I’ve realized that of the movies I’ve seen in the theater this year, comparatively not that many (1/3) have been in English. This is not out of some form of snobbery because I just go see what interests me, but it is bizarre. Of course, in part this is because Last King of Scotland
, The Queen
etc. was showing, I was swamped. Hmm.
Here is the list of the movies I’ve seen in theater so far, in order from most fave to least. I have to note though that I thoroughly enjoyed every movie I’ve seen in a theater so far, with the possible exception of ‘The Namesake’ which is a rarity for me. ( Movie list with explanations )
But this lop-sidedness shall be remedied as I am planning to see Spiderman 3
this weekend. So excited. Spiderman 2 is my favorite superhero movie ever (it would have been Batman Begins but Katie Holmes was atrocious).
Abd speaking of movies I am planning to see. Tomorrow, I plan to see the Dutch movie Black Book
Black Book follows the story of a fictional Resistance fighter, Rachel Stein. Rachel is a Jewish woman in the Nazi-oppupied Holland who loses her whole family when they are betrayed trying to flee. Masquerading as a Gentile Ellis de Vries, she becomes a spy for the Dutch Reistance. On a personal mission to avenge her family's merciless murder, she becomes involved - at first duplicitously, then for real - with bigwig Ludwig who's that rarest of characters: a sympathetic Nazi. This shake-up of the usual war-movie rules also applies to the good guys, some of whom are as corrupt as the enemy.
It has excellent reviews and was in fact shortlisted for best foreign picture Oscar (it made it into the final 9 but not the final 5) but I’ve been hesitating for ages mainly because of the director. Veerhoven, the director of Showgirls, directing a movie about World War II? Dutch Resistance? Jews and Nazis? Ummmm…Visions of disaster danced in my head. And then also one of the main characters is a Gestapo guy who is not completely bad. OK. Seriously. As someone who is both Jewish and from Ukraine (when I was growing up, kids still played Partisans and Nazis), the very thought of Gestapo evokes anger. And fear. And a fair deal of hate. So I wasn’t sure I was up for it. I like my couples star-crossed but not when it’s because one half is a willing participant in a genocide to wipe the race of the other out of existence.
But apparently Veerhoven used to be a really acclaimed director before the Showgirls debacle (I remember when Showgirls came out I was in high school (am dating myself :D) and I lived in a very small conservative Southern town so no theater was going to be showing it. A bunch of guys from school piled in a van and drove to the nearest big city to watch it. LOL), and the reviews were uniformly excellent, and it turned out that the Nazi was played by Sebastian Koch who I just law and loved in The Lives of Others
. And I do love Erich Maria Remarque’s awesome novel A Time to Live and a Time to Die
about a German WWII solider home on leave. Though Gestapo is not the army whereto you get drafted and Veerhoven not Remarque. I really should do a post on Remarque. He is my favorite author. Three Comrades, about three WWI veterans in the falling apart Berlin of the early 30s, and the narrator Robert’s soul-saving, doomed love affair with the fragile mysterious Patrice (one of Remarque’s irresistable women) is my favorite book ever. I am going to do a post on it actually because once I start I’ll never stop. And I am madly in love with Arch of Triumph, the narrator of which is a Resistance fighter tortured by the Nazis and now a refugee in Paris before the war, who is tracking his torturer with intent to kill. In Remarque’s world, you find happiness only to lose it, but you are better for having had something than nothing at all. His heroes are wounded but strong and so are his women, and the world is bleak with some individual sparks of goodness (There are marvelous movie versions of Arch of Triumph (1948) and A time to live and a time to die (cheesily rechristened A time to love and a time to die, made sometime in the 50s) but the movie version of Three Comrades makes me want to kill something. And I wish there were movie versions of his other books. Interestingly, he was married to Paulette Goddard, Charlie Chaplin’s ex. She had great taste in men ;) Anyway, that is a hell of a digression.
Back to Black Book. So I'll risk it and will go to watch it.
This review makes me at least hopeful.( Review of the Movie )