Double Indemnity (1944), Billy Wilder

A pivotal, quintessential and seminal work of film noir cinema, Billy Wilder’s 1944 Double Indemnity, with the preeminent femme fatale at the centre of its story, parades a collection of immoral behaviour and provides a realistic and yet bleak opinion on the human condition. 

double-indemnity-2Is the sexy and conniving Phyllis, with her beautiful legs and pretty anklet, simply the object of male desires and nothing else? Is she a cardboard-type  character, who flirts, seduces and schemes like the devil, but has no dimension beyond this stereotypical representation of the blonde woman? Is she empowered or disenfranchised by such a representation? Interesting questions raised by this masterpiece of a film. Continue reading

Fargo (1996), Joel & Ethan Coen

A tale of desperate greed and callous indifference, the Coen Brothers’ 1996 Fargo – a film-noir negative with impressive snowy landscapes – follows a naïve salesman, who sets in motion a trail of brutal violence, which is dealt with by a heavily pregnant County Sheriff.

fargo-2Is Fargo the worst-case scenario of a true story about the American Dream gone terribly wrong? Which is the more contentious term in the precedent sentence: true story or American Dream? Some might find that both expressions are highly inadequate to describe the film. For it is widely known that the mentioning of truth at the beginning of the movie is a joke and that the tale that follows is more of a nightmare than a dream. However, it is similarly possible to hold the view that, in fact, the film showcases the truth about a society and its system of incentives taken to its logical conclusion. Continue reading

Uzak (2002), Nuri Bilge Ceylan

A lyrically subdued and humane masterpiece, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s 2002 Uzak – with its story appropriately set in a busy metropolis separated by two continents – takes its time to build up dramatic tension in a haunting meditation on selfishness, alienation, depression and shame.

uzak2What other film can visualise the past and the future so clearly without stepping one inch out of the present? Without magic or machines, writer-director Nuri Bilge Ceylan creates a house of mirrors so rich and revealing that the reflexions are immensely powerful. Uzak [Distant] shows two men so alienated from themselves, each other and the people around them, that they are forced to face what’s in front of them: the other man. And in realising that the one is the other in the past and the other is the one in the future, they retrieve deeper into themselves. Continue reading