Sunday, February 21, 2016

Possibly British comic needs ID

Friend was asking whether anyone knows the artist behind this possibly British series of comics. It was published in Finnish in the 1950s as Esa and Eenokki, so possibly it was something like Eazy and Enoch (but most possibly not). Can anyone help my friend here?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

I just saw this little thriller - if that's what you could call it - the other day and decided to blog about it. The film received with good reviews here in Finland and, I believe, elsewhere in Europe as well, but I don't know how largely it was seen in the US. (Wikipedia says it had a limited release, but it's out on DVD and possibly available on Netflix and other venues.)

The film has a quirky title, but you shouldn't worry about that, since it's a pretty well done drama of a young woman, Martha (played by Elizabeth Olsen), who's gotten herself mixed up with a sect leading a reclusive life somewhere in the mountains. John Hawkes plays the leader of the sect with charisma. He's not given any background, so the viewer will have to fill up the blank spaces him/herself. The leader looks and feels interesting, yet he's there only to satisfy his own sexual needs: he gets to have sex with all the newcomers. He tells the women the act of sex starts the purifying process. The young woman can't take the abuse anymore and takes a hike. She hides herself in her sister's house, but she can't leave the past behind her. The sister and her husband seem helpless and don't really know what to do, and Martha won't tell them what has really happened in the two years she was away.

Directed by debutante Sean Durkin, this is a quietly disturbing thriller with almost no scary moments. The ending is very disturbing. Highly recommended, though not for those who seek fast action and thrills.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Luis Buñuel: The Young One

(I'm blogging again! I really don't have time for this, but I just can't let this one go.)

Surrealist film-maker Luis Buñuel has for long been one of my favourite directors, but in the recent years his stature in my eyes has even grown. I've really liked, even loved, some of his films I've seen recently, even though I'd've seen them before. One example is one of his Mexican melodramas, Èl, of which I wrote here. A more recent example is The Young One (1960), made in Mexico in English, with American actors. It was called La Joven in Mexico, which I believe means "the virgin", and it's only fitting the film's Finnish title is Neitsytsaari, meaning "The Island of Virgins" or "The Virgin Island". I won't go into the plot and its details, the Wikipedia entry will suffice. I just saw this film on screen on 35 mm film, and though I'd seen it earlier, I hadn't really realized what a magnificent little film it is.

It's a very current film tackling issues of racism and sexual abuse. You know, we also have this thing called hate speech in Finland, and it's getting very tiresome and worrisome at the same time. In swift dialogue, Buñuel reveals the speech patterns the racist uses: if the rapist is a white man, the woman is to blame, if the rapist is a black man, kill him. There's wonderful irony in the end: everything seems to be well, but the black man is still running from his hunters and the white man still can carry on raping the 12-year old girl. The priest, who at first seems to fight against abuse and racism, has to make a deal with the white man in order to get the black man to escape. This is no casual irony, it's a strike in the white heart of bourgeoisie.

Yet The Young One is also fluent entertainment. There's not much violent action, but Buñuel knows how to keep the story racing along. This is something many of his experimental colleagues don't know. The noir and western stalwart Zachary Scott is mighty unlikable, yet weirdly human as the white man in the lead. Key Meersman is captivatingly innocent in her almost only role. The film was written by Buñuel and Hugo Butler, who had earlier been blacklisted because of his communist sympathies. The film could indeed be too much for people like Donald Trump.

More Overlooked Films here, when they show up. (Edit: I guess Todd has had something else going on, since nothing has shown up.)