Monday, May 24, 2010

Orhan Pamuk. Kara Kitap/The Black Book/Чёрная Книга

The Black Book (Kara Kitap in Turkish) is a novel by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk. It was published in Turkish in 1990 and first translated and published in English in 1994. In 2006, it was translated into English again by Maureen Freely.

"The protagonist, an Istanbul lawyer named Galip, finds one day that his wife Rüya (the name means "dream" in Turkish) has mysteriously left him with very little explanation. He wanders around the city looking for his clues to her whereabouts. He suspects that his wife has taken up with her half-brother, a columnist for Milliyet named Celal, and it happens that he is also missing. The story of Galip's search is interspersed with reprints of Celal's columns, which are lengthy, highly literate meditations on the city and its history. Galip thinks that by living as Celal he can figure out how Celal thinks and locate both him and his wife, so he takes up residence in Celal's apartment, wearing his clothes and eventually writing his column.

Galip starts getting mysterious phone calls from one of Celal's obsessed fans, who displays an astonishing familiarity with the columnist's writings. After Galip's columns under Celal's name start to take the form of impassioned pleas to Rüya, a woman from Celal's past misinterprets the articles and calls Galip, thinking they are actually Celal's attempts to win her back. It turns out that Celal and the woman had had an affair, and the fan who is calling Galip is the woman's jealous husband. In an eerie twist, it turns out that the husband has been following Galip around Istanbul in an attempt to find Celal through him, accounting for Galip's frequent apprehension that he is being watched. Galip finally agrees to meet both of them at a public location, a store called Aladdin's that figures in much of the narrative. Soon after, Celal is shot to death in the street. Rüya is found also shot in Aladdin's store. The identity of the killer is never discovered for certain.

The novel ends with the postmodern twist of the author revealing his presence in the narrative. The story is more concerned with exploring the nature of story-telling as a means of constructing identity than with a straight-forward plot. As such, it is full of stories within the main story, relating to both Turkey's Ottoman past and contemporary Istanbul".(WIKI)

In Weiter Ferne, so Nah! / Faraway, So Close! /Небо над Берлином 2

Faraway, So Close! (German: In weiter Ferne, so nah!) is a 1993 film by German director Wim Wenders. The screenplay is by Wenders, Richard Reitinger and Ulrich Zieger. The film is a sequel to Wenders' 1987 film Wings of Desire. Actors Otto Sander and Bruno Ganz reprise their roles as angels visiting earth, and the film also stars Nastassja Kinski, Willem Dafoe and Heinz Rühmann (in his last film role).

Cassiel and Raphaella, two angels, observe the busy life of reunited Berlin. Due to their divine origin they can hear the thoughts of the people around them and even try console a dying man. He also observes a forger who secretly asks for forgiveness for his forgeries.

Cassiel has been following his friend Damiel (a former angel himself) around, who senses his presence when he is with him and relates about his experiences of being human. Damiel now owns a pizza parlor under the name Casa dell'angelo (Angel's House), he has been married to Marion, a trapeze artist, who also works in a local bar in West Berlin, and the two have a little daughter (Marion).

Cassiel also follows Raisa Becker, an 11 year old girl who lives in East Berlin; he observes her life and the fact that she and her mother (Hanna Becker) are being followed around by Winter, a detective who works for Anton Baker, an American mafioso who seemingly owns a transport company. Others followed by Cassiel include Lou Reed and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Cassiel follows Hanna Becker (and Winter) to an abandoned building in the outskirts of East Berlin, she brings food to Konrad, a man that has been serving as a father to Hanna even though he was nothing more than her chauffeur during World War II. Cassiel travels back in time and sees that during heavy bombardment of Berlin at the end of the war, the Beckers were well off during the Nazi Régime but when the war was ostensibly lost, Dr. Becker fled to America with their boy and adopted the name Baker, but the mother, Gertrud Becker, decided to stay behind with little Hanna under the care of Konrad. Cassiel notices that Winter takes photographs of the old World War II cars that Konrad still keeps in mint condition.>>>>>>

Directed by Wim Wenders
Produced by Ulrich Felsberg
Michael Schwarz
Wim Wenders
Written by Richard Reitinger
Wim Wenders
Ulrich Zieger
Starring Otto Sander
Bruno Ganz
Heinz Rühmann
Peter Falk
Nastassja Kinski
Willem Dafoe
Solveig Dommartin
Rüdiger Vogler
Music by Laurent Petitgand
Nick Cave
Laurie Anderson
Lou Reed
Cinematography Jürgen Jürges
Editing by Peter Przygodda
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s) 18 May 1993 (Cannes Film Festival)
France: 1 September 1993
Germany: 9 September 1993
United States: 21 December 1993
UK: 1 July 1994
Running time 144 min. (German)
140 min. (U.S.)
Country Germany
Language German

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wings of Desire/ Der Himmel über Berlin / Небо Над Берлином

Wings of Desire is a 1987 film by the German director Wim Wenders. Its original German title is Der Himmel über Berlin, which can be translated as The Sky (or Heaven) over Berlin. Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry partially inspired the movie; Wenders claimed angels seemed to dwell in Rilke's poetry. The director also employed Peter Handke, who wrote much of the dialogue, the poetic narrations, and the film's recurring poem "Song of Childhood." The film was followed by a sequel, Faraway, So Close!

Directed by Wim Wenders
Produced by Wim Wenders
Anatole Dauman
Written by Wim Wenders
Peter Handke
Starring Bruno Ganz
Solveig Dommartin
Otto Sander
Curt Bois
Peter Falk
Music by Jürgen Knieper
Cinematography Henri Alekan
Distributed by Orion Classics (U.S. only)
Release date(s) 23 September 1987
Running time 127 minutes
Country Germany
Language German, English, French and Italian

Set in West Berlin in the late 1980s, toward the end of the Cold War, it follows two angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander), as they roam the city, unseen and unheard by the people, observing and listening to the diverse thoughts of Berliners: a pregnant woman, a painter, a broken man who thinks his girlfriend no longer loves him. Their raison d'être is not that of the stereotypical angel, but as Cassiel says, to "assemble, testify, preserve" reality. In addition to the story of two angels, the film also is a meditation on Berlin's past, present, and future. Damiel and Cassiel have always existed as angels; they existed in Berlin before it was a city, and in fact before there were even any humans.

Among the Berliners they encounter in their meanderings is an old man named Homer (Curt Bois), who, unlike the Greek poet of war Homer, dreams of an "epic of peace." The angel Cassiel follows the old man as he looks for the then-demolished Potsdamer Platz in an open field, where all he finds is the graffiti-covered Berlin Wall.

Although Damiel and Cassiel are pure observers, invisible to all but children, and incapable of any physical interaction with our world, Damiel begins to fall in love with a circus trapeze artist named Marion (Solveig Dommartin), who is talented, lovely, but profoundly lonely. Marion lives alone in a trailer, dances alone to the music of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and drifts through the city.

A subpart of the film follows Peter Falk, cast as himself, who has arrived in Berlin to make a film about Berlin's Nazi past. As the movie progresses, it turns out that Peter Falk was also once an angel, who renounced his immortality to become a mortal participant in the world after he grew tired of always observing and never experiencing.

Eventually, Damiel too longs for physicality, and to become human. When he sheds his immortal existence, he experiences life for the first time: he bleeds, sees colors for the first time (the movie up until now is filmed in a sepia toned monochrome, except for brief moments when the angels are not present or looking), tastes food and drinks coffee. Meanwhile, Cassiel inadvertently taps into the mind of a young man just before he commits suicide by jumping off a building; Cassiel tries to save the young man but is unable to do so, and he is left haunted and tormented by the experience. Eventually, Damiel meets the trapeze artist Marion at a bar, and they greet each other with familiarity as if they had long known each other. In the end, Damiel is united with the woman he had desired for so long. The film ends with the message: "To be continued."

The story is concluded in Wenders' 1993 sequel, In weiter Ferne, so nah! (Faraway, So Close!).(WIKI)


Monday, May 10, 2010

Waiter/ Ober/ Официант

Waiter (Dutch: Ober) is a 2006 black comedy film by Alex van Warmerdam. It tells the story of Edgar, a discontented waiter. The film had its world premiere on the Toronto Film Festival on September 10, 2006. It was the opening film of the Netherlands Film Festival, where Waiter received two Golden Calves, for Best Scenario and Best Production Design.

Waiter tells the story of Edgar (Alex van Warmerdam), a waiter with a flair for the unfortunate. His wife is sick, his girlfriend Victoria (Ariane Schluter) is overly possessive, customers at work constantly bully him and his neighbours make his life impossible.

Fed up with the way his life is going, Edgar goes to the house of Herman (Mark Rietman), the scriptwriter who invented Edgar and is currently writing his story. Edgar complains about the events in his life that keep getting worse and begs for some positive events in his life, including a decent girlfriend. Herman decides to create Stella (Line Van Wambeke), but soon Edgar realises that Stella will only complicate his life more. Meanwhile Herman is pestered by his pushy girlfriend Suzie (Thekla Reuten), who constantly tries to change the script. Driven to insanity by Edgar and Suzie constantly trying to interfere with his story, Herman decides to make the story more extreme and violent...

Directed by Alex van Warmerdam
Produced by Marc van Warmerdam
Written by Alex van Warmerdam
Starring Alex van Warmerdam
Ariane Schluter
Mark Rietman
Thekla Reuten
Line Van Wambeke
Music by Vincent van Warmerdam
Cinematography Tom Erisman
Editing by Ewin Ryckaert
Distributed by A-Film
Release date(s) September 28, 2006 (NL)
World premiere: September 10, 2006 (Toronto Film Festival)
Running time 97 minutes
Country Netherlands, Belgium


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Le Temps du Loup/ Время волков/ Time of the Wolf

Time of the Wolf (French: Le Temps du Loup) is a dystopian post-apocalyptic drama film, directed by Austrian director Michael Haneke. It was released theatrically in 2003. Set in an unnamed European country at an undisclosed time, the film follows the story of a family: Georges (Daniel Duval), Anne (Isabelle Huppert) and their two children Eva (Anaïs Demoustier) and Ben (Lucas Biscombe).

A disaster of some type has occurred, of which the audience only knows that uncontaminated water is scarce and livestock have to be burned. Fleeing the city, the family arrive at their country home, hoping to find refuge and security, only to discover that it is already occupied by strangers.

# Isabelle Huppert - Anne Laurent
# Béatrice Dalle - Lise Brandt
# Patrice Chéreau - Thomas Brandt
# Rona Hartner - Arina
# Maurice Bénichou - M. Azoulay
# Olivier Gourmet - Koslowski
# Brigitte Roüan - Béa
# Lucas Biscombe - Ben
# Hakim Taleb - Young runaway
# Anaïs Demoustier - Eva
# Serge Riaboukine - The leader
# Marilyne Even - Mme Azoulay

Directed by Michael Haneke
Produced by Michael Katz,
Veit Heiduschka,
Margaret Ménégoz
Written by Michael Haneke
Starring Isabelle Huppert,
Béatrice Dalle,
Patrice Chéreau
Cinematography Jürgen Jürges
Editing by Nadine Muse,
Monika Willi
Distributed by Les Films du Losange (France, theatrical),
Palm Pictures (USA, theatrical)
Release date(s) 2003
Running time 110 minutes
Country France, Austria, Germany