The Last Film Seen

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Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:41 pm


[U.S. members] If you have been to the local multiplex in the recent past then its very likely that you've come across a particular preview before the feature. Im referring to the one which looks kind of gray and you immediately sense that its for a horror film. Soon, various images of a scared and battered female flash on the screen; you also see someone running out into the street in front of a car and later indignantly carrying a log ringed with barbed wire. That preview belongs to this much-hyped French horror/thriller called High Tension (Haute Tension) which has just been released stateside. The film begins on the road with two young college students, Marie (Ccile de France), and Alex (Mawenn Le Besco), traveling to latters remote countryside house in order to study for exams. Soon after reaching their destination, the house is invaded by a mad trucker in filthy overalls. His murderous rampage begins with the brutal murder of Alexs father along with his dog. Marie cunningly avoids the killer in her room, but soon has to listen to the rape of her friend, and as she eventually tries to get to the phone downstairs, she unfortunately ends up witnessing the gruesome slashing of the girlfriend of Alexs father. Once the killer moves out (to get to Alexs younger brother whos run out), she tries to unlock the bound Alex but the man comes back to get her in order to take her along. Somehow, avoiding the killers eye, Marie ends up in the truck with her friend, not being sure whats next for them.

So, that was the set-up of this gory horror almost certain to please all the blood-thirsty zombies out there and you already know if you are one! Director Alexandre Aja certainly has an eye for staging repulsive mayhem (is that a good thing?) as Ive never quite seen such brutality on screen before. (The version released in the U.S. is supposedly cut but to most this will look like a "director cut," not an "edited" one.) Whatever one might say about the film, it is technically accomplished. Aja wisely uses his widescreen compositions to rouse and unnerve the audience. The sound design is intricate, and while youre probably heard those squeaky hinges, barking dogs etc. theyve never been employed as well before (partly because of the nauseating images). Viewers who werent familiar with the film beforehand might feel something odd about the early conversation between the two friends -- its dubbed! Yup, thats right, and badly so I might add, but there are parts in the film that arent. (In order to accommodate this, films N. American distributor [Lions Gate Films] has converted Alexs family into Americans. If an individual is willing to do the political math then "Freedom Fries" might eventually come to mind, but in this case, I think the distributor deserves the benefit of the doubt.)

Ill be honest, the most "tense" moment for me was watching Ccile de France masturbate for a good couple of minutes before anything happened. But as she eventually races to save her friend in a souped-up car (American style), those moments were way behind me as she started to look a little mad herself. What did came to mind however was the stripped-down, no nonsense approach that American horror films of the 70s and 80s used to employ. (Aja has credited films like I Spit On Your Grave and most of Wes Craven 70s oeuvre as an influence.) In some ways, he seems to be throwing the gauntlet at the recent self-conscious horrors and spoofs while saying: Mock This! Im not quite sure why audiences worldwide enjoy films like this but what truly ruined the film for me was the final "twist" which came about 20-minutes before the end (thus more gore followed). The trick Aja and his screenwriters pull is cheap and misogynistic, but from the looks of things, theyve been successful in transporting the audience back in time, and in this case that's certainly not a good thing.

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:05 pm

High Tension (Haute Tension) was marketed a while ago in the UK as Switchblade Romance (for some strange reason), strange that it was given an anglicised name yet thankfully (for what it's worth) it wasn't dubbed at all, unlike sections of the US release.

I'd have to agree with arsaib4's review and found the plot fairly obvious, the death of the father was like something out of Monty Python and was ludicrously funny (in a bizarre way). It would obviously help your enjoyment of the film if you're a fan of the slasher genre, fortunately I'm not but it did have fairly decent production values unlike some I've seen.

What's the point of High Tension ,Haute Tension, Switchblade Romance when these films are a dime a dozen, do we need a French slasher flick? the only answer you'll get from me is non.

Cheers Trev.

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby hengcs » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:59 pm

Quote Trevor, "Crying Out Love in the Center of the World - Sekai no chshin de, ai wo sakebu (2004)

Wow this bothers me, it's a tragic romance that goes on for over 2 hours, it didn't bore me, it actually brought a tear to my eye, I must be getting soft in my old age or the film was effective."


I am glad that you like the movie ...
I posted my comments some time ago ...

but like MOST postings ... it has vaporized too ...
Anyway, there is a TV version of this in 2004 too ...
The cast is different but it has rave reviews ...

Recall my earlier comments in filmwurld
(i.e., some "stereotypes" about Asian TV series ... hee hee)

In sum, I also like the movie ...

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby hengcs » Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:02 pm

Quote Trevor, "Springtime in a Small Town (2002)

One of those films where the more you see it the more you enjoy the subtleties of the performances. Very much a character driven movie, I wish I could see the original version though.


If you are okay with no subtitles or Chinese subtitles (because you already know the gist of the movie from the new version), the original version is available ...


Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby hengcs » Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:32 pm

Everything from 12/04/04 to 06/03/05 have been deleted by the virus. So, I have deleted them.

Well, I am editing this thread to move the thread up ... else it will be lost in the last few pages ... and I will get some scolding from the members ...

* naughty grin *

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby wpqx » Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:18 am

Let me bump it up.

The last movie I've seen was Sling Blade. Billy Bob Thornton's one serious attempt at being an auteur. The critical success of this has surprised me as to why he wouldn't direct more films, but I honestly didn't feel like sitting though three hours of special features to look for an answer. The film itself was pretty damn good. Very subtle, and I loved that because whenever you're dealing with the mentally challenged there is always a tendecy to play for sympathy.

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:13 pm

The Descent directed by Neil Marshall 2005.

Can't say too much because it'll probably take a good couple of months before it's released in the US but the basic premise is a group of 6 women set off to explore some deep caves and things go horribly wrong.

The good thing is, it's a film that has several layers and therefore several interpretations, you can take it at it's most basic, a fairly decent horror flick or you can delve deeper which means re-interpreting some of the early scenes, enough said for now.

Cheers Trev.

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby spy in the house of love » Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:27 pm

Last movies I've seen:

- Julien donkey boy (harmony Korine)
- Pierrot Le Fou (Godard)
- Made In USA (Godard)
- Prnom Carmen (Godard)
- Querelle (Fassbinder)

i. Julien Donkey Boy was not an easy movie, but it had beautiful parts. Korine is growing on me.

ii. Pierrot Le Fou was out of the three Godard movies Ive seen this week my favorite. Delightful.

iii. Made In USA was not what i expected it to be, but so very classy and Godard and Anna Karina and the loveliness of every single detail.

iv. Prnom Carmen sounded strange, Im used to godard's early work so this, was, just different. the whole cinematography and music and everything. i liked it nevertheless, but not as much as all the other films Ive seen by him.

v. Querelle. My introduction to Fassbinder. I have a strange fascination with sailors and i must say I loved it.
The colors were stunning, the music, Jeanne singing each man kills the thing he loves, the thoughts and feelings of solitude and experience. (Im quite curious about other people's thoughts on this film).
spy in the house of love

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby wpqx » Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:10 pm

Watched Le Notti Binache (1957) from Luchino Visconti.

Quite a bit different from Bresson's film from the same source material, when I get the chance I'd like to do a more thorough comparisson between the two. I certainly enjoyed the film, and even though I knew the ending, I couldn't help but be moved by it, first rate work from the Count.

Re: The Last Film Seen

Postby wpqx » Thu Jul 14, 2005 4:40 am

Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997) - Werner Herzog

One of his non-fiction films this is a deceptively simple film from Herzog about a German immigrant who became a POW in Vietnam. The film focuses on the psychological impact it had upon him, and the title character even goes back to Vietnam with Herzog to retrace his occupation. Great filmmaking from Herzog, who doesn't seem to be afraid of ANYTHING when it comes to make a movie.


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