grass, the wind, the stones, the buildings, or even the sunshine there-- reveal their own 'feelings' and make the landscapes embrace the audience with their tender arms. This is pure magic!

Koepp is also very talented in making people speak. Though some people speak little, what they speak means a lot and has strong feelings within it. Other people in the movie speak a lot about their past, and though they tell the stories of their lives calmly, something from their past, something from their hearts makes me cry. I really don't know why I feel like crying when the old woman starts singing. And when she reveals her past, I find her story one of the most impressive and deeply touching. Listening to some people in this movie telling their lives for 2 minutes can stir more powerful emotions and leave long-lasting impressions than seeing some fictional 2-hour movies. Some stories told are really unforgettable, and I don't want to forget them because they make the word 'life' much more meaningful to me than before.

Koepp is also talented in representing some interesting aspects and information about that place, especially the information about the ethnic diversity of people living there. I learn a lot about this astonishing part of the world from this movie. This movie does not only carry the audience on a visual journey through this special land, but it also lets the audience touch the land, feel the land, breathe the air of the land, admire the soul of the land, and admire the spirits of people living there."

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