So which film have you seen last ?

Talk about films, television programs or a good read you'd like to share.

Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:14 pm

I felt retro so went back in time and into the far future with...

Heavy Metal. DVD. A linked anthology of animated stories from the science fiction fantasy magazine of the same name that some may know from it being referenced in South Park. It's dated but each segment is fairly short and mix some nice dark humour with it's traditional animation take on a stories of the evil Lochnar. It's a cult classic that may not appeal to everyone as a whole but even so the vile anti hero Captain Sternn should bring a few chuckles and the Dan O' Bannon written B17 is quality horror. Depending on your musical tastes the soundtrack is pretty good as well. Was it really over a quarter of a century ago I first watched this? :shock:
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:40 am

The Big Short
Some great acting and one hell of a story if you haven't heard it in detail before.

Calvary
I'd been made to expect a black comedy but it's also a beautiful examination of bereavement, religion and revenge. Some weirdly uneven characters in here make it feel a bit disjointed but Brendan Gleeson is there in almost every scene, holding it together and acting his socks off.

Dead Pool
Loads of fun. Another Marvel film that does what it sets out to do and doesn't try to weigh itself down with heavy themes. The love interest wasn't shoe-horned in and was simultaneously hilarious and endearing. I loved the way they celebrate national holidays :lol:

Blue Velvet
I don't get Lynch films. I try but I find them difficult to engage with. I'm nearly always interested in plot/screenplay and while this film has some memorable and odd lines of dialogue, the plot itself is very straightforward. The acting is hammy but I think deliberately so. So what else to look at? The themes aren't particularly subtle and the symbolism is heavy & over-played. As an example: it's a mystery film set in a wholesome 1950s-esque American suburb where the protagonist discovers a seedy underbelly; so the film opens with shots of these white picket fences and middle aged men watering their lawns before zooming into the lawn's undergrowth and showing piles of black beetles writhing back and forth over each other. To me that doesn't seem particularly special but you'd be amazed at how much has been written on this scene alone!
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:15 pm

Tangerines
An Estonian war film that earned an Oscar nomination last year. In the post-Soviet upheaval of the early 90s the mountainous region of Abkhazia attempted to break away from Georgia. The ensuing conflict pitched the Georgian national army vs. Abkhazian separatists backed up by Chechen militia from across the border with Russia. In the middle of this were several hundred Estonians who were displaced there by Stalin decades before. The film follows the last two older men in the village, trying to pull in a lucrative tangerine harvest before war overwhelms the place and they leave for Estonia. This tense peace is disturbed when two small bands of men clash within the village leaving only two, badly injured survivors - one Georgian and one Chechen. Ivo, the eldest Estonian, takes them into his house and tries to nurse them back to health despite them both being eager to kill the other. By bringing them into a home environment he pulls them both out of their worlds of suffering, perseverance and bloody revenge and rehumanises them slowly. It could have been overly sentimental but manages to show these men as flawed but intelligent. The elderly outsider that both men have to respect and rely upon is the one that shows them the folly of murdering each other over their particular view of the land and its history. The soundtrack is beautiful and a new-found favourite for me. A great anti-war film in the style of No Man's Land from 2002. Go check it out!

The Seven Five
A documentary about a really corrupt New York police precinct and in particular a pair of crooked cops who were the epicentre of the entire scandal during the 80s and early 90s. The stuff they got away with, the length of time it went on for and the amount of cash flying around is insane. It's got interviews with several of the crooked cops, quite a few members of the Dominican gangs they worked for and a few of the internal affairs guys who hunted them down making for an engrossing story.

Watchers of the Sky
A documentary film about the development of international law against genocide. There are some really sad stories in here of people, themselves victims of atrocity, desperately trying to wrangle countries into agreeing on these laws. At the international level, notions of justice and rights start to become very, very slippery - it was interesting to see, for example, that the Nuremberg trials only tried crimes against humanity in the context of war-making. That is, if Hitler had stayed inside Germany and murdered all the "undesirables" there, it wouldn't have constituted a crime under the laws with which we prosecuted all those Nazi higher-ups.

While the content is really worthy the presentation leaves a little to be desired with piles of on-screen text slowly writing itself across the screen. It can also seem a bit overly emotionally wrought but I don't think you can cover this topic without it ending up that way.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:32 pm

The Monuments Men. Amazon Prime. I really wanted to like this film as the subject interests men and the cast is a strong one but it just doesn't work. It's a WW2 drama based on the true story of Allied attempts to rescue valuable art from the retreating Nazi's who not only stole priceless cultural treasures but were under orders to destroy them rather than let them be taken back. The story might have been better as a mini series and with the inclusion of more of the true story which included a major role played by the Austrian resistance fighter Albrecht Gaiswinkler who is credited with the return of many art treasures including The Mona Lisa by the forces he led.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:26 pm

Philomena. BBC2. Dame Judy Dench and Steve Coogan turn in some quality performances in this film based on the true story of an Irish women trying to trace her long lost son and the scandal of the treatment of unmarried mothers by the Catholic church. The children were sold to wealthy Americans and records destroyed to prevent them even tracing their lost children or the children finding their birth mothers. Powerful stuff and Steve Coogan gives a very good performance as the former Journalist Martin Sixsmith whose own lapsed Catholicism contrasts with Philomena's refusal to lose her own faith.

I've been at HMV's 5 for £30 Blu ray deals and started with a Science Fiction classic.

Forbidden Planet. MGM showed what a good budget can do and made a movie in the mid fifties that pushed the genre into the mainstream with design and props complimenting acting talent and a leading lady whose legs alone could fill a theatre. What can I say but a great film with a plot based on Shakespeare's Tempest and an inspiration for a lot of today's directors who pay tribute to the film in the extras on this disc.
Lots of extras are included as well as a quality transfer of the film and of course the star that was made for the film Robbie the Robot features heavily.
I almost forgot that it includes the next film they used Robbie in as well. A low budget black and white film called The Invisible Boy.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:01 pm

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Blu ray. Nice disk although I can't seem to get the live features working but my Superhubs PSU died last night so who knows. Thank goodness I'm a typical power adapter hoarding man and had a temporary replacement. Film is Python and if you don't like them then very much like spam that's up to you but I love this very British dose of silly as much as two very fine shrubbery. RUN AWAY!
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But to be merciless is the privilege of civilised humans."
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:12 am

REC 4 Apocalypse. Amazon Prime. The fourth in a series which I've heard of but never actually watched and although average as a film I do like the look of it. It feels like it's lifted from Resident Evil though and the survivors of a zombie virus outbreak are being used to try and find a vaccine on a ship.

The French Connection II. Blu ray. A very strong sequel to a classic crime thriller where Gene Hackman again plays New York cop Popeye Doyle but this time set in Marseilles as he joins with the French police in the hunt for the heroin smuggling kingpin who bribed his way to freedom after the last film. This is slightly weaker than the first film but that's hardly a major criticism and the gritty action sequences are fantastic with an amazing chase at the end that Gene Hackman genuinely suffered for. Lots of extras on the disk and a good if not brilliant transfer.
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Certainly, a wild animal is cruel.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:19 pm

I can't say anything about the sequels but the original REC is really very good.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Sat Mar 05, 2016 4:21 pm

It's on my to watch list as it sounds like something I'd enjoy.

They Live. Amazon Prime. The late Roddy Piper plays a homeless construction worker who stumbles on an alien invasion of Earth that can only be seen through special sunglasses in this quirky but enjoyable John Carpenter film. It's a film that's made quite an impression on popular culture with the glasses allowing you to see a world of skinless faced aliens amongst us (mainly yuppies) and their controlling propaganda that you normally see as advertising. It also contains a great over the top brawl as Pipers character fights another homeless worker in a bid to get him to put on a pair of glasses and see the world as it truly is. The whole idea is so great it's worth seeing just for the revealed world scenes of billboards full of 'consume' 'breed' and other messages to keep humanity controlled. Similarities can also be seen to the early parts of the film The Matrix. "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:32 pm

I've watched a bunch of things lately:

Amadeus & The King's Speech - both were big award winners in their year of release and both left me feeling rather cold. Amadeus is a 3 hour biopic that never really gets close enough to its subject by telling the whole thing from Salieri's love/hate for Mozart (often literally watching from afar in the highest balcony at the opera). The King's Speech tries desperately to make a wealthy aristocrat's efforts to overcome a speech impediment seem like a truly dramatic tale. You have great actors putting on their best serious faces but I could only find it completely silly and rather dull. I also got rather annoyed by the deliberate glossing over, or tweaking of, the negative aspects of the monarchy to make this kind of kowtowing royalist pish. I'm probably not the kind of audience this film is meant for. :P

Bone Tomahawk
My favourite film I've seen recently. Unfortunately I'd had a bit of it spoiled for me so I had a graphic idea of what the violence in this film would be like and went in expecting something like a western and horror film mash-up. In actual fact it's just a very violent western with a surprising amount of comic relief. Four men head out to track down a bizarre band of natives described as troglodytes who, in an act of revenge, have kidnapped 3 people from the town.

Lolita
This was the 1962 Stanley Kubrick version of the story that mangles the tale to get past the censors of the day. It takes a very creepy tale of an unreliable narrator paedophile, Humber Humbert, trying to justify what in effect is a kidnapping of a very young girl; and then turns it into a dark comedy where the Humbert is probably the most likeable character of the bunch.

The Farewell Party
A slightly slow, bittersweet film about a bunch of retirement home residents in Israel who work together to help one of their terminally ill friends commit suicide without detection. Then word spreads....

Wild Bill
Feels like a East-end hardman film meets an episode of Shameless. "Wild Bill" is release from prison after 8 years and is forced by the new circumstances at home to be the dad he never was before. Problems with his criminal past and present come to haunt him and his new family. A simple plot well acted. Charlie Creed-Miles steals the show but Will "Eyebrows" Poulter also puts in a great performance and I can see why he got picked for The Revenant.

The Game
Really? That twist wasn't obvious?
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:30 am

War Horse
Sentimental, stuffed with every WW1 cliche and obsessed with horses at the expense of all else. I can get a film that wants us to care about horses but expecting us to believe that people would risk violent death for an unknown horse or would care more about a horse than the rider shot off of it is getting rather silly. Won't somebody think of the children horses? Beautiful and well-trained animals though.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:35 pm

People have been known to go to great lengths to help animals and although it seems strange you can see all sorts of odd behaviour in war. The initial cavalry charge where it showed how out dated tactics were in the face of machine guns and trench warfare is excellent.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Blu ray (extended version). I've never watched this version before and although the way the scenes have been patched back in was a good attempt the audio issues ruin it a bit in an otherwise fine transfer. As for the movie it's the third in a loose trilogy that started with the remake of a Kurosowa samurai movie that did so much for Clint Eastwood's movie career but it stands alone and actually features more of the late character actor Eli Wallach. Three men learn of a fortune in gold stolen during the American civil war which this is set near the end of and set out to track down the money double crossing each other along the way. Eastwood plays a crooked but basically honourable bounty hunter, Wallach a bandit who his sometimes his partner in a scam and Lee Van Cleef a cold blooded hired killer who track the gold and each other across the West until an unforgettable three way showdown in a cemetery. A film that needs watching with the intermission it was originally intended to feature like most films used to have so you can see the film that broke the Hays code that still dogged American film making.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:39 pm

Song of the Sea. Amazon Prime. A charming traditionally animated story full of things from Irish folk legend that also seems to tell a story about dealing with loss. A lighthouse keeper is left to raise his son and new born daughter after his wife disappears soon after her birth. Although the story is one based on the legend of the Selkie (sometimes known as silkie) a species of shape-changing seal people who can assume human form I find it interesting that it also tells the story of a family dealing with a wife and mother who died in childbirth. The story hints at this and the happy ending feels more like them dealing with her death and remembering things from a child's view point. In this it has parallels to other films such as The Life of PI where the story you appear to be being told is merely how someone copes with a terrible experience in their memories. It's a slow paced film but beautiful and deserves viewing.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:54 pm

Planes Trains and Automobiles
Not all of the comedy in this film has aged very well but it's so earnest and nice you can't help but love it anyway.

The Hateful Eight
The angriest Tarantino film I've ever seen. It just hammers home for 3 hours how deeply ingrained America's issues with race and sexism are. Walton Goggins was a real surprise having only seen him play creepy, southern bad guys on TV shows before.

The Mist

Far more about how horrible people can become in desperate situations than about the monsters the film is known for. One hell of an ending. Absolutely loved it.

Scrapper
A bizarre documentary about meth-heads, outcasts and PTSD-suffering hermits living in a hellishly hot, impoverished corner of SoCal; eking out a living by scavenging non-ferrous metals from the enormous active military shooting and bombing range nearby. These guys drive out onto a harsh environment with unexploded ordnance lying all over the place, even while jets bomb and helicopters strafe other parts of the range; they have to watch for the military police who will arrest them and destroy their vehicles, they have to worry about the Mexican gangs smuggling people and drugs through the area; and, to top it off, they have fights and shoot-outs with other scavengers over territory. The documentarist is clearly a brave guy being right there with some of these certifiable nutjobs while they try to hide from helicopters or inspect an unexploded 500lb bomb. And yet, despite all these opportunities for drama or just great story-telling, it's narrated all the way through with the flattest, most dispassionate voice you've ever heard with some heavy-handed war-on-terror audio quotes from George Dubya Bush thrown on top. A really enjoyable film but also an awful missed opportunity.

Hail Caesar
Kinda disjointed being a pile of vignettes around a simple story and an abrupt ending. Some characters, played by major actors, only appear for about 5 minutes altogether and even have plot points occur off screen. But, if you like the Coen brothers, you'll love it as it bounces between farce, incredible dance sequences, bubblegum westerns, Communism, religious piety and chamber room dramas.

The Silence
My first Ingmar Bergman film; watched it for a film discussion group. Weirdly watchable for a film in which little happens and is all about people failing to communicate with each other. A boy, his mother and a sick aunt are travelling by train and are forced by the aunt's sickness to stop over in a hotel in a country whose language none of them understand at all. The sisters have misconceptions about each other that they fail to get past, and the boy is often ignored by his mother and in his childishness doesn't understand the gravity of his aunt's situation. I don't think I "got" this film so I'm looking forward to discussing it soon.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:12 pm

Exit Humanity. Horror Channel. A zombie flick set just after the end of the American civil war which has a good look and feel but just doesn't quite work despite the idea being interesting. You feel that the director might do better in future though as some of it is quite well done for a low budget production.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:38 pm

Fantastic 4. Film 4. Nice casting especially Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic but a poor version of Dr. Doom and weak story let it down just leaving me feeling that it was a wasted opportunity. Superhero movies need a strong villain and this version of Doom just couldn't cut it.

God Bless America. Amazon Prime. I wasn't going to stay up to see this on Film 4 but fortunately it's included with Prime and although the ending felt tacked on it really had it's moments of dark comic book humour with the story of a man who goes over the edge and starts killing annoying people. Joined by strange and homicidal teenage girl who witnesses him executing a reality TV brat the interplay of the two is often quite interesting.Plus of course who wouldn't want to see a Simon Cowell clone getting shot?

The Mummy. Oh come on it's never off TV. Sad that this enjoyable comedy horror film has been shown to death but it has a lot going for it in a good cast, actually funny humour and plenty of action in a good looking film about a resurrected Egyptian sorcerer. Brendan Fraser plays the two gun toting American guiding the lovely Rachel Weisz as a clumsy but gutsy archaeologist to a cursed tomb where the villain of the piece awaits in an undead sleep. Very enjoyable viewing with a couple of bottles of Hobgoblin beer and a bowl of amazaballs.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:11 pm

The Bang Bang Club
A competent but unremarkable re-telling of the story of 4 photographers in South Africa who made a name for themselves covering political violence in South Africa in the run up to the first free elections. This wasn't just a few raucous protests and a little bit of tear gas. At the time the ANC was trying to enforce massive wildcat strikes, particularly in Johannesburg. Unfortunately it was a majority Xhosa membership party with a Xhosa royalty leader in Mandela. There were a lot of internal migrant worker Zulus staying in hostels in ANC dominated townships in these areas who were sympathetic instead to the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party and weren't going to needlessly risk their jobs for someone else's strikes. It quickly descended into bloody, murderous violence as the ANC could wield numbers and a hardcore militant wing against these martially proud nationalists. Just to make matters worse the white nationalist government helped prop up the Inkatha fighters with government weapons and direct police support; only to turn around and declare black South Africans violent and unable to govern themselves. That's a messy situation for a film to attempt to depict and it does an impressively good job of it. Taylor Kitsch playing a shambolic Kevin Carter (of Pullitzer prize fame), puts in a great performance with only a slightly hammy accent. But between the disjointed nature of the script and the rest of the cast going full melodrama it never moves beyond very basic emotional narratives. Greg Marinovich in particular, was an advisor on this film and one of the two surviving photographers, and it really shows in the way his character is little more than a boring saint throughout. Everyone else by comparison is far more warts-and-all. A disappointment as I really enjoyed the book this is based on.

Lost in La Mancha
A documentary about Terry Gilliam's doomed Don Quixote movie. You really, really feel sorry for the guy as practically everything conspires against him to stop the film being made. You get a real feeling for him as a director - imaginative, wild and prone to overstating his own and his crew's capabilities at times.

Young Frankenstein
Felt like The Munsters meets a Carry On film. Marty Feldman was great but the rest was just 90 minutes of dad jokes.

The Grey
Wow! I went into this expecting 2 hours of Liam Neeson punching wolves in the face. What you get instead is a well-written, well-acted survival story. The primary narrative is very basic, but the men involved are allowed in their tired, shivering bitter arguments and huddled fire-side conversations to become real, meaningful characters with interesting motivations. On top a philosophical bent to the film threads through everything culminating in a sparingly detailed but powerful ending.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:18 pm

Kung Fu Panda 3
The story flags a bit in comparison to the wonderful last two films especially as it just re-hashes Po's struggles with self-identity for much of the film. But it's still great fun and this is definitely the most visually spectacular of the three.

Anomalisa
It's a Charlie Kaufman film so it's all about human relations, insecurities, loneliness etc. There's a bit of a Lost in Translation vibe as the main character struggles to make himself understood to strangers in a foreign land and much of the film takes place in a hotel, airplanes or a convention centre. The stop motion animation is more than a gimmick in adding to the feeling of everything not being quite real and the choice made to have only 3 people voice the entire film also plays an interesting plot role. I don't want to spoil it so, if you like Kaufman's other films like Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Synecdoche New York; you'll really like this.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Silkie on Sun Mar 27, 2016 4:41 pm

Mr. Holmes. Amazon Prime. This is an interesting but slow paced film that details the latter years of Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) who spends his time in retirement trying to fight off the loss of his mental facilities while tending to bee hives at a country cottage. His housekeepers son forms a bond and helps trying to find the reason for the bees dying off as Holmes remembers the truth behind the fictionalised version of his last case. The young actor Milo Parker plays an excellent part as the boy railing in part against the prospect of being a mere 'domestic' like his mother and seeking a surrogate for the father he lost in world war 2. Stylish but not for action fans so suitable for people looking for an intelligent film with some quality dramatic acting.
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Re: So which film have you seen last ?

Postby Bobbobthebob on Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:49 pm

Sunshine
Great stuff, not sure how I missed this before. A realistic feeling space horror film by Danny Boyle with an incredible soundtrack put together by John Murphy (now heavily sampled and re-used for tonnes of commercials and other films/TV shows).

10 Cloverfield Lane
Tying it into the Cloverfield franchise takes away from the mystery a bit but it's tense and claustrophobic for most of the film. John Goodman is terrifying.

Bang Rajan
Thailand's version of the battle of the Alamo as a village becomes the focal point of a last ditch effort to stop the Burmese invasion in 1765. It's melodramatic and completely nuts like most films based on national epics. That said, it is uniquely Thai; there aren't many films where you can watch a drunk dude dual-wielding enormous axes and riding into battle on a water buffalo with 6 foot long horns.

The Lost Weekend
OTT morality play about alcoholism with the usual panoply of awful 1940s ham acting and an overbearing orchestral score.

Night and Fog
A French documentary about the holocaust from the 1950s. One of those punch to the gut-punch documentaries. I don't think I'll ever forget a scene where they show the women's hair that was collected from the victims and the camera keeps panning up and zooming out, the pile of hair just stretching on and on....

Yakuza Apocalypse
It's a Takashi Miike film about Yakuza vampires and the number one world terrorist which is a guy in a frog mascot suit who beats the crap out of anyone he meets. It's nuts and it doesn't make much sense at all. It also just peters out without a real ending. It was also great to see Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog from The Raid) make an appearance.

Winter's Bone
Great atmosphere, pretty good performances, a fairly average script.

The Sorcerer and the White Snake
Jet Li fights CGI for two hours. The Mandarin spoken in the film is fairly clear and uses standard dialect so I found it interesting to see how much I could understand. Otherwise, none of it makes sense and I really can't recommend it.

The Nasty Girl
The Simpsons episode, Lisa the Iconoclast, must surely have been based on this film. A young German who becomes her town's golden girl after winning first prize in a national essay writing competition is later invited to write for another competition on the subject of what her town did in the war. Planning to write about the internal resistance her town has always claimed it had she runs into closed doors, misdirection and denial from nearly all angles. The evasiveness sets off alarm bells for her and only encourages her to dig deeper. What comes to light over the years isn't particularly ugly compared to any other German town but the reaction of the townspeople in the modern day is incredibly bad and much of it based on the true experiences of one German woman. It has some interesting scene setting devices and a very compelling half-narrated quadi-realist script; I'm amazed you don't hear of this film more when people talk of German cinema.
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