Noirvember 2016, Episode 15: Fine Dead Girls (2002)

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Fine Dead Girls (2002) Dalibor Matanić
(1:17)
Global Lens DVD – library

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Fine Dead Girls is a film noir set in Croatia. Two young women, Iva (Olga Pakalović, right) and Marija (Nina Violić, left) rent an apartment in the city of Zagreb. They’re just looking for a little quiet in their lives, but Olga (Inge Appelt, below) the landlady seems as if she might be trouble, not just to the women, but to everyone she meets. She’s confrontational, rude and aggressive. Her son Daniel (Krešimir Mikić) tries to hit on Iva, but she’s having none of it. Daniel doesn’t know it, but we do early on: Iva and Marija are lesbians and once the word gets out, there’s no end to the trouble the two women are faced with.

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White God (2014) Kornél Mundruczó

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White God (2014)
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó
Produced by Jessica Ask, et. al.
Screenplay by Kornél Mundruczó, Viktória Petrányi, Kata Wéber
Cinematography by Marcell Rév
Edited by Dávid Jancsó
Rated R for violence, including bloody images, language
(color; in Hungarian with English subtitles; 2:01)

Unless you’re into independent and/or international films, you probably haven’t seen either the poster or the opening image of White God: a 13-year-old girl speeding her bicycle through the empty downtown streets of Budapest as hundreds of angry dogs race after her. That may be enough to pique your interest to sit through a 2-hour Hungarian film with English subtitles. If so, you may come away from the film feeling exhilarated, disgusted, cheated, or maybe even a better human being, I don’t know. But you probably won’t forget the experience.

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Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922) Fritz Lang

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Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922) Fritz Lang
(4:31)
Masters of Cinema Blu-ray (UK)

As is the case with many film bloggers, I have no real credentials to review any movie with any degree of authority or expertise. I just love films (and comics, which is the other side of my blog. I’m no expert in that area, either.) and love writing about them. Having said that, Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler is certainly a film that I have no business reviewing; I just want to tell you what I love about it and hope you’ll want to see it as well.

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Insomnia (1997) Erik Skjoldbjærg

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Insomnia (1997) Erik Skjoldbjærg
(1:36)
Criterion Collection DVD (library)

Watching Insomnia, you have to keep reminding yourself that this was Erik Skjoldbjærg’s feature film debut. It certainly doesn’t have the look or feel of a first-time director, although Skjoldbjærg had completed shorter films previous to Insomnia (two of which are included on the Criterion release). As far as I can tell, none of Skjoldbjærg’s subsequent films have had the influence or impact of Insomnia.

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Il sorpasso (1962) Dino Risi

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Il sorpasso (1962) Dino Risi
(1:45)
Criterion Collection
Hulu Plus streaming

It’s hard not to love Dino Risi’s Italian road comedy Il sorpasso. It’s filled with laughs, excitement, danger, fights (both verbal and physical), music, romance, adventure and sadness. Although audiences didn’t exactly love it upon its initial release, time has been good to the film and I’m delighted that new audiences can experience it via streaming and recent Blu-ray and DVD releases from Criterion.

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Ida (2014) Pawel Pawlikowski

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Ida (2014) Pawel Pawlikowski
(1:24)
Netflix Streaming

In the early 1960s, a young nun named Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to take her sacred vows in a Polish convent. Before she can do that, Anna is informed that she must first visit her family, which consists of only one aunt, a hard-drinking loose woman named Wanda (Agata Kulesza). Wanda’s not exactly excited to see her niece arrive, and within moments bluntly informs Anna that her real name is Ida, that she’s Jewish, and that her parents were murdered during World War II.

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