A very known quote from a movie, to title a post about movies. How appropriate. All this to say: I have been renting again. But not from some soulless blockbuster-spouting machine, nay, from a real live film-archive / video store, that has actually been around for over 20 years and knows it’s stuff.
The first one is of 1995, called Dead Man. It’s from Jim Jarmush (Broken Flowers, Coffee and Cigarettes, Ghost Dog), which explains it’s weirdness. First of all it’s black and white, which takes some getting used to, but it’s also excruciatingly long. And slow. And incomprehensible. To be honest, I watched it because of Johnny Depp, who as always made a wonderful performance. Sure there’s also “Nobody“, a cult caracter that was worth watching, Iggy Pop who plays a small role as a cross-dressed redneck and the electric twang of Neil Young’s guitar… but other than that I can’t really recommend. I’m certain there’s a whole world of metaphors behind it all that I just didn’t get, but from a purely entertainment point of view it’s not worth it. For those who like an intellectual challenge, go ahead and watch it, then read this commentary to understand more.
Next was American Gangster from Ridley Scott with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Contrary to what the poster might suggest, this is not a typical mafia movie. First of all, it shows how a single black man from Harlem outdid the Italians and any other existing group at that time, second it has a typical 70’s groovy background. Sure, we watched the uncensored version with some pretty brutal murder and / or shooting up scenes, but that was minor compared to the human story behind it (ethics, morals, principles, …). Plus, it really shows the evolution and vast changes we have made in the last thirty years.
Other movies rented so far include:
- Das Weiße Rauschen, a German movie about paranoid schizophrenia with Daniel Brühl. This is probably the first movie that succeeded in giving its audience insight into the tortured mind of a schizophrenic person. “A Beautiful Mind” hammed up the subject by combining it with a love story and mystery elements. This movie, however, is real. So real, that it’s hard to watch at times. Director Hans Weingartner makes great usage of Dogma-style camera and avoids all movie clichés. With only a small cast and a low budget this movie comes as close to reality as it gets. It helps us understand this terrible sickness and its victims – the sick person himself, as well as his relatives and friends – without palliating anything.
- Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, with Helge Schneider as Hitler and Ulrich Mühe as Prof. Adolf Israel Grünbaum, his Jewish acting coach. I had great expectations for this movie, because I had heard that it was hilarious and finally allowed the Germans to overcome their burden of the Third Reich by turning it to ridicule. Well, it wasn’t funny. Not one bit. And I’m not saying that it’s that kind of black humor that some people find funny and others offending, it was simply flat, with no humor whatsoever. I saw no point to it, I felt like I totally wasted my time (and money!) on this one.