Sunday, November 13, 2016

Music, Hair, Drama & Death

We Are X (2016) - Kijak
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This documentary about X Japan, a Japanese mega heavy metal band headed by Yoshiki, the bandleader/drummer/songwriter was a complete antidote for the gloomy mood I have been feeling and also lackluster film viewing of late. There are plenty of glitz, suicide, tears and drama in this doc and very loud music, mostly sung in Japanese. It also involves brainwashing by cult and copious make up and crazy hair. Good times.

Pettiness of Being Old

45 Years (2015) - Haigh
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Can memories of an old flame break up the 45 years of marriage? A brit director Andrew Haigh supposes with two of the acting greats - Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as the Mercers, on the eve of their 45 year anniversary celebration.

As far as any art when the old age is concerned, it almost always becomes pettily inward. There is no wondering about the grander meaning of life anymore. We hold on to individual memories because there is nothing else left when your life is almost at an end. And that is 45 Years comes across as, despite terrific characterizations by Courtenay and especially Rampling, who is as usual, fantastic.

The beginning of the week of their anniversary, Geoff (Courtenay), a retired upper-middle class man gets a letter written in German, informing they found the frozen body of his girlfriend in the Swiss Alps, who fell to her death in the crevice of a glacier some 50 years ago. The memories rush back and he is gripped by them for days on end. Kate (Rampling) is also gripped, but by jealousy and doubt that their collective years were built on unstable ground littered with secrets.

Shot on ugly digital, 45 Years looks the epitome of British realist drama. But it's criminally unflattering, considering Haigh is not going for Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf honesty or Mike Leigh revelations here. Haigh prefers series of long takes, obviously for the benefit of the esteemed actors. The ending dance sequence is quite devastating. But one can't shake off its pettiness (on Kate's part). Adult themed cinema should be much better than this.